It's a simple thing he asks, a worthy heart and willing hands. He says if I make the choice, he'll help me find my voice. He calls me to serve and I cannot fail him, the one who has given me all that I am. I place my trust in him alone. He knows the yearning of my soul. Because he believes in me, I will go willingly. How can I keep this gift to myself when I can lift somebody else. I am a witness of his miracles and his mercy. I place my future in His hands, knowing He's made me all I am. When I put my faith in him the truth begins to speak. His power is real. I trust in his will. I will not be still.

Monday, July 4, 2011

cuatro de julio

well, i have officially made it through my first transfer. the elders and hermanas got together today for a 4th of July celebration and bbq...we did the best we could with what we had. with charcol and twigs, it is amazing what boyscouts can do these days...hermana anderson and i went to the city center today. i guess that there is a huge soccer tournament here today or something. and the chileans are in town. their national colors are red white and blue as well, so it was sort of really appropriate for the 4th. we had a delicious breakfast of hot cocoa and medialunas before the bbq...i am stuffed hoy! anyway, hermana anderson is being transferred; my new companion is....an american. and she was actually hermana andersons companion in the mtc. i am excited to meet her this wednesday!
so...the spiritual lesson, the miracle, and the embarrassment. ¿listos? This friday hermana anderson thought it would be good experience for me to be the senior companion for the day. which basically meant it was my job to navigate and lead lessons. after the first lesson we taught, she offered a lot of advice. i admit, i started to get a little upset...but then i realized something that i'm disappointed i had to realize again: that this is not about me. really, i hope there is never a day of my life that i don't recognize a weakness. because it's changing those weaknesses into strengths that will make me a better representative of Christ. and if my changing helps someone else come closer to him, thank goodness i am not perfect. one thing that hermana anderson and i talked about this week was glory--how Christ did not seek to glorify himself one bit. he was all about glorifying the father. we have to follow this example. i find it such a temptation some days to pat myself on the back for something i have said in a lesson or the fact that i talked first to a great investigator. but does it matter? not one bit. the glory of God is his children and all that matters is that the spirit prompts changes in them. i have so much to learn, but i have a great teacher. and when i really rely on him, they feel it and we are both edified...kinda perfect ¿no cierto? the miracle this week came on sunday, watching the barrio and being moved to tears at how they represent the savior loving one another. a family of meno activos we have been working with got up and bore their testimonies. sobbing in the front row despues, i watched as member after member got up to give besos and hugs. i saw graciela, our new convert embraced by so many people. she bore her testimony as well, which was downright beautiful to say the least. i have thought a lot lately at the kind of member i need to be when i come home...please know it is so important for those investigators that come to church to feel welcome. that is how they feel the savior there--when the members act like him. i love that. and finally, the embarrassment....so the word for cherry and the word for beer are quite similar in castallano...can you see where this is going? we went out for ice cream this week and when i asked for cherry flavor, the woman at the counter was really confused....way to represent the church hermana bedke, i know. since i have received a lot of questions about my feet lately, i can reassure you all they are doing much better. they are still undergoing a lot of changes and developing really odd calluses, but the painful stages are over i hope.. hermana anderson and i actually bought foot files this week and soaked our feet in the buckets we use for laundry...so they are currently pampered..the argentine way. it's good to hear that bakersfield is so hot right now. every time i remember it is july i think it is so crazy that it is winter here. we reached zero degrees this morning. i am starting to really love tights! our pension has two heaters we plug in each night. and when the power doesnt shut off, they work really well. i'm told the hot is really hot here though..i'll let you know about that come christmas!
love you all! -hermana bedke

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

somebody's behind and it's not chelsea






That's right, it's her lame friend McKenzie! No worries, I'm only a few weeks behind this time. Still, I digress. Enough about me!

LETTER FROM JUNE 13TH


pictures at last. these are just a few of my apartment..the laundry and bedroom..and a fort we built one night...hermana anderson is the redhead and hermana gutierrez is the latina. and these are some mighty fine postres we bought one night. pero, now we are just 2..hermana gutierrez was emergency transferred this week to mendoza because one of the other hermanas is really sick and had to go home. hermana anderson is only in her fourth transfer, and is now training me. these past few days have been especially tiring because of this change. but, we know that the rest of this transfer is going to be a huge growing experience for the both of us, and the lord has let us know that he is helping.. and the other picture is of the argentine pizza hermana anderson and i made this week. just layer by layer. a little different but pretty good.

well...stories from this week...miracles. two gringas with little spanish experience have 22 new investigators. somehow the lord is working through us. one of the biggest challenges here is getting people to come to church. this week was stake conference, and we got a family to church. or rather, the lord did. all we have to do is get them married and get her to stop smoking now. piece of cake right? actually, she was asking a lot of questions about forever families on sunday, so it looks like a door has been opened.

we have a couple, ramon and blanca, who have been married 40 years, but he has cancer now. whenever we teach them, he is in bed. they say though that they love the feeling that we bring to their home. it is neat to see how the gospel heals in different ways. we have also been working with a less active family and made a book of mormon challenge for them durning noche de hogar. if they complete it, all the boys (there are three) get handcrafted swords from the hermanas...

i am learning so much. i have never been so sure of the power of the atonement. i feel it work every time i start to feel overwhelmed and i kneel to pray. i dont even get past the first few words before i feel the peace that comes knowing he is in control. i dont know everything. but i know he loves me. i know he wouldnt have me any other place. i know he lives. i love his work. i love you all!

