Monday, May 12, 2014

Email - May 12

   We have had a few miracles this week. It still has been super hard because we have no investigators, but the Lord is blessing us as we work for it. We were getting pretty downhearted because all we want to do is teach people! And we haven't had many opportunities to do so recently. We decided to go visit this older lady in the ward that has been severely sick and going through treatments, she just got out of the hospital last week. We prayed right before we walked to her house and said to Heavenly Father that it has been really hard, lately, and we really are trying to find more people. We asked Him to bless us with opportunities to find new investigators through members. We went to the house (Lopez family) and the husband answers the door, he lets us in and goes and tells his wife to come out because we are at the house, visiting her. He comes back out and is talking to us, he gives us a referral without us even having to ask him! He said that there is a lady in their trailer park named Fabiola and she seems prepared to hear the gospel. She is the mom of one of their grandchildren's friends. Well, we got her trailer number and were planning to stop by her house after we were done visiting with them. We then started talking to Sister Lopez, just seeing how she is doing and ten minutes later, the referral (Fabiola) walks in the door. We meet her casually and start getting to know her. We started talking about the gospel and Brother and Sister Lopez are amazing and share their conversion experience. They shared all the blessings they have received from the Gospel. Fabiola is an amazing hard-working mom that has had a lot of things go wrong in her life, but we know that she is prepared to hear the gospel now and we know how much it will bless her life. We came out of that house with a referral received, a member present lesson, and a new investigator all because we set up a time on Wednesday to come by her house. It was incredible! We knew that Heavenly Father was answering our prayers.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Estrella's Baptism

Email - May 5

   So remember how last week how I said it was a pretty ehhh.. week, well, this week has maybe been worse in the work. We still are working hard but can't find any new investigators, it is so hard. I just want to teach!! 
   I sent a picture of my companion and I had had a really hard day, so we decided to go and get some strawberries with cream, well that was the worst decision I have almost ever made. It was the biggest cup in the world of pure cream (fat). It was delicious to the taste but it hurt our stomachs so bad. I just wanted to throw up! I think it was a one time only kind of thing...
   Claudia and Fernando are the eternal investigators and guess what!! They are going to get married and baptized on MAY 16th :) :) It was hard work to help them have enough faith to do this, but they are doing it!! We are wedding planners again :)
   We had interviews this week with President Toone, it was the coolest thing! It actually wasn't interviews because he had a previous meeting with Elder Bednar and so he just got our zone and Chandler zone together and told us what Elder Bednar wanted us to hear. I remember before my mission I was scared to come home all weird and like "Molly Mormon", but I had a dream a couple weeks ago and I was home from my mission and I was the exact same person as I was before! And it made me so frustrated that I had a year and a half to change and I didn't. This is what President Toone talked about, that we NEED to be weird, not only just when we get home but for the rest of our lives!! There is so much more I could write to you right now, but I will have to save it for another time. 
P.S. I love the Book of Jacob!!

