Monday, November 17, 2014

Hermano Oscar

Hermano Oscar was so ready to be baptized.  It is amazing to see how much the gospel can change a life when you truly learn to follow Christ.

These are the notes we wrote to Oscar about how much he has changed.  I know he will love to read them and look back on this day.

Hermano Oscar's Familia

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Mexico Week 38 -- The Happiest I Have Ever Been

To my favorite people in the whole world, 


Let me just tell you about this incredible week!! 

I would also like everyone to know that I used my coat two times this week!! I took the inner liner out, but the Utah coat was used! Ha! Ha!  Now it is hotter again.  Somebody would think I was back in Texas with these crazy temperatures bouncing around!

We also had exchanges this week with the Sister Training Leaders ... one day before the baptism. It was a little hard for the control freak to leave her area again!  Ha! Ha!  I worked with Hermana Cuazitl.  She finishes her mission in 3 weeks! At night we were listening to music and then a talk from Henry B. Eyring started. He talked about being in the room where they assign missionaries to their missions. He talked about seeing our faces flash upon the screen and just knowing where we needed to go. He used a phrase ¨the Lord knows your face¨ about 3 times and I felt the strongest spirit. I knew it was true. He truly does know and love us and He knows the desires of our hearts. He knows our potential and He knows exactly where He needs us. I completely believe that my mission call was inspired and I am exactly where the Lord needs me. Wow, the Spirit is great. 

Exchanges are key for we get up super early in the morning and have to travel and sometimes we travel with wet hair and no makeup, but we are official Subway travelers.  We even have the card! 

Now for the best part of the whole week!! Thursday Hermano Oscar had his baptismal interview and well I’m a Rawe and so I worry and I had to start telling Hermana Malacara about all of the Disneyland rides so that I was distracted and not wanting to throw up. Ha! Ha!  He passed with flying colors and comes out all red eyed and said it was a really special experience. He tells me ¨You’ll be there the day I get married in the temple¨!  Wow, I felt the strongest spirit and well, it’s just the truth! I’ll give up anything to be able to go! 

So, the day of the baptism arrives. We leave in the morning to go to work and we visited one of our investigators Anabel. We found her about a week and a half ago and she just needs lots of help. We asked her to say the closing prayer and it was the most sincere prayer I have ever heard in my life. She just kept saying ¨Heavenly Father help me, help me leave the drugs, help me be a better mom, help me find the truth, give me understanding¨ it was just sincere. Leaving there and thinking about the baptism I think we were a little tender hearted and then...I SEE THE CAT. I literally almost cried in the street. We went to the closest store (because they are on like every corner here) and bought some cat food. I just wanted to bathe him, but we left him with some food and we left broken hearted!!  Mom, you’ll be happy to know I DID NOT pick him up!

We got to the church for the baptism.  We had so many problems with the baptismal font and all of the hermanos were filling it up at about 7 o´clock with buckets and freezing cold water.  What an adventure! So many people went to the baptism. Two of Hermano Oscar’s siblings, his parents, two cousins, his wife, his three kids, and a ton of ward members! We had to start in the chapel because so many people were there. Hermana Elsa (his mom) and his uncle shared two talks.  They did great!  Then Hermana Malacara and I sang ¨Yo se que vive mi Señor¨ with a Paul Cardall arrangement that I had. We had like two weeks practicing and Friday my throat started hurting so much and I was coughing two days straight. I was so nervous and thinking ¨noooooo, it’s his favorite hymn and we have to sing it pretty!¨ I just started praying that we would be able to invite the spirit with the hymn. We started singing and what do you think?  No sore throat!! I was singing with my whole heart and trying not to cry because everyone I made eye contact with was crying, but ahh, it was just awesome. I love the Spirit, I love that hymn, and I love the Savior.