LETTER from JUNE 20TH

ok so that first picture was a mistake...it was supposed to be one of my companions and i but something went wrong. so...let´s hope that baptismal record doesn´t go all over the world wid web..entonces. i have so much to write and really not that much time to write everyone. today is flag day in argentina...and this is what i am learning: holidays here are so different than in the states. you´ve heard of the city that never sleeps? well, this country always sleeps. on top of siestas from 1 until 6 every day, the streets are basically deserted on sundays and holidays like today. so p-day has been interesting because everything is closed.

i´m feeling really argentine these days. we usually have hot water. however, lately there have been some problems with that. so, buckets and boiling water in a bathroom in which i can see my breath every morning is an adjustment..but it´s kind of fun. i started reading the book of mormon in spanish this week. my goal is to be fluent by the time i finish..it´s really helping my pronounciation and i love that i can feel the power of that book even when i don´t understand what it is saying.

happy father´s day to everyone!! pops, your card is getting to the mail. i´ve decided it can be your birthday card as well. hopefully it makes it home soon.
glad to hear that all is going well at home. i ate a snickers bar today for the first time in ages, and i thought of mom. it was so tasty. a present from the president. i had my first and last interview with president lindhal this week. we´re getting a new president next transfer.. president asked me how i´d feel about a latin companion next transfer. i told
him to do whatever he felt was best. so we´ll see!

i think i´m just going to tell my favorite story this week. and a few goals. and then skidaddle. this week was fantastic. i´ve never witnessed so many miracles and i really do feel like i´m just a witness sometimes. because the Savior´s doing the work...i know now more than ever that the gospel binds up the broken-hearted...we were having a slow saturday morning..we went to a barrio (or neighborhood) that was full of apartments we couldn´t get into. so we ended up walking to the home of a recent convert and knocking doors along the way. it felt very unsucessful, but we kept going. and i´ve thought about that these past few days. that if we had started acting disappointed, and lost faith in that way, maybe we wouldn´t have witnessed the miracle that followed. bottom line: even when it doesn´t seem like things are working together for our good, we can trust that they are. we have faith in our faithfulness..if that makes sense. we walked by an apartment complex and i asked hermana anderson if we´d ever worked there before, because it was open which is kindof unusual. i felt like we should try. we knocked puertas all the way to the top floor without being invited in. as we turned to walk downstairs, there was a woman standing in the doorway of an apartment where no one had answered. we introduced ourselves as missionaries from the iglesia de jesucristo and she told us to come in. we sat down and hermana and anderson started to speak. she looked at us and started to sob. she said, ¨I saw that your badges said Jesus Christ and i went to get dressed because i need him.¨ she continued to sob as she told us that she feels so alone..that she is separated from her husbands and that her children don´t want to see her. we bore testimony of the power of the atonement--that we don´t have to do things alone. we testified that she was a daughter of God and that he wants nothing more than for her to return to him. we left her with 3 nephi 17 and a baptismal date for this upcoming sunday..her name is graciela and this email doesn´t give the story justice. nor do i think that i can express how much i love her and how happy it made me to see the ward reach out to her on sunday. but i want you all to know that the savior stands with open arms waiting for us to come to him. he loves us so much, and every day i feel it more. i think of how if i can remember that for the rest of my life--that i am here to bring people closer to him--i´ll be able to stand with him one day. it´s something hermana anderson and i have been talking a lot about lately...that life after the mission needs to be all about that goal too. we have opportunities every day to let others feel the love of the savior. we´ve just got to find them. and write them down. what a blessing it is to be able to stand in for him! it´s that perfect love that casteth out all fear that i trust.
i love you all!


LETTER JUNE 27TH

Okay, so i can´t think of anything i´d rather write about than this. we´ll see if there´s time afterward for otras cosas..

Remember the story I told you all about that woman we met that saw out plaques? well, if you thought that was a great story, just wait.. this week has been incredible, and one of the most miraculous i´ve experienced. i´ve never felt so humbled and so excited to share...alright. so the day that we passed for that apartment was last saturday. on sunday she came to church and tuesday, we stopped by again. we arrived at an apartment transformed.. let me describe the state of things when we had first arrived: the apartment was a bit in shambles..and so was this woman...on tuesday, the table was set with trays of postres and hot cocoa..things were spotless. she had dyed her hair from bleach blonde to brown. she was wearing a skirt and sweater--hair curled. i felt like i had been invited to a tea party or something. she was ready for us. and when we explained that we wore skirts every day because we were missionaries but that she wasn´t expected to, she explained right back that it was a sign of respect. (oh that everyone received us like this!) i could not stop smiling..we talked about prophets and watched the restoration movie. at its conclusion she looked at us and said, ¨i know that Joseph Smith saw God. Do you want to know how i know?...the morning you first came to my house, i had had a fight with my family. i wrote letters to my children. and i made a drink--a drink that would kill me. and the moment i was about to drink it, i heard a loud knock at the door. i wasn´t expecting anyone, so i went to the door. i looked through the keyhole.¨and then she looked at me and said, ¨i saw your eyes, and i thought i had seen the eyes of God. i looked again and you had stepped back. i saw that Jesus Christ was on your badge, and i thought, ´they´ve come for me.´ i went to get dressed...that is how i know that God can come to someone--because you came to me¨ that was why she had been so emotional at our first visit. hermana anderson and i came out of this lesson in awe--that unknowingly to us, we were instruments in the hands of God to literally save the life of one of his children. i think about what might have happened if we´d decided not to pass by that complex. how important it is that we are always striving to follow the spirit! i´ve never felt such humbling awe in all my life. we really witnessed a miracle. We continued to teach her every day last week. and what has taken place is miraclous; she has friends in the ward, she´s committed to live the gospel to the fullest and is learning on her own--she set goals to go to the temple before we even talked to her about it. she is amazing, and this sunday...she was baptized. eight days after we first met her. eight days after she´d almost killed herself. if that´s not the Lord´s hand, i don´t know what is. I know i say this a lot, but i have no doubt that this is Christ´s work. I feel privileged to be a part of it and i feel His love more than i ever have before. he is real. the power of his atonement is so real. use it.

so, crazy things that have happened to the gringa lately...you know how in america, if someone asks you if you would like something and you say, ¨that´s okay,¨ it means no. well. that expression doesn´t exactly translate. one of our investigators the other day asked me if i wanted some coffee. i said ¨esta bien¨ pero, she brought me a cup of coffee. i stared at my companion and she just laughed at me. it actually ended up a great lead into the word of wisdom..i´m finding i need to learn the words to explain that i don´t drink coffee or mate and that i cannot beso men...though the stiff arm has been helping me with the latter lately...

i sent a letter home for pops today. there is a letter inside that letter that is for me. if you could put it in an envelope and save it for me, that´d be fantatstic. no peeking.

we got a reference for the owner of a korean restaurant...which is like really rare. most of the restaurants here all serve the same things. it was interesting to say the least. they had ¨korean¨ empanadas...remember those karl? looks like i might be able to teach budistas after all.

so...one seista this week..hermana anderson and i cut my hair. we thought this would be a really great idea until we got going. i don´t want to spend too much time on this subject--it´s a sore one. word to the wise: don´t use dull scissors. just kidding it´s not that bad. i´ve just had to come to terms with the fact that i have to put my hair on hold for the next 18 months. hermana anderson once got her hair cut here..she said they brought out an apron with lines on it. and they followed the lines to cut her hair....but it will be okay.

we were supposed to speak in church this week. instead, our bishopric was reorganized. we had a new bishopric that is a lot younger than you´d picture one to be...but we are really excited to work with them. one counselor lives right above us, and he has always been so excited about the obra misional. entonces, exciting.

i think that the ward this week decided to collectively fatten the missionaries. i´ve never had so many dulces and postres in all my life.

it is freezing cold. and it is july. am i missing something?