Email - April 28

   This week has been hard. This has been one of the hardest weeks of missionary work I have had in my mission, besides my first few weeks in Yuma because we were white-washed into that area. It has been hard because we only have 2 solid families of investigators. That is all our investigators!! Through out my mission I have been very blessed to almost always have MANY people to teach, and it has been easy to find people. This week we have been working on "finding" by going through former investigators, potential investigators, visiting lots of members, and less-actives. We have knocked on so many doors trying to find, but no luck. We need the help from the members or little success will come. Yesterday, we had the privilege of speaking in Sacrament meeting. All 4 of us missionaries in the ward. Elder Whitted spoke about personal conversion, Elder Keene about acting on the faith we do have, I spoke about family missionary work and a plan, and Sister Segura talked about Preach My Gospel. It was really awesome! I wrote my talk and Sister Segura helped me to correct the things that were wrong with the grammar and stuff. It actually wasn't too bad. It is amazing to see that in December when I spoke in the Spanish branch in Yuma, it was so hard to write just a tiny talk and now this one I could of written a really long one. It was about 8 minutes and I had to cut out some things. We hope that the members can see the importance of their conversion and of missionary work. We hope that it will help with our struggle right now with finding people.
   This week has also been fun and spiritual. We had Missionary Leadership Council (MLC) on Thursday and it was one of the best ones that I have been to. It brought a lot of things to my remembrance of why goals are important. I am really bad at making goals but as I have been on my mission I have learned a lot about making goals. There is something in my mission called "the standard of excellence". I don't know if you know but everything we do as missionaries, we record and have statistics for it. Every lesson we teach, every referral we receive, every person at church, every new investigator, ext. So the "standard of excellence" is the goals the mission president set for our stats. When he sets this he prays and seeks to know what is reachable but gives us a good stretch. When he first set it, all the missionaries didn't think it was possible because the numbers were real high. But while I was in Yuma with Sister Pinnock and Sister White, we were hitting these high numbers from week to week. It was hard, but achievable. We kind of forgot about the Standard of Excellence and we forgot how important it is to strive to achieve these goals which are set. So for MLC we had a training on the "standard of excellence". It touched my spirit a lot because I am one of the missionaries that absolutely KNOWS that it is achievable! And I want to do it again in this area. I know that it might be a little harder because it is an all Spanish area, but I know that it is the Lord's vision and it is reachable! So this Wednesday we are training our zone on meeting the Lord's vision, I am super excited!
   As I said on my Facebook post, we taught the 11-year-old girls in the stake. It was just for 10 minutes, but it was so amazing to have this opportunity. The night before, this lady calls us and says her name and said "I was thinking about you two and I was wondering if you can come teach the activity-day girls tomorrow morning? I have only met you once or twice but I just know you two are perfect to come teach." This was really cool because we really did just meet her super fast, 2 times, and she has sister missionaries in her own ward that really could of done it, but she called us to do it. As missionaries, I don't think we really realize how members and other people look at us. She told us the theme about becoming Christ-like and being daughters of God. She said that they are passing out mirrors for them to decorate and stuff. This reminded me of the poem I wrote, "Mirror Image" We used the poem in our presentation. We had them close their eyes and imagine themselves with God and Jesus Christ, we asked them a few questions while they closed their eyes like "What do you want to tell Heavenly Father and Christ of what you did as you lived here on earth? Who do you want to become? What changes do you want them to notice in you?" We had them open their eyes and tell us who they want to become and we wrote those things on the board. The first hand shot up and she said "Jesus" It was so cute. I felt so much love for all of these girls. Youth NEED to be strong in these days, there is no other way!! We asked them the things that could maybe harm them or stop them from becoming these things. We told them to not let anything stop them! It was really awesome!
Oh and finally our Venezuelan family came to church yay!!

I love you!

