Monday, June 30, 2014

Email - June 30

  Transfer news....I am staying here with Hermana Savage again!! Woot woot! I am super happy because Hermana Savage is the coolest! I love her so much and I love this area, I knew I was going to stay! There actually isn't very many changes with our zone this transfer, but we will see at transfers on Wednesday!
   So, this week we decided to drop (stop teaching) Fabiola. The one that talks a lot and doesn't have teeth. We had a lesson with her and invited her to keep learning, reading, praying, going to church. But we can not keep coming back unless she starts to change. It was hard to get in words with her talking so much, and we don't know how much she truly took into her brain, but we said bye to her and stuff. This Sunday (yesterday) we didn't know if any of our investigators would come to church, we hoped that the other Fabiola that is pregnant would come. But all of a sudden Fabiola (no teeth, talks a lot) comes into church and we are just like "WHAT..." haha it was kind of crazy because we just dropped her. But.. her 3 kids were with her and they are seriously crazy! They just have not been raised with much love or anything, it is really sad. But they were spitting and kung-fu fighting in the chapel. It was so bad. Like jumping over the benches ya... just imagine. Luckily, the chapel wasn't very full because everyone is on vacations in Mexico or watching the World Cup. Our ward mission leader doesn't even come to all of church because of the World Cup. And you would think that now that Mexico is out that they wouldn't care as much, but they just love futbol! It is crazy, haha.
     On Wednesday we went to the Mesa Temple with our zone, it was really awesome! I love the peace at the temple. Arizona will always have a special place in my heart. But, at the Temple I got really dizzy in the session, I felt like I was going to pass out. It went away after a little bit. The day went on and then around 3:00 pm, I got really dizzy again and nauseated. We went home and I took a nap. The next few days I was just so dizzy, I drank 112 ounces of water on Friday and I felt better on Saturday. So it was good, I guess. I think because I have been blessed with health this whole time, now everything is hitting me. I have had a sore throat and a sty in my eye recently as well. What the... haha but all is well.

   We had MLC on Thursday, it was cool! I love Sister Toone, she is so amazing and loving. We are planning the best zone meeting ever that will change the lives of our missionaries in Gilbert. It is tomorrow, and it will be amazing!!  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Email - June 23

   This week we had Zone Conference it was really really cool! BUT.... I have never felt so strongly that I never want to go home, I want to stay here on this mission for forever!! President Toone talked about some new things coming to the mission and to missionary work. He said that now they are putting mentors with the new missionaries in our mission, to help them adapt to missionary life, to learn the language and at the end of their mission to adapt to normal life. Then, that missionary will become a mentor for another missionary. It is really cool! It would be awesome if I had the privilege to be a mentor when I get home. Except, I need to know the language better ... You just train them through skype. Also, we talked about the amazing things that are happening this transfer because of the promise that President Toone made of every companionship to have a baptism in their area. The mission is having amazing miracles and amazing things happen. As for my area, I don't think we will have a baptism this transfer, I still have faith but this weekend is the last week of the transfer. But, I have paid a part in two amazing baptisms in the mission, in different areas. I told you about Hawken right? About how he was baptized a couple weeks ago in Yuma. He is a part member family and he is seriously incredible, that family is one of my favorites. He is going to be a Bishop or something one day. 
   Also, a miracle happened one day awhile back. In my first transfer with Sister Segura, we went out of our zone boundaries to go to dinner with a member. A lot of our members live out of our zone and ward boundaries. It is sometimes an issue for us because we can't go out of our mission without 1st presidencies acceptance. But we couldn't get a hold of this member all day. We were trying to call her for dinner and it became close to dinner time, so we decided to just go to her house anyway. We go and it is in an apartment complex. We knock on the door three times and no one answers. So, we start walking back to our car and we see a lady outside talking to her birds. I was scared to talk to her, just because sometimes it is scary talking to random people on the street, but I start thinking about our purpose and I decided to talk to her. She was so friendly and said that she actually went to the Gilbert Temple open house with her friend, who is a member. We talked to her for about 5 minutes outside, then she wondered why we were over here and we told her how we were going to dinner, but the member wasn't there. She invited us in right away for some of her home-made chicken noodle soup. This is when I kind of had a cold, but when we walked into her house Sister Segura and I just started crying and had runny noses because our allergies were so so bad. She talked and talked to us. She was truly amazing, she was willing to give us so much, even though she had so little. We shared a little message, then asked her if she wants missionaries to continue coming over. She was really excited about that. We handed her off to the English missionaries. Her name is Yevonne. Since then, I kind of forgot about her. A week ago or so I got a call on the phone from one of our mission staff. He wanted my story of meeting Yevonne, I was trying to think who Yevonne was, thinking he got the wrong number, but then remembered her. I told him my story and apparently she got baptized just this past Saturday the 21st. It was crazy because the member we were going to eat with, had food already for us. She said she didn't receive our calls, and she was at her house. It was just because she moved not too long ago to a different apartment, in the same building, but it wasn't changed on the ward list, yet. She was kind of mad that we didn't show up, but it is amazing what miracles God has planned even though at first it doesn't seem that way. I feel so blessed to be a part of this promise for other missionaries and other areas, that's what it is all about.
   This cute girl, Maribel, she's a member and 21. Missionaries have always took her out on lessons. Well, we had her with us one day and after a lesson she said "I love when you can tell the missionaries have the spirit with them." I thought this was really cool, because it is something that we cannot tell because we are surrounded with the spirit a lot, so we don't realize anything different.