...well there you have it. a really special and then really random letter. i hope you´ve enjoyed! please know i love and pray for you all!! unless you are a random person reading my blog. in that case, i can´t make any promises. but i´m doing my best. thanks for everything!!
Amor and besos (on the cheeks) -Hermana Chelsea Bedke
also, a reminder from Sister Bedke: let everyone know that it is a mission rule that i only email family. also if they want to send me email, they need to send it through you or another family member. gotta be obedient! thanks!

if you are curious as to what this email is, it is jobedke@gmail.com (that's chelsea's mom). If you would like to send an email, just send it to this address with "forward to sister bedke" in the subject line. Chelsea doesn't get actual letters often because it takes forevah, so this way is much faster. If, however, you are a big fan of snail mail, just go ahead and use that "pouch mail" address on the sidebar. Thanks y'all, for putting up with my slacker ways. -mckenz

Saturday, June 11, 2011

a word (or five hundred) from argentina

This is a big one. So, for your reading pleasure, i´ve organized all my thoughts into sub-categories...so if you feel inclined to take a break and...i don´t know...go do some missionary work maybe...feel free. This has been a really awesome week. time flies, but at the same time i see myself growing in a lot of ways, and i can´t believe it´s all happened in the space of 10 days. i´m a first hand witness of the power of the atonement. i´m changing every day. and i have peace. i´m learning to really trust and rely on my God, and i see miracles every day. The biggest of those miracles is the fact that i really love and feel connected to the people here, even though i´m really limited in what i can verbally communicate to them. it is...buenisimo!

Purification Papers for Preparation (what is a good title if without alliteration--am i right?)
I want to tell you all about an idea i had the other day durante personal study. i was reading in 3 nephi 11 about the voice that spoke in the first part of the chapter--that it was a quiet voice, but that it pierced the people to their hearts. i started thinking about my potential as a missionary if i could learn to speak with a voice like that. in 2 nephi it talks about speaking with the tongues of angels, or having the ability to declare the gospel of Christ. The scriptures (sorry, i don´t have them with me for reference´s sake, but i´m pretty sure it ´s in 2 nephi 32 as well) say that when a man speaks with the power of the holy ghost, the spirit carries it to their hearts. i started to ponder in what ways i could better recieve the holy ghost. i doctrine and covenants 76: 114-116, it says that God bestows the Holy Ghost on those (1) who love him and (2) who purify themselves before him. So i thought about the ways i could purify myself, and i want to invite you all to do the same...i have a plan, and feel free to copy it. i´ve found that sometimes i forget that the purpose of this life is to continually change--or continually repent. each week, i am giving something up. not a huge thing, but anything that is keeping me from being as close to my savior as possible--it´s got to go. every sunday, i am taking the time to prayerfully decide what this will be. and then i make a plan, so that every day of the week i have a scripture or a phrase that keeps me remembering. and i´m writing it down. so that if i forget, as i so often do, i have a list of scriptures reserved for the next time i am struggling with whatever.. i feel like i should share this week´s plan. this is exclusive information, so consider yourselves lucky. just kidding. ok. listos? the goal for this week comes from abraham 1:2. i´m so impressed with abraham´s faith in the fact that as a righteous so of God, he knew what he was entitiled to..i´m reminded of the words of a great mtc teacher who once told me that the only difference between us and the people in the scriptures is that they believed more than we do. my goal this week is to remember who i am. because if i don´t, it makes it awfully hard to do his work. and the scriptures for the week are:
bible dictionary, ¨firstborn¨ ...specifically the part about the firstborn belonging to god. love it.
D&C 6:4-6, and D&C 93:21-22
Bible dictionary ¨abrahamic covenant¨
romans 15:3-4
John 12:25-26
Genesis 33:12
Ether 3:18..and the rest of the chapter

Milagros
Okay some pretty awesome things have happened. I´ll just dive into my favorite story about an investigator named Rosio. We went on divisions this friday, and Hermana Anderson and i knocked on the door of this woman who lives alone with her daughter. i have never felt so strongly that someone needed the peace and comfort the savior brings. we taught her about that god has a plan for her and that it is centered on Jesus Christ. I taught about the atonement...and i know that the words i spoke came out of my mouth, but that they weren´t mine...i have been learning to clear my mind and let the spirit take control. when it happens...it´s incredible. we committed her to be baptized and taught her how to pray. then we asked her to pray, and to express what was in her heart. during the pray i just kept asking heavenly father to let her feel the spirit. an impression came to my mind that she would, and as she said ¨amen¨, her hand went to her heart and she said that she felt something strongly in her heart. we testified that it was the spirit telling her that the things we taught were true. it was incredible. and as things like that continue to happen, i can´t tell you how good it feels to be part of the lord´s work. and this is only the beginning. yes it is hard at times, but really worth it. i love it.

Injuries
now now, these are really not to be worried over...they are just funny stories. so, my blisters are in remission and turning into really attractive calluses (lo siento on the spelling..i think i may be losing it)..the other night, my companions and i were pretending to be, um, secret agents, ahem. we were running down some stairs and i totally biffed it. i rolled my ankle and had to ice it in the pension for a bit. pero, esta bien ahora. the side walks here are all tiled and slippery. on top of this, the ground is really uneven so i guess foot injuries are pretty common. entonces, that same night, we were playing fighting ninjas before bed (man, who knew i had such violent tendencies?) and i swung my hand up only to hit it directly on the lightbulb. my knuckle´s got a nice bruise on it too. and one of these days, i´m convinced that one of the thousand flesh-eating dogs that satan tells to bark at me each day is going to bite me. i´ll let you know when it happens :)

comida...oh yeah
okay. i don´t think that i have ever eaten so much bread in my life. every day is like a carb-o-loader..you´d think i was preparing for another half-marathon (btw i hear the training has started for the familia. congrats). pero, really yummy. semitas. empananadas. mmmm...we live under some ward members and we went upstairs for lunch the other day (btw, dinner is at 8 or 9 at night here. and though that is actually a lot like home, we just forgo that final meal every day. interesante no?) the familia ortiz...they have a little boy who is about 3 years old. he speaks spanish, obviously, and it took me off guard for some reason. the kid is a genius to me...remembering all those verb conjugations. anyway, the meal was like most..meat. lettuce with oil on it. and bread. bueno. i´ll have to send some pictures sometime. the next time we go out. pero, the postres are fantastic. expect a shipment of alfajors for christmas.

