Sunday, April 27, 2014

Flash Flood (april 16-22)

I think this week is better show in pictures :)  Well, words and pictures.
One of my favorite secular traditions for Easter is dying eggs.  Well, last Tuesday we received the news that one of the sisters in the ward was in the hospital and our relief society president wanted us to go over and visit the family.  So we boiled eggs, and colored eggs with the kids, sharing a short Easter message afterwards:

Wednesday we had a couple lessons, one of which was with a member's friend who owns a burrito truck.  He made some really good burritos :) 

  And we had an awesome lesson with a family.  The husband has been going to church for the past 2 weeks but we had never been able to have a lesson with him or his wife.  Finally we were able to set up a lesson and they're just amazing!  And they both were at church this week!   They're just amazing :)
The rest of the week went really well too.  We had exchanges Thursday and we just saw so many miracles. 

 We had a lesson with a 17 year old friend of one of our members and we asked him why he wanted to learn more about the Gospel.  He said that he has a lot of friends that are members and that they're always happy and he wants that in his life too.  It was such a beautiful lesson.  We asked what his plans are after high school, and he told us he wants to serve a mission.  His parents are different religions, so they aren't as excited about him studying with us, but we're excited to teach him when we can.  And then we had another miracle when the YM leader went out with us to visit a family of teenage investigators.  We had called the day before to confirm they'd be home, and we got there as everyone had gotten home.  The teenagers weren't home, and the mom said she didn't have time for a lesson.  But she agreed to a 20 minute lesson and the dad even joined us.  It gave us a chance to talk about families, what goals they have for their families, and what they want to do.  And then how the church and all the wonderful programs can help the youth.  They couldn't come to church on sunday, because of being out of town, but said they'd meet us at the church tonight for mutual!  We're super excited :)
Friday.  First we learned that dairy queen sells lent specials, I guess that means we're in the South... and in a highly Catholic area  :) 

 Our adventure of the day started well, when we were in the middle of a lesson when it started raining.  And rain in Texas is usually a few drops, 10 minutes, light call it good.  Well, this rain was rain and Seattle heavy rain.  So the Texans were like "this is weird rain"  and my companion and I (she's from Portland), were just like "oh, normal rain."  But then it didn't stop.  And it got harder.  And it started hailing.  And we decided it wasn't "normal" anymore.  Well, we ended or lesson, grabbed garbage bags from the investigator and ran out to our car.  Which no longer was in a street.  It was in a river.  We made it to our car, and then started driving away, trying to stay in the shallowest areas possible.  And then we get this text.

  We as missionaries we couldn't check local media, (just fyi, the sisters would have been forgiven for checking the news or radio to see what was going on in this situation. They were just being extremely obedient) so we just made a quick decision, that we'd rather be stuck at our dinner appointment, than in our apartment, so we drove there- trying to avoid deep areas.  I don't quite know how successful we were... but we made it .  Dinner was amazing- such great food.  And good company too.  And at about 7ish-after dinner and a lesson (so roughly an hour and 30-45 minutes after it stopped raining) we headed out   And had an amazing lesson later that night :)

Sunday, was easter.  We had normal church, with some really good talks on Christ.  And then we had dinner with the ward mission leader and his wife.  We had tacos :)  And oh, they were so good.  Other than that it was just a normal missionary day.  We had a lesson cancel and so we went to visit a less active sister who is less active because of her health and some other things and we talked about Christ and sang her a song- I know that my Redeemer lives, and it was so beautiful.  And then we went to another less active lesson, got in the middle of a family argument, and decided after listen to it for a while (and trying to help) we needed to bring the spirit into our lesson before we left.  So we sang "There is a Green Hill Far Away" and it was a beautiful way to send the lesson.  I think we should use songs more often.
Yesterday we had an awesome lesson with the V family (4915).  We taught a basic plan of Salvation lesson with sidewalk chalk (which I learned is jis in Spanish... you say it kinda like he's).  And we had them all draw themselves in the Celestial Kingdom because that's their goal.  The mom (who isn't a member) told us that it seems like a lot of work, and she's right it can be.  We have to follow the commandments, make covenants, be good people, teach our families to do the same- but as they say in Spanish "vale la pena" it's worth the pain.  Nothing is going to be greater than being able to be together as a family in the celestial kingdom with God someday.  It will make every sacrifice worth it, every pain, every bad thing.  Everything will be worth it.  Vale la pena. 
I love you all and I hope you have a fantastic week filled with fun, and birthdays and just enjoying Spring!  Remember the Easter Spirit and carry it with you the rest of the year!  I love you all and can't wait to let you know how the temple goes next week!  I'm SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!

