Sunday, December 7, 2014

December 2nd

So, great things happened last week.  Sometimes it doesn't seem like much happened, and then other times a ton happened.  So it was a really really good week.  Especially with Thanksgiving.
Wednesday night we had an amazing miracle!  Before I came to this area, the sisters were teaching two young boys.  Well, as we went to try and teach them, we realized that one was hiding from us.  And then in our final attempt to teach them, the family said he had moved to Chicago.  But they (as in his cousins) set up a return appointment for us.  And then were sleeping when we came.  BUT, when we went back the second time, and they were there and had a little time for a lesson and it was INCREDIBLE.  We haven't been able to go back, but we're going to keep trying because they have just been so prepared in these last couple weeks!
Thursday was THANKSGIVING.  El Paso has the cool tradition of doing a parade every year.  And the church as teamed up with the coordinator peoples and the different wards are given streets to clean as a community service to the community.  So, since we were helping in the clean up process we were also given permission to go to the parade!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.  And yes it deserves 45 exclamation points because it was so awesome!  So we saw the parade, clean up afterwards and then ate a ton.


Friday started the "He is the Gift" (el es la Dadiva in Spanish.) I hope you all have seen the video.  If not, please go watch it, and then share it, and then watch it again.  I think I've seen it 10+ times already (in English and Spanish) and it just gets better every time!

Saturday we had a baptism!!!  I don't think I've told you about A, but basically he was amazing.  He's grown up in a part member family and never had permission to be baptized until October.  And since then he had surgery, had all the missionary lesson and was finally baptized!  He's brother is currently serving in Canada and was given permission to Skype in to the baptism and gave the talk on baptism!  (SuPeR cool, totally not expected).  But teaching A as just amazing because he's grown up going to church and so he knew everything already, and basically we would learn new things every time we went over to teach him.  The whole week went smoothly in baptism prep until Saturday morning, when the key to the baptismal clothes wouldn't work, the bishop showed up on time, then went home and was 20 minutes late, the baptism went 20 minutes late, pushing the baptism afterwards later (which we had found out about THAT morning... ), and they had started to drain the font (but that stopped when we realized it was draining and I climbed in to stop it again... luckily the later baptism was for an 8 year old so it didn't need to be super deep).  But it all worked out.  A was baptized and then confirmed yesterday.  And his family was SO HAPPY!

Sunday night we contacted this lady while she was outside washing her car.  Well, actually her 3 year old, fell and scraped his elbow and was screaming, and so we made him a frog out of a Mormon.org card, and then we made his 6 year old brother a card, and we invited her to the nativities activity this weekend, and she said that her husband really doesn't like Mormons, but she doesn't know why because he's never visited with them before, so she invited us over to teach her.  And yesterday we taught her and she is just so prepared and amazing!   She's willing to pray and read and just wants to feel the love of God more in her life and to help her 4 children!  She was a MIRACLE!
So this week I started studying hope.  About a week ago, President at Zone Conference challenged us to study the Preach My Gospel Christlike attributes and to apply them to our lives in a 9 week challenge.  So I'm currently on week 2 which is hope.  I love the scripture in 1 Peter 3:15 that instructs us to "be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you."  We have the Gospel of Jesus Christ and with this we have the hope of many things.  We have hope in the Atonement, in the Priesthood, in the Plan of Salvation.  We need not fear nor worry in these crazy times because we have the hope and the assurance that things will work out according to the plan of God.  I am so grateful to have this hope in my life, especially since, 1. I'm not perfect.  I strive everyday to become better, but I need that hope to know that I can be freed from mistakes and that God's plan will work out and 2. hope is so essential. 
I hope you all have a wonderful week!  (haha did you see what I did there?)  And I want you all to go out and spread the news of hope to the world!  Christmas is an amazing time to remind everyone about Jesus Christ and that hope we can and will find through him! 

November 25th

This week I am thankful for tights and jackets.  The temperatures are dropping again, thought we did have one day at 70+ degrees.  

I am thankful for exchanges and the opportunities I have to meet and work with other sisters in the zone.  We saw many miracles during our exchange last week, one of which was a new investigator named B.

I am thankful for B.  Seriously though.  She's a little crazy but really loveable.  She called us last week asking us to pick up her medicine, which we did.  And then she called us while on exchanges asking us to pick her up and take her to get her ID (which we can't...) and we explained we couldn't and she then told us that she had been researching missionaries on the internet and there were lot's of definitions and she wanted to know what we did.  SO we had a lesson, and we're excited to teach her some more.  

I am thankful for green enchiladas.  Had some really tasty ones last night.

I am grateful for Zone Conference.  We had the amazing opportunity to go to a 5 zone. zone conference on Saturday and it was just incredible to feel the Spirit and to learn and grow so much!

I am grateful for General Authorities.  Elder Corbridge of the seventy was there and he trained us on helping people realize the big picture and to gain knowledge as we teach.  Knowledge such as what is the most important thing we can receive in this life and in the next.