The other week we were in a trailer park and we look over to 2 little boys in undies and super hero masks. Their mom was sitting and squirting them with the hose as they just stood there. It was so funny!! Haha oh man I wanted to take a picture, but that could have been creepy
   Anyway. I love you so very much!! Even though I don't want to go home, I want to stay here forever, I still love you forever!!
I went to Sunshine Valley the first day I got to Arizona to street contact people. It is a really nice trailer complex. It is really cool because it is in our ward now. 

A little boy in a trailer park, his name is Jonathan. He is a grandson to a member. He is a wild one.

Trailer parks... MY AREA :)

My favorite food, Estrella's mom is the best cook!! Hermana Cuevas. These are like chicken taquitos but they are called flautas. It has mexican sour cream, lettuce, mexican cheese, and some green salsa. Seriously the BEST!!

Last p-day we went to the cutest little strip mall in downtown Chandler. It was the funnest p-day I have ever had! We just window shopped don't worry! I didn't buy anything, even though I really wanted to!

These are called paletas, they are mexican popsicles. They are delicious. I got one that is like the Abuelita(hot chocolate) that I sent home and my companion got a banana froster one.

Email - June 16

Sorry I don't have much time, but here is a short miracle and story :)
   Last Monday we had a really really cool lesson, a miracle. We wanted to watch the Restoration, 20 min video with our investigator but the DVD player wasn't working and we tried so hard to get it going. We had her fellowship with us at her house, it took quite awhile to try to get it set up and we had another appointment soon. We decided to go and try it at her fellowship's trailer. It took awhile again, but we got it all set up and ready to go. We started with a prayer and explained the background of the video and about Joseph Smith. It is usually really hard to teach her because she talks so much, but she was quiet. Her fellowship's wife is sick and has cancer and has grown blind. She is a great fellowship, also. We just can't bring her out to lessons. Anyway, the member (fellowship's wife) starts to bare her testimony of everything, about Joseph Smith, and explaining the whole story. It was everything that we wanted to share, but couldn't done it as well. The spirit was so strong. We committed our investigator to pray with this family after the video to know the truth of Joseph Smith. We then started the video and left right away to get to our other appointment. It was amazing, it was the future of missionary work. Starting lessons with members and investigators and leaving for them to finish it. It was really powerful and amazing! We came the next day to see how it went, and she loved the video, she tried watching it again and showed it to her children. She felt the spirit very strongly.

