Monday, August 25, 2014

August 25, 2014

This week has been an exciting one. 

Our little Martin has become quite the problem. He's always had a problem with stealing and lying but it seems this week it escalated. He stole money from the restaurant where he works for 10 hours a day and later stole a phone out of the purse of one of the other employees. His baptism date officially fell and we have no idea what to do. How can you help a young boy who either doesn't understand the principles or has no desire to change? Yeah, we're not sure either. However, on the bright side, he has officially given up coffee. =) So that's a perk.
Actually, like Martin, we had 4 other dates set for the 30h of August and every single one fell through. Sabino and Alma, the parents of a recent convert, have to be married before they can be baptized. The problem is that Sabino is still married to another woman and definitely won't be divorced before next Saturday. They are both so excited about the gospel and to be baptized. We don't know how long it will take before they can enter the waters of baptism but we have no doubt that one day they will. The only thing that worries us is that they will become disheartened and lose their excitement. We're going to keep working with them though and continue to pray for their testimonies to stay strong.
Naim, the son of a recent convert, had his date fall through because he drank coffee the day after we talked about the Word of Wisdom and he had committed to keep it. We're pretty sure he had no idea how serious we were about it until we told him that he couldn't be baptized on Saturday. However, we're hoping he understands now just how important his commitments to live the commandments are, and that they're not to us but to the Lord. At least, that's what we tried to explain.
On Saturday we had an interesting experience when I tried to turn Lesson 3 from PMG (Preach My Gospel) into a science experiment. Lesson 3 is about faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the holy ghost, and enduring to the end. I used a boiled egg and drew a face on him. He was named Senor Huevo. He has always had lots of faith and has always wanted to enter the Kingdom of God (Wine Bottle borrowed from recent convert who was visited earlier in the day) and although he did some things wrong he repented, lost his hard outside shell, and was baptized. However, with all that he still needed to be baptized by fire (match and rubbing alcohol meant to suck him into the Kingdom of God), however, he was baptized with a large spurt of fire and although the Kingdom of God was trying very hard to suck him in, he was still too fat to be sucked into the Kingdom and just sat there, unimpressively. He obvious did not endure to the end.
I had tried it earlier with a regular coke bottle and 1. the opening also was too small and 2. he decided to exploded because his guardian angel (hermana Parslow) tried to put him into the Kingdom of God too early. When the match and alcohol become friends, Senor Huevo the First was no more. It really startled my companion and made her a little worried for our lesson, especially since we were then using a bottle that once held alcohol. Not gonna lie, I was a little concerned also that the bottle was going to burst however, it was just a small pillar of flame that startled everyone else.
After that lesson, which was the shortest lesson we've had with them, we ran out into the rain to catch a bus ride home. Two buses that we could have taken refused to stop when we tried to flag them down. We stood, waiting in the rain, praying for a bus and resisting the call of nature. Finally a bus passed and stopped. We agreed to contact the bus. My companion gave her introduction and it went really well. We began to contact the people on the bus by passing for each person. I was in the middle of waiting while someone wrote down their address when my companion decided to get of the bus. We watched in surprise at each other (I was surprised because she had gotten off and she was surprised that I had not left the bus with her) as the bus continued to move with her outside and me still on it. I finished the contact, got off the bus, and began sprinting for my companion. We met up in the street having both ran to the other and hugged. Then, we laughed....a lot. 

What an exciting week. =)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 18, 2014

Wow, tomorrow I complete 5 months in my mission. Once again, I'm stuck thinking..."Huh, only 5 months." and "What in the world happened to those 5 months?"

This week has definitely been an interesting one. 
We had a FHE with Imer and his family. He had said that he wanted to have one and had a class and activity in mind but wasn't sure how a FHE worked so he invited us to join them. It was first. When it was Imer's turn to give the class he talked about the family and their responsibilities. He totally flattened everyone out, basically telling them that they weren't even close to fulfilling their family responsibilities. It didn't help that just about all of it was aimed at his older brother who likes his alcohol and has told us that when he's ready, he'll listen to our message. By the time we started the activity of writing down the bad things about us and preparing ourselves to ask for forgiveness from everyone in the family, his brother decided that it would be a perfect time to leave. My companion and I will be having another FHE with them tonight and have decided to focus on love within the family.