Email - April 21

    Easter was just another day in the mission field, I love seeing all the pretty dresses and ties at church on Easter!! So cute! I was thinking about hiding the box you sent to make it a little more like the Easter baskets we have at home but... it wouldn't of been the same haha.
   This week OH Estrella, cute little Estrella was baptized. She is the cutest little thing ever!! She is ten and her mom was a less active that is slowly coming back. The mom's live-in boyfriend is not really interested in the church at all. And she has 2 older brothers, one is a member, and one little brother. But Estrella is this light in their family, seriously, she understands so much when we would teach her, she is so precious and such a huge example to all her family and friends. She would bring friends to the lessons we would have with her, she is already a missionary!! So for Easter Sunday her family was not able to come to church because they are doing a family activity or the husband/boyfriend will divorce the mom so she had to get confirmed right after the baptism instead of at church on Sunday like normal convert baptisms. Her confirmation was incredible!! The priesthood holder said that she truly is a light, and has the light of Christ within her. At the end of the confirmation he said that she will be a missionary, and be an instrument in the Lord's hands, spreading the word of God to people. She is going to serve a mission!! It was so powerful, me and my companion just look at each other in ah. I asked Estrella how she felt after her baptism, she said "I feel good. and clean."
We had a really great lesson with Claudia and Fernando, they are eternal investigators, well for about a year and a half now and they are not married. But have a daughter that is 6. WELL... finally Claudia said that all her doubts are washed away, because at church she got her answer that she needs to prepare to meet God, by being baptized!! She said "I am going to be baptized whether with Fernando or not, I will move out if he isn't ready yet". WOWZAS!! I guess he is the one that use to be ready and she wasn't and now he isn't but she is. They are scared of commitment to not only baptism, but also marriage. They are both praying for the date of May 20th. Everything seems to be going pretty well, we just can't let the adversary get in the way!! Here comes the wedding planners again! We had a very powerful lesson, and the member that we had with us, who is a recent convert of a year, asked the most inspiring question. She said "Well, you have it all, you have a beautiful daughter, a nice home, and.. blah and blah..., so what do you think is missing?" There was a pause, Claudia, with watery eyes looked up and said "happiness". The member said "The gospel can fix that, the gospel can patch all holes". woah. The spirit was strong!!
   We went to the Easter Pageant again and helped out, it was awesome! Claudia, Fernando, and Brianna came. We couldn't find them in the big crowd of people but it all worked out fine! I decided I like watching the pageant in Spanish better than English. It just seemed better, I don't know why. It was so packed though!! Holy cow! I also found out that Christ was married to Mary Magdeline, I didn't know that so that was cool!
   Oh also, we had a lesson with Estrella and 2 of her friends were over. They were so cute, but it was so sad. Just to see how awful children's lives can be is so sad. They DESIRE the gospel and the teachings of Christ in their lives so desperately, but they can't reach it because of the situations they are in. They said how their mom works all Sunday, so they can't go to church, and how they saw their dad being arrested. They trusted us so much because they could see that we talked of Christ, and knew it was good. They say they get angry sometimes and they know that the things we teach can help them with that. We were talking about Estrella's baptism, they said "I really need that because I choose the wrong sometimes". It was so cute, but so heartbreaking. What a sad place to be in. I am so grateful for the life I have been given and the opportunity I have, to see so much of the world and the hearts of others, on my mission.
  Also, the Bishop here, he is from Spain and he talks just like Andrew Hartsfield, when he calls us on the phone, it freaks me out sometimes haha. It is really weird but kind of nice to have a familiar voice around haha

Email - April 14

  This past week we went to the Easter Pageant in Mesa. I attended the Spanish night on Saturday. We had the opportunity to help out all night from 5-8 pm, then the show started at 8-9 pm. We didn't get home until 10 pm!! Crazy missionaries... ;) It was so amazing!! Two of our investigator families went and it was awesome. THE PAGEANT IS INCREDIBLE!! So many people attend and their are so many cast members, who are all volunteer. Approximately 400!! I loved the part of when Christ was with all the little children, little children are so peaceful and loving, and spiritual. I loved the end when Christ was resurrected, He was glowing. It was so amazing! We are going again on Wednesday to help out.
   K so this week has been kind of goofy! One night we were going to visit this members house and when we were getting out of the car I saw this guy across the street. I told my companion, let's go talk to him. We went and it was one of those people where you aren't totally sure if it is a guy or a girl... In Spanish, everything is gender related when you speak. When we came up to this person, and talked to it, I realized that it is a girl because it's voice was very femaley and she had a little chest, I am not sure if it was moobs though. She was wearing guys clothing but who knows. I discovered that I was probably right that she was a girl. So we decided to have a street lesson and talk about the Restoration. We talked to this person for like 45 minutes and the whole time I was using the feminine type of Spanish. We ended with a prayer, but before that prayer, I said, "what was your name again?, Gloria...?" It said "oh now you are putting hair on me, it is Gabriel." (referring that she is a boy) I didn't understand this sentence. But I said the prayer and I kept saying "Please bless she..., Please bless that she..." yeah.... and you know how we aren't exactly allowed to give men hugs, well I went up and gave it a hug because I thought she was a girl!!! and my companion couldn't just leave me hanging so she gave him/her a hug to! We get into the car and my companion is always so nice. She says to me "that was perfect!! You did so amazing! That was so great! But... She is a man!!!!" I was flipping out and my companion told me about the hair comment and stuff. We are not totally positive what it is. We think that it is a girl that wants to be a boy and calls herself a boy, but maybe he is just a boy! I don't know, but it was so embarrassing!! I don't know how I will ever return!!
   This same night, we came home and I meant to press the button to open the trunk and I accidentally pressed the alarm button, my companion screamed and jumped it was so funny! Estrella is getting baptized next week instead of this past week, she is so cute!! And we finally had some investigators at church!! :)
The rest of this week has just been HOTTTTTT!! It hit the 100's and the heat is just beginning! But it is better than the cold :)
   We did a family home evening with the ward, a lot of people came so that was awesome, because that doesn't usually happen in Spanish work. Then Wednesday was transfer meeting and all missionaries had to go because President Toone had to talk to us about obedience and being good leaders, it was really cool! I love going to transfer meetings!
 Can't wait for dia de madres :)