I am grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide us and help us choose the right, so that we can return to live with God again and have Eternal life.

I am grateful for Mormon messages.

I am grateful for Spanish.

I am grateful for Christmas.mormon.org and for the effort the church is putting in this Christmas season to help everyone focus more on Jesus Christ.

I am grateful when the ward pianist shows up for church so I only have to play in Primary and not primary and sacrament meeting.

I am grateful for a companion who is not trunky even though she's going home in 2 weeks.  We went to help some other very trunky sisters yesterday and it was slightly painful on how they didn't really want to be doing anything. (trunky is missionary speak for mentally at home. like they couldn't unload all of the world from their trunk. Talking about celebrities, movies they want to see, etc)

I am thankful for pdays to write family, even though I'm doing it late :).  

I'm grateful for family history centers that are open because the libraries are closed.

I'm grateful for baby showers/surprise opportunities to serve and help others.

I'm thankful for opportunities to wrap a member of the ward up in toilet paper at a baby shower. 

I'm thankful for creamy carrot and sweet potato soup.  

I'm thankful for the sister missionaries who share their blender to make the really good soup.

I'm thankful for p-day activities to get macaroons at the El Paso famous Bakery.


I'm grateful for all of you and the wonderful support you give me.  I love surprise packages in the mail and knowing that even if I can't see you, you're always there to support me :)

And most of all, I am so grateful for my mission and for the chance that I have to change the world, one person at a time, and starting with me!  

I am so grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ and for the things that he did for me so that I can return to live with him.

I am so grateful for Christmas and the chance that I have to have a second christmas in the mission.  People's hearts are open and ready to learn the Gospel and I get to be a part of it!  Especially with the new program the Church is doing with "He is the Gift"  what an wonderful opportunity we have to share what we know to be true!  

November 18th

So 5 words to describe this week:
Short- it went from a Wednesday p-day to a Tuesday p-day.... super nice! 
Long- We spent a lot of time knocking doors because we're trying to understand our ward list and everyone who is still living in their house, who is not living in their house and who is active.  And we had another set of exchanges.  Super fun exchanges though because I was with HNA ESPINOZA again!  We had a great time, and it was my first time leading out in the area which was crazy.  And basically everything cancelled, but we still had a blast together.  (and it was a good thing she was with me, because I might have gone a little crazy....)

Exhausting- This word shouldn't surprise anyone.  I think it's just being a missionary, and being with the spirit and teaching with the Spirit.  And exchanges make me crazy tired.
CRAZY-  (spelled in all capital letters too)  Some super weird experiences.  Where do I start.....?  We were teaching a family about family prayer, and invited them to start right away.  So the mom invited her boys and told us that one of them likes to pray (he's like 8) so we invited him to pray and he said no.  And when his mom asked why, saying that he was a child of God and should pray, a brother of Jesus... he responded saying "No diga esto... soy hijo del Diablo!!!!" (don't say that, I'm the son of the devil).  So we sat there awkwardly, and then I suggest that maybe family prayer could just start with one child and then add the other 3 eventually.... and as we prayed the "hijo del Diablo" sat there with his tennis racquet... Hna Callaway thought he was going to hit us in the head, but he didn't (thank goodness!)
Crazy experience #2:  We were supposed to teach an investigator the word of wisdom.  She hasn't really been taking us seriously (nor the gospel) and we thought it was because we were the same age as her children.  So we thought that if we gave a big commitment and talked about obedience to God, that might change.  Well, as we started talking about obedience to God, our investigator started bashing on her children (who are recent converts... and all over the age of 20) and then what made things worse, the member we invited sided with her..... It was a loud CRAZY mess.... and really awkward too.  Maybe that should have been a word of the week.... yeah.... might have to stop visiting that investigator for a little bit....
Piojos-  We found out about the piojos last Sunday, but basically they've dominated the week.  And as such, have became a word of the week.  It's always a great experience to learn new words in Spanish.  Our investigators came to church last week with piojos... and we found out during Sacrament meeting.  And then we kept visiting them all week, but there is like no peace of mind when we go in.  But basically, we're not allowed to bring any members with us (bishop said so) until the piojos go away.  And they were not allowed to come to church (again, bishop's request), so that's the second time on my mission I have had to tell someone they are not allowed to come to church.  How wrong is that?!?  But we're hoping that they'll let us come back (after not being allowed at church) and that we can keep teaching so that they all make their baptism date.  What are piojos you ask?  Lice...... don't worry, both of us are using lice preventative shampoo, and praying like crazy that we (and the Primary) won't get it.  And we haven't yet. 
The rest of the week was filled with service, lessons, finding less actives, trying to find new investigators, working with the different sister companionships, eating lots of food, stressing about the piojos, freezing, wondering to do after 8:30 when our appointments cancel, tactfully getting out of bashy lessons, etc.  You know, the norm...
One thing that I really ponder this week is the advice that Joseph Smith received.  "All these things shall give thee experience."  Every thing we go through is for our good, our learning and our experience.  So we always have the choice to take it positively (or at least try too...) and to learn from everything.  With every crazy thing that happened this week, that's what Hna Callaway and I focused on, learning through experience to have a better future.  Everything we go through is preparing us for our future in some way or another.  I guess that's the benefit of having God be our loving Heavenly Father.  He knows what we need to go through to be better.  To become our better selves and to become better disciples of Jesus Christ.  Really, everything helps us become.  I love the word become because it is an action word, but it's something we can continually do.  WE can always work on becoming more like Christ and our everyday experiences help us with that.

