What Happened to Hermana Wilsted?

Hello everyone, this is Hermana Wilsted, in person. This is not a copied email sent from Argentina, Posadas, but a real blog post written in my bedroom in Eagle Mountain, Utah.

I’ve been home from Argentina for about four months now. I returned to Utah one cold morning on January 25th, 2017. Though it isn’t evident from my previous posts, I had been battling anxiety and depression all throughout my time in Argentina.

I had thought that if I could just keep pressing forward and working, that one day the invisible force that was suffocating me, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, would finally just disappear. But deep down I knew what I was facing, and I knew it probably wouldn’t go away without proper care and help. Still, I was too stubborn to choose for myself to go home. I probably would have stayed until I went completely insane if I had been allowed to. But that was not what Heavenly Father had in store for me thankfully.

I had emailed my mission president, Presidente Svec, many times throughout my time in Argentina about the problems I was facing. I was very open about my symptoms (frequent and random crying attacks, tense muscles, edginess, nauseousness making it so that I couldn’t eat, a total lack of motivation, and towards the end, apathy.) Presidente Svec forwarded my emails to the area doctor, who recommended that I return home. There was no way I would ever get better in Argentina with the added stresses of missionary work.

So I was sent home, and I’ve got to be honest, I cried a lot when I found out. I just could not believe this was what God had planned for me. I had been so willing. I had wanted so desperately to be the best missionary I could and to make a difference in Argentina, but I was being sent home, before I had even really learned the language, before I could really ever help anyone. I was heartbroken.

I’m still sad that I didn’t get to finish out my time in Argentina. The people there were wonderful. But I now know and accept that I needed to go home to get the help I needed. In truth, I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression my entire life (to a lesser degree than what I faced on my mission), but I had been too proud to ever go get the help I needed. Coming home from my mission forced me to talk with a counselor and look into medications that can help me live my life more fully as Heavenly Father had intended.

Someday, (and I’m hoping by the end of this year) I’ll be back out on a mission. Probably not in Argentina, though I would be ecstatic to go back. Wherever I am called to go next, I know it’s where Heavenly Father needs and wants me to be!

I’d like to share a personal experience that happened to me during the last few weeks of my mission. It was during one of my last few days in Obera before the emergency transfer to Jardin. I was having another panic attack where I was just sobbing. All I could do during times like these was kneel down next to my bed and pray. I would pray for what felt like hours at a time (though more likely, a few minutes). During one of my prayers, I felt so ugly and broken. I felt like this was a test I was failing. That I was a weak and lazy servant and that Heavenly Father was disappointed in me because I was in my Pension crying my heart out thinking about how terrible I felt instead of out on the streets of Obera preaching the gospel. (We had stayed in our Pension that entire week- I was just too much of a wreak to leave. I don’t even know how to explain what was going on with me, I just felt like I was totally losing it.)

During this prayer, I remember telling Heavenly Father that I was sorry that I wasn’t working, I was sorry that I didn’t want to work, I just felt so broken, and I didn’t know how I could ever get better. At that moment the picture of the Lutheran Church in Dresden, Germany spoken about in Dieter F. Uchtdorf’s April 2016 talk, “He Will Place You on His Shoulders and Carry You Home”

No words were spoken to me. I didn’t feel any physical comfort, and I didn’t really remember all what the talk was about, but I did remember that picture and the story behind it, and I remembered the point that was made: If man can rebuild a magnificent church from a burnt pile of rubble, Heavenly Father can rebuild me, no matter how broken I felt.

I’ll admit that while the thought did give me hope for the future, it didn’t really comfort me in the moment. I still continued to cry, and we still didn’t leave the Pension that day. It didn’t really change anything in the moment. Still, the following P-day I found and printed out that talk given by President Uchtdorf. I probably read and re-read that talk about fifty times before I was finally sent home about a month later.

It’s been about five months since I’ve had that experience, I can’t believe that was so long ago. I feel that time has passed so slowly but I’ve already been home for four months! I’ll be honest, I’m still in the rebuilding phase. I’m sure there will be many bombing and rebuilding phases throughout my life. But I have seen improvement since coming home that cold January morning.

