Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Must Be Doing Something Right January 26, 2015

I honestly don't know what to say this week...  so I'll just try.
First of all, I cannot thank everyone enough for taking care of my sweet and amazing best friend, Emily. There really aren't words to describe the happiness and gratitude I feel. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh........... I'm dying.
Second, Congrats to the recent wedding announcements! So happy for those of you who have recently gotten engaged or married! I love getting your announcements (thanks a lot for not sending one, Liv. haha)  And I am so happy for all of you! Good job. Marriage, it's important.
Steve, way to be a good example to your friends. It's showing and it's helping them. 
Interviews were absolutely wonderful this week. I am so grateful to be led and instructed by someone who is called and instructed from the Lord. President Kähnlein is an inspiration to me, and it was a wonderful opportunity to recieve a blessing from him as well. I know how mindful the Lord is of me. 
A little sad this week that our cute little couple isn't feeling ready to be baptized yet, so we will keep working with them. They are such wonderful people. 
I feel so blessed to be a missionary. I am so glad you are all being blessed as well. It makes me think that I've got to be doing SOMETHING right. But there's a whole lot to improve. I know I can be a better servant of the Lord. I read Mark 10 this week where the young man comes to ask what more he can do to inherit eternal life. Initially, the Lord responds with several commandments, but once the obedience test is over, the Lord sees where his desires really are. The man was obedient, but that wasn't enough to help him learn to love Christ and follow after Him. I need to pick up my cross a little more. 
We are really trying to find families to be united in the gospel. A husband and wife that can support each other and their children. We are really trying to help part member families and less-actives because that is one of the best way to find people who already have a bit of a background in the spirit of the gospel. There is nothing that can make us happier. NOTHING!
The ward gave us some references of part-member families who would be receptive, and we are really going to try and help them come to understand how the gospel works. It is so extremely simple. 
Also, I think we should eliminate the phrase 'I'm busy' from our conversations in general. No, you're not busy, you just want to keep doing what you're doing. What does CHRIST want you to do right now?
I got my Chilean ID today! I like riding on the metro from my area to go to Viña, because there are always such talented people playing music on the way. It makes my day:) 
I have loved focusing on FAITH for all of JANUARY, and I have learned how closely related faith and obedience are. And also that happiness really is a choice, just like getting mad, being lazy, learning, waking up no time, being kind, and getting baptized are all choices. We never have the excuse to say that someone else has offended us. 'Well, if you don't want to be offended by someone, don't take offense.' I try to tell people that a little more gently though haha. 
I love you all! Pray for me and Hermana Pau'u to find some covenant people this week! People who want to choose to be chosen!
And here is my favorite scripture of  the week.   I do, GLORY IN MY JESUS, 2 Nephi 33:6
 I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.
 I have charity for my people, and great faith in Christ that I shall meet many souls spotless at his judgment-seat.
Love, Hermana Coray

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Fire works on New Years Eve

 The view from Sara's apartment.
The view her friends posted from downtown at midnight.

Pictures from the mission blog

Sara with her new companion, Sister Pauu. She is a Tongan from San Francisco.
They have so much fun together already!

 Sister Etchegaray on her way home to Argentina.
Sister Leon on transfer day with her new companion.

 November zone conference.
 October zone conference

Thankful I Didn't Get What I Thought That I Deserved, January 12, 2015

You will all be happy to know that Hna. Pau'u and I have a herd of cows in  Limache (lee-ma-ch-eh).... like twenty five of them. I didn't have my camera with me that day because we went to a part where we shouldn't go with cameras, but Ill take a picture a different day haha.

Well, yesterday I thought about my life for a minute. And honestly, I can't remember how I got here. I have felt a few times in my life like the Lord was taking away the things I wanted the most. I won't write it all out because that would be pointless. But seriously, I just can't believe that I am here some days. That the Lord loves me enough to give me so many chances to come here. 

