Thursday, May 20, 2010

Viva Chile, Segment 2: Mara.


We met Mara, her sisters and her mother soon after they moved from Argentina to Chile. It was always a party over at the Ariza household. With five beautiful Argentine women, always up for lively conversations and a steaming cup of mate, we were instantly drawn to their friendliness. After a couple of visits, however, it was obvious that the girls weren't looking for religion. We would have moved on and left our Argentine friends in favor of more interested parties, except for one of the daughters: 18-year-old Mara.

For some reason, Mara stuck with us. She read the Book of Mormon. She prayed, although she didn't get answers right away. She really listened to our lessons and asked questions. And when we asked her if she would like to be baptized, she readily accepted. I will admit, we were a little shocked when she said yes. She was young, attractive, quite alone in her interest in the church, and was experiencing many forces pulling her to live a different lifestyle. I am a bit ashamed to admit that I questioned her readiness to be baptized and make serious covenants with the Lord.

I still remember getting an answer to my prayers about Mara. It was as if God was telling me, "She is my daughter. If she has a desire to be baptized, let her go." And so, Mara was baptized. This was not just any old baptismal service, mind you. Take a look:

first change w.Killian 009

first change w.Killian 005

Our mission had scheduled a special Christmas-time baptismal service in a real live river, and Mara was excited to take part in that. It was a special, special day!

When I saw Mara last month, 4.5 years after her baptism, it was immediately obvious that she is a changed woman. She has kept true to her baptismal covenants. She got married in the temple to an amazing, spiritual giant of a man. (He shared a scripture and a heartfelt thanks, a beautiful moment for us.) She is a new mother. Mara is softer. She is even more beautiful than before. I believe this is because she has the image of Christ in her countenance.

It is so fitting that her name is Mara:

And Moses brought Israel from the Red Sea, and they marched three days through the wilderness, and found no water;

And they came into Mara, and they, could not drink the waters of Mara, because they were bitter...

And the people murmured against Moses, saying: what shall we drink?

But he cried to the Lord, and He showed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, they were turned into sweetness.


Mara and her sweet husband, Jonathan.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Viva Chile, Segment 1: El Cerro San Cristobal.

Right after Rick took his Board exam, he and I went on a much-anticipated trip to Chile. This happened over a month ago, and I am now forcing myself to make some time to post about it. (I grade Spanish tests online, and the job is really only busy during the Spring. But boy is it keeping me busy right now!)

So, I decided to post about Chile in segments. I'll post about a different part of Chile, or about different people there (whom I love) each time. I'll use this as a way to document not only our trip, but also to record memories I have from being a missionary there. This is more for me to have documented and to someday make into a book than anything, so I apologize if some things don't interest you.

Segment One: El Cerro San Cristobal.

This is sort of a must-see in Santiago. We took the funicular up to the summit, but you could also walk up in about an hour. Halfway up the hill there is a zoo and a park and some other attractions, but we just headed straight up. Once you get to the top, you are greeted by a huge white statue of the Virgin Mary. It's beautifully peaceful up there, which is a stark contrast to the busy city. There is also an open chapel and places for worshipers.


The panoramic view of Santiago from up there is pretty amazing. (If it had been a smog-less day, it would have been even better!) Looking down at the city, I thought of the three times I have been up there: The first time, January 2005, I was a brand new missionary, unsure about how I felt about the city and what I was doing there. I felt quite uncomfortable in a new place, especially not understanding Spanish or the new culture. The second time, August 2006, I had returned from my mission and was visiting with my parents. Now Santiago had become my city; I knew the language, loved the culture, and had made life-long friends there. My 18 months in Santiago had changed my life forever, and the city would always have my heart. And now, April 2010, I am showing my husband this city that I love so much. Santiago has changed: the old rickety buses have been replaced with an extensive new metro, new apartment buildings have popped up, and the city has proven its strength during an incredibly powerful earthquake. I feel like my life has sort of experienced similar changes. My life has changed with the addition of a husband, two good little boys, and added strength through some personal little "earthquakes." Santiago and me; we are just going to keep getting bigger and better! (Wait... I am not getting bigger; at least I hope not.)

Happy Birthday, Rick.

He works long days (and sometimes nights) at the hospital. He serves willingly as the youth leader for the boys in our church (which is quite a big time commitment, I must say.) He studies hard to do the very best he possibly can. He is so diligent in his scripture study and prayers. He exercises and plays sports to stay strong and healthy. He takes care of his boys, playing doctor with Carson nearly every evening and wrestling little Everett. He pretty much does it all, and then somehow he is still always extremely patient and loving and helpful to me, his little old wife.

And, in a few minutes he will come home to find me blogging instead of taking care of a messy house and an un-prepared dinner, and he will say something like, "Oh good! You deserve a break. Let me go tidy up a bit."

I am a lucky girl.


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Race for the Cure 2010.

We raced for Jeanel again, of course, which will always be a family tradition of ours.

Unfortunately this race was done without Rick. According to Carson, his daddy was over at the hospital healing all the sick children there. Perhaps someday that will be a little closer to the truth. (Although for the record, he isn't falling in love with Pediatrics.)

Also unfortunately, my boys decided they'd had enough of the stroller before the race even began. The loud noises at the start of the race led them to both burst into tears, and away we went, screaming and crying. They settled down for most of the race, but I was a little sad I couldn't run my heart out. I got tired of yelling "excuse me" so people would make way for our double wide stroller.

So, after a bit of a lonely time, and a long walk to the car that took twice as long as the actual race, we finally made it home. But we were glad we could do it for Jeanel.

(Rick did do his part by wearing pink the day of the race.)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My favorite time with Everett

is at about 1:30 p.m. I usually put Carson down for his nap first, and then let Everett rule the roost for about 20 minutes. His favorite activity is diving in the pillows and rolling around on the couch. I just love snuggling this little thing so much.


Also. I have to include my favorite moment with Everett today. I was standing up in the back of a church classroom with him. It was the end of our 3-hour block at church, and he was getting tired. However, when he realized that right in front of him were sitting 5 lovely ladies, all with beautifully done hair, he just could not resist. He started whacking each lady on the head and yelling, "DUH!" with each whack. It may have seemed like a strange outburst to everyone else, but it made perfect sense to me since I know the games we play at home. He was just trying to get everyone to play Duck, Duck, Goose!! Next time you see Everett, bend down so he can reach your head and tell him you want to play. You will surely get a "DUH!" and a nice whack from this sweet boy.