A good day on my mission would have been a day where I didn’t break down and give up for the day, where I just kept walking even though I felt so tense and miserable. A good day when I got home meant that I got out of bed and did something, even if it was just cleaning my room. I can go weeks now without breaking down, and I’m starting to be willing to do more things that I didn’t feel like I could do when I first came home. I credit most of my improvement to my great counselor and Heavenly Father. I’m not where I want to be yet, but hopefully now that I’ve decided to start trying medications along with counseling I’ll be able to go back out on a mission and carry on with my life.

I wish I could end this with some life-changing lesson that I’ve learned from all of this. I wish I could say I’m doing amazing right now, to give hope to anyone who might be going through this. But like I’ve said, I’m still in the rebuilding phase. I can certainly say I’ve learned more compassion, and hopefully as I continue on I will learn and grow to become more like the person Heavenly Father knows I can be.

Hasta Luego!

Lexie Wilsted (Former and future Hermana Wilsted :))

PS – If you’ve been called to the Argentina Posadas mission, feel free to ask me any questions you’d like! I know when I was preparing for my mission I had so many questions but not many people to go to for answers, so if there’s anything you’ve been wondering I’d be happy to help in any way I can!

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Planted in a New Garden

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

So this week was super crazy! We had an emergency transfer on Friday, so now I´m in Jardin with Hermana Palmieri and Hermana Skinner, who both speak English. Yay!

I miss Obera a ton. I miss the nice people, I miss the members, and I really miss my district. Its been kind of sad, but I like my companions and Im sure the people here are just as great as the ones in Obera! 🙂

Coincidentally, Jardin means garden in Spanish, which I thought was kind of interesting since my last spiritual thought was about growing where I was planted. When I remembered that thought, I thought the Spirit was telling me to grow in Obera, I guess maybe it was getting me ready for Jardin!

We didnt get a lot of work done this week thanks to the emergency transfer, these last few days have been full of packing and unpacking, grocery shopping, meetings, and getting to know my new area and district. But this next week we should be back to work! Here’s hoping!

For my spiritual thought this week Im going to share what my District Leader and Obera shared with me when I found out I was being transferred. I’m not going to lie, I cried when I found out. He called us that night to tell me a story about how his first 12 weeks in the mission went. Here’s a summary: he had 3 trainers, and he wasn’t able to work for hardly any of it. A lot of crazy things happened, and with his last trainer he had to be a Zone Leader (without being able to speak the language – that’s crazy!) Anyways, he felt like his first 12 weeks were a complete waste. For a while he wondered why God let him go through that, didn’t He care about his success as a missionary?

At some point my District Leader found the scripture Isaiah 55:8, which says:

 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my  wayssaith the Lord.

This felt like the answer he was looking for. God didn’t forget him, everything that happened was meant to happen. It turns out that he actually learned things in his first 12 weeks of his mission that really helped him out later. Like how to look for a pension, and how leadership positions work as a missionary.

I’m really grateful my District Leader shared this story with me. I really didn’t want to leave Obera, but I know that as long as I allow myself to be flexible and grow where I’m planted, it’ll all be okay in the end!

I love you all and hope you all have a great week! Please pray for me and my new area! I’m always praying for you!

Hasta Luego!

Hermana Wilsted​

The Jardin Sisters

Happy New Year!

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Feliz año!

Sorry for not writing yesterday, the Cyber (where we go to write emails every monday) was closed! Unfortunately I only have a little bit of time to write this morning. Not much happened this week anyways so that´s okay 🙂

First off, we have two new Elders in our district! Elder Guaygua and Elder White. Elder White is fresh from the MTC, I´m no longer the newbie! Yay! They both seem pretty nice, we haven´t had a lot of time to get to know them yet, but I´m sure we will within these next 5 weeks.

Our proselyting areas all got changed with the arrival of two new Elders. Unfortunately all of our investigators and possible future investigators (people that we contacted and agreed to having us come to their house to teach) are now in the area of the Elders. We literally are starting from 0 again. That´s okay! I know God will help us find people ready to hear the gospel in our new area. 🙂

For my spiritual thought this week I want to share a personal thought that I remembered this week from the MTC. I don´t think I’ve shared this before, sorry if I already have!

Anyways, in one of our last few weeks in the MTC, Hermano Peery had our class get in a circle and read out of Jacob 5, this chapter is the Allegory of the Olive Trees. Every 5 verses or so Hermano Peery would have us stop and have us share any insights that we might have had. For verses 20-21 Hermano Peery shared this insight:

“Council me not…” – God knows exactly what His children need in order to grow and become more like Him. We need to remember to ask Him what we need (and, for missionaries, what our investigators need).