I love seeing little miracles, like when someone actually READS the Book of Mormon, or shows up to church, or how this week we put two baptismal dates with a couple who can finally get married and baptized in two weeks! Ivon and Eduardo! After more than a year of knowing about the gospel. Seeing converts that become relief society presidents, or this one boy who has been a member for like three months, and now he is bringing other friends to church like his friend did with him, and now he (Ignacio is his name) is getting ready to go on a mission! And yesterday night we were walking on our way home, and a member told us to come over tommorow to meet the new investigator he found for us! Ahhhhhhhhhhh. If I had a dime for every time I've heard someone say that Id be really poor hahaha. I was so happy!

We had a three hour ward conference the other day to put in a ton of efforts to do the new 'baptize, retain, and reactivate' thing that they are doing in all of South America to help the church members be strong here. We teach new people, converts, and less actives every day, and always try to include the members, and it is really awesome. We have a plan! It's still a process, but at least we have a goal and a way to achieve it.

I thank my Heavely Father I didn't get what I thought that I deserved, and that He is so loving to me that He has given me something better. And there is a lot more to come. 

I bear testimony of a loving Heavenly Father who expects us to keep the commandments so we can be happy. There isn't a better way. Listen to the Spirit. He is always there, but we have to be still and quiet to hear the still and quiet voice. Make a listening in your heart. That's what got me here. I have never regretted letting anything go that the Lord told me to let go. And the best part is, He actually never takes anything away. He just changes things out for something better. 

I love you all. I love the Lord. I feel Him so close, even with the hot sun on a fast Sunday when I have to go to the bathroom. haha. I know He is taking care of me, and it's like my Mission President told me a couple of weeks ago in interviews. 'Hermana Coray, He is watching you.'

I also got to steal a moment with the President today when we had to go to the mission office for my Chile ID stuff, and I am so grateful for faithful servants of the Lord. I am excited for zone meeting this week and Interviews next week! It will be fun!

Have a great week!

Love Hermana Coray


Funny thing... yesterday i had the hicups forever, and my companion said ' hermana! you have a moth in your hair!' I freaked out and she just laughed, she has obviously learned how much i hate moths... haha. the hic ups went away

Sara's Christmas in Chile!

Sara spent Christmas eve with her companion, Sister Leon, at the home of the Castro family. We are so grateful to this kind family who has taken her in and loved her.  So grateful that she is surrounded by loving kindness from the members of the church while she is so far away.  We love the Castro family!  Sara had a very merry Christmas feeling the ultimate gift of the love of our Savior Jesus Christ.  It was a happy festive celebration with the Castros and we got to talk with her on Facetime!

Do We Know What We Have,January 5, 2015

I got transferred, and now I am in Limache, Villa Alemana. Try saying that 10 times fast haha. My companion is Hermana Paùu from San Francisco, but she's Tongan. I LOOOOOOOOOVE her. She is layed back and helps me be happy. We have fun:) Yes, fun. This morning I was just kind of pondering about my life a little bit, and I thought about all the amazing things I have in my life. First of all, I have life. I breathe, sing, dance, think, love, dream, have emotions, I can plan, create, decide, and laugh. Everything we have and everything we are is pretty amazing, and the thing that makes a difference is how we use it all. I especially thought about how we are halfway to the next general conference, and sat and thought if I had gone back to see the pure revelation that the prophet and apostles and leaders recieve for us. I invite us ALL to go back and read ever conference talk before the next conference. I feel like, well, I know, that the more we use what we are given, the more we will be given.

The new sector is smaller, without hills, hotter, and a bigger ward. I really really like it here, and I felt so welcomed in even the first few hours I was here. It's a little farther away from Viña. Our department is a little duplex kinda house. It is... interesting. haha. We have some great investigators, a few that need to wait to get married, which is quite a process in Chile, and some that just need a little extra love to understand the plan God has for us. I live on a street named Lucuma, so I take that as a sign that dad needs to do some custard/lucuma planning. We are really trying hard to reactivate and retain all the new converts and less actives, so that we can build Christ's Church in South America. It is hard to endure to the end, because the end really never comes:) 

We have so much more than we realize, and I know we can all try a little hard to be a little better. 

I love you so dearly. I have had more than just a change of heart, I've had a change in ME. I would especially love it if you could all read Elder Perry's conference talk. I read it this morning, and it made me so grateful to have had a home like that. I love you more than I can say. 