November 12th

Okay so technically it was November last time I wrote you, but now, here in El Paso, it's feeling more like November.  I actually wore tights for 2 days last week... and then it became warm again and now it's windy, but hey, I like having 70 to 80 degree days in November :)
So being on a mission has made me forgetful.  I forgot my planner in the car, so I'm going to try really hard to remember what happened last week.
Wednesday was a shortish day on missionary standards because we worked until 3 and then drove AAAAALLLLL the way up to Albuquerque for missionary leadership council (or MLC).  Wednesday night was spent in the mission home with President and Sister Miller and it was just AMAZING being with them :). 
Thursday we were woken up at 5:45 by Sister Miller telling us that it was time to get up! In that dazed half a wake state, we checked our clocks/phones and then went back to bed for 45 minutes because we didn't have to be up until 6:30.  SO at 6:30we got up, exercised, got ready for the day, you know, like normal missionary mornings.  It turns out the Millers had been in El Paso since the day light saving change and all the clocks in the house were off, which is why we were woken up early.  We (the 6 sisters staying in the mission home) realized that it was early and went back to bed.  The Millers did not and ended up being at the church for MLC an hour early because of that. 
MLC was INCREDIBLE!  It was a great change to receive personal revelation to help me, my investigators and other sister missionaries serving around me.  One of the things talked about was service and how sometimes it's hard for missionaries to find service, or to fill "dead hours" during the day (usually it's from like 10-4 when people are in school or working, or just not outside).  And so the church is introducing new programs called "Just Serve" to help members, nonmembers and missionaries serve more.  Currently it's still in the growth process, and I believe the actual growth of the program depends on where you're living, but when it really gets going it will be AWESOME!  If anyone has ideas on service, or know organizations that needs service you can report them on justserve.org.  As more and more service opportunities are reported, then someone can also use the website to find ideas of service.  Each stake is going to have a committee to find service activities for the missionaries and members to do together, but anyone can use the website to serve. The purpose of the website and the just serve initiative is to help create a sense of community and service between everybody.... different religions, different ethnicities, etc.  It's to help people serve their neighbors, and to really learn to foster that Christ like charity.  So I'm really excited to see it get going (and then participate more fully when I'm back home!)
Friday I went on my first exchanges as a sister training leader!  I stayed with Sister Roedel in her area and we had a blast!  She's an incredible missionary and I think she was called to serve in English and I was called to serve in Spanish, because if we were together, things would just be too wonderful :)
The rest of the week passed by with normal missionary work!  We found a new investigator on Friday, and when we went on Saturday (and I got to meet her for the first time) we found out that she was actually baptized a very long time ago... so currently we're looking for her records. 
Sunday night we had a family night planned with a couple people in the ward.  An active family, a family returning to activity and a part member family.  We were excited to share a message on service and how we can help others.  Well, the FHE started and we waited and waited and one family showed up, and then a bunch of people we hadn't invited but whom the family hosting had invited and then finally, after we had started the part member family showed up.  And it was a great time for everyone to learn about service and talk and get to know each other!  We watched this video for the FHE... I know you've all seen it, but it never hurts to watch it again.  https://www.lds.org/media-library/video/2013-06-1031-ill-go-where-you-want-me-to-go?lang=eng
So life is awesome.  The mission is awesome.  And do you know what the awesomest thing right now is?  It's being able to read the conference talks I missed because of the flu!  So now that I actually have the Conference edition Ensign, I would like to strongly encourage everyone to read theirs and really study and ponder on the words of the living prophets and apostles.  One of the greatest blessings of my life is having the living scriptures and to be able to turn to them for guidance.  Live wasn't easy for the Israelites, so God gave them Moses and the 10 commandments, the Jews had all the prophets, thus (eventually) creating the Old Testament for guidance.  The early Christian church (after the death of Jesus Christ) had the living apostles to teach them... and they had continual revelation and guidance (creating what we now know as the New Testament), so to me, it makes so much sense that we would continue to have more revelation and guidance.  Because if life was crazy for the Israelites, and it was crazy for the early Christians, it's definitely more crazy now!  I know that Jesus Christ is our older brother and he would never leave us lost and guideless.  So take some time to really study and ponder the guidance we have received specifically for us in our day. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

November 4th

We reached transfers on Tuesday and waited a really really long time for the transfer van to come down and I was assigned to be companions with Hna Callaway again!!!!!  And the transmountain sisters became a trio (how fun is that!) So excited to be with Hna Callaway, it was such an awesome 2 transfers we had before (at the beginning of my mission) and we're going to have a rocking 1 transfer together (she goes home in December!).  So far we've hit the ground running because I just have 6 weeks to learn EVERYTHING about this area. 
 
