Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Beginning of the Lasts......

Silly Kids!The first one from left to right:Santiago, Marcos, Carlos, Estefani, and Brittany

Tomorrow will be my very last zone conference with President which means that I'm going to have my last "American meal in Mexico" and I'm going to be giving my testimony with everyone who will be leaving in September and October. That's scary but exciting.....but scary....but still exciting....but even more terrifying...but still a little exciting... ;)

On Monday we got to be present while the bishop gave blessings to a family of investigators that we had met only once before. The little girl Siclaly wanted a blessing (she's 7), and then her older sister Lupita and her baby and then the mom decided at last minute to receive a blessing. The Spirit was so strong and brought tears to many eyes as this family that knew nothing about the Priesthood (except what we had explained beforehand) and blessings, exercised their faith in something that they didn't even know would work. I was really touched by their example.

Things are pretty good here in Nopalucan even though we are struggling a little with our investigators. Maribel more or less doesn't want to commit to anything but we're hoping that she'll come around. We're thinking about stopping our visits with Estefani because her mom doesn't want to let her be baptized. And Mayra and Chay most likely won't be getting baptized on the 12th of September as planned because even though Mayra was willing to get married and baptized this day, she told us yesterday that she doesn't want to get married and that her and Chay were looking into separating even though they have two kids.

Actually all of this has led to an interesting experience. On Wednesday, my companion and I received the impression that we should fast for our area on Saturday. So when Saturday came, my companion was very ready to fast but I wasn't.  Anyway, I went into the bathroom and got on my knees. I told Heavenly Father how I felt, that I did not want to fast, I simply did not want to do it but I knew that I should. So after receiving comfort and instruction from the Lord, I began my fast. It became a true exercise of faith and sacrifice.   It was this night that Mayra accepted her baptism date for the 12th of Sept. (even though last night she told us that it just wasn't going to happen.) I don't exactly know what the Lord is doing but I feel that He's up to something and I feel that everything will work out even if they don't work out like I want them to.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you can see all the miracles that the Lord works in your lives!
                 Yup, it's that time of year again and strangely, even after having gone a year without eating them...                                   I still don't like chiles en nogada. =P

Monday, August 17, 2015

August 17, 2015

This week we had a great FHE with Mayra and Chay. We had originally asked the bishop to help organize it and we ended up having it not only with his family but also with another family that I have wanted to have help us for a long while now. Both the families presented a short lesson and then we ate. They are doing well now and actually went to the temple open house on Saturday. They loved it and were rather impressed by the beauty of it. They were supposed to go with the intention of receiving a confirmation that they should be baptized on the 12th of Sept but we haven't really had the chance to talk to them about it so we'll be doing that tonight.

We moved houses! Woohoo! We had been having problems of running out of water and with some drunks here near the center of town and were told by a couple of members that it might be best to move. We hadn't really thought about it (because the thought of moving sounded like way too much work =P) when Mayra told us that she had found a house for us. When we went to check it out we both felt a confirmation that it was time to move and that this house was just fine. We then prayed and asked the Lord to put everything into place so that we could move it that was His will. Well, turns out it was. =) The "contract" on our old house had been thoroughly lost and so did no longer exist, everything got hooked up and ready in the new house, and we got everything settled with the mission offices and were able to move on Saturday. A few members helped us out and we were out of the old house and into the new one in less than an hour. Although we didn't sleep well and felt uncomfortable in the new house the first night, we felt right at home after it received a blessing from our ward mission leader. 

This week we've seen a couple of miracles. We received a reference from the offices of a woman who had called in to receive the missionaries and wanted to see them the next day. The only catch was that it was for the Elders. =( We totally forgot to pass it to them that night and got a call the next day to see if we had given it them and ended up having to look for it because the elders had gone to the hospital (actually our entire district except for us spent the weekend in the hospital). As it turns out, she actually lives in our area. Her name is Maribel and she was really excited to receive us. She's had a lot of problems in her family and told us that she felt a special peace and tranquility in her heart as we talked. We are hoping that she is one of the prepared children of God in this area and that the Lord has given us the privilege of teaching her.
There is another family that we are going to find out this week if they are willing to listen to the Gospel. They area reference from a member who talked with them while traveling to Mexico City. They had been passing through many trial and she had mentioned to them the power of a priesthood and gave her testimony of it. She offered to contact us and hep them be able to receive a priesthood blessing. When we went to look for them, the first people asked to see if they knew them were actually them. Although it was originally just the little 7 year old daughter who was interested in the gospel, the parents began to ask questions about the Restored Gospel as we sat and talked to their child. Tonight their oldest daughter will be receiving a priesthood blessing that she had asked us for and we hope that they will be able to feel the Spirit and that it will soften their hearts enough to accept the Gospel.

Estefani has been doing well however getting her to church has been a struggle and yesterday we talked to her and her mother about baptism and her mother (who doesn't even act like her mother) is not a fan. We are hoping that their hearts will be softened and that we will be able to prepare her to be baptized.