Cake Boss (april 9-15)

So this past week was crazy.
Tuesday: Monday the night before we had a great experience contacting a 16 year old teenager, and he invited us back Tuesday to teach his family, and they're awesome!  Such a cute little family and we've had several lessons with them since, the only problem is getting them to church, because they visit family in Juarez every weekend.  Our member help Tuesday was such a trooper, she's over 9 months pregnant (we didn't know this when we called her) and we accidentally kept her out late... but she was amazing.
All our appointments cancelled.  We didn't know why.  We still don't know.  But we still had a couple awesome lessons.
We decided to swing by a member's house and met her, since we really didn't know anyone because of General Conference and not having normal church.  So we get to Hna P's house and it's clear she doesn't want us there.  So we talk a little and try to get to know her and finally she's like "hermanas, I'm really busy right now."  And we offer to help, and she agrees.... so we help make a QUINCENERA CAKE.  Yeah, how awesome is that?  We were put in charge of "gluing"/frosting castle towers together.  We helped a little and then went to dinner and a lesson and then when our appointment after dinner cancelled we went back and helped again, this time learning how to work with fondant.  And we talked about how she's the seminary teacher, and how we'd love to help teach one morning, and so she gives us Friday's lesson plan, and tell us to be at her house at 5:45ish.
We taught seminary.  Went home, got ready for the rest of the day, studied, had district meeting and then returned to Hna P's to see if she needed anymore help.  And she had us decorate/frost the designs on the cake.  And then we had a dinner with a less active, who is so cute.  She visited people with us on Sunday and was so excited to be helping the missionaries.  It was another night in which all appointments cancelled, and so we were headed to one appointment, and the car wasn't there, and it didn't look like any lights were on.  So we parked, wondering if we even needed to go try, but in an act of faith, prayed, got out of the car and walked to the front door, realizing that the front door was actually open, and our investigator, L was home!  It was truly a miracle for us, and we taught a great first lesson.
Normal missionary work.  Hna P had taken pictures of us helping with the cake and posted it on facebook ( or el face, as everyone here calls it) and so every member we saw thought we had make the quince cake (it was for a yw in the ward...).  We have this awesome Hermana that we're teaching.  She lives in mexico and came to visit her daughter, because she wants her yerno (son-in-law) to baptize her.  So we're in the process of teaching her.
First time for church in the new area!  We spoke a little in sacrament, just like a testimony, but church was great because we got to actually meet the members.  And we had a couple investigators there!
Awesome lesson with the C family (family of the teenager we taught Tuesday).  We just taught the teens last night, so a 12, 14 and 16 year old and it was an amazing lesson.  We opened it to a Q&A so that they could ask us anything and we'd answer, and we ended up teaching about the first vision and the restoration.  The Spirit was so strong.   One of the girls had been struggling with the idea if God is real and if he really answers prayers, because she feels like she never gets answers, but she was just overwhelmed by the Spirit during the first vision.  I am so excited to keep teaching them.
I love you all, and I hope you have a great week!  I was reading in Alma 30 this morning for my personal study and I found this scripture "Now if a man desired to serve God, it was his privilege; or rather, if he believed in God it was his privilege to serve him."  What a blessing and a privilege that I had to serve the Lord for these past 6 months.  And I am so excited to learn, grow, serve and develop further this next year.  Time goes by so fast, why not use the most of it?
Don't forget the awesome blessings we have in serving the Lord.  Easter is this weekend and it's such a wonderful time of year!  Through the Atonement of Christ we can overcome all the obstacles of this life to return to live with God again, what a wonderful thing to celebrate and to share with people! 
"For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground; he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him there is no beauty that we should desire him.He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.  Surely he has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows; yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed." 
I hope you all have a wonderful Easter and that you take time to think about Jesus Christ and how hopeful this season is.  How everything that we look forward to in this life and in the next happened and can happen because of the Atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I know that He is our Savior and that through him we can truly be healed of everything. 