Afterward, Hermano Oscar was baptized. We all wrote him notes as he was changing and afterward his wife, and his hermano Jose shared their testimonies about how he had changed. They talked about seeing the kid and receiving a husband and brother again, both with tears in their eyes. Then Hermano Oscar shared his testimony. WOW!  He is so strong, so converted, and he is going to bring his whole family with him! It was just an incredible baptismal service and I’ll never forget it. I have been walking on clouds for days. 

Sunday, he arrived at church with mom, and then came his wife and their three kids and then about halfway through sacrament meeting ... Jose shows up! He came all by himself! This is the same kid that told us that he didn’t want to hear anymore ... shows up to church by himself! Wow!! They talked about temples and the importance of being sealed in the temple as a family and Hermano Oscar sent us a wink. We took a picture after church on Sunday.  Mexicans never smile in pictures.  Seriously! Check out the first picture. Then Jose says ¨Nooo, I don’t want this purse in the picture¨!!  Everyone starts dying laughing and the second picture is the most beautiful thing in the whole world!! 

Nehebka, the son of Hermano Oscar, asks me on Sunday ¨Hermana, when I get baptized and go to the temple to do baptisms, do I have to wait a long time?¨ I told him, as soon as your dad rents his house here, you and your mom can get baptized. You can go to the temple in two years. Later, Hermano Oscar tells us that leaving the baptism Saturday night his son says ¨Dad, I want to get baptized. How many more lessons do I need? Which ones am I missing?¨ Tears came to my eyes so fast.  Kids are so special, they are so sensitive to the Spirit, and they just want to follow the Lord. Wow, just a little tender moment :)

I love these people. I love them a whole lot, and I love the Lord. I love my mission and I love what I’m doing. It’s hard, sometimes it’s discouraging, every week is the challenge of what more can I do, how can I work harder, but it is so rewarding. There is nothing like the joy of serving a mission. It just makes me sad that it’s passing by faster and faster.  We’re going to come back and visit right??!!  I am the most happy I have ever been in my whole life.  I just want to live every moment to the fullest and do everything possible for these people here. 

I love you all tons!  Happy Thanksgiving this week! Eat some turkey for me! Be good! Love you all to the moon and back! 

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Family Home Evening

First things first, we hosted FHE this week! Our ward has a weekly FHE but to tell the truth, it’s super boring. It’s like another Sunday class and the attendance is struggling. We offered to teach this week to mix things up a little bit. 

Please enjoy the photo of people trying to move a cookie from their forehead to their mouths with nothing more than their face muscles! Ha! Ha! Gracias StuCo years! 

We talked about developing our talents and had people in groups draw themselves and other group members wrote their talents inside.  We brought fruit for our refreshments and it was a HIT!! 

We got so many compliments and we’re teaching again this week about obedience.  Get ready for a scripture scavenger hunt! 

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Mexico Week 37 -- The Power of a Testimony

Hello dear sweet family!

This week was awesome!! So the good news is, I’m not sick anymore! Woo Hoo!!! Back to eating and everything! 

Okay now to explain the pictures. Enjoy our little skeletons! They make them out of sugar here with lots of colors and well, I’m a fan. 

And well, you just have to love a good Sunday selfie. 

 November 5, 2014 was a legendary day in my life. It was a little chilly here! I put tights on because I was cold! I am officially a wuss! I was all bundled and I loved it! I live in a dream city! 

We are finding so many investigators. We have whole days where we are in the houses of investigators.  Now we’re just lacking getting the ward more involved and excited! Wish us luck! 

This week we found two new investigators, Miguel y Jasmin. Miguel is an old investigator of the Elders, and we just barely found him after looking for a while! They’re not married, and only have two months together, but they are so humble. They are so sincere with strong desires to come unto Christ. We have to teach them super slow, but they are precious. I love working with them! 

