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 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 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  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.
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.