Tuesday, September 29, 2015

To be a missionary....

Hey-yo Everyone-o!

This past week has honestly been a little slow, but it's wonderful being a missionary.
Only one of our investigators has come to church in the past two months since I've been here. We can't seem to figure out why they commit and are ready during a lesson but then don't commit in action. It's been busy, a bit saddening, but a sweet week. We had a Zone Conference with President and Sister Lewis in Yakima again. We love spending time with them. Our Zone Conference was a lot about finding through members, getting members excited about missionary work, and especially about Family History. Who's been on Family History lately? I have an invitation for you all who aren't currently busy serving a mission to go jump on Family History and look for work to do!  Index, look at a branch you haven't ever seen yet, especially because the church is now providing little booklets to fill it out on paper, then you can put pictures in and even share and show your friends. I would encourage each of you to share your knowledge about Family History with a friend who may not be a member or members who don't use it enough. 

This past Sunday was Fast Sunday... which is a favorite for some, not so much a favorite for others, but as missionaries, Fast Sunday is the best day to petition the Lord for the desires of your hearts and to truly show your faith in him. But this past Sunday even though we didn't hold any special fast, I was spiritually fed.  I came up with phrases about being a missionary to explain a bit about my week. 

Our investigators don't always come to church, but it's great to be a missionary. 
We are tired physically and mentally all the time, but it's great to be a missionary.
We walk and talk for hours on end, but it's great to be a missionary.
We don't always see miracles, but it's great to be a missionary. 
We don't always see fruits of our labors, but it's great to be a missionary.
We get doors slammed in our faces, but it's great to be a missionary. 

Being a missionary, is super humbling, and it's my favorite part of being here. I am so thankful to be here and to have such a wonderful family. I don't have much more to talk about, but I'll leave you all with my testimony that I know that this church is true, and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but here on a mission serving the Lord. 

Have a wonderful-o week-o!

Monday, September 21, 2015

The Itsy Bitsy Miracles... and Mishaps!

Hi Ya'll!

This past week just FLEW by! Holy Cow!  We had a chance to visit Berta this past Monday after returning to work after P-day, and she definitely grasped the Plan of Salvation. Well, but about halfway through our lesson she cut us off and said she only has about 15 minutes with us every time we visit. Typically, we keep our appointments with investigators around 45 minutes to answer questions, to teach, and let the Spirit work on them. This really tested our simplicity, as we only made it through the first half of the Plan of Salvation lesson. She said she would continue to read the rest, and asked us to come back in a week. We had a goal to visit her more than once a week, if we want to help her progress, so we worked out our next appointment, today after P-day, and we hope to establish our purpose as missionaries again, and about how we'd like to visit more than once a week.. It should go well!

Tuesday, We visited the Torres Family, a less active family in our area, and they got invited by family to go to Salt Lake City for General Conference!  Sister Torres's work conflicts, as she is expected to work every Saturday, and a very long shift.  So unfortunately, she won't be able to go. She gladly accepted our invitation to join us at the church when General Conference is broadcasted to our other church building in Zillah, about 15 minutes away!  We also had a good lesson with Rose Marie, and talked more about baptism, because she's on date to be baptized for October 24th. Ever since last Tuesday, we haven't been able to get back in touch with her, which is sad, but we will be meeting with her sometime this week!

Wednesday was our Miracle Day!  We started off our day with a sweet District meeting, and our Zone Leaders even joined us!  Later that day we knocked in Toppenish, and then finished our day off with knocking in Granger. We were able to meet some wonderful people. We started off in Granger without an idea of where to start knocking, but we felt inclined to knock a certain street with Hispanic houses and American houses, (Spanish missionary habit, always searching for Hispanic looking streets and homes) and started off with not many people answering the door, until we knocked on another door, who seemed not to be home. We started turning around when a lady next door asked us "Can I Help you!?"  We first expected an outspoken American lady.  We kindly started talking to her after she told us she lived in that house, but was visiting next door. She started sharing some experiences she and her four kids have had to suffer through this past few years. She's divorced, and being forced to evacuate her house after not being able to pay the bills. She broke her collarbone at work and has been unable to work for the past month, sending aside the money she needed to support her kids, because her ex-husband isn't helping to pay for the kids' funds. We started talking about our purpose and work as missionaries, and she started to talk about how the missionaries in the past had stopped by only once, and never came back to her house. We felt sympathy as she started crying to us about how difficult things have been for her lately, and so we started talking about how Heavenly Father loves us and has created each of us for our purpose to return with him again. We started talking about how Sister Taua and I have experienced trials where we didn't feel like He was listening. She continued to cry, but to hide it from her children in the yard behind her. We promised her as she would make the move to Oregon to live with friends that she would find missionaries there who would gladly love to come over and teach her and her children. We gave her our card and invited her to request the missionaries on Mormon.org when she got settled in, and she said she gladly would!