-hermana chelsea bedke
and on that mouth watering note...i bid you adios. i love you all tons!!! thanks for the emails. pictures next time. for real :)

Monday, May 30, 2011

playing catch-up



wow...somebody (cough-mckenzie-cough) is wayyy behind on keeping up this blog.

fyi, chelsea is out of the MTC now and in Argentina.

Yeah. Sorry. I stink.

Here's what you missed:

April 24, 2011

Familia,

I wanted to write and let you kow that our schedule has changed and P-day is now on Thursday. Hopefully you get this before that day comes. Anyway, that’s why there is no e-mail. Also, I know I requested some items earlier. If they remain unsent, could maybe stick in that box a watch (because, go figure - my $4.00 watch fell apart....so....since el regalo es muy importante para un misionera, por favor...send one.) and one of my companion’s birthday is coming up. she is an artist and says what she misses most is painting with her hands. So, I’d like to request one set of finger paints please. Maybe even the really cool clear kind? Your choice. I’m really sorry to be laundry listing this stuff, pero...les quiero! (That means I love you all)....So one of the things I’ve been learning is the power of fasting. The brethren, when they have a sacred assignment, go into it fasting. And so many scriptures testify that fasting is an essential part of solidifying one’s testimony. So, I plan on and have been fasting a lot. I’m telling you this because I have no way to pay a fast offering here. I want to ask if you could pay a little extra for me. You can even write it down and I will reimburse you in 18 months. I just know it is important. Thanks. And I don’t know if Andrew forwarded this message, but I won’t be calling home on Mother’s Day. They don’t have enough phones in the MTC for that to be possible. However, when I get my travel plans I will let you know what time I will be at the airport, because I am allowed to phone home then and even if it is the wee hours of the morning, I expect an answer. Got it? Well, a page later...guess I should get on with how my week went.
In retrospect I think that the MTC experience is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I know with an eternal perspective that the Lord is molding me into the woman he wants me to be and truth be told, I am glad it is hard. The Lord shows us weaknesses to make us strong. I know that and I know that no one is exempt from struggles - even the righteous. It is how we respond to those struggles that makes us who we are. There’s nothing we experience that can’t bring us closer to Christ. So, with that preface, these past few days have been hard, but I’m coming out of this dip knowing more than ever who’s child I am. I’ve never felt closer and more loved by God than I do now. I know that it is when we doubt that He cares that we run the risk of truly disconnecting ourselves with Him. We have to rely on him through the hards times and in doing so we understand the Atonement. It’s so real and I can’t wait to tell Mendoza Argentina that....
On Tuesday we had an apostle for devotional.. (Ok, that sounded a bit weird. Just to clarify, we did not eat him.) But Richard G. Scott came and my goodness it was fantastic. Mid- talk he asked who in the audience was learning a foreign language. Almost everyone raised their hands. He then said that he wished to exercise his apostolic power and bestowed upon all of us the gift of tongues. That we would be able to master our languages. And it was there. I know Heavenly Father’s with me on this Spanish comprehension...We are so blessed to have living prophets on the earth and I know that they love us. They love us because they love Christ and I hope to do the same. I want others to be able to feel the Savior’s love through me. The best lessons we’ve experienced so far are the ones where we’ve put our hears in the right place. The Spirit’s the real teacher. If I can just communicate that love to people, I think they’ll be able to remember who they are...Anyway, life is so good...I’m blessed probably more than I deserve. pero, I know God desires to give good gifts to his children. All he requires is our willingness to do what he’s asked and He’s waiting to bless us and make us stronger. I love this gospel more than ever and I know if I do His will, I’ll never love it less.

Growing Hermana Bedke
(P.S. The herman thing has really caught on. Thanks, pops!

a whooping 15 minutes...this one will be good.
19 more days and i'll be a'flying to argentina! i feel a great sense of urgency to learn as much as i can in that time. this mission is all about those people and i want to do everything i can to help the lord speak through me when i get there.
we just got back from the temple and it was fantastic. i feel that heaven is so close in that holy place and that the Lord is so readily available. our zone decided to have a breakfast outing in the temple cafeteria. it.was.FANTASTIC. they had real eggs--not even the powdery kind. manna from heaven let me tell you.
our devotionals of late have been class-a. two apostles, and then a general authority from Burley, Idaho. it doesn't get better than that. Pops, know anyone named Ellis?
the elders never cease to amaze me with their insights and talents. our district is a family, even as cheesy as that sounds. i absolutely love them. last night during a tall lab they recorded the sounds of star wars on hermana croker's tape recorder. i almost peed my pants.
now that the sun has started to shine, we got to have outside gym for the first time yesterday. it was so nice to be able to run around outside. it is absolutely beautiful to be able to see the mountains and temple so close...and we got to be barefoot for sand volleyball...can i get an allleluia?
...i've been through a lot this week. with it all i know that the lord shows us our weaknesses so that we can be made strong. that it the reason---it's not condemnation. it's so that we come out of the experience santified and more aware of our potential to be like him. i love him for that. i know that there is absolutely nothing that he can't consecrate for my good; that knowing sorrow gives us the opportunity to experience greater joy. i know that there's not one experience that i have that can't be used to help someone else. i'm convinced that my life is most dedicated to the lord when it's most dedicated to other people. and if i can have faith in that fact, i will be an instrument in his hands. and i know that because that was the case with the savior, and i follow him.
love you -chelsea