Email - April 7

So... This week was AWESOMELY spiritual!!
Wasn't conference so great! Wow powerful! I heard Priesthood session was awesome as well! So many of my questions were answered. I even watched the Sunday morning session in Spanish. No, I didn't catch a lot that was said, but I wrote like 3 1/2 pages of notes from that session, so I understood a little. I loved it all!! I will read over again the session I watched in Spanish, definitely! I love how Jefferey R. Holland said that sometimes it is hard to be Mormon in these days and times, BUT IT IS WORTH IT!!  Lawrence E. Corbridge's talk was AMAZING!! That was so cool, just throwing it down!
  So this week my companion and I and I think our whole zone decided to do this challenge this past week called the Wilford Woodruff Week. It is where we sacrifice just a little more of our time to be diligent and work hard. Usually on P-days we go out proselyting at 6 pm that night, instead we went out at 2 pm and started our day early. Monday was our most successful day during the week! Also, instead of having an hour for lunch, we only took half-an-hour lunches. We were focusing on being diligent all week, and actually all this month we are focusing on diligence. On Tuesday, my companion and I trained the zone of how to have more diligence. It was good. On Wednesday, we were able to go to the Mesa Temple :) :)  absolutely loved it! I saw another new video and it opened my eyes so much! It was so so awesome, holy moly! I didn't want to leave the temple, the peace I felt in there, there is no comparison. It was like nothing else mattered at that moment. Ah I will never not take advantage of having a temple so close again! Oh I had the best ice cream this week as well, yummmm it was from Mexico! It was the most delicious thing ever! 
   One day we had dinner with a member that just moved here from Mexico. I can not believe the house in which she lived and the terrible condition it was in. It is so sad to see how people are living. And she gave us so much food and cared for us so much. It was a tiny trailer, a really rundown bathroom, and I could of walked through the whole trailer with 5 steps. She is such a wonderful sister and has given so much to her family. Such a blessing to know her. I am so blessed it is ridiculous sometimes.
    During my mission I have been blessed a lot, I still don't have a memory like other people but my mind has been filled with so much knowledge and a lot of it is sticking. I know the Lord has blessed me with the gift of knowledge at this time!
   Oh yeah, transfer news, WE ARE STAYING TOGETHER FOR ANOTHER TRANSFER!! YEAHHH!! :) Sometimes I have dreams I am home, I hate it! It distracts me so much. But one time it was funny because I thought I was on my queen bed at home and I almost fell off my little bed.
   We have a baptism this weekend, Estrella. She is 10. She is so adorable! Also, we had a lesson with Claudia and Fernando, who are long time investigators and we almost put them on date but then the adversary started rocking their relationship so that was sad. Missionary work is awesome, it is hard, but WORTH IT!! I love it so much!