Email - June 9

   So this week it has been hot so we decided to try to bake cookies in the back of our car... they were half-baked but hey by the middle of the summer, it will work!! This week was hard, I don't know why, we just were working so hard and no doors were opening. The new investigators we found are not as interested as we thought and it just was hard... so we decided to sleep outside one night. We have to bring as much fun to the work as we can. My comp and I brought our mattresses out back on our little patio and the weather was perfect. We actually got kind of cold during the night. We hung up blankets and made a little fort. It was pretty great to just sleep under the stars. We also went on exchanges this week and I learned all about Alaska... I don't think it is in my future to move there, but it was fun to learn about. Sister Lathrop is from Alaska. Also, remember my companion I had for 10 days in the trio, Sister Ward. Yeah, she went home a couple months ago, it was just getting too bad and apparently right after skype calls home a lot of missionaries give up and go home. Kind of sad! We had lunch at the senior couples home with our whole zone. It was really fun! I don't know if I told you but the first time we had lunch there, Sister Lewis (the senior missionary) brought out this huge squirt gun in the house and started squirting all the Elders. She said "If you want to get on my good side, let's have a water fight. I live for water fights." or something of the sort. haha. So ever since then, I remembered that and this time my comp and I bought little squirt guns from the dollar store and brought them to the lunch and squirted her. She had a blast, haha! I was kind of scared at first, but then she was just laughing and she stole the gun of my companion and squirted all the Elders, and her husband, and then us. It was so funny. The Elders were hiding all scared. Remember this is all in the house. Haha. It isn't even hers, it is her daughters home. Oh man, now I think she likes me more so that is cool!
   Then, on Friday we all, as a zone, go out to lunch. We were planning to go to Moreno's, a Mexican food place. But this member (actually a Bishop) stops us and says come on, I will buy you all food here at Fire House Subs. He bought all 22 of us food!! That place is not cheap!! In combo meals too! It was insane, he was so cool! I don't think he knew how many missionaries were actually coming haha, oh man. We are so blessed it is incredible!

   That is about it. The work is going on slowly but surely. We will baptize this transfer! I have faith and I am hoping for some miracles!!

Email - June 2

   This week was awesome!! Well it was super di duper hottttt AND we were on bikes for 3 days, but it was awesome!! We found 5 new investigators this week, wahoo! Miracles are happening! We had quite a few lessons, too. We just need to have some help from the members. We also had one of our investigators at church!! Her name is Fabiola, I think I told you about her, she talks a ton!! She never ever stops and we try to cut in and she won't let us!! But,she has good fellowship in the ward,so that is good. We also had MLC this week, it was awesome. Our mission made an outline document of a family mission plan that will help us when working with members. A lot of missionaries try to make their own, but this one will be for the whole mission, so no one needs to worry about making their own. It is really awesome and I hope it works well in the Spanish Ward. Also, President Toone talked about instead of finding ways to get out of the work (baptisms of other missionaries, temple trips, the list goes on...), find ways to get more into the work. And to spend our time wisely and fully. These summer months are going to be hot and missionaries will want to take breaks from the work, but we need to push ourselves and not put up excuses. It was really cool!!

   Also, I am super excited because one of the part-member families that I taught in Yuma, I love them so much, oh man, well, the husband isn't a member and Sister Pinnock and I started teaching him... Well, he is going to be baptized this month!!!!!! YA! I AM SO EXCITEDDDDD!! It is super cool! I am super excited for the sealing in a year as well, I will definitely go to that! I think I might have to move to Arizona because I will want to come and visit people so much... 
  I forgot to tell you. So I got a letter from the court in Yuma about a hearing for the car crash. Honestly I didn't understand any of the big words in that letter, but Sister Toone told me to call the number and say that I won't be able to go to court. So I called and the lady cut me off and said, "Actually, (name) was found dead in his garage last week so no charges can be held against him..." It was so crazy!! I don't even know. So I guess I don't have to deal with that stuff anymore though... sad world. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Email - May 26