Our mission received it's second pair of senior missionaries and they are fantastic! I positively adore this couple. They're from Culiacan Sinaloa, Mexico which is in the north, and are Elder and Sister Arellano. Elder Arellano is positively hilarious and loves his jokes and thoroughly enjoys combining his love of humor with his love of the gospel. The first day we met, on Tuesday, he started telling me that once his ancestors were beautiful like me, fair with light eyes. However, in the land with his beautiful ancestors were ugly people, with dark skin and bad attitudes. Thoroughout time, the uglies fought with the pretty people and eventually killed them all. However, there is a promise that one day, when the uglies accept Christ as their Savior, it would not be many generations before they became beautiful again. He told me, "That is the hope that I hold onto." XD He's hilarious and although he's only been here a week, I've learned so much from him, for example, he explained that the reason why we have the greater sin when we don't forgive someone is because we have put ourselves in the place of God, claiming that we have the authority to forgive sins. I know, I was a little shocked too.
His wife is wonderful too. She's super sweet and is just so ready to work. She reaches out to everyone that she sees. She's an ex-missionary who served in Northern Mexico when it was just one mission. She loves to join us when we contact in the street but hasn't quite figured out how to do so yet. We'll be walking in front of her and her husband while we're teaching about the area and introducing them to members and when we stop to contact someone, her husband will keep walking but she'll stop and join us to listen to the person we're contacting. It's funny but a little uncomfortable for the person we're contacting because it adds additional pressure to them when people start adding the to crazy group that wants to help save their soul. 
On Wednesday, we had a zone meeting. The whole mission is focusing more on contacting people in the street. However, our zone is focusing not only on contacting people in the street but also on the bus....the whole bus.
How do you contact a whole bus? Well, you get on the bus with your companion, ask the bus driver's permission to share something with the people on the bus and usually they say yes, then your companion goes to the back and you stand at the front of the bus, trying to maintain your balance while holding a Book of Mormon in your hand and testifying of it's truthfulness. Then you and your companion pass by each person and ask if you can share more of this message with them and their family. It's pretty intense. Just about every time I've done it, I just feel this power and authority deep within me as I testify of the Book of Mormon. There's a strange confidence that comes from holding high a Book of Mormon. Without that confidence, I don't think that I could stand in front of 25 people I don't know and declare who I am and why the Gospel is important. Although, most of the time, we'll only get 1 address, I have to remind myself that maybe that one person is prepared for the Gospel and if we hadn't of planted our feet on the bus and shared the Gospel, they could have waited for a long time before they got the chance to hear it.
We've been struggling a little trying to teach our 10 year old orphan Martin. He wouldn't really pay attention during lessons and my companion and I would get a little frustrated because he didn't understand what we were trying to teach. It's wasn't until this week while I was asking for help from the Lord to know how we could help Martin that I realized that the problem was with Martin but with us. We were trying to teach him like a teenager instead of the 10 year old child he is. I started asking around for advice on how to teach kids and got some awesome advice from my zone leader and my MTC companion. We decided to introduce him to Captain Moroni. We asked if he wanted to be like Moroni. With the most excitement that I've seen in him yet, he said yes. As we explained things we would tell him of how it would help protect him and help him become like Captain Moroni. Then, when he accepted a commitment to follow a commandment, he would get to draw a piece of armor on his Capitan Martin self that we had him draw. It's turned out to be quite effective.
We have a new investigator named Valeria. She's from the south mission and we got permission to teach her in her house. We went to find her yesterday for our appointment and just got lost. Luckily, we saw some elders down the street and started chasing them down. They were confused why we were in the wrong mission but luckily, they had taught Valeria before and knew exactly where she lived.