Tuesday we had a Halloween party (#2 for me!) and I was able to meet a lot of the ward members.  While I met them, I'm not sure if I can remember all of them.... so we're still working on that.  We had some awesome investigators come to the party and we really tried to help the members fellowship these investigators so that they would feel more comfortable coming on a Sunday.
 
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were spent contact investigators, OYMing on the streets, visiting members and just trying to learn the area (driving around has really helped me pick up the area.  And I am soooo grateful for the since of direction given to me by my parents and God :) ).  Sunday we go to church and a member of the bishopric asks me if I can play the piano... and so I tell him a little, and the next thing I know is that I'm playing the prelude hymn, and the opening hymn.  And then the piano player comes and he plays the rest.  And as church goes on, I play for relief society, and I volunteered to play for primary next week too.  So, I'm hoping that practice will help and that eventually I can play something well enough for the ward to sing too... but until they, we can keep trying.  And I'm all for developing talents (and I SOOOO regret quitting piano in 11th grade...)
 
We saw a beautiful miracle on Sunday night.  We had contacted a former investigator on Saturday and she said that we could come back Sunday for a lesson.  And during the lesson we were talking about her expectations and our expectations and really just testifying how the Gospel of Jesus Christ could bless her family and it would not confuse her children.  And as Hna Callaway just kept testifying about the blessing it will bring this investigator starts to cry.  She kept telling us that she had already been told this by Hna Callaway before, but she had never seen her or met her... so it was clearly a miracle and no coincidence that we were there.  We have another lesson with her this week and we're going to see what we can do to help this tender family. 
 
Funny stories of the week:
1. We received a referral from a member in one of the English wards to come teach her housekeeper.  The lesson was a little longer than planned, and very spiritual, but we ended in trying to find the correct ward for the housekeeper to go to (she lives in Juarez).  So we found the address, found directions from her house to the building and told her that 2 congregations worshipped there, and gave her the names of the different wards.  Well, in Spanish ward is barrio, but it also means a very rough part of town, relating to gangs and cholos (or gangsters).  So when she saw barrio, she started freaking out, saying that she thought we were nice people, but that she had wasted her time in learning and getting information about the church.... it took us some time, but we were able to get her calmed down and to understand that barrio in this sense just meant congregation. 
2.  We are in the process of decluttering our apartment by getting rid of old church magazines and other things that are old or don't work.  So today we threw out an old shower curtain and an old blender, and in the process of throwing away the blender, Hna Callaway also threw away her scriptures!  Ooops.... luckily the dumpster was pretty empty and there was no real gross things inside, so she climbed in and got her scriptures (and made sure I took pictures!  Enjoy!)

 
It's been quite an adventure for me to start serving in my 3rd area as a missionary.  Sometimes I really miss Transmountain, but then again, it's only been a week, and I'm learning to love the members and the people here!  I have come to the conclusion on my mission the change is really good, it helps us grow and progress and really helps us become better people and who God wants us to become.  Without change we would become stagnant and nothing good ever comes of that.  I love being able to teach and study the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that I can help others bring change into their lives, but also so that I can more fully implement change in my life!  I just being able to apply the atonement to me, but see the growth in others as they learn too!
 
Have a wonderful week and enjoy winter/fall!  We have finally been getting fall like weather here so instead of having 70-90 degree days we've been having some rain, wind, clouds and the temperature has been staying around 60-70 degrees!  You all are incredible!  Rock on!
 

October 27th

 So since today is transfer Monday, and I have news.... I am leaving Transmountain North :(.  It is a very bittersweet moment because I have been here for almost 7 months, so I knew it would be coming, but nevertheless it is very heartbreaking to leave so many people to whom I've grown to love!

Yesterday was a hard day at church.  In the beginning they didn't announce that I was leaving and so I just thought that I could stay some more ;).  But then the bishopric told the ward that I was leaving and I was able to bear my testimony one last time to those incredible members.  

Last week was really good, for lack of better words.  We saw lots of miracles and I was given lots of opportunities to rely on the Lord, stretch and grow.

We worked diligently this week to have members out with us in our lessons.  And not just any member, but members who would help our investigators and less actives progress.  Sometimes, things work out really well, sometimes you go with the flow and sometimes you wing it.  We had all of those things this week.  But we were able to have great lessons with our investigators especially L and V.  We continued teaching L about thoughts leading to actions, and so good thoughts lead to positive actions.  We also worked on personal progress with L.  Our lessons with V really focused on answering all his questions and helping him continue reading the Book of Mormon.  It's so great to see his progress and his desire to keep learning more.