Love Hermana Coray
Pictures from Christmas!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Desert, December 29, 2014

Ok, first of all, I would like to say how happy I am that it snowed for you all on Christmas. I put in a request for that one, and I'm glad He felt like that would be a good thing. I loved getting to talk to you all, and thank you all so much for the great presents! My companion and I loved it all. It was a Merry Christmas with many blessings, and I felt so much love from you and the Savior.

This week was soooooooo hot, and we are doing this new idea the church leaders have asked us to apply with the questions and pass along cards. We go to a big crowded place of our zone and four hours a day we contact and help people find out more about the curch with this big stand. I'll have to send a picture. It is a great way to find people, especially less-actives. I have to remind myself that it's all part of the plan, and even though we have four hours less to see investigators, it has a purpose and we will get blessings. It was so funny, one day we were out doing it and this sweet little old lady that talked extremely fast and I swear it wasn't even spanish, came over and talked to us for FORTY FIVE MINUTES. We tried to keep asking her for her address so that we would be able to go visit her in a better conversation setting, but that just wasn't happening. She was probably 95 years old and SO adorable (I understood approximately 2% of what she said) and I just had to think to myself 'does this story have a point? or does it just go on and on like the stinkin desert?' haha. She was so sweet, but ufortunately it was absolutely impossible to actually have a conversation. We hope we will be able to find her some day. 
Also, I forgot to tell you all that our mission is in the middle of translating the Book of Mormon in Spanish. 'But it already exists!' yes, I know, but there are many words that aren't exactly synonymous with how it is in English, so those who feel able to do it are going through and finding ways to improve it. One thing I found was the word 'wilderness'. It always says desert instead of wilderness. It makes a difference. 
I have been making goals to apply for this wonderful 2015 year that is coming, and I decided for the 'spiritual' category of imporvement, I am going to focus on one attribute of Christ each month. The first nine are from preach my gospel, and the last three I just picked. You are all invited to do it. Write in your journal, study scriptures and talks, have a FHE about it, or just think about that attribute for the month. It will bless ya lots! Im pretty excited. 
January Faith
February Hope
March Charity
April Virtue
May Knowledge
June Patience
July Humility
August Diligence
Septembe rObedience
October Mercy
November Wisdom
December Peacemaker
Put good goals for the new year so that when we get to the end we'll have something to show for it. I love you all so very much. I think our sector will stay pretty calm for new years, so we'll go out and work until it's time to go to a new years dinner with a different family in our ward. I love you toooooooooons! And miss you. Be good. Thanks for being the best family I could EVER ask for. 
Hermana Coray

Merry Cristmas December 22,2014

I am sitting here, and honestly I don't remember much of what happened this week. All I know is that we worked... HARD. We are really trying to help the members get exctied about doing missionary work, and understand the meaning of 'every member a missionary'. I kind of have this awful feeling in my chest, because I was able to help 6 wonderful people be baptized at the first of my mission, and now 2 months without seeing much of anything, but I know I need to see the bigger picture. One of my converts is really having a hard time, and doesn't want to come to church, and that has been super hard for me. My sweet Fernandez family is doing well, and Ignacia is now the president of her beehive class, so that's awesome!
Being a trainer is very... interesting. I don't feel new anymore. That came and went fast. I've gotten to the point in my mission where I finally know how I would love for everything to be, and it's hard to make everything happen at the pace I would like it to. Patience. 
Can I just tell you all how important it is to go to church each week? Dad, here is my public apology that after my talk that Sunday we came home to take care of the peeps at the house. Never again. Church is always more important. 
I felt super grateful and happy this morning as I was studying, and I made a list of the spiritual gifts I have been given or that I would like to develop more. I didn't have time to finish the list........... that was extremely humbling. I thought to a phrase in my partiarchal blessing where it talks about that my talents and gifts will develop through being willing to serve the Lord. In this short time I have already seen how willing the Lord is to bless me when I am willing to be obedient. 
We are really trying hard to activate members so that we can have more leadership in the ward... it's coming... I think. It just teaches me so much that the offense is in the heart of the offended not the offender. We can choose if we are going to take offense to something or not. Forgiveness... it's what the Lord does best. And if we want to be like Him we better get good at it. 
A ver ver very merry Christmas to everyone! I am soooooooo excited to talk to you guys Wednesday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish you a merry Christmas! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! I'll call around 6:00 in the afternoon here. I think I'll call Jennah's first, and if that doesn't work I'll call Age's.
Love you!
Be good so Santa brings you something.
And remember the reason for the season!
Looooooooooove Sister Coray