I know that you are all asking about Oscar!! Well guess what?  He’s getting baptized on Saturday! Woo Hoo!!! He has 12 days without smoking and last His testimony is incredible. One night his mom got mad about who knows what and we couldn’t have the lesson there.  We get in the car with Oscar and his family and we go and park and have a lesson there in the car. I’m telling you guys, the most powerful moments in my life have been in cars! We started talking about daily scripture study and he shares the most powerful testimony. With tears in his eyes, he tells us that this is the only true church. He says that not all of them bring us to God’s presence, they bring us a little closer, but they don’t bring us there. He feels so much joy and has received so many blessings and he shares his testimony of Christ and the Book of Mormon, with literal tears in his eyes. He wants to share the gospel so much and says, “I literally do not know where I would be without it. Let’s just say the whole car was in tears. It was one of the most powerful moments on my mission where I saw that people do change. They do turn it around.  They really can know for themselves and have strong life changing testimonies. This is what it means to come unto Christ. 

Hermano Oscar says that happiness is so close but so many people don’t see it or they choose not to see it. I realized this week that so many people feel bad. It’s impossible to not feel bad for our sins, for our mistakes. So many people are carrying that type of load because they don’t know how to alleviate it (I’m not sure if that’s the right word. I just asked my companion what aliviar was in English, but you know what I mean). We have to help them, we have to help them find and experience what Oscar has. 

I was reading a lot of General Conference talks this week and a story really, really touched me. One night a dad calls the whole house for family scripture study. They all have bad attitude, but they start reading, he notices that his daughter doesn’t have her scriptures and sends her to her room to bring them. She takes ten years and when she returns says, “Do we really have to do this right now?”  He’s trying to stay calm and says yes because it’s what the Lord wants.  She gets more annoyed and says, “I really, really don’t want to do this right now!”

The Dad loses it and says, “This is my house and in my house we read the scriptures!!”  He had raised his voice and hurt her feelings and she goes to her room crying. He goes to his room and kneels and starts praying about how to bring the peace back into his home. The idea comes to say he’s sorry. He keeps praying and the same idea comes. He goes to his daughter’s room and knocks a few times and then enters and finds her crying. He kneels at the side of the bed and says he’s sorry and that he didn’t want to hurt her.

She opens her scriptures and reads Mosiah 3:19 that talks about the natural man. The dad is thinking here comes the sass about how this scripture was written for him.  The daughter then says, “I’m sorry Daddy.  I’m really sorry.”  The Dad realizes that she was applying the scripture to herself. They hugged real tight and then have family scripture study in peace. 

I have been thinking so much about humility and how it’s a really important trait that I want in my home. We all have weaknesses, we all lose it, but I think the most important is being able to say, I’m sorry, my bad, and just being humble, taking responsibility for our weak moments. I loved it, reading this story brought tears to my eyes as I realized how much we used this in our home. Neither kids nor parents are perfect, and we both have to apologize, be humble, and work it out. I loved it growing up.  My parents weren’t afraid to admit when they messed up and apologize for it.  It’s exactly what I want in my home and in my marriage, and in the meantime, in my companionship. 

Let us all be humble and strengthen our testimonies. It’s going to be a great week! 
Love y’all tons! 

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Mexico Week 36 -- We Can Be His Hands

Boy is it great to be living life in Tlaquepaque. Leaving the little cyber thing where we wrote you guys last week, this young chap gives me the biggest smile and passes, then comes back and says ¨Where are you from?¨ .. he thinks he’s really smooth.  I started telling him that we are missionaries and we share a message about Christ and his whole face changes .. He said, “Oh, thanks” and starts walking away.  My companion starts dying laughing and I did too.  The stories I have from things that have happened to me in the street here. 

I think I will always tell y’all that I love music. We are preparing something to sing at Hermano Oscar’s baptism and I just love singing! I love playing with music!  I have no talent whatsoever, but it does make me really, really happy! 

Fun Fact! KFC exists here and we ate there today! Wahoo!! 

Please enjoy my Halloween pictures! Ha! Ha! I think I’m pretty clever with the black dress and orange scarf .. Can’t let a Holiday slip past me! 