I really liked this thought, but I also had an impression come to my mind when we read those same verses:

“Grow where you are planted”

At the time that seemed very obvious to me. I wasn´t sure why the Holy Ghost brought that quote to my mind, but out here in the field I´m starting to understand why!

Sometimes it feels like God has put us in an impossible situation. It can feel like there is absolutely no way you can improve or grow in the ways you would like, but we need to remember who the Gardener is. God can help you grow into exactly the person He needs you to be. Trust in Him, trust in His ability to mold you, trust in His timing. It will all work out eventually.

I love you all and hope you have a fantastic 2017!

Hasta Luego!

Hermana Wilsted

 

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

Haha yeah I wish… but no. There won´t be any snow here in Argentina.

Anyways…

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas yesterday!

Christmas and Christmas Eve were both basically P-days for us, so I´ve had a pretty good weekend! I especially loved talking with some of my family on Skype last night! 🙂

Christmas here is a little different. The biggest difference is that it´s so dang hot and sticky, all the time, even at night!! I´m kind of dying, but just a little bit 😉

Other than the weather, one big difference for Christmas that I noticed is that they do fireworks here! All night on Christmas Eve we heard fireworks going off all around us. That night we were invited to a members house for dinner. Their house is only a couple miles away from us, so we had to walk instead of taking a bus. We were already a little bit nervous because it was getting dark when suddenly we heard this rapid fire banging close by! It scared the heck out of us! Hermana Barraza and I both jumped and I screamed a little bit, I thought somebody was shooting at us! Thankfully it was just fireworks! 🙂

For dinner that night I had my first taste of Asado! It was good, my favorite thing was probably the chorizo, but it was all really good! It was a TON of food though. After about 2 chorizo sausages and a fist sized piece of steak I was so full! I don´t know how the people here manage to eat so much in one sitting! I feel like I ate two meals at once and I look around me and everyone is eating about double of what I did! The members always tease me and ask if I´m on a diet! Haha 🙂

At the end of dinner we got a ride back to our pension with the Elders and then all together we watched the fireworks on the rooftop of our pension! It was pretty fun but I couldn´t take many pictures of the fireworks, I couldn´t get most of them to show up on my camera. Oh well!

On Christmas we had another Asado for lunch with another family! Again, super good, again, a ton of food!

The Elders gave us a box of Kraft Mac n Cheese for Christmas (which they don´t have here in Argentina, que triste!), and today I made it for lunch! Hermana Barraza´s first taste of America! I don´t think she liked it. xD

For my spiritual thought this week I´d like to recommend watching the LDS Christmas Devotional if you haven´t already! As missionaries we only had time to print out and read the talks (which were all beautiful), but it´s a whole different experience to watch the Devotional and hear the Christmas music! 🙂

I´m so grateful for the birth of our Savior and the peace and hope that His teachings and His Atonement bring.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy this next week! I love you all, keep praying for me!

Hasta Luego!

Hermana Wilsted

 

 

 

 

It´s Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas!

.. Well, not really. It´s hot as heck and of course, there´s no snow. But there are Christmas decorations!

Anyways,

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Before I begin with what happened this week, there´s something I forgot to write about that happened the week of my birthday!

On December 8th, we had a district meeting and the sweet Elders of our district threw Hermana Barraza and I a surprise birthday party! They even bought us an ice cream cake 🙂 We have a great district here!

Anyways, this week.

First off, we had our first baptism! Monica got baptised yesterday at 8AM, right before church 🙂 She was really supposed to be baptised on Saturday but unfortunately we ran out of water for the baptismal font, so we couldn´t fill the font all the way. So, we got permission to have the baptism on Sunday and it was great. 🙂

Also on Sunday, I got to give my first talk in Spanish. It was terrifying! My voice shook the entire time, but thankfully it´s over now 🙂 Shoutout to Elder Madder and Hermana Barraza for helping me to translate the entire thing! I don´t know how I could have finished in time for Sunday without their help! 😀

Okay time for a funny story! Last night, we had choir practice with the members. Choir was just about to start when the Elders came in. There´s a little girl, about 6 years old, one of the member´s daughters, sitting in the pews watching the choir. Elder Madder came up to her to shake her hand and she crosses her arms, rolls her eyes, and looks away. It was the sassiest expression I had every seen on a little girl in my life, which is really saying something because I have 4 nieces! I wish I could have taken a picture!