December 15, 2014 Pictures

"He is the gift" December 15, 2015

I hope you have all seen the 'He is the Gift' video. We love watching it with families. We had a zone conference this week, and I got grandma's present. It is beautiful and I love it. I love reading the little story books. So cute! Our zone conference was amazing, and the presidency has made a change in our mission where we aren't going to use key indicators or anything anymore. All we do is track church attendance each week and the people we baptize. It's hard to have to literally go out and call people to repentance to get them to be baptized or come back to church. We are starting by going to find all the Melchezidek Priesthood holders, and getting them active first. One of every 30 people in Chile is already a member. We have a lot of activating to do. Mari Luz, the cute young single mom with the two kids wants to get baptized, but there's a lot of preparation and committment to help her learn how to LIVE not just BELIEVE the gospel.
Oh my goodness fam.... the commandment to keep the sabbath day holy is so important. If nothing else, I will come out of this understanding why we offer each Sunday as the Lord's day. There are soooooooooooo many blessings that are lost from not keeping it holy. I don't think I ever realized, because we have always lived that way, but for people who don't sanctify the Lord's day will find that they actually will have less time if they don't make time for Him. Also, I am so glad that I know to read my scriptures and say my prayers every day. The commandments bring us so many blessings and keep us happy. Tithing, the day of rest, fasting, honoring your mother and father, love the Lord first, treat others like you want to be treated, read the scriptures, pray. It all helps so much.
It's hard to build the church. It's a hard thing. And sometimes I feel like it is so unfair that I am benefitting so much from this service, and there are so many people who choose to miss out on those blessings. My mission is supposed to be to bless OTHERS, but I am the one who gets to see the miracles and be blessed. It doesn't make sense, but when you think of how much Heavenly Father loves us, it actually does. When you're helping you're happy. 
We had a few awesome lessons with that young boy Michael and his family. He really wants to get baptized, but his dad isn't sold on it yet, and so it has been great to finally have his dad in town to be able to teach him too. When we taught about the first vision the spirit was so strong, and I loved it. 
I love the gospel more each day. I don't ever think it's possible, but somehow the Lord keeps this seed of faith growing in me. The other day I was wondering/worrying that I don't have enough faith. That maybe if I had more we would have more baptisms, and more people would come to church. Sometimes just when people start to be reactivated or want to get baptized, something gets in their way and it doesn'`t end up happening haha. ahhhhhhhhhh. And I think 'well, if I had more faith they would follow through.' But I think that faith means obedience. If we have faith in the Lord and that He really will bless us, we will be obedient. I am obedient to the max, so I guess what we're doing is the way the Lord expects it to be right now. Even though we can always give more. Because He has given us everything. He is the gift. I love The Savior so much. I am so grateful to be a missionary. It's hard. It is rarely fun. But it is very worth it, and I wouldn't change it for anything. 
It will be fun to talk to you all the 24th! I think it will be sometime in the afternoon. And we can Skype!Love you! Have a great week! Be good so that Santa can bring you presents:)
Hermana Coray

Angels, December 8, 2014

This week I got to see the blessings that come into people's lives through missionary work. In three different houses we heard people pray and thank God for sending two angels to their house to help them. Two sisters with so many family problems, a lady who has had cancer for four years and lives all alone, and a single mom who told us that the first time the elders came into her house, since that day her children have never gone without bread. It is so hard to help people see past their problems to start living the gospel, but it is easy to see that we have something great. It is the best.
It takes a lot of getting used to being a trainer. Sometimes it feels a little bit like you walk alone, but I know I never do. The work of the Lord is never about statistics, it's about love. 