Hermano Oscar just keeps amazing us! We called him one night to see how it was going with cigarettes and after seeing how he’s doing he says,  ¨Hermanas do you understand that I could never repay either of you?  I can’t even describe what you have done for my life. You have changed my life and you have changed my family.  I could be a millionaire, I could give you everything you both wanted, and it would never come close!¨

We had other people, some less active members say similar things to us this week and I think so many times we just don’t realize what we do for other people. We don’t realize how much we truly can represent the Savior. I invite you all to look for opportunities to serve. In Grandpa Jay’s blessing, the Lord tells him about a million times to follow every prompting of the Spirit to serve.  I think it’s an invitation for all of us. The Lord will inspire us so that we can be His hands here. 

We’re keeping it short and simple this week. I know the Lord lives. I know that He loves us and is proud of us. I know that He will always love us no matter our imperfections. He will continue supporting us and helping us grow. I love you all to the moon and back. Be good! 

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Dia De Los Muertos

Speaking of spooky traditions, did you know that they celebrate Halloween and Día de los Muertos here?  Día de los Muertos is a lot bigger but we did find some Trick or Treaters! Ha! Ha, but really, coolest tradition ever!! 

They build these altars for their ancestors that have died and put their favorite foods and pictures of them. The huge tourist center in our area was filled with them!  Loved that this week! I was thinking of making my own tradition with it. Not the whole food and spirits thing but on November 2nd, putting up pictures of our ancestors and talking about what they were like and their hobbies and making like a family history learning thing out of it.  I love how they are so focused on families and their heritage here! Please enjoy all of these AWESOME altars. 

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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Mexico Week 35 -- Todo Lo Puedo en Cristo Que Me Fortalece

Buenas tardes mi familia eterna, 

So turns out at least six more weeks here in Tlaquepaque with Hermana Malacara! Woo! Hoo! The elders called us at about 10:30 last night.  They always call at about 7:30pm, so we were all nervous and tight stomached for so long!  We had so many people nervous too.  All day long when we arrived at their houses, they would ask, ¨Sooo, what’s the news? Is somebody leaving?¨.  We had to inform a few people after the news arrived! I am going to be honest ... I literally squealed. I’m not really good at the whole goodbye thing. Get ready for one crazy transfer after so much work! 

These are my new favorite pants!  They are green like the Mexican flag, and I got them for the equivalent of about $3.  They are so soft! 

Every Monday, I have been searching long and hard for a Coke with my name and today I found it! The only sad part is that Alexis is a boy name here! Ha! Ha!

 This would be me attempting to play the piano and singing hymns today. Life is great with the Spirit and some hymns. 

Also, just in case you were still wondering, I still don’t have full feeling in my lip. Remember the crazy wisdom teeth surgery? Oh well, ni modo, I will have partial feeling the rest of my life!

This week was ... A WEEK OF MIRACLES. 

Hermano Oscar is practically a member! Once we ditch cigarettes, we are golden! Tuesday we were walking for mil años and not finding anyone. The light at the end of the tunnel is that he was going to go to Ward FHE and we were going to talk about repentance afterward. We show up at church and well...he didn’t. We were so bummed. He calls us and says ¨Hey are you still at the church?¨ We said, “Of course!”  He told us he was sorry for being so late, but that he would be there in about 15 minutes and he had a surprise for us!  He showed up at about 8:15 WITH HIS WIFE AND KIDS. They live about 15 minutes from here, but wow, they are so special! We talked about families and one of the counselors in the bishopric gave him a blessing to help him live the Word of Wisdom. BUT, his blessing also mentioned that lots of people including his family, would receive the gospel through him, and that he would be SEALED IN THE TEMPLE.  His wife started to cry and told us how she is so grateful that her husband has found God and she keeps asking where He is. 