We talked in church on Sunday. It was quite interesting because my companion just flattened everyone out. It was subtle and without anger but I'm pretty sure that everyone felt it, mainly because they told me. My companion said that I was a little more loving than she was and thank goodness the Arellanos spoke after us because otherwise I don't think the ward would have been too happy.
It feels like things are just running and everything is just a blur sometimes but I'm so excited for this week and can't wait to see how the Lord is going to bless these people we are teaching.

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 11, 2014

We are definitely seeing miracles in our area. 
We have two investigators Alma and Sabino, they are the parents of a recent convert, Imer. My first visit in this area with them we extended the baptism invitation and Alma was all for it and Sabino was very hesitant. We didn't see them for about a week and a half. We were a little nervous about how they had truly taken the baptism invitation but when we saw them again, Sabino looked happier than ever and accepted the invitation and date. Since then he's been all smiles and practically glows.

Also, we contacted someone in the street and found out that the misioneras before Hermana Caballero and Hermana Curiel had been teaching her. We set an appointment for the next week. When we went the next week, she asked if we could come back later, which unfortunately we wouldn't be able to because we had a meeting. We agreed to come back a different day and started to walk away. We were a little unsure about where to go for the next hour and a half before our meeting. That's when her daughter ran after us and said, "Wait! I'm actually the one that wants to talk to you!" We sat down and taught her about how she was a daughter of God and about her grand potential. She listened very intently and when we asked her how she felt she said, "I just, I just feel like it's true." We invited her to read in the Book of Mormon and pray. She agreed to do so and we have another appointment with her this week and so we'll see how it goes.

We also have an investigator that we were going to drop because we couldn't get a hold of her. Everytime we would visit her she wasn't home or couldn't visit with us. We decided to visit her one more time and when we dropped by they were making Chiles en Nogadas. We offered to help and she let us in! We talked and visited with her as we helped prepare the ingredients. She then invited us back! We're hoping that it was a sign to show that we should continue working with her. 

We have two investigators named Karla and Sarai. They're sisters who have been visited by the missionaries for a long long time. We had been thinking about dropping them for a while and because neither of us were sure if we should, we took it to the Lord during our weekly planning session. We both felt like we should continue with them and decided that we would sit down and have a good talk with them. We haven't had the chance yet but we're hoping that we'll see why the Lord wants us to continue with them. 

We had the baptism of Doris on Saturday. Is was a good end to a very stressful day. We had been running around all day and then as we were finishing a very argumentative contact it started to rain. Everything went late. Hardly anyone showed up until a half an hour after it was supposed to start and Doris didn't show up until 45 minutes after it was supposed to start. To her credit, there was a flood in her store but she still came and it was positively beautiful. I'm convinced that my favorite part is when they step into the water. The Spirit just fills the room and it's an absolutely wonderful moment.

  I am also constantly surprised by how much and how quickly people trust us as missionaries. We visited a member family with whom the missionaries have worked hard in the past to reactivate and so we keep tabs on them. They seemed upset during church and so we decided to pass by. The mother was there with her daughters and after my companion shared Ether 12:4 and talked about that with our faith we have a hope for a better world, the mother told us all about the problems that she had with her husband. I sat there thinking..."I don't know what to say, I have to say something but I don't know what to say." I started to pray and pray for inspiration about what I could say to this family, not to counsel them, but to comfort them. I felt the need to share Alma 7:11-12, however, when the mother asked what we thought my companion responded with her testimony that everything would be okay and after a bit more talking I felt that my moment to share my thoughts had passed. We closed with a prayer and the mother asked if we could sing, "I Need Thee Every Hour". We sang and after the mother asked me why I had hardly talked that day. I can't remember what I said but I did say that I would like to share something with them. I sat in silence for just a moment and listened intently to the Spirit. Then I began to speak, I testified of the Savior and of his love for us. I shared the scripture and testified of it's truthfullness and how the Savior is always there for us. I felt the Spirit fill my soul and knew that as I testified to them that they were feeling the testimony of the Spirit and that as He testified to them of the truthfullness of the words, He was also testifying to me. I shared another of my favorite scriptures with them Isaiah 41:10,13 and testified of the truth of it.
  I was very grateful for the chance to be an instrument for the Lord and that I could help deliver the words that that family needed. I had been feeling lately that I was lacking alot in the ability to teach and help these people here in this ward and I am so grateful for the reminder that my abilities do not matter. As long as I seek the help of the Lord, he will make whatever abilities I have enough. 

