Sunday, March 29, 2015

Mexico Week 56 -- Did You Think To Pray?

Dear sweet beautiful family! 

Let’s get these pictures explained! 

This is Adelaida and her daughter Ofelia. They’re less active members, but we have really been working hard with them. They are a sweet family and they went with us to see “Conozca a los Mormones” this week!  She reminds me a lot of Megan and we stopped to buy some cookies before entering the Church.  I bought some and she bought some and then we shared!  Ha! Ha!  Her mom loved the movie! It was a good night!

This is the new teaching record for Trinidad! She’s a new investigator that we found this week and she is incredibly prepared! She told us that the day we talked to her in the street she felt completely overwhelmed and she was losing it, she was losing hope. She said she felt something when we talked to her, and she just had this smile as we taught her. She accepted a baptismal date and wants to learn. We asked her to say the closing prayer and she kneels down and jumps right in, Padre Celestial, praying perfectly! We are so exciting to keep working with her! 

The beautiful lady in red is Mayra ... aka Natalie’s Mexican twin.  She is absolutely hilarious. She jokes just like Natalie and they have about the same age.  She cut my hair today and wants to dye it red.  She’s a doll and she goes to church every once in a while, but the sad part is, she lives in the Elder’s area.  Really, she’s the best! 

This beautiful family is Hermano Mike, his wife Claudia, and their daughter Natalia.  Mike is the one that speaks English! He grew up in the United States.  We visited them on Friday and we invite his wife to participate too. She says sure and sits down, TOTAL SURPRISE!!  We start teaching about how we can be cleansed from sin and faith. Hermano Mike is crying and saying he wants to change and his wife gets a little teary eyed too because they have some pretty strong marriage problems and it was just awesome. Hermano Mike tells us, “Do you understand you’re trying to save one of the devil’s captains, one of his head guys?  You really don’t understand who you’re trying to help.”  I felt completely shocked because Hermano Oscar told us the same thing. It brought back so many memories in that moment ... angry dad, broken marriage, family problems, but so much desire to change.  I love helping people.  I love seeing this hunger and strong desire to turn it around. So we invite them to church and Hermano Mike says I’m definitely going, I need to go to church. His wife says I’ll see what I can do.

We stopped by on Saturday too and Hermano Mike with his firm yes and Hermana Claudia saying that she’ll see what she can do to be there. Sunday morning we arrive at church. It’s 10, then 10:10, then 10:20, then Hermano Mike shows up, with his tie, his wife in skirt and heels, and his 9 year old daughter is a beautiful dress, and we are practically squealing! And then they stay the full 3 hours! They are such a beautiful family, and ahh, we are so excited to be working with them! 

We had our zone conference with President this week, and it was incredible! I feel so blessed to have Presidente Camarillo as our president. He’s a good egg!  We talked a lot about the importance of prayer and how we can better help people develop the habit of sincere prayer.  We practiced a lot and we saw incredibly results in our teaching this week!  Our investigators are praying more and it’s sincere.  They’re asking questions and it’s absolutely awesome! 

This week the church will be starting a new initiative kind of like the Christmas one, “Él el la Dádiva” … but this one is “Gracias a que Él Vive.”  As we watched the video, I felt the Spirit so strongly!  I know that He lives. I fall, but I feel hope, peace, and it’s an incredible feeling. As I watched this video, I felt an impression that there are truly prepared people here, people are looking for Him. I feel that we are going to have some great experiences with this video! Make sure that y’all are sharing it too! 

I don’t remember if I told y’all about Hermano Daniel or not, but he lives super close to us and makes bread, and always gives us free bread.  Ha! Ha!  He’s an investigator that expresses the desire to change, but lacks the acting part, and his family doesn’t really want to participate when we go and it’s been pretty up and down with him. On Saturday we were walking by and I realize his car is out front, I felt like we should visit him. I tell my companion, hey his car’s out front, want to see if he’s home? She’s a little doubtful, because well, he’s almost always home alone and we can’t visit him without another hermana. But we decide to knock and his daughter tells us he’s home.  He comes to the door and tells us his wife is home too. We are completely shocked at this point and start to sing and pray and share a message.  We invite his wife and she says, with a little tone, “No! Gracias” and and shuts the bedroom door. We start talking about prayer and he says he’s been praying a lot because they are thinking about splitting up.  We keep talking and then his wife comes out, and says, well the talk interested me.  Ha! Ha!  We testify of the gospel and how much it blesses families and how much the restored gospel is the only thing that will help them be happy. She tells us that she’s pretty attached to her beliefs and that it will be really hard for her to listen to new things, but she wants to try it.  She wants to listen when we teach her husband and says that eventually she’ll go to church.  It was so awesome!! 