Conference and Transfers! (april 1-8)

I absolutely have no idea where to start telling you about this week!  Except that transfers and conference were both absolutely amazing!
Let's start with last Monday.  So I emailed you all and then Hna Wilcoxson and I went and got pedicures at the Milan school.  They had a spring deal!  And oh, they were so nice.  And then I went home and packed.
Tuesday: TRANSFER DAY!!!!
We went to the transfer site and waited for companions and guess what!  My companion and I WASHED an area!  So we're both brand new and trying to figure things out.  But it's been an amazing experience.  My companion is Hna Biancardi and she's from Portland, so the Pacific Northwest is represented again! 
But yes, we were told at the transfer site that we were washing an area, and then give a set of keys, but now address.  But then we found one of the elders who was leaving and he handed us the address, so we knew where we were headed :)  And that elder's parting words were "sorry the apartment is a little messy, but the area book is up to date."  The area book is where we keep track of all the investigators and less actives, so we know what they've been taught, how often they've been taught and what members helped teach them.  Well... we were worried by the "little messy" statement but happy to hear that they area book is updated.  Well... let me tell you, the apartment was clean, and the area book was not very updated.  I think we would have rather had it the other way.
But we got into our area, figured out dinners, met the relief society president, the bishop and did some quick grocery shopping.  We are in the Transmountain North area,which is considered the Northeast part of el Paso.  It's north and west of my last area :)  But it's just amazing.  We're surrounded by Fort Bliss and just love meeting all these new people.  The hardest part though is that we keep finding amazing people who speak English or prefer Church in English.  Luckily we have some amazing English sisters here who work in the same area we do!
Wednesday, Thrusday, Friday:
We spent time going through the area book and then contacting investigators, ward members, old investigators and less actives.  Washing an area is so much fun!  I love it so much.  It's difficult because you don't know anybody and so you have to start building relationships, but there are no previous conceptions about people, because both companionships are new.  And my companion is just amazing!  She is go good at talking to everybody!  We've had so many miracles because of that this week! 

Saturday, Sunday:
Conference!  General Conference is amazing!  I don't quite have enough words to explain it.  Besides being incredible.  We had a miracle too (well, we have miracles daily... but this one was amazing).  Saturday between sessions, we were waiting at the church and a man came knocking on the doors.  He had talked to the missionaries in the past but had been too busy to come to church.  Well, since then his scheduled had calmed down and he stopped by Saturday to see what times the services were in.  We invited him to conference and he came on Sunday!  How amazing is that.  And we have an appointment with him and his wife tomorrow! 
Another miracle of the week happened yesterday:  We were teaching a lesson that went really long (like 30 minutes long, but it only ended up being an hour anyways...) but it was such a good lesson.  The dad has a tendency to go off topic, but we were able to stay on topic and teach about the gospel of Jesus Christ and answer all the mom's questions.  We also invited them to be baptized after they pray and receive and answer that the Book of Mormon is true, and the dad said he would, and the mom kinda just nodded her head.  She's incredible and has been reading the book of Mormon.  The family is really going to go amazing places :)... But yes, we had this lesson and then we were late to our other lesson, but as we walked to the door, a teenage boy walked past us, and we started talking to him.  Well it turns out he was going to the same place as our appointment and they weren't home.  So we stood outside their door and taught Edgar a lesson.  And gave him a Book of Mormon.  And then as we were teaching the family showed up and we got the sister's information and scheduled a return appointment.  But as we did this, the two teenage boys were talking about Jose Smith and the book of Mormon and how Edgar was excited to read it, and how the other one, was excited to learn more too!  HOW COOL IS THAT?
So yes, missionary work this week has been amazing and awesome and wonderful and just so full of miracles.  And conference just makes everything better!  I can't wait to go back and study the complete talks next month in the Ensign!