Still loving our members animals!
Then Wednesday night we loaned the car to the Elders, (No, still no car for them, so we continue to loan it to them two or three times during the week) and started exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders. All day Thursday, Hermana Johnson was sick with a head cold/allergies. We still don't know why she's been sick for a long time, it's probably just allergies. We started off by working in Granger again.  We started talking to some people as soon as we got out of the car, but as I was closing up the car, I couldn't find the keys... I looked in my bag, in my skirt pockets, guess where the keys were....... I'm a klutz!  Yes, I locked the keys inside the car. Pretty embarrassing, but funny at the same time.  We just continued to talk to Anna Maria who was very intrigued by our message of eternal families. We got a return appointment and then evaluated what to do about our keys. We managed to find a member who was in Yakima who offered to pick up our spare key at the mission office (in Yakima, 30 minutes away) and bring it to us.  In the meantime without the car, we walked to our appointment with Alberto, who we are still having a hard time understanding. He's distracted very easily and doesn't seem to all be there in his head. He said he used to have extreme drinking problems but is trying to stop, we figured he may be a bit delayed mentally. Unfortunately he wasn't there for his appointment, but we were able to meet our recent convert's son, who just got home from Rehab, and lives next door. Ernesto has been in rough spots since the missionaries tried teaching him. He was in and out of Juvenile, and just got home from Rehab in Seattle, and in the meantime, his family was all baptized.  He really likes the elders.... but unfortunately, we are not the elders... He was pretty reluctant when we first met him, but we made plans to visit him and his family this week!  We also Taught Noheli that same night, who is about to have her fourth child!  We will need to wait a few weeks until she is stable with time and the new baby to come back and teach, but she and her husband love the bible, have beautiful children and lots of potential!  We met a few less actives that same night and exchanged back to our real companions! 

Our next Miracle was on Saturday!  We met Bundy (short for Abundancia)  while knocking some doors, and started talking with her about how much Heavenly Father loves us.  She started to really let loose on her word and talked A LOT, but it just goes to show how lonely she's truly been after explaining to us how she hasn't been getting along with her husband lately.  She's received some blessings from the missionaries, and knows our daily dose teachers very well!  We have a return appointment with her for Tuesday and are taking our Daily Dose teachers with us. 

On Sunday we had the Primary Program combined with the Ward and the Branch, so we started earlier than usual, and unfortunately Rose Marie didn't come, but said she would commit to coming.  We had dinner with the Ibarra's, and visited with some members to have dessert, and then returned to finding former investigators. 
We turned in some lost cards and Food Stamp cards to the Police Office. Mind you, neither Hermana Taua or I have been inside a Cop's Office, so it was awkward but funny all at the same time, meeting the officers and explaining how we found these Insurance, Food Stamp Cards and Health cards on the side of the road, all around a wallet, which was not there when we went back to get it.... The wallet was taken by someone literally in less than 5 minutes.  Pretty sketchy, but we hope the person gets their cards back. 

It's been a great week filled with little perfect miracles.  I know this Gospel is true, and I know it blesses every person in this world. I encourage each of you who aren't currently serving a mission to help the missionaries in your areas and to go about your ward mission plans. 

Love you all! Have a great week!

Granger is known as the Washington Dinosaur land!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Tender Mercies, New transfer!

Hi Everyone!

Wow, This past week seriously flew by! Does anyone else feel that way?

So, it's a new transfer, and these new changes have happened with our area, but something even more exciting happened... We didn't know this until the day before transfers, but we are now doing English work for the English ward!  Our area is now split, so we will do English and Spanish in Toppenish, and then Spanish work in all other parts of our area.  Wednesday we met with the elders and gave them the records for their area, and then we had 4 set appointments, which NEVER happens anymore for our area.  We've been so busy with appointments this week, and at the end of the night on Thursday we had plans to stop by someone we had a doorstep lesson with a few weeks ago, when out of the blue, this guy comes out at 8:30 at night to water his porch plants... weird, right? Well, we started speaking Spanish to him, and he spoke very fluently, but then switched to English. Well it turns out he's Hispanic but he has lived in the states for his entire life and understands more English now as a result of that.  He introduced himself as Jaime, (Hi-may) in Spanish, and then said, "Well, people call me Jamie, but you can call me Jimmy..." Uh, awkward again, but really funny for all three of us.  We jumped right into the Restoration while we talked about the Book of Mormon and about how we receive help and guidance from our Modern Day Prophets.  He LOVED the idea of the Restoration and Prophets, and it all started making sense.  We were able to talk with him about what he's been struggling with this past week, and for about a year of his life. He's started having health problems and has been quite lonely, as he only lives with his dogs and puppies. He really enjoyed talking to us.  Then we said a prayer with him before we left, and I said the prayer.  This prayer was one of the best moments I've had feeling the Spirit with someone new who we taught on our first time meeting them. I have never felt so much love for someone I never knew before.  As I closed the prayer (in which I asked Heavenly Father to help Jimmy have the comforting spirit of the Holy Ghost as he goes through a major surgery soon) we both looked up and we saw some tears in his eyes.  He quickly rubbed his eyes and said, "Sorry, I never really get emotional, but thank you so much for that prayer."  We never visited Eva that night, but I know we were sent there for a specific reason, and it was for Jimmy.