Anyways, all throughout choir, whenever we´d have a break, Elder Madder would try to get her attnetion, and she just kept ignoring him. She´d come over to me and Hermana Barraza and take selfies with us on her moms phone, and Elder Madder would try to join in and she´d shake her finger at him. Poor guy! He only has 4 more months left in his mission, if he can´t even get a six year old to give him the time of day, how´s he going to get that #RingBeforeSpring when he gets back? ;D

For my spiritual thought this week I thought I´d share something from my time at the MTC! When I was writing my talking this week, I remembered a devotional given by Jenny Oaks Baker, a really famous violinist and the daughter of Elder Oaks. During her devotional, she´d preform songs with her family and in between each song she´d share a faith building experience from her life. One of those experiences changed the way I view faith forever!

When she was studying abroad in Jerusalem, she found out her mom had cancer. Every night she would pray fervently for her mom to be healed, having complete faith that her mom could be healed. However, the cancer only continued to progress. Frustrated, she finally asked her dad one day:

“How can I have faith if it all depends on the will of God?”

This was Dallin H. Oaks response:

“Faith is not faith unless we are excercising faith in Him and His will.”

I´ve asked similar questions to this many times in my life, so Elder Oaks response really stood out to me. When we´re praying for something specific, it´s important to have faith that these things can happen, but we also need to pray with the faith that Heavenly Father knows better than we do (Isaiah 55:8-9), and believe that all will work out the way it´s supposed to.

Jenny Oaks Baker´s mom did end up dying, but thanks to Elder Oaks advice, she was able to work through that painful experience with faith and hope to keep moving forward.

Not everything in this life will work out how we want it to, but with faith in Jesus Christ we can have the strength to pull through those hard times, and come out a much stronger person at the end of it!

I love you all and hope you all have a very Merry Christmas this Sunday!

Hasta Luego!

Hermana Wilsted!

 

 

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

This has been a long and stressful week, but it ended on a very good note! Unfortunately I don´t have a lot of time to write again, we had choir practice in Posadas and our P-day is just about over.

December 9th was my birthday, and it was an all right day. We spent most of it contacting, but at the end of the night we went out for ice cream 🙂

On Saturday, December 10th, it was Hermana Barrazas birthday! The day started out pretty normal until lunch time. We were just expecting a regular meal with the members, but they threw us a birthday party instead! Hermana Bertadyn gave us both cute little bracelets. They even ended up having the elders come over to celebrate with us. It was really fun and really helped lift my spirits! I love the members here in Oberá, they are so good to us! I honestly love all the people here, I´ve yet to meet an unkind person. Or if I have, I didn´t understand them enough to know they were being a jerk 😉 Either way I love the people here!

Unfortunately we didn´t get a lot of real missionary work done this week. Things just kept falling through for us, buses wouldn´t come, no one was where they were supposed to be when we´d come by. We did find one new investigator; Carla. She´s married and has one little baby. She´s a really good person! I can´t wait to get to know her a little better 🙂

Oh my gosh, the heat here is killing me. In our apartment we don´t have air conditioning, so I carry around a little portable fan that I brought with me. We also have a big stand up fan, but it broke in the middle of the night this week! It was so scary, I was fast asleep when suddenly I´m woken up by a loud bang. I thought someone had just broken into our apartment! Literally the only thing I could think to do was stay totally silent and hope nothing awful was about to happen. After a few minutes of not hearing anything else, Hermana Barraza and I got up and turned on the lights and we immediately saw what the problem was. The fan part fell off the stand! It´s beyond fixing, so we are officially without a fan. Hopefully we can get permission to buy a new one soon!

For my spiritual thought this week I want to share a thought that our District Leader, Elder Madder, shared with me. He says one thing he likes to tell his investigators is that even though they may have concerns our trials that they are struggling with, it´s important for them to keep moving forward in spite of those doubts and struggles, trusting that there is an answer ahead, and that one day they will receive it.

Ether 12:6

And now, I, Moroni, would speak somewhat concerning these things; I would show unto the world that faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore,dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your faith.

This thought has given me a lot of comfort this week. I´m really struggling with understanding the language, more than I thought I would be. It can feel pretty isolating sometimes to sit through an hour and half of conversation and understand close to nothing. However, I know I can get through this. As long as I keep trying, keep practicing, and keep praying, this will all work out. I am so grateful for the people Heavenly Father has been putting into my life, I don´t know where I would be right now without all these tender mercies.