So some adventures we went through this week:  well the biggest one I can think of has been working with members.  We had a dinner with a member family last Sunday and set up a time (that worked best for their schedule) to come out with us this week.  That morning, we reminded them about the appointment, and they responded (after about 2 texts later) saying they could come! And then half and hour later cancelled on us because they had to be home to supervise cement being poured.... which would have been all find and dandy- excect they had already said yes, and the lesson was at 8PM.  I'll admit i was really really frustrated.  Especially since the same thing has happened before, and without someone at the lesson we couldn't teach.  And so after calming down and laying on our apartment floor (it was dinner time) we sent a text back saying we understood that things happen, but that we were really depending on them, and if they would either come or find someone else to come with us, we'd really appreciate that.  Guess what!  They came!  And the lesson was incredible.  

Saturday night came transfer calls.  The first call we got was from the elders at 9:15 which is very early for transfer calls.  The called us saying that they already had transfer news and it was really really bad.... and so we were all freaking out.  And then they wanted to know if we had directions to a member's house for their dinner the next night... those jerks.  And then about 9:30 the call came from President Miller calling me to become a sister training leader (so basically like a sister zone leader- so I help with exchanges and issues with the sisters in the zone).  And then about 9:45 we got the actual transfer news... with me leaving (but staying in EL PASO!) and Hna Espinoza staying in the area!  So lots on new and changes.  And i'm not going to lie, I'm terrified.  But this week I had the chance to study past conference talks and they were amazing and comforting for what was to come.  The Lord knows us individually and how to help us.

I know that we are all Children of a loving Heavenly Father who wants to help us daily.  We have to do our part, but when we do our best, we can always succeed, especially with the help of the Lord.  When we look for those daily miracles we will find them, and I love how the hand of the Lord is always in our lives!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

October 21st

So this week has been super awesome and i have like no time to write today because we are SUPER busy.  But that's life for you!

Miracle of last week probably had to be V.  He is amazing.  We received his information from the english sisters in the area and we went to visit him Thursday night.  When we knocked the door and said he were looking for V, he invited us in and was so eager to start listening to us.  We went and sat down and started teaching right away!  We asked if any of his other family members wanted to listen, and he invited his wife and daughters 
-"Who wants to come hear the word of God?"  and when no one else had any interested this was his response
-"Well one day when he comes you will wish you had listened to the word of God!"  

He's Catholic but nonpracticing and he was confused about some of their beliefs.  But he is so eager to learn and progress.  And we went back Friday and taught more and it was just incredible! 

Saturday night our ward had a PARTY!  And it was the best mexican party i've been at my whole mission!  The sad part was that it was a dance and being missionaries we couldn't dance, but it was SO MUCH FUN seeing everyone else and just being part of the same energy.  I know one of the sisters was taking pictures for facebook, hopefully you saw some of them :)

And today, as a zone we decided to go on a hike to Mammoth butte.  We started at 11:15ish and finished around 2?  But it was awesome... I really hard hike, but definitely worth everything because of the view.  Just like life actually!  Sometimes we have really hard times in life and every time we look up, life just seems to keep getting steeper and steeper, with more and more rocks.  But we know that we have a Loving Heavenly Father who is watching over all of us, and can see the grand design, instead of just the mountain!  I invite you to think of the mountains in your life this week and ponder on the "what can l learn?"  instead of the "whys?"




Monday, October 20, 2014

october 17th- ONE YEAR!

1 year.... who would have thought the time would fly by so quickly/  Okay so for me it was quick... especially since I've spent 6 months in my current area... and October is 1/2 over and the transfer ends in 2 weeks (so Monday the 27th I will be emailing.... just for a heads up).  

So this week, actually Sunday night, one of the most devastating things happened.  I lost my planner.  It fell out of my lap onto the ground as I was getting out of the car, and then we believe it blew away...  Now I think you have to be a missionary to truly understand, but yeah, for about 12 hours, it was devastating, and then I got over it, found a notebook and converted it into my planner for 2 more weeks.   But as I reflected on planners in general, it finally started to hit me what 6 months means.... and then that was devastating.  But again, it was short lived because missionary work had to be done.  

But since I lost my planner, my recollection for what happened last week is going to be lacking.  But I do remember that we spent a lot of time teaching less active members, and we spent some time finding.  

