Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mexico Week 58 -- Exercise Your Faith Daily

Buckle yourselves in because this is going to be a long letter! I hope you’re all doing well and feeling spiritually fed from conference. 

This is the last week of the transfer can you believe that? Next Sunday they’ll be calling us possibly with transfers again! This transfer flew by! 

We always start with the pictures right?

Today Hermana Lopez and I went to the National Park here! It’s absolutely gorgeous!!  Ahh, it was so peaceful and just pretty. As we were leaving, these two goons come up to us and start talking and cracking jokes and well we take a picture with them. My companion goes first and says, Well, you guys can’t touch me. They say ohhh no problem, and I take the picture. Then they say ohhh now the guerita. We go to take the picture and they say, just checking, touching or still no?  I say nope, still no touching! Ha! Ha! It made us laugh!  Such a refreshing P-Day today! 

It was getting pretty hot this week and I was daily found with a liter and a half of water! #stayinghydrated.

This picture is from our Family Home Evening from last week! It was pretty special. We talked about the Atonement and wrote cards with real life situations and every card ended with the question … How can I apply the Atonement? We put situations like my kids don’t listen to me.  I don’t get along with someone at church.  I feel like I never have enough time.  I’m scared to confess a sin to the bishop.  Stuff like that, and it was so cool listening to everyone talk about how the Atonement could help them in that specific situation. We ended with the church’s Easter video and it just turned out great! 

This would be my Semana Santa picture. Semana Santa in Mexico means that every single store shuts down, there is no one is the street, and it feels like a ghost town! 

This stud is Dani! He was playing the guitar for us.  His mom has about six months since she started back at church.  When I got here, Dani didn’t want to be baptized, but he’s been asking a lot of questions lately! They also went to all four sessions of conference and here we are with the whole family! 

This is the Castillo family that also went to conference! They’re recent converts too and they went as a family! But dad had to leave early for work, but they are too sweet and received a lot of answers at conference. 

Hermana Quisbert goes home in one week! Can you believe it?? That freaks me out a little bit and they asked her to share her testimony in our zone meeting and she was crying and then I was crying, and I just love her kind of a lot!

Our zone meeting was pretty great this week. We have a great and also funny zone and I got to see Hermana Malacara because she was on splits with the sister training leaders!  As I saw her and we started talking and remembering stories, I realized how much I really love her. She’s going home in a week and I hope the best for her! 

Big thanks this week for my huge Easter package!  The Elders had a total freak out and robbed me quite a bit, but the shoes are great and I think I’m all set! Thanks to the Beehives for my hearts and also to Sister Cohen for her letters. Thanks to Leah Stonely and also the Tolman’s for their letter too!   

Fun fact ... About 5 or 6 people have told me how easy it would be to learn a third language because they say I’ve got Spanish down.  I think the Lord is trying to tell me something. I had never really thought about it, but I feel like maybe I should look into a third language when I get home. 

We found some new investigators this week and we are hoping to see some real progress in them now that everyone is coming back from vacation! 

One morning I was studying in the book “Our Heritage” about all of the prophets since Joseph Smith. I felt the Spirit so strongly. They were all faithful men that turned their lives over to God. They radiated the love of our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. They served with all they had and I know that they are and were prophets of God. I was filled with the Spirit of the Restoration and I know it’s the truth.  It is such a blessing to have a loving Heavenly Father who sends us living prophets. I just want to hear and follow their every word! I know that it’s the voice of our Heavenly Father that we listen to. I always need to see every session of conference!  

We tried to share this testimony and help people to understand the importance of attending conference this week. We visited a less active family on Saturday night and we talked about what I wrote above. The mom shared powerful testimony of the prophets and especially about general conference. They were so excited to go and they went! It’s the first time they attended church in about a year. They can be such a strong family in the ward and we’re hoping to see them fully activated soon. They taught me a really important lesson. My testimony can be so strong, but if I stop doing the little things every day, I too could end up inactive. Testimony doesn’t save us, we have to be constantly exercising our faith. 