I can't imagine being a single mom with two tiny little kids, so she's not able to work, and her ex husband doesn't pay to help take care of the kids like he should. She was in the middle of giving her kids a bath, but wanted us to just kinda follow her around the house so she could talk to us. I started sweeping, and when I asked her where the dust pan was she smiled and told me she would get me one in just a second. I started hanging up the laundry, and when I looked over she was scraping us the garbage with her hands and putting it in a little bag. My heart broke in an instant, and I can honestly say I have never seen any other kids in chile that love each other so much and have such a good mom. But she started bawling as we were teaching her, and told us that her kids have never gone hungry since the Elders came into her house. It will be hard for her to change her life to live the gospel, but I told her that it would be harder not to do it. 

The gospel really is the easier way. I got the birthday cards from Adee and Taylee, and they were so lovely. Have a great week. Keep being missionaries.
It all reminded me of this talk by elder holland

The Book fo Mormon, December 1, 2014

This will be so short.
This week was hard. It just was. I don't have the energy to explain all the reasons why haha. I want to change people's lives, and I want them to want it too, but it is sooooooooo hard when they don't even know what they are missing. Some days I felt like I was talking at a wall, and even when we try our hardest to help people, they don't want to be helped. That's the whole agency part of this life I guess. I've felt it before, and I'll feel it again, that sad feeling when I know that the gospel is so sweet and so good to me, and I wish other people could feel how good it is too. The 'natural man' thing is going pretty strong here in Chile... ahhhhhhhhhhh. I can feel the spirit when we talk and I know that the people here are recieving the opportunity to feel it, but sometimes the knowledge of knowing that it will take commitment and change and strength to accept it is a lot I guess. But there really isn't anything easier. The gospel is the easy way. It only looks hard from the outside. These are the days when I know I'm growing. Remember ALL those investigators we had? well...

The happy times always come though. 
I have found the magical remedy for all of life's problems. Every single worry, stress, problem, heartache, grudge, all of it - can be solved with the Book of Mormon. Because it's a book of personal revelation. If every member read it every day............ I dream. 
I love you all so much. It's weird to think that I will be talking to you soon! 
Talk to you next week
Sister Coray

Emotions in extreme opposite directions, December 1, 2014

Here is a piece of the dialogue Sara and I shared this week:
Mom to Sara:  I'm glad you are where you are and doing what you are doing.  I didn't realize how torn I would feel to actually be sharing you with other people, I feel so happy and miss you all at the same time. It's a weird phenomenon to feel so torn in two extreme emotions opposite directions.  It's a good feeling that is character building.  I know you are doing the Lord's work and that this really is His true church on the earth.  I can feel the urgency for the kingdom to grow in these last days. I see two ways it has to happen, caring for those around us, our families and friends and neighbors, and missionary work.  So I pray for you to go "do your thing" everyday.  Help those people feel the Spirit so they will know how much the Lord loves them.

Sara's reply: thanks mommy. I love you so so much. I am so proud of our family. I thought a lot about how much of an influence we can have on our extended family, and I have great plans for when Amanda and I get home. The blessings from our missions will never stop growing. What we see right now is only the tip of the iceberg. I understand the opposite emotion thing... this week was so hard mom. So hard. I do a pretty good job of remembering how much the Lord loves the other people, but sometimes I forget how much He loves ME. I'm a part of the process too. He wants me to change too. And I know that even when other people seem to not be changing... I AM. And those changes will bless many more people for the rest of my life, because we never stop being missionaries right? I love you so much. I am doing well:) there's just some of those days. But it's how I grow.

Trainer, November 24, 2014

Dear Coray Family,
 I am pleased to inform you that your missionary, Sister Sara Marie Coray, has been assigned to serve as a Trainer in the Chile Vina del Mar Mission. One of  the most trusted responsibilities in the mission is to teach and to train a new missionary.

Sister Coray , has prepared for this responsibility through strict obedience and faithful service. She has demonstrated Her willingness to serve the Lord by the example she has set for her companions and leaders and by the progress she has made in her own personal development.

 I know that Sister Coray will magnify this assignment and will be a credit to you, to the mission, and to the Lord.

 Thank you for supporting your missionary throughout the course of her mission. I pray that the Lord may bless you and your family as this great work continues forward.
 Federico M. Kähnlein
 Mission President
 Chile Vina del Mar Mission