Miracles that happened:
-one of our former investigators came to church!  And we set up an appointment with him.  We had lunch with him and his wife yesterday and it was awesome!
-we had spent the last couple weeks trying to get back in contact with a family that we stopped teaching.  Sunday out of the blue, the wife texted us and invited us over Monday.  We had an AMAZING lesson last night!  Miracles exist, God loves us and his Children are prepared!  That's how I was feeling last night, hopefully y'all can vicariously feel the same.
-we had extra time last night and we decided to swing by a couple investigators whom we haven't seen in a while.  Well, one of them wasn't home and the other was!  We had an awesome lesson, invited them to church and she said she'd come!  We're seeing them again tomorrow and so hopefully it goes well!  
-we have a new ward mission leader!!!!!!!
-exchanges were amazing!  I went over the mountain with Hna P and we had a great time together, teaching, finding, etc.  
-we have a lot of potential investigators that we get to meet this week and hopefully start teaching!

I just want to let you all know that I love you and that I am so happy.  That's one thing I came to realize this week, even with everything hard going on, with people not progressing or listening, I am doing to Lord's work and I am happy.  There is really no way to describe the feelings one can get from the Lord for doing the right things.  But happy or in Spanish, estoy contenta.  I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and that through him all things can be made right.  I know that he loves me and cares about me individually.  And I know that through truly following the Gospel of Jesus Christ I can truly be happy.  

october 7th

So remember how last Monday I went to the temple.  Wow, was that really a week ago?  Well, we have more pictures from that trip :) (thanks to one of the elders).  

Well, due to that temple trip, and then a shortened p-day last week was really long.  All we wanted to do, was go back to the temple and stay there.  But that wasn't an option and therefore, we continued forward, counting down the days to General Conference.  

We spent a lot of time last week doing a couple of things.  1) Finding new investigators, 2) Reminding ward members about general conference 3) trying to get in contact with current investigators.  So that's pretty much what we did all week.  

Friday we had a wonderful zone meetings in which we talked about something.... let me pondering what we talked about for a moment.........  we talked about resources we have and using them (such as members, Preach My Gospel, etc.).  It was really good ( I promise I wrote notes to review... it was a long weekend....) and there's lots of things that we can apply into our teachings/studies to help us improve as missionaries .

And then Saturday happened!  All week I hadn't been feeling well, Thursday was allergies, Friday a head cold and Saturday I woke up feeling sick.  But it was General Conference and i was determined not to miss it.  Until I started throwing up, and realized I had the stomach flu.  So I went back to bed (miserable by the way.... not because I was throwing up, but because we were missing Conference).  In between sessions, the elders in our ward, and zone leaders came over and gave me a blessing.  The afternoon was spent sleeping, studying and watching basically every movie we own in our apartment (ie The Joseph Smith restoration movie (hour long one), Mountain of the Lord, Legacy, the Testaments, the District, etc.).

Sunday we went to the Church to watch conference.  We watched it in English, through had wished that during Elder Martinez's talk we had gone to listen to it in Spanish since that was the language it was written in.  But we had a couple investigators at conference (2 on Saturday and 1 Sunday) and we decided just to watch it in English.  And from what I saw of Conference, I LOVED IT!  (I'm listening to Saturday Morning right now...)  It is so incredible to know that we have a living prophet who guides the church.  I love how in conference, no one is assigned a topic, but how it's all chosen by revelation, and thus when talk topics overlap, it's because that's what God wants us to hear!  We are so incredibly blessed to have the opportunity to listen/watch General conference twice a year, and to be able to have modern applicable scriptures in our lives!

Yesterday was zone conference, in which President Miller, came down and we had lots of trainings and learned a lot.  Our whole focus was on using time more efficiently as missionaries to fulfill our purpose.  And do you want to know the best part?  we got to watch MEET THE MORMONS!!!!!!  Since it's coming out in theaters this week, President showed it to us, because we're not allowed to see it in theaters (part of it is kinda missionary distracting, so that's why we're only allowed to watch it once).  But it is incredible!  YOU ALL SHOULD WATCH IT.  It was cute, informative, spiritual, touching, and it just makes you laugh and smile.  So visit meetthemormons.org and find local theaters that are showing it!  And then take all your friends (and family members... and then share Elder Bednar's talk)!

Every day I'm getting better (health wise).  I was supposed to get a flu shot at zone conference, but that didn't happen ;).  I just want to let you all know that I love being a missionary, even with all the challenges we face daily.  I love knowing that we have a living Prophet and that I am part of a missionary force 88 thousand strong.  But I also love knowing that my Heavenly Father knows me personally and He cares about me personally.  He knows exactly what I'm going through and how to help me, for some reason I wasn't supposed to see conference on Saturday, but that's alright.  For some reason we're struggling to teach/find, but that's alright.  Through faith in Jesus Christ, and then action upon that faith, anything is possible!

september 30th

So probably the most interesting that we did last week was go to the temple, oh and the Women's broadcast (I almost forgot about that).  The rest of the week was long, tiring and slow.  But I guess that's what you expect when you have the temple trip to look forward too.
 