On Saturday we ate after the Elders and were flying out of the members house to find a taxi and make it back to conference. We found a taxi and jumped in and my companion says, “Hermano?”  It was the non-member husband of a recent convert. We started talking and invited him to conference and on Sunday morning HE WENT!! We were so exciting and we’re going to start working with him this week! 

Okay now for the good stuff...GENERAL CONFERENCE. I love it, and I always feel kind of sad when it ends. It was also my last General Conference as a missionary. Weird. I think President Packer’s talk was my favorite. I felt like the whole world stopped moving and it was just me and him talking and wow. Then the tears came and I imagined Sister Rawe in the sealing room and there is just nothing more important to me than my future family. Linda K. Burton’s talk was also so good! I loved all of this talk about families!! I think the Lord is really worried about his families. Our family should be the most important. We have to have Family Home Evening, and read the scriptures and pray together. David A. Bednar’s talk was also great. I loved President Monson’s words about the importance of temple attendance. As I listened to Brent H. Nielson, I thought a lot about my family members who no longer attend church and what I can do to help them come back. I dreamed about them in white shirts and ties in a church building I didn’t know, but I know it can be true! Jeffrey R. Holland is my hero and always will be. I know that every single one of these leaders are called of God. There is so much that I liked and I can’t even fit it into one letter. 

So before conference I felt like I just wasn’t doing all that I needed to do like I was still lacking here in the mission field. I was praying about how I could just really lose myself here and truly give 100%. How can I be inspired and motivated my last three months? I felt like I was thinking a lot about the future and it still isn’t time yet.  So after all of these prayers, conference starts and the whole first session is about marriage and family and I started thinking, Padre Celestial remember how I can’t think about this right now? Remember how I need revelation about things that are going to happen before I get married, while I’m still a missionary? Saturday evening my companion and I were talking a lot and I realized that in a way, He was already starting to answer me. He wants me to focus on families here. He wants me to help families understand and apply the Atonement. He is so worried about his families and He needs the missionaries to help them, to teach families, to unite families.  This week we started teaching so many people that have family members that are members. On Sunday I received a little more of my answer. The Lord needs me to be here, centered on Him. All I do, say, think, write, should be centered on Him. The Lord promised me when I was set apart that my testimony would change lives. Now is the time to come to know Him even more so that I can powerfully testify that He lives. 

I am so grateful for my testimony of the Savior. I am grateful that He lives and loves me, that He gives me strength beyond my own. I love my mission. I love the people here. I love feeling the constant need to be better. I love stretching myself and growing. I feel like little by little, I’m becoming who the Lord needs me to be. I love you all and hope that you set goals from conference and that over these next few months we can read and reread the talks and truly follow their words. 

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National Park

Check out this gorgeous National Park we went to on P-Day!

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Mexico Week 57 -- Teach Me To Walk In His Light

Dear Favorite Family, 

First things first...the pictures!

We ate with the Lozano family this week and her husband spent a ton of years in the United States. As we sit down to eat, I see A1 sauce on the table and starting telling her about Rach and the A1 sauce.  They start laughing and mentioning all of the American things in the house because of her husband...then she sends me home with a bottle of A1 sauce! 

We’ve been working with one of the recent converts here so that he can prepare himself to serve a mission. He needs a lot of help, but he’s great at drawing and drew me a picture of Ana!! His mom is also the sweetest and she comes with us on visits a lot, and she gave me this white chocolate basket! 

This week our food with a member fell through one day, but it’s all good because we got to eat in the Chinese Buffet we’ve been wanting to try! Not quite Panda, but it was good!

This is Hermana Equihua. She is about to hit one year as a member and is the sweetest. She went to the temple for the first time last week and last week we ate with her one day. Her son, Victor, is 5 and absolutely adorable. As we eating, he wants to play a board game and we start playing and I beat him 2 times. He gets all fired up and starts playing with Hermana Lopez instead. We invite them to the Noche de Cine and they say yes.  Victor tells me, we can be friends but tonight, I need to play with my other friends and not with you.  Ha! Ha!  After a few more minutes he comes back and says ... well, it would probably be better if I played with you tonight.  