i totally had a plan to send picture with this email, but i guess really descriptive language will have to suffice because i can't access my camera on the mtc computers.
so, first in foremost, guess what came in the mail yesterday?!! travel plans!!! ready for this? on monday the 23rd, i leave from the salt lake airport at 11:10 and fly to atlanta. we have a 4 hour layover there, so i think that that will be the window in which i call home. i'm pretty sure that atlanta is 2 hours ahead of california? double check..but i'll be there from (in atlanta hours) 4:50-8:40, 2:50-6:50 in bakersfield...therefore like such as, expect a call around 3. and you all better be there because i worked hard to get this to take place in the afternoon...just kidding i had nothing to do with it. entonces, i am so excited to talk to you all! after atlanta it is a direct flight to buenos aires, which looks like it'll be at least 10ish hours. we have to show up at the captial or something...not sure. and then, after that full day of travel, it's a day long bus ride up to mendoza and the mission president's home. i am so excited to arrive! i kind of already love the people of mendoza, even though i haven't met them. and i know the love i feel now is just a preview, and i cannot wait. i'll be traveling with my district and one other elder headed to mendoza, but i'll be the only sister. this day will be fun!!...and i am the appointed travel leader for the group. porque? no se. pero, hermano coles told me that in all his leadership positions (and there have been many) that one was the most stressful. in charge of a group of missionaries in a foreign country. oh boy. good thing the elders always do exactly what i say...no, it'll be fun.
so, i have some requests. i think that a really important part of missionary work is doing the assignments and invitations i extend to people. one thing that we asked an "investigator" here to do was to write out the christlike qualities he saw in his children and to ask his children things they believed about their heavenly father. i have a felling i might be extending this one again, and seeing as i am without children...would you all do this and send somethings back to me. it doesn't have to be anything huge, just some simple statements..that won't be a challenge to translate into spanish! thanks!
we were visited by another apostle this week. honestly, why am i so lucky?! neil l. andersen. and i know everytime one of the quorum of the twelve enters a room that they are holy men of god. they just radiate the love of the savior because they know him. and that's my goal, to be the kind of person who when people meet can feel that they are loved by the savior. the chior sang "consider the lillies"...that was a tear jerker. and elder anderson talked about the atonement--about being saved through the merits, mercy, and grace of the savior, and what each of those things mean. and it's all so perfect. i feel so loved lately and even though i know i am imperfect, i feel at peace because i know who's on my side helping me overcome those things. i've lately been in love with a picture by simon dewey called "of such is the kingdom of god" that i bought at the bookstore. google it or something...that's how i feel. that my savior wants me to rejoice and to see the joy and the beauty in this world. i often need his help to do this, and he's always there. i know he loves us all and i want to share that message with the world. but we'll start with argentina.
i love and appreciate you all. i have so many wonderful people in my life and more letters will come. -hb

Dear All,
Chelsea hand wrote this letter. I have "attempted" to transcribe it. Please be patient. My children tend to write very small for some reason. Probably just to have "fun" with mom. Hope you all enjoy. I did. Joni

May 12, 2011
Familia,
Alrighty entonces, (then) this is what was not included in the email. Since I made a list all week of the things I wanted to write and didn’t even have time to make a dent in it....guess I’m a slower emailer than I once thought. Anyway, you can type up and send this one out to the emailing crew too if that‘s not to much trouble and if you read that email you know I got my TRAVEL PLANS!!! I’m so excited, pero (for) there are a lot of things (mostly people) that I am going to miss about this place. But, I know that’s where I need to be and so I look forward to that and anxiously prepare for another week. I feel a huge sense of urgency to prepare “every needful thing” before I head out. At the same time I feel peace. Because I know that as I give my everything, He’ll make up the rest. He’s going to be my companion for the next 16 months.(not long enough by the way) and even though it’s hard, it’s going to be fulfilling. John 17:3 talks about how eternal life is knowing the Savior, and we can’t expect to know him without enduring a little bit of His suffering and when we look at life that way - recognizing every experience and trial as an opportunity to know Him better and become like Him - that’s where the peace comes in. It’s for our good and that’s why we should be happy and grateful for each of those struggles.
So, as promised, (If Lindi forwarded the message) I was telling my sleepy companion of other day about “close your eyes” and this brilliant idea popped into mi mente (my mind) to translate it. So, here goes. You can add some flavor to sue vidas (your lives) this way: (sung to tune of Brahms lullaby by her dad as a child)
cierre sus ojos
cierre sus ojos
cierre sus ojos, _______ito
cierre sus ijos
cierre sus ijos
cierre sus ijos y vae a dormir
cierre sus ijos
cierre sus ijos
cierre sus ojos y vae a dormir
cierre sus ojos
cierre sus ijos
cierre sus ojos y vae a dormir.