We spent a lot of time finding people to teach, but we haven't had very much success.  So we're praying and pondering on what we can do to reach out to more people and invite more people to act and learn more about Jesus Christ.  Luckily, conference is this weekend and it's going to be AMAZING.  And then to make this week even better, we are having ZONE CONFERENCE on Monday.  So it's a weekend full of Conferences.
 
Friday we had district meeting, and guess who was there!  Sister Callaway!  She was called as a Sister Training leader down south and so we got to see each other again! 

 
Saturday was the women's broadcast!!!!! While none of our investigators went, there were a couple less actives there and I am very content with the number of sisters who went (especially the one who realized how it important it was, and since her husband works out of town, brought all 4 of her children :) ).  It was just incredible to hear the words of our inspired leaders and to receive answers to questions I had been pondering.  These past couple weeks leading up to conference we have been inviting everyone to write down their questions.  While, I myself have been slacking and have not written any questions, but I know that the Lord knows me personally because I still received answers to the questions I was pondering.
 
And then yesterday.  It's a 4 hour drive to and from the temple, but let me tell you, it was worth every minute of it.  After yesterday, I am so grateful that at home (and then when I go back to school) I'll be within 10 minutes of a temple.  I definitely know that I took that for granted before my mission and it took 5 months of not being able to go that helped me realize how wonderful the temple really is.  With the stresses of everyday life, and then the stresses of missionary life and worrying about your investigators and then everything else under the sun (sometimes that's how it feels) it felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders the longer I was in the temple.  The love that heavenly Father has for me, and everyone was reconfirmed and I just want to go back so badly! 

 
Then we started home to El Paso.  (haha home... :) for now at least).  And we had almost made it to Las Cruces when bang!  The tire went out.  But luckily there were several miracles.  1. No one else was around us when it happened and we were able to pull to the side of the road, and fix the tire.  2.  Brother Bishop was able to fix it all relatively quickly.  3. It wasn't raining, and the lighting that we saw over El Paso, stayed over El paso.  4.  Everyone had been wearing seatbelts (mine had problems earlier in the trip, but was working fine when the tire went flat).  And so currently I'm 2 for 2 on temple trips and tire problems.  And everyone decided that I'm cursed and so, for the next temple trip I better be serving in an area closer to ABQ or else I'll send up 3 for 3. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

September 23rd

If I had to summarize this week up in one word I'd probably say it's been a week of change.  Change in investigators, change in weather, change in leadership, but hey, change is AWESOME.

So to start, transfers were Tuesday.  On Monday we met as a zone to say good bye and take pictures.  Well, a zone picture never happened, but the elders did get a hold of my camera and take a ton of pictures.

  Hermana Espinoza and I stayed together and we made some awesome goals together, and so far, for this transfer we're doing our best to fulfill them.  With all the changes in missionaries, we got a new district leader, and he's great, I'll explain more later.

Changes that happened throughout the week.  We met with L (14 year-old investigator) and we were frank with her.  She really likes us coming over to talk and listen to her, but she wasn't coming to church, she wasn't reading and she wasn't praying.  And we just told her that if she didn't read, we can't come over.  Well, we then went over on Wednesday, and guess what, she had read!  

Wednesday we also had a great lesson with a new investigator.  We had met her Saturday while walking down the street and we told her a little about what we do and she invited us back.  We taught about the Restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invited her to pray about our message to see if it was true and then we invited her to be baptized.  And she said YES!  We're seeing her again tomorrow, so I'll let you know how it goes.

A couple weeks ago, we contacted a referral received from some other elders and set up a return lesson.  But they cancelled, and it was a cancellation at the door, knowing they were home (how?  Well, the truck was in the driveway, the tv was on inside and you could hear people).  We had gone back a couple times and it was the same situation.  But last week we decided to swing by, and the front entry way to the front door was unlocked so we could actually get to knock the door.  Well, the same thing again, noises, truck and no one answered.  But as we were leaving the through came to me to leave a note.  And I shrugged it off, and we kept walking, and then at the end of their driveway I stopped, turned to my companion and said, let's leave a note.  So we did.  Then later we got a call from the lady, asking us to come the next day.  We went, had a lesson, prayed over the house (to rid it of evil spirits) had a great spiritual lesson, invited S to be baptized and set a date with her!  Since then, we haven't seen her, but we're not going to give up yet!

And last week, was the quince for one of the yw in the ward.  And since they're less actives, we went by to see if we could help and just build a relationship with them.  Well, we were over at the B house Thursday and Friday and it was great to help... We just spent a lot of time serving last week.

Friday was district meeting again, and our new district leader talked about the Holy Ghost, and the different aspects of the Spirit, such as the gift of the holy ghost, the power of the Holy Ghost and the gifts of the spirit.  It was great to learn more and to really ponder how the Holy Ghost communicates to me, such as telling me to write that note to Staci.  I think often that I miss those little impressions because I think too much, but as Elder Bednar once said, if it's good, then stop thinking about it and do it.  Action is really everything.