I know that our Lord loves us more than we can comprehend and that He is mindful of us in every circumstance.

Monday, August 4, 2014

August 4, 2014

Hmm, where to start. 

Okay, so my new area is named Juarez and we actually have the mission offices in our area which is super duper convenient. Our area is positively huge. Seriously, HUGE. We have the entire ward to ourselves and it takes about an hour and a half to walk from one side of our area to the other. It's good however because we're not limited as to where in the ward we can go. 
We live in an apartment which isn't too bad even though it's evident that it has had generations upon generations of missionaries, which is awesome because those generations and generations of missionaries have left plenty of hangers to use in our closets. =) Hermana Christensen loves our apartment because there is a member family on each floor of our building. They may not be in our ward but they love us anyway. =) One of those families lives across the landing of our floor and likes to call us the "Elderas" instead of Hermanas. Every time we knock on their door because we have a question or something and they ask who it is, I say "Pizza!" To my surprise...they never open the door until we say that it's the Elderas.
Here we are seeing a lot of miracles. We currently have 5 baptism dates and are constantly striving to find more people to teach. We have the baptism this Saturday of Doris. She's a single mom of two kids and is just amazing. She loves the Church and loves the idea that she can be with her family forever. Her husband died some time ago and just can't wait to enter the temple so that her family can be together forever. 

There's a family of a recent convert. The recent convert is Imer and he was the first person I met in this ward. He's super fired up to go on a mission and just can't wait. He goes out with the missionaries at least once a week and is doing all he can to help his family work towards their baptism date. Speaking of his family, his mom, dad, and sister in law have a baptism date but there's a catch....they have to get married first. The good news is that they want to get married, the bad news is that it's surprisingly difficult to get married in Mexico. You have to pay a lot of money and trying to find someone who will do it for free or cheap is not easy however, we're continually praying and searching and doing whatever we can to make this goal.

One of our baptism dates is Martin. He's a 10 year old orphan who has quite the problem with lying and taking things that aren't his. I can't tell you how much it broke my heart to tell him that we would need to talk to his parents in order for him to be baptized and for him to quietly say that he doesn't have parents, that they died in a combi accident when he was 5. While he has a strong desire to be baptized, his aunt and uncle who take care of him refuse to give their permission for him to be baptized unless he breaks the bad habits. We were hoping to have him enter the waters of baptism buy the 19th but the deal became that if we can help him change and break those habits by the 30th of August, he can be baptized. To be honest, after an hour and a half of listening to his uncle talk about random things that had nothing to do with his nephew being baptized, I'm just glad that we have permission to continue teaching him and that we are now friends with his uncle. Thank goodness my companion was able to practice her new found patience and listen to him.

Sadly, my recording of what happened on Tuesday won't send through email. Probably because it's 25 minutes long. I don't have time to write out what happened then but I will tell you that earthquakes feel strong when you're on the second floor and that it's super confusing to wake out of a dead sleep to find that your bed is moving like a boat on the ocean. Nothing bad happened but it was enough to shake our windows and doors. 
Also on Tuesday my companion and I got given alcohol without us knowing it. It didn't burn or anything so I didn't think anything of it but when our bodies started to feel funny and we were singing in the street and laughing like idiots, we figured something was amiss. We asked a member about the drink we had been given and found that it was not something that we should ever drink again. =P

I know it's late but HAPPY BIRTHDAY CANDACE!!!!!!

I love you all! thank you so much for the package and everything that you do! 

I had to switch computers so I'll have to upload pictures next week. 

Love you!