Continuing with prayer stories! We visited our recent convert family. I think they were baptized in Febuary, before I got here.  The dad doesn’t go to church anymore because he’s still drinking coffee and says that the church hasn’t helped him like he thought it would and he feels like he just keeps sinning.  We talked about faith and it was a really special lesson and we ask him to say the closing prayer.  We all kneel down and start to wait.  His littlest daughter says, Dad hurry up I’m tired!  Then his teenagers start laughing, then his wife, “why is this so hard for you!”  And we just keeping waiting!  After about 7 minutes, he starts, Padre Celestial. He prayed for strength to stop drinking coffee, for his family and his job, and he tells Heavenly Father why he’s not going to church and how much he wants to go and prays for strength so that he can go and it was so pretty. We were numb from the waist down, but if we just wait, the spirit touches them and they pray!

It was a week filled with so many experiences!  The truth, it makes me a little nervous that I’m going to hit 15 months.  Where did my mission go? It’s so hard but I love being a missionary.  I love serving the Lord.  I love just being immersed in this.  Send lots of prayers my way so that my last months can be awesome!  Love you guys lots! 

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Hermana Lopez

This is my new companion -- Hermana Lopez!

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Mexico Week 55 -- Stop and Ask Questions

My dear sweet family!! 

I love you all too much! But really, I am so incredibly grateful for the family that I have and I hope that you’re all doing well. 

It rained the whole week! Nonstop starting Tuesday afternoon! I have never seen rain like this! Some days I left prepared ... the day in green was the day I thought, Nah!  It’s not going to rain, and then I got soaked! Ha! Ha! Not to mention, we had a sacrament meeting attendance of thirty people. 

On Tuesday I had exchanges with Hermana Peña. She has 5 months in the mission and is from El Salvador! She is a doll! We had a good time and leaving our meeting with the bishop, it starts pouring rain. We had umbrellas, but the feet were just soaked as we crossed rivers and nobody was opening up! We visited one of her investigators that was supposed to get baptized last week. As we get to her house, the power goes out. We were giving a lesson with cellphone flashlights and watching our breath because it was so cold! It was definitely an experience I will never forget! 

Today was our deep cleaning day again and so we were home all day and celebrating finishing with pizza!

The beautiful young lady with me is Hermana Lucy. She has been a member for 6 years and she’s about 80 years old. She loves to go with us to our lessons and she is an absolute doll. 

Fun fact!  It’s Friday and we’re walking to an appointment. The phone rings. Hola Elder como está? It was the Zone Leaders.  Hermana Rawe you’ve been chosen to sing on Uruapan Idol.  Wait, what??!!  No that was  a joke, but really, you are going to sing in our Zone Conference with President.  Again, what??!!  Yes Hermana!  With how many people? Three others.  Ummm, that means you can actually hear me sing!  Okay Elder, gracias. This is the part where I ask you guys to start praying for me!  Singing for converts in baptisms is way cool … Singing in front of other missionaries, not so much! 

We visited a member’s house this week.  She’s less active.  Her daughter is a recent convert, and her two sons are also less active. They’re 19 and 20 years old and involved with drugs and well they don’t go to church anymore. I asked my companion if she had ever taught them and she said no.  Being my stubborn, sometimes fearless self, we strike up a conversation and end up sharing a message with one of the boys (the other one wasn’t home).  As we sing and pray and start talking, he gets super nervous. Then he starts talking a lot about how he knows that God has a plan for him, He knows God lives.  I think I´m nervous because I haven’t talked about this with anybody for a long time. It makes me feel things I haven’t felt in a long time. I miss church. I know I need to live the word of wisdom and the law of chastity. We felt the Spirit so much and it was incredible.  He’s a future missionary and future Melchizedek priesthood holder. 

We also visited Hermano Mike some more this week. He’s accepted a baptismal date and it really excited.  He’s reading the Book of Mormon and wants to repent. He says he just feels it’s the truth. He says he feels like he’s found what he’s been looking for. He says he’s the happiest he’s been in a long time and he just wants more. He’s so special!! 

On Friday we had such a cool experience. Well as you saw, I left the house unprepared and at about 7:30 all of our plans fall through, and we decides to look for new people to teach. It is raining so hard and then it starts hailing. We are literally soaking wet and we went to about 11 houses. It’s now 8:40 and we go to another house. The young lady answers and tells us that the person we’re looking for doesn´t live there. We introduce ourselves and ask if we can share a lesson with her. She invites us in and we start getting to know her. I felt like I should ask her if she had a question that she had always wanted to know the answer to.  I felt so weird asking that and she was thinking for a long time. Finally she says, well actually, I have a lot.  For example, is there really life after death? We saw her so interested and we are pumped to work with her this week! 

We found another new investigator this week named Rosy. She has Lupus but she has so much faith that God will heal her. She is pretty involved in the Catholic Church but she decided to listen to us. She has a desire to know the truth and she is so sweet.