Sabino at his baptism in my prior location.
On the other hand, Eva who we had plans to see, has also been struggling.  We basically taught her the Restoration about two weeks ago and we've been trying to get in to see her since then. We stopped by last week and she expressed her feelings of loneliness while her husband is becoming sick with a brain tumor. She feels remorse and pain that her husband is suffering and not herself. She would rather have the pain than see her husband go through it. Well we roughly talked again about how we will all be a great big family when we return with our Heavenly Father after this life. She took great comfort when we told her we would see Heavenly Father again after our lives on earth. We also prayed with her for comfort and protection upon their family and her husband as he continues with his sickness. 

We met Berta while knocking doors this week, who has three kids and one grandson. Her grandson and her daughter were in a car accident, in which her son-in-law caused her daughter and himself to pass away in the accident.  Her grandson, who was only two at the time, and had his car seat turned towards the back of the car, which had completely saved him. Miguel, the grandson, is now left with a mental disability, but loves smiling and meeting new people. They want to put God more in their life, and Miguel loves being around us. We were invited in the door after teaching them on the doorstep about our loving Heavenly Father, and as soon as we walked in we both felt the Spirit so strong. Again, we've never felt such outpouring of love for these wonderful people we had never met. They showed us pictures of Miguel's father and mother, and his uncle who saved his life in the accident once he arrived to take in Miguel. We said a prayer with them and she graciously thanked us for coming and praying with her. 

We've had a lot of great little miracles in working out our schedules and traveling to and from city to city.  We've felt extremely thankful we are both staying together this transfer, we've sadly passed our investigators to the elders covering our area now due to bordering areas, but we are all on the Lord's Team. Are YOU on the Lord's team? 

I couldn't be more thankful for this Gospel and for the little, small miracles we've been blessed with this past week. I am extremely thankful to be a part of this wonderful church and to be a missionary. As a missionary, you see miracles every day and when we see and experience miracles, you can't get enough of them.  I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father to be serving in this area and we are so grateful to serve together. 

Paz afuera (our version of Peace out)

Have a wonderful week everyone!

A field after the hop harvest.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Toppenish Round Two!

Hi everyone! 

I'm staying in Toppenish for the next transfer, and so is Hermana Taua. We are so excited to start fresh this transfer and to get to work with the people we've been finding. 

Transfer news... Remember how we have a big area currently? Well, we were able to talk to President Lewis about our area this past week at the mission office (about 25 minutes away) while we were doing some work for the sisters in the office. Our area is getting SPLIT!  We will now have two Spanish speaking elders taking part of our area, meaning the part where we've been recommended MULTIPLE times to not visit... At least, not we sisters, so we've been busy this week splitting the area book and area info to hand off to them. Elder Hudson will arrive training a new missionary on Wednesday. They aren't living too far from the church building, and will also be doing a bit of English work. We are super excited to get some help in our area, and now it will be much easier to focus on our investigators at the most southern part of our area, and here in Toppenish. 

Our one grand miracle this week was finding Marcos and his family.  We called him a few weeks from our book records while we were at home without our car.  We got a return appointment, which we tried changing later, but could never get a hold of him. We lost his address along with some others due to our lack of organization lately... (yikes, I know..)  We recently found a couple of the addresses but no names to match the addresses, so we decided to visit all of them and physically contact them at their homes.  Marcos's address was the first which led to us being welcomed into the house and teaching about how much Heavenly Father loves each of us and having faith in him and in His Son Jesus Christ. His wife Natalia was amazing and kept dropping her jaw while we testified and talked about Jesus Christ. They have 3 beautiful daughters, one of baptismal age. 

This week I have really enjoyed and looked back on how far I've come over the past six months, and how much I've changed. I have truly enjoyed every part of my mission - when I laughed, cried, knocked endless doors, talked to people, been spit in the face, slammed doors in my face, but every time my companion was there. I've missed out on some amazing days that my family has enjoyed, but through it all I remember how much I've been given every single day of my life to prepare for these 18 months I've started, and it's now here, and almost half of it is already flown by... I've definitely loved every moment, and I will continue to enjoy every moment possible that the Lord has given me. I am so eternally grateful to be on a mission and to be here in Washington. 

Thank you to my family and friends for your endless support and love, I love you all! Have a wonderful week!

Had some super sweet horchata the other day, and I also ate a new food... :) Vaca Cabeza tacos :)