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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mexico Week 50 -- Ups and Downs

Buenas Tardes to my sweet family!  This week was filled with ups and downs! 

First things first, the pictures! 

This week yours truly, the sister missionaries of Tlaquepaque planned and hosted Ward FHE this week. We decided to talk about the Gospel of Jesus Christ but made up some games. We split up into four teams and started out with faith. We decorated a box and filled it with lots of things and they had to have faith that the chosen object was in the box even though they couldn’t see it! The first team to find the object moved on to repentance. They had to completely cover one person with toilet paper! Get it .. white .. becoming a new person .. It was great!  Then they moved on to baptism and we renew our baptismal covenants by taking the sacrament. One person from their team had to eat a pretty large piece of bread and drink a whole bottle of water. Don’t ask me why one team chose the only girl on the team to do that challenge!  Ha! Ha!   Then we moved on to the Holy Ghost where they had to go back to back and walk from one side of the room to the other because we have to trust and lean on the Spirit’s guidance. Then we ended with endure to the end. We started out saying the first team with someone that could hula-hoop for 30 seconds.  After about 10 minutes of total failure and a lot of laughing, we said the first team with someone who lasted 3 seconds. Some of our recent converts went and we were all laughing too hard. It was a good night and although we were few in number, the Spirit was strong and little by little we can be more unified and help our investigators, less active members, and recent converts to progress. 




Speaking of hula-hoops ... this is our new exercise regime in the morning! Haha, the two of us laughing and hula hooping and it really does make you sore! 

This week we traveled to Cruz del Sur again because I had to sign Visa documents, but it was worth it when we found this painting waiting for the bus. I LOVED IT! 


Today we had a zone activity! We got there a little late but we decorated a paper for how we can increase our faith this week, played some minute to win it games and had a potluck.  Let me just say, potluck is so interesting when you’re all poor missionaries!


The older hermana is Hermana Tere. She has years in the church but for about two years hasn’t been going in order to take care of her husband. I have 6 months visiting her and seeing that she is so strong and so faithful, but she just missed going to church. One day she told us that things were going to change and that she had made some pretty big decisions. She now has two weeks going to church! She is too sweet. 



The little boy is Sammy! Ah, he’s one of our favorites. We’ve been working a lot so that his parents can become active again and this past weekend his mom went to the temple! His parents are taking the temple prep classes so that they can be sealed as an eternal family! 


This week we worked a lot with Hermano Victor! He has a couple living with him and well the husband is never there, but the wife is super sweet! This week we taught the restoration and about keeping the sabbath day holy. It has been so awesome to watch Hermano Victor share his testimony. I kind of felt guilty for not saying anything when we got here and the baptism was all planned and I kind of doubted how ready he was, but he is so great and so special. He needs a lot of help and we are right there with him in his conversion process. But wow, he does have a testimony! One day we were teaching and he says, “Hermanas, you bring the strongest Spirit here!  I don’t know if you feel it (he says to his friend) but I do and wow, y’all are strong.” It made us feel pretty great and we are going to keep working with them! 

Hermano Jose and Hermana Elsa went to the temple for the first time! Woo! Hoo! It’s a little frustrating as they felt lost and like no one was helping them out, but little by little they’ll get the groove down! It’s serious that we have to come in December because Hermana Elsa just tells me, All of the missionaries say they will come, but then you get back to your normal life and well, it just doesn’t happen!  We have to go to Hermano Oscar’s temple sealing. Oh and Hermana Elsa told us that the daughter of Hermano Oscar got baptized this past Saturday, she and I have the same age.  How awesome is that!

This week it was a little hard to find people at home and we got a little discouraged a few times, but decided to be productive in our long days in the street.  Let’s just say I almost know all of the Articles of Faith in Spanish.  Ha! Ha!  I know that the Lord tries us and patience will be my lifelong battle. I have been trying so hard as a missionary to be patient and humble because I know that they are major weaknesses of mine. I feel like the Lord is helping me to improve so much but also that I’m still lacking a lot!  Good thing we have a whole mortal life to be better and better and better. 