This week we just worked hard. I feel a new inspiration or actually I don’t know what to call it but I felt it. I felt urgency as we worked. I felt like I didn’t want to lose even a little bit of time. I have been focusing so much on the questions I ask.  I think it’s a worldwide weak point for the church. I think sometimes we just teach and teach ... as missionaries, as Sunday School teachers, in our homes, in Young Women’s, everywhere.  We are so accustomed to teach and teach and we don’t ask thought provoking, Spirit receiving questions.  It was a lesson I learned this week that my whole life I want to listen, to really listen to what people are telling me, and teach based on their answers. It’s a secret wish of mine to teach the youth after my mission!  Ha! Ha! 

I’m just happy this week. I’m getting settled in to my new area and it’s feeling more and more like home. I love people. I just love them! I hope y’all are doing great and living happy! Until next week! 

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Sunday, March 15, 2015

Mexico Week 54 -- Life in Jardines

Well I am in Uruapan, Michoacan!  My area is called Jardines 1!  It was a five hour bus ride to arrive here and it is so pretty!  It is very sunny here! Ha!  Ha!  Almost no clouds and lots of hills! Or in other words, I will be brown and buff and thin leaving here!  I have been getting home so tired at night for booking it up and down the hills! Please enjoy my sunburned pic!

My companion is Hermana Lopez. She is from Oaxaca and is an only child. She just finished her training.  We are working well together and getting to know each other more. However, I would be lying if I said I didn’t miss Hermana Gonzalez just a little bit … or a lot a bit!!

This week I’ve been getting settled in. I’m not very good at changes, and sometimes you just miss people, but I have been working hard and getting to know everyone here. I realized this week just how much I love meeting people. I saw so many members open up and my companion told me that they were members that didn’t really like them too much beforehand. We have a lot of work to do here gaining the confidence of the members! I just feel a strong desire to serve and strengthen the families here. My mission has taught me so much about how much the members too need to be strengthened.  We have a lot of work to do! 

Happy Birthday Mom! 46 years old! Just a little bit closer to 50.  Sorry I didn’t tell you last week, but I promise I remembered the actual day of your birthday! 

Today we had a zone activity! We played charades, fill in the blank from Preach my Gospel, a little basketball, a little soccer, and of course catapulting water balloons.  It was a lot of fun and Hermana Quisbert is in my zone!  She goes home at the end of this transfer ... crazy stuff, right?  It has been so fun seeing her again! 

Church on Sunday was awesome! It’s a tiny ward and about 70 or 80 people attending every week. This week one of our investigators Marisela, went to church! She has twins, Ricardo and Delia. They’re 6 years old and she is just stressed out. We see her pretty frustrated but trying to find answers. We taught her about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy on Saturday and we felt the spirit so strongly as we talked about the sacrament. She says, “I need to go¨ and there she was on Sunday and she stayed the 3 hours and loved it! We are hoping to see her progress a lot. Oh and Ricky was REALLY hungry after three hours of church and had a little bit of bad attitude for the picture!  Ha! Ha!

The other family that went to church is the Espino family. The parents are recent converts from December I think, but the dad doesn’t want to go anymore and the kids never wanted to get baptized. I’m kind of doubting they were prepared before being baptized, but they are also so special. We have a lot of work to do in this house! Their teenagers are kind of nervous and shy and giggle a lot, but on Saturday we also taught about keeping the Sabbath Day Holy and we felt the Spirit a ton. The oldest likes going to church and was convincing her younger sister who was scared they would ask her questions and she wouldn’t know the answer. The mom with her three daughters arrives at church and everyone went to their own classes happy! Their youngest is Paola and she is just precious. She almost always says the opening and closing prayer just because she likes too. She loves the church and I think she encourages her whole family! 

There are so many great people here, but I have to tell y’all about Mike. I still haven’t taught him, but this week was incredible. Since Monday we were looking for him … calling, going to his house, everything, and nothing. On Friday we finally found him. He comes outside, in front of his house, and I introduce myself and we start asking how he is and he starts explaining, and then says, “I just can’t express myself in Spanish” and starts speaking in perfect English. He tells us that he is in a deep depression, like it’s just darkness and there’s no light.  He feels like he’s falling and falling and wants to take somebody’s hand but there’s no one there. He says he’s a black sheep that has wandered away from the shepherd but he wants to find Him again. He’s doubting that God loves Him. He’s crying through all of this and don’t forget he is speaking in English!  He says, ”I’m sorry!  I barely know you, and I’m crying so much.  But, I just feel you care, like I don’t know, I just feel like you really care about me.”  This is where I start crying too. I started testifying of our Heavenly Father’s love. He says, “I want to change my life now, not tomorrow, not next week, now. I know I just need to open the book, it’s all there if I just open the Book of Mormon. On Saturday we stopped by to give him a list of uplifting scriptures but only his wife was home. My companion had told me that she didn’t want to listen, but we started chatting with her. She too opened up that her mom died two months ago and it was just hard, that her whole marriage has been hard. She agreed to listen to us with her husband on Tuesday and we are incredibly excited. We see the true possibility of them progressing as a family!