If there´s anything you´re struggling with right now, whether it be a question with the gospel or a bitter trial, I promise there is a light at the end of the tunnel! Keep praying, and keep trusting that all things will work out.

I love you all and I hope you´re all having a great week!

Hasta Luego!

Hermana Wilsted

 

I Stepped on a Bird!!!

Hola mi familia y mis amigos!

Another week has passed here in Oberá! Unforunately, I don´t have a lot of time to write because today was i n s a n e!

Today we took un collectivo (a bus) to Posadas to have choir practice with a bunch of missionaries. Apparently on Dec. 22 we´ll be doing a Christmas program thing in Posadas. That´ll be fun 🙂 Choir practice was super fun, and I got to see some of my Gringo friends from the MTC, so that was great. However, the trip there and back ate up most of our P-day. Oh well 🙂

Okay, you´re all probably wondering about the title of this email. Here´s the story:

Hermana Barraza and I were on our way back to our Pension, just walking down the sidewalk. I was in a good mood, just walking along being a cute little Hermana, greeting everyone that I passed with a smile. It´s times like this when I feel the most like a missionary right now (because it doesn´t require knowing or understanding the language).

Anyways, I suddenly stop on something on the sidewalk. It felt soft and squishy, with maybe just a little crunch, but the sound it made sounded like a pretty strong crack. I look down for like half a second to see what it was I stepped on. I didn´t get a good look, but I saw gray, white, and red, and my mind immediately went to thinking it was some kind of snack bag or something. So I just keep walking, not really worried about it. Hermana Barraza however, is laughing.

A little confused, I finally ask “What did I step on?” Hermana Barraza, still laughing, replies “Creo que un pajaro” (I believe a bird) I knew the word pajaro, but with my mind still on food I was trying to figure out what kind of food “pajaro” was. Seeing that I wasn´t understanding her, Hermana Barraza starts flapping her arms up and down saying “un pajaro como este” (a bird like this).

Finally, I realized she wasn´t talking about food, she was talking about a bird. For about half a second I thought we weren´t talking about the same thing, and then it dawned on me: I stepped on a bird. I STEPPED ON A B IRD!!! I started freaking out, I probably tried wiping my show against the concrete for probably five minutes, just trying to get all the nastiness off my foot, all the while Hermana Barraza is just laughing at me!

So yeah, there´s my story for this week. I stepped on a bird. This is my life now. I´m a bird killer.

For my spiritual thought this week I´m going to share a bunch of scriptures that have been bring me comfort these past few weeks in Argentina. Maybe one of them can help you!

Alma 7:11 – Christ not only suffered for our sins, He suffered every single pain and affliction each of us have gone through and will go through in this life so that He would know how to help us through our trials.

Alma 38:5 – As you put your faith in God, He will lift you through your trials

Ether 12:27 – Through Christ, our weaknesses can become strengths

2 Corinthians 12:7-10 – Christ´s strength is made perfect in weakness

I´m going to be super honest right now. It´s been super hard here these past few weeks in Argentina. I´m definitely improving in the language, but it´s incredibly frustrating sitting through so many hours a day not understanding much, and therefore not being able to say anything. This experience is really teaching me to rely on the Lord. Right now, I feel pretty useless as a missionary. I pray every night that even though I can´t understand what people are saying, I will be able to help somehow and that people might feel my desire to help them. I know that with time, I will learn this language, and as long as I do everything I can to have the Spirit with me, everything will work out. I may not speak Spanish very well, but the Holy Ghost can carry the messages that I´m trying to teach to the hearts of the people I teach.

If you´re going through a hard time, please remember to pray! I´ve had a lot of times these past few weeks where I have felt just absolutely miserable, but when I pray, I feel the burden lift a little bit so that I can keep going. This has worked for more than just sad feelings! Whenever I feel annoyed with my companion, or with some of the living conditions here, I just pray for the Lord to help me work through it and everything turns out all right in the end. I am so grateful for the comfort and guidance that I have received from the Spirit these past few weeks. I would be a wreak without it.

I know this gospel is true, I know Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God, and I know that the Book of Mormon, along with the Bible, contain the word of God. I know this is exactly where I need to be 🙂
That´s about all I have for this week! I love you all and hope you all have a wonderful week!

Hasta Luego!

Hermana Wilsted