We’re going to end with the happiest news!! The other picture of me at church is with Hermana Judith! She is our golden investigator! We taught her about the importance of reading the scriptures and praying every day and she says, “Now I get it. The Lord kind of tests of right? We all have so much to do and are busy, but He wants to know if we take time for Him. I know I can find time every day to be reading.”  Wow, right?!  We started teaching her about the gospel of Jesus Christ and she really does just soak it all up! She has such a strong desire to repent and to keep learning. The bishop asked her in gospel principles how she’s felt in her time with the missionaries and she said that every day she was more and more convinced. We are so proud of her and absolutely love teaching her!




I love the Lord and I love what I’m doing. It tests and tries me every week but every week I feel like I’ve grown. I love y’all so much and you’re always in my prayers!

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Mexico Week 49 -- The Process of Conversion

Dear favorite family!  How are ya’ll? I hope you’re all happy and doing well! This week was a great one so buckle down and get ready for these stories! 

First things first, the pictures! 

They called a “General Cleaning” day and we had to clean from 9:30 this morning to 4:00 this afternoon. There was no permission to leave the house! We had the hymns going loud and ended with these pictures!




  
We ate with the bishop yesterday and his son is serving his mission in Oaxaca. Turns out they eat lots of insects there and he sent some home to his family. I have been pretty blessed in my mission because they were all nervous and didn’t want to eat them! Ha! Ha!  We don’t eat weird stuff here.  Hermana Gonzalez and I are prideful and had to try them ... what an experience! They didn’t taste bad because they were super condimented but they were a little crunchy!  We decided we could never be on Fear Factor. 


This week we had exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders and took the Subway!  You know how much I love the subway!  I went to the area of Hermana Durnford and we worked together again. We ate with this precious old lady and afterward helped her put all of her Christmas decorations away. She was literally the sweetest. Hermana Durnford is just super special. She’s teaching me that we just have to cut ourselves some slack every once in a while. She works hard and is just too cute! We had a good time!



Some more Christmas cards showed up this week! Thanks to the Heck family, Sister Randall, the Cohen family, and Jessica Pace! 

Big thanks also to the Goode family. This adorable stocking showed up this week! 


 The picture with three adults is me with Hermano Miguel, Jasmin, and Yahaira. We’ve been teaching them for a little while, and wow, their problems are too hard to imagine. There are just really sad things in their past, and we have been working so much with them. We went to visit them this week but we say that they truly aren’t really progressing. We had such a powerful and we talked about the Atonement, what we truly have to do to return with our Heavenly Father and the Spirit was so strong. Their faces about killed us, just pure guilt. We just testified and testified and teared up a little bit and well maybe we teared up a little more as we left. It’s probably the hardest thing in the mission - when you are just giving it all you’ve got and you know they feel it, but there’s still something more that prohibits them from living the gospel. They will always be special people. 



THIS WEEK WE FOUND HERMANO VICTOR. He was the elders’ investigator that was baptized with us our first week here. He went for a few months, but then stopped going, ignored phone calls, didn’t open the door when we knew he was home, stuff like that. Well we found him this week! He says he knows he needs to fix things, and we wants to work things out. He also went to church on Sunday and we’re now setting regular appointments with him. I love finding people! 

Okay, now for our golden families. Hermana Judith is reading the Book of Mormon!! She is loving it and reads whenever she can. She told us that one day she couldn’t find her book. She was looking all over the place and her 8 year old says, “Mom, what are you looking for?”  She told him the blue cook that the Hermanas gave me.  Her son answers, “Oh, I have it. I took it to school and I’ve been reading it.¨  She said she was so surprised! She says he sometimes turns off the TV and reads for a little bit. We were so surprised and ahh, what a special family! We taught her the Plan of Salvation this week and she was just soaking it all up and asking questions and telling us how much peace she felt. On Saturday we talked about Keeping the Sabbath Day Holy! She has such a strong desire to be obedient. She remembered her baptismal date and said that she is doing all she can to be ready by that day.  We love her to death! We just missed her at church this week because she has seasonal asthma and she had an attack Sunday morning and went to the hospital.  She is the absolute best though! 