   Mi companera es Hermana Savage!!!!!! Do you remember her from my MTC district?? She is the one that got really sick, like her mouth had blisters and she had to go home for a couple weeks in the MTC. She is from Cedar City. She is really sweet and patient, and quiet, unless you break her shell open. She is really fun to be around, very pleasant. So we were super excited to be together!! She was in Phoenix for 9 months, almost as long as I was in Yuma. So she is a little sad from leaving there, and it is just so weird for her to be somewhere else. Her Spanish has became real good, better than mine. The part of Phoenix she was in, is pretty dangerous and full of Latino people. She liked it a lot, spoke a lot of Spanish there. My last companion, Hermana Segura is from Colombia originally, she moved to Arizona when she was 6 and lived here, ever since. Her home is right outside the mission boundaries in Mesa. Haha, she would always say how she can't believe she got sent here, but then we would see miracles everyday of why she needed to be in this mission. She needed to be here to be my companion and bless my life the way she did, seriously.
   This week was kind of crazy and probably the worst stat week I have ever had, besides when I white-washed into Yuma, our first week or two. But we are having a blast! I love my companion because she has so much faith and hope for this area. Our area got split because 2 more sisters came into our ward so now there is 3 companionships in our ward. Pretty sweet!! But... they took our only investigators :( They now are teaching the Venezuelan family. I am super excited for them, but also super sad because I love them so much. Hopefully, they will come to church so that I can see them. We only have 2 investigators right now. There names are both Fabiola, haha. But they aren't super solid. President Toone has set a goal for every companionship to get at least one baptism this transfer. That would be 130 baptisms, or more, in our mission!! That would be doubling what we usually get. Our mission is really pumped up right now :) We have a lot of faith and hope and prayers towards this. And helping the other missionaries in our zone meet it, as well.
   Sister Savage and I had a funny encounter the other day. We were going to contact this potential investigator named David. We knocked on the apartment door and this African lady answered. She hardly spoke English, they just moved there 3 days ago. She had 3 kids and they were climbing all over us and the little boy looks up at us with huge darting eyes and a missing tooth and says "what are YOU doing here???" haha, it was so funny. He was climbing and hanging on my purse. And the other one was pulling on my companions skirt and pulling off her watch. The other one went and grabbed the TV and brought it to the door and invited us to watch TV with her on the ground. And we are just acting normal and trying to have a conversation with the lady. We tell her that we are from a church and suddenly she goes and pulls out her bible in some African language and starts reading it. No wonder so many are being baptized in Africa!! She said we can come back, who knows if she understood, but we are going to send the English elders... ha good luck!!
   That is about it this week, we are just trying to find new investigators. Life is great, it was sad saying bye to Sister Segura. Now, she is in Maricopa in an English area... but she will do well!

   I forgot to tell you from the baptism/wedding last week, so you know how the ex-sister missionaries came, well, Sister Escobar(ex-sister missionary) turns to us during the baptism, grabs our hands, and says "You two are so great. Do you know why you are so great? Because you are missionaries." She said this as she started to tear up. I am scared to leave here, I know I am going to miss this time of my life so much. I think these last few months I have really been learning what it means to be a missionary and how powerful it is to be a representative of Christ. I know that my whole life has changed drastically from being here for just a year and a half. I will never again get the chance to put on my name tag proudly and fully experience this life as a missionary. This is a once and a life time chance. This is truly incredible. I love it here, I love experiencing these hard times and these BEAUTIFUL times. I am amazed at where I am and amazed at the people God has given me to meet and bless their lives, even though they have blessed mine more than I could ever give to them. I never want to not be a missionary. I know that all through out my life, I will look back to my mission with gratitude of the choice that I made and the promptings that I received to go on a mission, and to stay on a mission. It is not just a one time choice that I made when I was twelve, I had to make that choice to serve every moment from 12 years old -19 years old. And then once I started my papers, every interview, every question on the mission papers, and even once I  received my call to Arizona, I had to choose again to serve. Once I was ready and left and arrived at the MTC, I chose to serve, when I couldn't learn the language anymore, I chose to serve. Once I got here and realized what a mission really is, I chose to serve. When I was out in the burning sun, sweating like a lobster in a pot, I chose to serve. When I couldn't find anyone to teach, I chose to serve. When I had Satan against me in all that I did, I chose to serve. When I was having the hardest time of my life and I felt alone and hopeless, when I hated myself and when I saw others give up. I CHOSE TO SERVE. And today, I choose to serve because I love my Savior, I love my Heavenly Father, I love the people here, I love my family, my friends, I love the life God has given me. I love being a missionary, and I would not trade it for the world. I love it.
Claudia and Fernando are married!

Claudia and Fernando's baptism

Claudia in her wedding dress

Fruit tray at the wedding, YUMMY and beautiful!