Man that was tough. Why’d pops have to complicate the lyrics like that? Also for pops, we named some of our pretend investigators Jose and Jos-B )just like the Mexican firefighter.) I can’t believe that Christopher got a 30 on the ACT his first try. He’s so smart. I thought that wit a 30 or above you automatically qualify for the Hinckley scholarship bottom line. That is awesome. Way to show me up. Just kidding. So guess what I did today? Hermana Croker needed new “professional” clothes so we went shopping. It is P-day, of course, so it was kosher. The service missionary who drove us took us out to eat so we wouldn’t have to rush back to the cafeteria. We dined at Panda Express one last taste of America fast food before all that Pasta and Beef. My fortune said, “A much needed vacation will bring a great deal of enjoyment...Well, that’s going to have to wait. Pero (But) I still think the enjoyment will come. So, the concluding part of my letter I’d like to devote to sharing some excerpts from my “miracle” journal (which has confirmed to me amongst other things, the healing power of gratitude. . . Read 2 Nephi 4:18 - the end; it never ceases to amaze me how applicable this chapter is to me and I’m determined to personally thank Nephi for it someday.) Entonces, here we go:-Oh, and, I guess this could sort of be a miracle, but
I bought a new watch to replace the one that broke and it’s purple and a skirt with pockets.
5/5 “I started to cry as I wrote my mom today and poured out how hard a week it’s been and how much I miss her. I asked god if he would send me some comfort and tonight I’m not alone. My mom sent the perfect letter via dear elder and it arrived a few hours later and tonight Sister Horne visited our room for hugs. There’s nothing like the hug of a Mom.”
5/4 “Playing the piano and letting my heart press the keys (cheesy much?) Being able to play today was a gift from Heavenly Father. It’s always a blessing to be able to ponder at that time. Feeling that God has increased my capacity to love others, I felt my heart go out as I talked to strangers twice a day and I have wanted to tell those strangers that I love them and mean it. I didn’t know I could feel like that, but God did and he does. What a blessing to have as a missionary!
5/9 “Miracle today came from an “I am a Mormon” video on Mormon.org. A woman talked about how at one point in her life she was so consumed with her own problems that she could not reach out to others. . But as she served, she became grateful and able to love. And I think that is sometimes one of my downfalls as well - that “Being consumed with being better” or really just an excuse at times to focus on myself. . If I’ll let go of myself a bit and act in faith and open my eyes to the love and beauty around me I will be able to rejoice more and more and that is a miracle.”
5/11 “ I have four miracles I love like family. their names are Elders Moon, Maser Wixom, and Fausett. Today, Hermana Croker had a cold and needed a blessing. The four of them worked together and it was just so tender to see those 19 year old boys exercising faith in their priesthood it was so sweet to watch how much love and concern they have for Hermana Croker and how reverent they acted. It was priceless. I love those boys.
I know as we look for the Lord’s hand in our lives, we will find it. He really cares and he really loves His children. I know that wants me to work hard for them because we all have potential because we are His. He loves them and he loves me.
And all of you. I’ve been so grateful for the letters I’ve received lately. I have such good and amazing people in my vida. Want some “shout outs”? The real letters are coming, pero it was so good to hear from Niki, McKenzie and Christina on the same day. I don’ t know if that was coordinated, but I felt like I was with you all! And I was giggling up a storm. Keep up the good work! I am so excited that Eliza has decided to serve a mission, and that she is having crazy dreams about me coming home and marrying ugly men, complete with visual aid. That made me laugh a lot too. Thanks bunches Elaine for keeping me updated on my Grace Marie and on her life. I really love those letters! And my siblings for many emails and pictures of the ninos. Jamie and Lindi, and Julia and Karl and Sarah and Christopher and Andrew....Yeah, I could have left that to siblings but, hense “shout out.” And mom and pops letters are downright fantastic and always what I need tamblien (also).
entonces----les quiero todos mucho! ( I love you all so much) and I have a list of people to write back...just know you’re all on it. Maybe in my 48 hours of travel, I can finally complete the task.
Don’t forget! Monday the 23rd at 3ish in the afternoon. Be there or be square. En serio - I’m so excited to talk to the fam- at 7635 and the Ericksons. Tell Brendan I’ve got a story!
Paz Fuera! (Peace out) Hermana Bedke
P.S. I participated in a musical number in church. Singing en serio and I finally got the hang of leading music. Maravillosa!
P.S.S. I’m going to develop some pictures soon. Promise. or print - we don’t develop pictures these days.

FAMILY&FRIENDS-
i think it might be impossible to put everything that i am feeling into words...i'm leaving the mtc in 4 days! i feel something pulling me to argentina; i'm so excited to be with those people i already love...but i've come to the conclusion that the hardest thing about this mission will probably be the goodbyes. it's hard. but i know that the people i have met here are going to be doing the lord's work and i really wouldn't have it any other way. the other day i was feeling the cumulation of the many emotions in my corazon, but the second i was on my knees--the very second--i felt the confirmation that my father in heaven know exactly what i'm feeling. and knowing that he is aware is enough. i know it's going to be hard; i know i'm going to love it; and there are a lot of things i don't know...this i know: heavenly father is in control. he loves me. and it'll be more than fine--it will be perfect.
yesterday the elder in my district that i have grown to love more like a brother than the others...(es un secreto...) had to go home for a medical procedure. he's headed back to mendoza in august, but it was a really hard thing to say goodbye...my trip to mendoza just got a little bit longer. but i know if there is an elder that the lord can trust to stay faithful till the time comes to meet those who have been prepared for him, it's elder moser. maybe he had to come to the mtc now for our sakes. no se. pero, esta bien.
ok, now, what is all this about eliza breaking her leg? pops threw it into his letter, saying it would be explained in other letters. pero, there were no other letters. i need details, people. give her a kiss and a hug from aunt chelsea and tell her there is a surprise coming in the mail.
our morning in the temple was...glorious. it's a really hard thought that i'm not going to be in one of those for the next 16 months. but this is what i have concluded: 1. the work i'm doing is exactly what the temple has prepared me to do 2. because of the things in the temple, i can do that work. 3. i'm making it one of my goals to prepare mendoza for a temple. and it can all be done because the lord honors every worthy goal according to his will....i'm so excited!!!
ok, a few housekeeping items: i am permitted to call all immediate family from the airport. fantastic right? so, i'm giving all my broskis and hermanas the assignment to dearelder your phone numbers to me....and check the time difference between here and georgia. i'll be in atlanta from 4:50-8:40 there. so if there is preferred time window, let me know...but i'm going to be calling mom first :). and, no more dearelders to the mtc past friday. i don't get them over the weekend becasue the mailroom is closed. BUT (hehe...if you buy 3 completos...chiste) i do have pouch mail, and thus, deareldering in mendoza. so just make sure you click the right button. otherwise, they'll be thrown away.
so phone numbers pronto...if not the very second you get this thing, then before 4 tomorrow. thanks!!!
finialmente, i want to encourage everyone to work a little harder to get the gospel to the world--to our friends and neighbors. it is so important!! let's remember who we answer to. this is His kingdom we're building. any young men reading this, i hope you realize how important you are to the lord. you need to serve, and you will regret it if you don't. promise. the lord loves us so much, and that's why he asks things of us. this mission is a blessing to me. love you all!!
family and friends- I AM HERE!
(i feel like i have oodles of time because there are no large red numbers ticking in my screen and stressing me out. maybe i´ll have less spelling errors in this one eh?)
first, a travel log. there was all of that american mumbo jumbo...AND THEN, i was on a plane bound for ARGENTINA! i actually got to converse with some argentines in the process. pero, these conversations were muy poco. we traveled through the night (this was a 10 hour flight), so i slept a bit..granted, it wasn´t the most restful night of my life to say the least. we arrived in buenos aires with no idea what to do next. then someone would approach us, and without really saying anything, would take out papers and walk away, then come back and move us and walk away..and this went on for about an hour...then we were in a van. we drove to another airport and found out that whoever told us about that 16 hour bus ride...yeah, they were lying. there was another group of missionaries from the argentina mtc in the airport and we ate our first empanadas with them (so yummy!!) and tried to communicate..two of the elders there spoke english as well as spanish, pero, i kept thinking they were speaking the spanish as they spoke english and...things got a little confusing. meanwhile, our papers were being given and taken and all that...i was so tired on this flight, and as i slept the elders exercised no restraint taking pictures of me. oh dearies...we were met by president and sister lindahl in mendoza and went to their home for some really yummy food. The Latina hermana and i spent the night at the mission home, and the elders stayed in an apartment without electricity...that was a funny story! the next day, after a few house keeping items, i got some companions and went to the field to do some work...
i am part of a trio again! i guess one of the hermanas in the mission broke her leg and had to go home, so with an odd number of sisters in the mish, we are three. my companeras are hermana anderson (who is from canada) and hermana guitierrez (from argentina). this is their third transfer together; it´s been a bit difficult to jump in and be learning while they´ve already got the rhythm of san juan centro down pat, but i am glad to have such diligent companions. hermana anderson is also a gringa and is just in her 4th month, so she remembers the beginning and has been a great help thus far. i know we´re going to see miracles together. and have a lot of fun in the process.
so, i guess my biggest struggle right now, obviously, is spanish. which, come to find out is not even the language of argentina. it´s castallano. pero, not so much the language part..i have decided that i tend to let myself think that just because i can´t communicate words that i can´t teach. and that is wrong. it´s about the spirit, really. and think that´s what heavenly father is teaching me. i just need to be obedient and continually exercise my faith by being diligent, and i can have confidence in the fact that heavenly father is going to use me. that´s why he sent me here. he wants me to be a missionary now and i can´t let being a greenie keep me from that. so i´ve got to work really hard. and it needs to stay hard because as i am changing, i will be a better tool. entoces, i´ve realized that it´s really two different things to say that you´ll give your life to the lord, and to actually do it. but i really am grateful. i know i´m where he wants me to be; i know he´s aware and that he doesn´t make mistakes. he´s prepared a way and i´m excited to keep witnessing that firsthand. there are a lot of things that are negative i could choose to focus on everyday, but as i look for the miracles, i find them and i find the strength to keep going. i know he loves me and it´s enough. and this...is bringing me closer to my savior. already i can feel it. it´s...downright buenisimo.
on saturday there were two baptisms. a brother and sister were baptized by their father and...it was a miracle. these were two people that had been investigators for 2 years, and a series of miracles my hermanas told me about got them to the waters of baptism. i loved witnessing this so early in my mission and help in little ways; i was able to play the piano, sing for a special musical numero (don´t laught) and give a talk about the holy ghost that i hope they could understand. after the service, one of the sisters came to me and asked how long i´d been in the field. when i told her i had only been in argentina for 3 days, she told me i had the don de lenguas (the gift of tongues) and that by the end of my mission, i would be able to talk ¨sin accento.¨ who knew i had an accent? just kidding, i think all the people i talk to on the street with squinty faces confirmed that one for me!
que mas? i am a fan of the besos that everyone (at least women) give all time. and the buddy handshakes that the men give...i´ll show ya in 16 months. i have walked so much lately and have about 10 blisters on my pies. pray for my feet. en serio.
i am just about out of time, but remind me to tell you all about olga y hayde next letter. pictures next week!
i love you all!! email because mail is slow. and i only get it maybe once a month.
hermana chelsea bedke