Monday night we had plans to give the last lesson and then stop visiting the Moreno family. We have about a month with them and they just weren’t really progressing. We showed up at her house and she just started crying about how that day she left to go look for her own house and was going to leave with her kids. In all of this her husband shows up from work and we shared a message with the whole family! He offered a kneeling prayer at the end and we saw new hope with working with them as a complete family. They went to Ward FHE this week and they went to church! We passed by for them and went with them. The kids loved their classes and the bishop’s daughter was a perfect friend with her daughter. The hermana loved church and wants to come every week! It was so special seeing them there and the ward helped us a ton with welcoming them and helping them find their classes and everything! 



This week I was studying the Febuary Liahona and just a couple of quick things that I wanted to share with y’all. President Eyring talked about testimony and conversion and he says, “Full time missionaries can pray in faith to know by the spirit what to teach and testify. They can pray in faith that the Lord will let them feel His love for everyone they meet. The missionaries will not bring everyone they meet to the waters of baptism and to the gift of the Holy Ghost. But they can have the Holy Ghost as a companion. Through their service and with the help of the Holy Ghost, missionaries will then, in time, be changed in their hearts. That change will be renewed again and again as they and we unselfishly continue over a lifetime to act in faith to strengthen others with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Conversion will not be a single event or something that will last for just one season of life, but will be a continuing process.”  I loved this and truly feel like I am experiencing a conversion that will bless throughout my whole life. We need to love the Lord and serve Him not just as missionaries, but our whole lives. We have to be who He wants us to be. 

I was also reading about our pre-mortal life and a quote from President Benson really hit home. He promised, “Nothing is going to startle us more when we pass through the veil to the other side than to realize how well we know our Father and how familiar His face is to us.”  Wow, is that an incredible promise or what? Sometimes I’ve tried to imagine Him or think about how He is, but one day we will see Him and He will be so familiar to us. I just hope and pray that it will be a happy experience because I was gave 100% and not one of regret! I am so grateful for the plan of salvation. I know it’s the truth. I know we were with Him before and I know that we can be with Him again through the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I know that we will be held responsible for what we did and didn’t do here. I know that He guides us every day because He truly does want us in His presence. 


I love you all to the moon and back! Be good! Be missionaries! 

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tlaquepaque





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Mexico Week 48 -- The Family is the Foundation

To my gorgeous, beautiful, loving family!!  I hope that you are all super happy! I am more than happy on this beautiful Monday! 

Well let’s get these pictures explained. 

Some of my favorite kiddos!



In white is Hermana Paty. She is a single adult in the ward but she is too funny. We always have a good time and she’s just a special person. 



One of our less active members has Australian shepherds and they had puppies! They are about a month old and how cute are they?!



This week we got to teach Hermano Jose about temple marriage and the endowment. I LOVE TEACHING ABOUT THE TEMPLE. I love this family to pieces and Jose is like the brother I never had. I worry about him and just hope and pray that he stays faithful in the gospel. I’m not sure who he’ll marry, but one day I’ll be in his temple sealing too! The ward is having a temple trip on Febuary 7th, and he and his mom say that they’ll be going! 

The rough news is, Hermana Elsa’s fistula opened up again and she might need a 5th surgery. She was a little down this week and we showed up one day unplanned because we felt like we should and we caught them in the act of taking the Christmas tree down. We helped, branch by branch, and she just lit up. I love serving where we can!! 