I am happy to be here ... sad and a little nervous as I realize how fast my mission is passing by, but happy. I’m not perfect and I mess up everyday, it is so hard for me to accept the Savior’s Atonement sometimes, but I love Him and our Father in Heaven, and this gospel. I know that I cannot be happy without living it. I can’t be happy without being obedient. I want so badly to make our Father in Heaven proud. I want to live with Him again. I want to realize how short and important our earthly life is. I just want to be righteous, I just want to give the best of me and help everyone here to feel the Savior’s love. I want to represent Him well. I love you all too much and hope that you’re happy! 

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Uruapan, Michoacan

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Mexico Week 53 -- So Many Emotions

My dear sweet family! 

Well it turns out that today is transfer day and I am no longer in Guadalajara.  I have been transferred to Uruapan in Michocan! It has been 24 hours of just too many emotions.  I’m not too good with transfers!  Our zone leaders call us last night and well I left and Hermana Gonzalez stays there! Hermana Casanovas is with her (remember when I wrote y’all about her at the beginning of my mission?) She is the best! They will work miracles there! 

My new companion is Hermana Lopez. She arrived here with Hermana Gonzalez and just finished her training! We are going to work a ton! 

So anyways, they call us and then we get a little teared up and then we decide to make videos about our feelings and we cry some more. I was up until about 2am packing and then we left super early to go to the bus station. Hermano Oscar came to say goodbye and brought me a Guadalajara temple poster, with a note on the back.  A note that may or may not have made me cry, but it talked about his promise to make it there. As I boarded the big bus (like Greyhound but a lot nicer), I just started looking out the window and thinking. I felt the Spirit so much and I realized I wasn’t angry like the last time I was transferred, sad and with a big whole in the heart, but not mad. I trust my Heavenly Father more and I trust His plan. I just felt filled with gratitude that He’s let me be a missionary. I feel so blessed to feel this kind of love for people. I love this country … I mean I really love it. It sounds so cheesy, but I just feel like it has become a part of me.  In a way, my areas have been like home. I am excited for my new adventure even though I will miss Hermana Gonzalez lots!! I am excited to work and just give the best of me. Serving a mission is truly the best decision of my whole life. 

Okay now that the cheesy is over .. Let’s get these pictures explained! 

We ate out pretty much every day this week! The Hermanas gave us money instead of inviting us to eat and well I think we’re sick!  Ha! Ha!  Enjoy Cuarto de Kilo and the dehydrated life with mil suers

Hermana Irma passed herself with this Spiderman piñata .. it’s 3D! 

I have a new habit of always going to Reforma’s zone meeting! The sister training leaders wanted to be able to attend both meetings so I traveled to Reforma again! There are more hermanas there, and we have a good time!

This dog is like Cody’s twin, just a lot bigger! Every day we walked by there and he just gets so excited because he recognizes us! He wags his tail and jumps and runs to get his ball and then we keep walking and we runs to the other side that’s like a store and puts his front paws on the table.  He loves us! Ahh, I need a big dog! 

These young adults are Jessica and Javier. They’re cousins and Javier is a returned missionary. They work a lot in the ward and they’re just good kids. They’re not from here, but they are just great. 

Hermana Elsa was too good looking yesterday!  We told her we needed pictures because she was so beautiful!  She has progressed so much and I just love her and her whole family a lot. They’re just a special family. 

We had the most special lesson with Hermana Karla and Hermano Alejandro yesterday. They are having quite a few difficulties in their marriage and we talked about service and the pure love of Christ, how they can serve inside and outside of their home. We all ended up crying and we ended with the family hug. Ahh, I am seriously going to miss them and our families.  Marriages are so important! 

I also hope you love our video journal this week. We had so much fun doing it, but I don’t know, it made me feel the Spirit so much and I imagined showing them to my kids one day! I just love my mission! 

Our investigators really opened up this week and listened and listened and listened, and testified and testified and testified. So many people are losing hope in this world.  They’re losing hope and they can’t find relief or solutions in their problems. We have to help them. We have to testify of Christ and help them learn how to use His Atonement. I know that Jesus Christ lives. I know that He loves us. I know that He understands us, that He knows our pressures, our stress, our worries, our responsibilities, all of it .. He knows it all and He helps and strengthens us in these things. I want to always by strong in my testimony of Him and I hope that as a family we can always bear powerful testimony of Him. 

I hope y’all had a great week and that this week is even better! I am here for whatever y’all might need and I love you all too much! Next week I´ll give you more details about the new area!

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