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

the latest from "the empty sea"

April 18th 2011
so, i figured this letter might be fun to write in gratitude list form...a bit more informative than my usual phrase of "i'm loving everything"--though that is true. here we go...i absolutely love:-my family. at home and at the mtc. i love that especially when i miss people at home i'm blessed to have my brothers and sisters (btw 4 more came into our zone this week) here--and the wives of the branch presidency who help fill the role of mom. mostly because i can hug them. -the temple. in the past month, not a day has gone by where i haven't learned something new about that place. i feel the love of my Heavenly Father more than ever before. -elders engaging in destructive powerwalking, talking with a banana phone, assisting in giving sports commentary with a word from sponsors during gym time..., carrying my tray a lunch time, impersonating general authorities, and making handcrafted bookmarks. however, all these things make it really hard to say goodbye to said elders when they finally leave to the field. thus, yesterday was quite hard...but happy at the same time. -the things i learn about myself when i forget myself. it's downright amazing what the spirit can do. -for teachers who understand the aforementioned..who teach by the spirit and never cease to amaze me. i feel so blessed to have hno. coles and hno. ridge as my teachers. so blessed. -to know this is exactly where i'm supposed to be.-and the following events: -to understand overcoming addiction, everyone in our district has given something up. to help me teach more powerfully, mine was the word "um," which brings me to my next item. -i gave my first spanish talk in sacrament meeing yesterday. granted, i could not have done it without the spanish preach my gospel, but i did it. i said the word "um" 27 times... -i've also commited to give up singing any songs that are not gospel-related, and the word "crap." This was especially difficult the first few days, while after every time i started singing a secular song, i'd get frustrated and say "crap." double whammy. but i'm getting better. -trying to speak spanish has made for some interesting miscommunication to say the least. the other day i asked an investigator if he believed in spanish. to whic he replied, "yes, i believe in spanish very much...." and while teaching another investigator, i somehow interpreted "novia" to mean grandmother. so i was a bit confused when our investigator was having problems with the law of chastity...with his grandma. but we got it cleared up. my companion has also blessed us to die several times....but i think god got it because i'm still here. much love, hermana bedkep.s. i need a few things. could sarah get grant and jean's email address for me if posible? then they could be added to the list of forwardees. also, i'm on a journal writing high and i need another. they sell some here but they are not downright adorable. maybe while i'm here in the mtc you could send me one that's cute..and preferably not with "loser" written on the inside :) i'm also in charge of musical numbers in church, and i'm missing some of my piano music. on my bookshelf are two piano binders. i want the one that's not blue. i think it's pink. or purple. or you can send both but that might be heavy. thanks bunches. i also hope that people have been getting invididual letters. leaving off the return address makes me a little nervous. i'll do better from now on...you can expect handwritttens to be sent today. promise.