We ate one day with the Fernandez family this week and we practiced with them how they could share the gospel with friends, family, or neighbors. They work so much in the ward and they are like the star family.  Rocio received her mission call this week and her brother is waiting for his. They will have two missionaries at the same time! Their dad reminds me so much of you dad!  It’s been hard for them to share with others, so we starting practicing. I felt such a strong and special spirit as I watched them practice how to share a family proclamation with a neighbor. First, I thought about you guys, how we really should practice so that it doesn’t make us nervous or feel weird. It would be so fun to practice with you guys and then actually do it! Then, I thought about my future family, I want to teach my kids from the time they’re little to share and testify and invite. We just have to practice to get rid of the nerves and then we can all be missionaries! 

On Sunday, we watched Rocio open her mission call (here your call arrives with the bishop). We entered a classroom during the 3rd hour with her family and she opened her call. We were all teared up and she’s going to Merida! It reminded me so much of when I opened my call. What we do as missionaries is so special - nothing compares with it. Ahh, I just got all teared up and her parents too and her siblings and it was just really special. I know we’re in the truth and another ward has come to feel like home! 

This week as we visited lots of families - members and nonmembers - I was really struck by how important humility is in this life, especially in marriage. They are so many family problems and divorces and so many times it’s just a lack of humility. We have to say sorry, we have to listen, we have to be willing to work together and improve. We have to accept what the Lord wants for us. We have to admit when we’re wrong. I know I’m not married or anything, but this was just a strong impression for me this week. If we are going to have successful families and marriages, we have to be humble. I know I’m still a little prideful, but the mission has honestly humbled me so much. I was really loving the hymns this week and we sang in the elders´ baptism, and lots of people told me “I have a gift.”  At night afterward, I was thinking a lot about music and I know it’s cheesy but I remembered Mrs. Esperson from 7th grade that asked me if I was really sure about quitting choir. My pride has really prohibited me from developing something that is a gift from Heavenly Father. I never pursued it because other people were better. Looking back on it, I was, and sometimes still am, so prideful! I really want to work with music after my mission so that my home can be blessed by the Spirit music brings. I just want my home to be filled with hymns and piano music, and yeah, just the Spirit almost all the time! 

The best part of the whole week was Hermana Judith! I told y’all I think two weeks ago that I felt like we should visit her and well then we lost her for about a week and a half. This week we found her again and we taught the Restoration, and it was just incredible. She understood it all and was asking lots of questions, and ahh, I wish I could have taken a picture of her face. As we said the first vision, she said it gave her goose bumps and just felt like it was true. She kept saying, “I’ve just never heard this before. I just want to learn more.”  Last time we left Doctrine and Covenants 20:37 with her and asked her to really think about how she could prepare for baptism. She told us that she had the scripture on her desk at work and had been thinking about it a lot. She said it was a big decision and that she needed to make lots of changes, but that it was so important. She’s been telling everyone in her family that she listening to us.  It just reminds me of teaching Hermano Oscar. Saturday night we went looking for her and found her looking pretty rough saying they were in the middle of family problems but that she would see us on Sunday. We were a little discouraged Sunday morning thinking she wasn’t going to make it to church. I was just praying and praying that if we were teaching someone that was prepared and ready that they would make it to church, if he wanted us to keep working with someone, I needed to see them at church. At 10:40 Hermana Judith shows up! We were so suprised that in spite of everything she went to church! She loved it and had the same face when we taught her. She said she felt really good and wanting to keep coming every week. The bishop talked about the church of Jesus Christ in the principles class and invited her to pray about if what we taught is the truth. She says, “Well, actually, I’ve already started praying and asking!”  Ahhh!! She wants to bring her grandkids to church and she’s just a doll! We are so blessed and excited to be working with her! 


I love you guys so much! I hope that you are happy and doing what’s right and most importantly representing Jesus Christ. Until next week! 

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Chubby People


Today we went art gallery exploring and found an artist that paints and sculpts chubby people. In front of the gallery, there is a quote:  “Did you know chubby people are happier, friendlier, and just good people. I can tell you!”  Ha! Ha!  I LOVED it! This is my new motto for life!












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