Email - May 19

   SO------------------------------------------------------------------------------------> I am staying, haha I knew it even though we recommended that we both be taken out of the area. But I am just like that, I need to stay in areas for long periods of time. I am excited and nervous. My dear lovely companion is leaving me and she is stepping down from being a Sister Training Leader and has another new assignment that President Toone didn't say anything about. He said that he has a special assignment for her that will be talked more about at transfers... this mission never stops changing, new things come every transfer!! Seriously it is crazy! I am sad that she is leaving, and I am nervous to take over this area because really it is so hard to fill our time. We have like hardly any investigators right now, and the Spanish... well my companion will probably be pretty good because I will have another STL with me, so she should be more experienced with the language. I think I was getting too comfortable, so this change will be good! I am ready to do all I can do to prepare for the time I come home, my conversion and testimony need to be strong as ever. The real world is hard, and I don't want to lose this conversion I have.
   This week has been absolutely insane!! I don't know where to start. So stressful, and so great, a little contention, but that sometimes comes with stress. We got permission to go to Brian's funeral this past week, it was out of our mission boundaries. It was on Thursday, in Florence... Arizona, not Italy. Super small town. It was so so sad. It was awful. His family is Catholic, he was the only member in his family and so it was a Catholic Funeral. They did this rosary thing where they say memorized prayers to the Virgin Mary over and over again, that lasted for at least an hour. Then Brian's dad actually invited all the people from Brian's church (us) to say something or share a song. We sang "God be with You till We Meet Again" It was probably the only time the spirit was there at the funeral. To remind you this is all in Spanish. Then they had this Hispanic guy on the guitar and singing (sounded kind of like Nacho-Libre, ya know that video?) and it was just depressing songs, good thing I couldn't understand them... But then he sang in English, oh man... He sang this song about Guacamole, it was weird. So that was another 2 hours or something. To let you know, this is all outside in the burning heat, and we, as sisters always wear cardigans at nice events, and the Elders are in suits... yeah. Then we all drive to the place of the grave yard and spend another hour there as we all stand around and watch the family say bye and that guy is still singing depressing songs, the mother is yelling and crying, the worst I have seen and the brothers of Brian were so cute, they all looked like him and they all huddled together and hugged each other. And this Catholic minister sprinkled water and other stuff. Then okay apparently, usually the people don't lower the casket until everyone is gone but they lowered it and it was awful to see. The family was horrendous, it was so depressing, and everyone in black too with sunglasses on. Then Claudia (the girl-friend/fiance and way cute member and one of our best friends here) runs over to her dad and is so frustrated and crying and stomping and stuff like that, she kept saying (IT"S ALL MY FAULT!!) it was so sad, because it really wasn't her fault but she feels that guilt on her. sad sad, we just keep praying. We know that Heavenly Father needed Brian and his sweet and strong testimony and spirit to preach to the spirits in the spirit world. He really is such an amazing guy.
   I saw a scorpion on our garage door... I was so scared. My companion killed it with my shoe haha. 

Friday was the wedding and baptism!! Oh so we had some ex-sister missionaries come back for the wedding and baptism of Claudia (different Claudia) and Fernando. It was fun to see them again, it was Sister Mugar (I have never known her but she taught C and F) and Sister Escobar who was a STL and I really liked her and also Sister Drake (who taught Brian and was there for his baptism, also) I really liked her, too. She was in Yuma for her last transfer. Anyway, they were there for the funeral, wedding, and baptism. They were so so so much help. Because they actually know what it is like being missionaries and they knew how to help. You honestly never know what a mission is like until you serve one. We were at the church building all Friday setting up for the wedding/baptism. It was truly amazing though!! Other than a stress about the table cloths and starting an hour late(not unusual for the Latin culture) it was great!! Claudia and Fernando were so happy, they lit up the room. Heavenly Father put everything into place, it truly was incredible. They were married first, oh and during their marriage ceremony stuff, as they are standing up there with the bishop, Fernando's phone goes off haha, it was so funny. And then they hurried and changed into their baptism suit and were baptized. Then the reception, food, and dance was after that. We had to leave because we were past curfew. But we heard it was so great and they didn't get home until 1:00 am. WOW! I am so blessed. I can't even believe it. I love being a missionary, I love the people I serve I love it I love it I love it! C and F are so very strong and are going to be a huge change for the ward. They are already missionaries.