Transfers (Mar 26-31)

Hi y'all it's transfer time again!  And guess who's getting transferred!  Me!  I'm not going to lie, I am so excited!  It's going to be so much fun.  Transfers are bittersweet because I have to say goodbye to people, but I'm so ready to go meet more wonderful people in the general El Paso area!  So i'll let you know next week, where I end up, but I know for sure I'm staying in El Paso.
So this week, was long, short, fast, busy, crazy and I don't quite know what happened.  We were on bikes again and got stranded a couple times but life works out and we were able to get everywhere we needed to go. 
Friday morning we had the funeral for the husband of a less active sister.  It was at the St. Pious (I think that's right...) Catholic Chapel of El Paso and it was probably the most beautiful Catholic church I've been in.  The stain glass windows were so pretty.... if only I wasn't a missionary, and not a funeral and then I would have taken pictures.  But after the funeral we were stuck!  And had to call a member to come pick us up, so it was a really funny experience.  And later that night we visit the Hermana who's husband had just died to see how she was doing and got stranded at her house until 10 because we called a member to give her a blessing and had to wait until after because no one else was able to pick us up.
Saturday:  we both woke up sick (1 because all the missionaries around us are sick and 2 probably because of stress... missionary life :) ).  And so we didn't leave the apartment until our first set appointment- 2:30.  But had a lesson and then dinner early (because of the women's broadcast) with a less active family.  And she came to the women's conference.  But we also went on splits Saturday night, so that I could get this less active sister to conference and that Hermana Wilcoxson could get a disabled sister to the conference.  Well, we get there late and then we get a call from Hna that they had a flat tire.  So I didn't enjoy the first part of conference because I was trying to figure out that whole situation.  Luckily the zone leaders where at conference and we were able to send them to go help.  But I didn't enjoy the middle of conference because I was worried about what was happening and couldn't get in contact.  And then for the last talk they showed up so I could breathe, but by then I couldn't focus.  So eventually I will need to go back and restudy the conference.  And then I think it's enough General Women's conference until after my mission ;)  Just kidding.  (Want to watch it again, or for the first time...
So we went home from conference, and then got transfer calls.  And so Sunday and today are goodbye days.  And we had a really good lesson yesterday with a couple that I'm going to really miss.  They kinda dropped off the face of the earth but texted us this week and said they were home so we had amazing lessons! 
Love you all and I hope you have an awesome spring break!  Enjoy conference!  I am so excited for General Conference!  I mean, how awesome is general conference?  We get to listen to the prophet and the apostles.  In fact this week I came up with
10 Reasons General Conference is better than Christmas
1.General Conference happens twice a year!  Christmas is only once
2.It last 2 days.  Two days, times twice a year is 4 days of awesomeness (plus the women's meetings the weekend before :) )
3. It answers life searching questions.  Christmas doesn't do that.
4.We learn the teachings/words of Christ.  Christmas is nice cause we celebrate his birth, but it we can't get to heaven just by celebrating. 
5. We get to listen to the words of a living prophet.  How awesome is Pres Thomas S. Monson?
6. Pres Dieter F. Uchtdorf.  He get;s his own number cause he's so awesome.
7. Elder Jeffery R. Holland.  He's amazing too.
8. All the other talks are amazing too, so we can't forget about all them of them.  Everyone is like a different present.  Even Christmas doesn't have that many presents.
9. We get to relive Conference in the Ensign.  And online.  Reliving conference just doesn't happen that way.
10. The choirs!  Christmas has great music but it's always fun to figure out what choir is going to sing in conference.  Like missionaries, families, or MoTab!  So yes, the music is awesome too.