Another night, we had another lesson in the chapel and we talked about families more and our Father in Heaven. His wife is opening up so much and his 10 year old son is an angel! They all want to learn more and be baptized. One morning we went to visit Hermano Oscar and we talked about our baptismal covenant and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. We were talking about what we need to feel before baptism and he gets teary up talking about mistakes he’s made and how he just wants to change and be better for his family. He wants to help his kids outside of his marriage to receive the gospel too. This is what it means to be repentant, to have this change of heart.

We went to church on Sunday and here comes Hermana Elsa (the mom who’s less active), both of her sons Oscar and Jose (the one who listened one time and then didn’t want anything) the family of Hermano Oscar, and Hermana Elsa invited her niece who also wants to learn more. All of this started by loving and finding a less active member and helping her to feel peace during a rough time. The gospel is incredible and when people are touched by it, they start to share it with everyone. Wow, this family blows my mind!!  It just felt amazing at church on Sunday. We had seven investigators come to church. AHH! 

This week my Heavenly Father taught me so much about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I realized how much I’ve truly been touched by the love of my Savior. All of my experiences and meditating this week helped me to prepare a talk for Sunday. The bishop asked my companion and I to speak. I loved it. I started out by sharing the story from President Hinckley la de “He Took My Lickin for Me”.  I asked everyone if they had been touched by the love of Jesus Christ.  When we feel just a little bit of his love, we start to have faith.  We start to believe in what He did, and we start to see that it is possible … with Him, everything is possible.  Our love for Him starts to grow and we want to repent. We want to use the sacrifice He gave us. We want to be better for Him. We want to show our love for Him and we trust Him enough to be humble and repent, and confess, or whatever we have to do. Fear doesn’t matter, talking with a bishop doesn’t matter, what others will say or think doesn’t matter because we just want to come unto Him. I told a BYU story too. In my 3rd semester, I was feeling a little hopeless. I was scared, I just wanted to do what was right and I remember one night driving to the temple in Brad’s car. I parked outside of the Provo temple and started to listen and sing “I Know that My Redeemer Lives” … then I started crying and stopped singing. I shared the lyrics of this hymn and talked about how we have made or are preparing to make covenants.  We have or will have the Holy Ghost and we have to be firm and faithful to the end, o sea, we have to allow the Lord’s love to touch our hearts our whole lives.  I used Elder Holland´s talk about the First Great Commandment (still my all time favorite talk)  and how he asks Peter if he really loves Him.  If we love the Lord .. we serve Him.  If we love Him .. He comes first. Last week Grandma Janice told me that I was finally accepting the Lord’s love. I read that and thought pridefully ¨Hey that’s not true, I always feel it!¨  The truth is, that’s not the truth.  I resist it so many times.  I put extremely high standards for myself and I’m really not very patient.  I have resisted His love so many times in my life, most thinking I wasn’t worthy of it, or that I could figure things out on my own.  My President gave me a blessing one time and in my blessing said that I needed to learn about and experience the Atonement and the Savior’s love on my mission so that I could bless my husband and kids.  IT’S SO TRUE!! 

I am finally feeling the Lord’s love.  I am finally understanding repentance.  I am seeing myself how He sees me.  My love for Him is growing more and more every day and my mission is the most incredible gift that He has given me.  I love the Lord.  If I don’t communicate anything else with y’all .. I want you to know this .. I love Him.  I love Him a whole lot and I love what He has sent me to do.  I love Him for his patience.  I love Him for what He did.  I love Him for always giving us a second chance.  I love Him for giving me this mission, and I love Him for being by my side every day.  I am just extremely grateful and happy and with Him it’s all possible.  ¨Todo lo puedo en Crist que me fortalece.¨ .. This scripture is so going on the wall in my home.  Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” .. not going to lie .. I like it better in Spanish!

I love you all to the moon and back and I hope that you are happy. Come unto Christ, forget everything else and come unto Him. Feel His love, do what He asks, and receive His love. 

Love you almost as much as He does! 

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