A few hours later, we all show up in the chapel and start watching The Testaments.  Victor is not the most quiet kid and is all over the place and somewhere along the way, I turned into a human pillow. We’re watching the movie and he says, “Did you see??” “Did you see!! Jesus isn’t on the cross anymore!  He’s okay! He’s totally okay now.”

 This is the part where I get a little teared up.  After the movie, the Elders ask for comments.  After they see I’m teared up, they call on me first.  It’s just that, kids get it. They always get it.  In every house we go to, the kids are the first who naturally respond to the Spirit.  It’s Semana Santa here this week and there are tons of crosses and they reenact the crucifixion and it’s so focused on His death. I love that kids get it, He lives! I love the week of Easter. Also, I kind of felt like a mom and that was cool too. I love kids. I am so excited to be able to have my own kids and teach them about Jesus and well it’ll just be cool. 

After the movie he says he’s going to teach me how to run.  That would be the video, if it makes it through!  I’m pretty sure people here think I’m nuts! Crazy white girl!  Whatever it takes to make that kid laugh! 

Today there was a HUGE market in the center of the city with so many beautiful Mexican creations!! I brought y’all some treats #guesswhatsinthebags

This week we got to go to the General Women’s meeting! Awesome right? I love General Conference! I loved the video with the families singing. I was such a boob! Then the other family video starts and it was all just so centered on families. I hope it’s the Lord’s plan that I get to have my own family. I feel so excited to center my home on Christ, to put him in the primer lugar and just struggle and pray and work it all out in this crazy earth life. We need to serve! 

We got to visit the Ramirez family this week. They are active members. The daughter is divorced with a 6-year old son.  The daughter’s husband is an ex-missionary and they were sealed in the temple, but he just kind of stopped living the gospel and well, they got divorced. The mom reminds me so much of our mom in about 20 years. She is hilarious, so loving, and gives everything that she has. She also says things like they are and is always trying to raise the bar in the ward. Her daughter is pretty stressed with her calling and we were trying to find ways to help and support her. They are an incredible family. They don’t have a lot, but they give all that they can. They don’t complain. They live the gospel a hundred percent and get a little frustrated when others don’t get it. They are so strong and I felt like I was in my own house with them! It was just a special experience and come what may, the gospel helps us and we can be strong. 

The truth is ... this week we walked a lot and didn’t really find anybody!  Not the less actives, not investigators, not new people, nobody.  I was getting a little frustrated and I think the Lord wants me to learn patience. He just wants me to trust Him and wait on Him just a little bit more. One day I was pretty frustrated because we had four hours with a member and didn’t find anyone.   It always makes me feel bad when members take time to work with us, and then we struggle to find people during that time.

We decided to try and visit a recent convert and we found her! We started studying Mosiah 24 with her and it talks about how Alma and his people waited on the Lord. They trusted Him and were able to patiently bear their load, happily and willingly submitting themselves to the will of the Lord. I started to feel the Spirit so much and it was just as much as a lesson for me as it was for her! 

Ha! Ha!  So I am starting to figure out how you and dad can just teach a class at the last minute!  We’re in Gospel Principles on Sunday and the bishop calls us out of class.  Hermanas, he says, we forgot it was 5th Sunday and didn’t assign anyone the lesson.  Can you give the 5th Sunday lesson?  Our jaws about hit the ground, um, sure Bishop está bien. We were studying for about 10 minutes about autosuficiencia ... I don´t remember how you say that in English and we give the lesson! Oh the adventures here!! 

When we went to church on Sunday, I felt even more worried with the ward. I just felt like it was all a huge weight, like there is so much work to be done and I didn’t even know where to start. My head starting hurting and it was just a moment of overload! As we took the sacrament, I started to remember all that I had studied this week about the Atonement. I started to feel that it was the Lord’s work. He knows the ward and He knows who He called here. He has a plan. I just have to lean on Him more. I have to trust Him. I am so grateful to be learning these lessons now, to be learning about the Atonement and how to apply it now. It’s awesome. It’s hard, but I am so grateful for every experience that helps me to learn. 

I love you all tons and hope you’re all happy! See you soon!! 

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