Sunday we met with the bishop and his counselor.  This ward is really wonderful! The new bishop is in the process of changing around callings so everyone has 1, so that those strong members won't have so much to do, and those slightly less strong members will be given chances to strengthen their weaknesses.  We still don't have a ward mission leader, but we're working on it, and can really feel  the support from the ward. Sunday, L also came to church!  Her ride, called 11 times and rang the doorbell 5.  But her persistence worked (and maybe the bribery of chocolate chip cookies too) and L enjoyed her time there.

Yesterday we work up to a thunder storm, lightening and the phone's flood warning going off, all about 5 or 6 in the morning.  Luckily we had planning, and by the time we finished the streets were pretty dry.  Cause that's how it is here, the rains come really quickly, and then the streets flood, and then it all goes down really quickly.  Well, by 4 it was raining and flooding again 

.  So we carefully drove around, then parked the car for a little to contact a couple recent converts.  Then the water had gone down a little and we visited some members to give them Book of Mormons to write their testimony in.  Dinner was with the M family and then we met with L again.

Sunday night, the district leader always calls us for our numbers.  These are just used to make sure we're meeting goals, and actually doing missionary work.  But one think that stuck out to me this week was what Elder Hurtado asked us at the end of the call.  "Did you do your best?"  In life we don't always do everything we plan to do, or that we want to do, but the most important thing is if we do our best.  Are we doing our best at being sons and daughters of God?  Are we doing our best to serve others?  Are we doing our best to be disciples of Jesus Christ?  I know that I can always improve, that my best can always be a little better, but one day, when I get home from my mission, or one day when I finally return home to God's presence I want to be able to say yes, that I did my best.  

This week, I want you all to think about that question.  Are you doing your best, at what GOD  wants you to do, not necessary on what you want to do.  He doesn't expect us to be perfect, but He does expect us to do our best, and he will make up the rest.  I love you all and I hope you have an amazing wonderful week!  Go out and do your best!

September 15th

Since I'm emailing on a Monday, it means transfers are upon us, and here's the big news......... (drum rooooooooollllllll)..........  I'm staying HERE in Transmountain North, with Hna Espinoza!  :)  We're excited to have another great transfer together!  And we're going to blow this area out of the water- we're so ready to go to work and find all those amazingly prepared people!  

So this week, like the last couple has been different.  We're still in the finding phase because people aren't progressing towards baptism/coming to church.  We spent a lot of time street contacting and looking for people who are prepared to learn the gospel, and it's been a little harder.  We didn't teach many lessons last week, but that's all going to change because we're going to keep working hard.

But even in the slowest weeks, miracles happen :).  And one thing that I realize i have to do is when I'm feeling down is to go back and look at the miracles.  So here are some miracles from last week:

-we met some amazing people and have return appointments this coming week
-we had some amazing lessons with less active members
-I didn't die from eating too much food :) (one night a sister fed us 4 enchiladas, beans, pasta, cheesecake, and an ice cream bar.... which really isn't that much compared to some meals we get, but my stomach was not happy)
-my pizza craving was fulfilled twice :)
-we got to help a less active family prepare for their daughter's quince (nope, not with helping with a cake... this time it was decorations)
-finding out that one of my investigators in Montana Vista was baptized last week! (It was C!)
-the S's keep slowly progressing and reading!  It's always great to go to their lessons and answer all their questions!

Yep, many miracles this week :)

One thing that really stuck out to me this week was the Book of Mormon.  I just love the Book of Mormon and the knowledge that it gives us. To me, as I read the Book of Mormon and the Bible, things just become more clear, easier to understand.  As i was studying the Book of Mormon, I came across this scripture in Doctrine and Covenants, talking about the Book of Mormon.

DyC 84:54-58 
And your minds in times past have been darkened because of unbeliefand because you have treated lightly the things you have received.Which vanity and unbelief have brought the whole church under condemnation. And this condemnation resteth upon the children of Zioneven all. And they shall remaiunder this condemnation untithey repent and remember the new covenanteven the Book oMormon and the former commandments which have givethem, not only to say, but tdo according to that which I have written- That they may bring forth fruit meet for theiFather’s kingdom; otherwise there remaineth scourge and judgment to be poured out upon the children of Zion.

I think it's the same as with the Saints at that time.  We have been given the Book of Mormon and I feel like we often take it for granted.  We take lightly what we have received and how to use it.  We have the responsibility to read, study, ponder and teach the Book of Mormon.  I love the Book of Mormon and I just wanted to share that love with everyone!
One thing we started this week was inviting members of the ward to write their testimonies in copies of the Book of Mormon and then we're taking a picture and placing it with the testimony to give away to families and people we start teaching.  I learned about this through reading an old General Conference talking (President Benson from 1988- Flooding the earth with the Book of Mormon) and thought that maybe if people could see that others have a testimony and that their normal people who live in El Paso, it would help others grow their own testimony!