April 24, 2011
Familia,
I wanted to write and let you kow that our schedule has changed and P-day is now on Thursday. Hopefully you get this before that day comes. Anyway, that’s why there is no e-mail. Also, I know I requested some items earlier. If they remain unsent, could maybe stick in that box a watch (because, go figure - my $4.00 watch fell apart....so....since el regalo es muy importante para un misionera, por favor...send one.) and one of my companion’s birthday is coming up. she is an artist and says what she misses most is painting with her hands. So, I’d like to request one set of finger paints please. Maybe even the really cool clear kind? Your choice. I’m really sorry to be laundry listing this stuff, pero...les quiero! (That means I love you all)....So one of the things I’ve been learning is the power of fasting. The brethren, when they have a sacred assignment, go into it fasting. And so many scriptures testify that fasting is an essential part of solidifying one’s testimony. So, I plan on and have been fasting a lot. I’m telling you this because I have no way to pay a fast offering here. I want to ask if you could pay a little extra for me. You can even write it down and I will reimburse you in 18 months. I just know it is important. Thanks. And I don’t know if Andrew forwarded this message, but I won’t be calling home on Mother’s Day. They don’t have enough phones in the MTC for that to be possible. However, when I get my travel plans I will let you know what time I will be at the airport, because I am allowed to phone home then and even if it is the wee hours of the morning, I expect an answer. Got it? Well, a page later...guess I should get on with how my week went. In retrospect I think that the MTC experience is a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I know with an eternal perspective that the Lord is molding me into the woman he wants me to be and truth be told, I am glad it is hard. The Lord shows us weaknesses to make us strong. I know that and I know that no one is exempt from struggles - even the righteous. It is how we respond to those struggles that makes us who we are. There’s nothing we experience that can’t bring us closer to Christ. So, with that preface, these past few days have been hard, but I’m coming out of this dip knowing more than ever who’s child I am. I’ve never felt closer and more loved by God than I do now. I know that it is when we doubt that He cares that we run the risk of truly disconnecting ourselves with Him. We have to rely on him through the hards times and in doing so we understand the Atonement. It’s so real and I can’t wait to tell Mendoza Argentina that.... On Tuesday we had an apostle for devotional.. (Ok, that sounded a bit weird. Just to clarify, we did not eat him.) But Richard G. Scott came and my goodness it was fantastic. Mid- talk he asked who in the audience was learning a foreign language. Almost everyone raised their hands. He then said that he wished to exercise his apostolic power and bestowed upon all of us the gift of tongues. That we would be able to master our languages. And it was there. I know Heavenly Father’s with me on this Spanish comprehension...We are so blessed to have living prophets on the earth and I know that they love us. They love us because they love Christ and I hope to do the same. I want others to be able to feel the Savior’s love through me. The best lessons we’ve experienced so far are the ones where we’ve put our hears in the right place. The Spirit’s the real teacher. If I can just communicate that love to people, I think they’ll be able to remember who they are...Anyway, life is so good...I’m blessed probably more than I deserve. pero, I know God desires to give good gifts to his children. All he requires is our willingness to do what he’s asked and He’s waiting to bless us and make us stronger. I love this gospel more than ever and I know if I do His will, I’ll never love it less.
Growing Hermana Bedke
(P.S. The herman thing has really caught on. Thanks, pops!

Monday, April 4, 2011

the best way to fight the adversary...

hola familia!!
the mtc is splendid. this email will be the bulk of things, but thanks to everyone for sending my dearelders. i'll use the rest of my free-time to hand-write some responses.
general conference was amazing!! i missed being with my family, but i got to watch it with my zone, which has become my family recently. hermano coles, our teacher, challenged us to write down any questions we had prior to conference, with the promise that they would all be answered. and guess what? the he was right. this exercise made conference really personal. i know that those men called prophets are truly called of god.
in response to your questions, the trio is not tough. in fact, me and the hermanas have bonded..como se dice..hard core? but we really do have so much fun. the only challenge has been learning to teach with three--but we've discovered that listening to the spirit eliminates this problem. because as long as the focus is the person being taught, everything runs smoothly.
so i have a story from the week--one that made my week.
one of my companions hard a hard night on friday. one of the elders said something that sent her over the edge, which provoked a lot venting in the ladies bathroom that she felt that satan had been working really hard on her. we talked about recognizing the good things that happen each day rather than focusing on failures, and ultimately went to hermano coles for a blessing. but prior to this he related what she was feeling to the story of the first vision; joseph smith described that the evils working against him was only evidence that satan new he would be "an annoyer of his kingdom"..he suggested that if we are feeling that satan was working hard, we are in good company. the key is following joseph's example and exerting all our power to call upon God when that happens. hermano coles asked if there was an elder that she would feel comfortable assisting him in the blessing. and to my surprise, my christlike companera asked for the very elder who'd made the sarcastic comment in the first place. my companion received one of the most beautiful blessings i have ever heard, and even thought this experience was hers, i feel that heavenly father taught me a lot by being by her side. i've heard from other elders here that, just as god is aware of our potential as missionaries, so is the adversary. but he only has the power we give him.
i've learned that repentance is so much more than asking forgiveness from sin. it is any change mental, emotional, or physical changing that makes us more like the Savior. for that reason, i've been trying to sacrifice something new each day. and i've been asking the lord to humble me and show me my weaknesses. because it's through struggles that we come to know christ. and in order to really represent him, i need to know him. it's always going to be hard and i thank god for it. it's not supposed to be easy. and it's a miracle that an imperfect person like me can follow the example of a perfect savior.
i have more stories but i guess they'll have to get to you the old-fashioned way. love, hermana bedke

Monday, March 28, 2011

Miracles, Companions, and Humility

a fitting picture (still none from Chels), plus conference is coming up!

Man o man these pass few days have been jam-packed and i am so grateful. I'm amazed at how much I learn and how fast days go by...
Well, this is my first p-day in the MTC.
I have wonderful, enthusiastic teachers and really sweet companeras. that's right--two. hermana croker y hermana adams.
i feel so blessed that Heavenly Father has been answering my prayers so quickly. I have learned so much about humility. Where pride is confidence in yourself, relying on yourself, Humility having confidence in yourself, but relying on God. I know i can have total confidence in the field because this is His work and not mine. and i'm excited to learn how to be bold and to become who He wants me to be. I didn't come on this mission to stay the same way I am now. I know that as we pray to know what God would have us sacrifice, he will show us our weaknesses and we can become that much closer to becoming like him.
The fact that after five days I am praying and bearing my testimony in spanish is a miracle. that through obedience I can become closer to God is a miracle. and that's the message of the gospel.
I'm sorry this is so short. I want to let the family know--and maybe it's because julia mentioned something about this to me-- that I've already felt Grandma and Grandpa Bedke's testimonies here. and that's pretty awesome.
i love you all. if i don't close now this message will be deleated.
use dearelder.com -chelsea