August 10, 2015

This week we have spent a lot of time with a little 9 year old named Estefani. She's one of our investigators who loves learning about God. We only have one problem...she's also listening to the Jehova's witnesses. The problem with this is the doctrine is very distinct and it confuses her quite a bit. We're working on helping her see the truth in everything that she's learning and we're hoping that the Lord will help her understand. She loves the gospel that we're teaching her and we're hoping to get permission from her grandfather, who's taking care of her, so that she can go to church. We also celebrated her 10th birthday with her. We decided to give her some crayons and colored pencils because she loves coloring but doesn't really have anything because her family is very poor. She was so excited and we feel that she really enjoyed her birthday. The sisters in the ward who had gone with us to our lessons also gave her a gift and she felt very loved. =)

Mayra and Chay finally accepted a baptismal date. We hardly saw them at all this week but we did get to see them yesterday and it was so great so get to talk to them. After about an hour and a half of listening and trying to figure out why they didn't want to be baptized in September they finally accepted to work towards a certain day. We're really excited to keep working with them and even better they're going to be moving houses soon (hopefully this week) and we're hoping that this will help them continue to work hard and active in the gospel.

In our district everyone was transferred but us. Our district leader Elder Philippe and Hna San Martin (both from chile) stayed and are both training. Elder Philippe's companion is Elder Rodriguez from Mexico City and Hna San Martin's companion is Hna Barrios from Columbia. She was the only new sister to enter the mission this transfer. We also got a new zone leader, Elder Gonzalez. he's pretty cool just really quiet and since our last leader (we share the ward with them) was lots of fun and talked a lot, we're not sure what to do. =P However, it's going to be a good transfer these next 5 weeks. =)

Well, I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Last Transfer! o.o

So this week we got the chance to participate in a stake youth conference proselyting activity. We took groups of youth out to knock doors. In our mission we're not allowed as missionaries to knock doors but the young men and women can and oh how they did a wonderful job. They were all so brave to knock on each door and invite people to church and to go watch "Meet the Mormons" with the ward. I was so impressed with each of the girls that I had in my group because even after each rejection, the just kept moving forward. It was great. =)
On Tuesday, we ended up taking a sick day because of all the Mole we had eaten during the town festival. We both got super sick in the middle of the night and woke up at almost the exact same time to run to the bathroom. =P However, we're better now and we're going to avoid Mole at all costs. =P

The Perez Lopez family didn't make it to church this week for some reasons but they're hoping to go next week. I'm really sad to think about it but we don't know if we're going to keep teaching them because they simply don't progress but we're gonna wait and see.

Mayra and Chay are doing great. They still haven't openly accepted the 12th of Sept as their baptismal date but sometimes they mention getting married then and so we think that we're going to start working toward this day. They finally made it to Sacrament meeting on time and were able to participate of the Sacrament. They also went to a baptism that the other ward had and even though we haven't really had the chance to talk to them about what they thought we were super surprised to see them there and we were very happy to see that the Lord is working with them.

I will be staying here in Tule until the end of my mission. Wooohooooo!!! Thank you for your fasting and prayers. I have never felt so calm before hearing about transfers. Hna Sellers and I are super excited to have another transfer together and we feel that we're going to be able to see lots of success. To kick off the transfer, we asked the bishop for a blessing to work in his ward and the blessings he gave us were just perfect. While we listened to each other's blessing and while receiving our own, we both felt that they were exactly what we needed and that the Lord was giving us some very specific reminders on how to work with each other and in our area. 

Happy August!!

I had become a little discouraged in my area because everything began to slow down. I felt sad and  had a hard time feeling the Spirit. However, after going on exchanges, I got the chance to have a really good talk with my Sister Training Leader Hna PeƱalosa. We talked about the importance of allowing the Atonement to work in our lives and the importance of choosing to be happy and not letting ourselves become discouraged. She gave me a wonderful talk after listening for a good hour of everything that I had saved up that was causing my feelings. She's so amazing and I was so grateful for the time that I had with her I later read in PMG about the importance of moving forward with faith and trusting in the Lord. When we do this, we allow the Spirit to enter more into our lives and we are able to work with more power in our lessons and in our lives in general.

Also, on exchanges, I got to meet the "best ward mission leader ever" and actually he just might be. =P I had so much fun with them and really enjoyed a little break from everything here.

This week we also got to see the Perez Lopez Family. I was kinda nervous to be visiting them because we hadn't seen then in almost 2 months and we were going to use this lesson as the deciding factor as to whether or not we were going to continue visiting this wonderful family that I had come to love. However, I had no reason to worry because we had given them the homework of reading 3 Nephi 11which talks about Christ coming to the Americas and how he institutes baptism. They alone taught themselves the doctrine of baptism and then accepted the invitation to be baptized and promised that they would do all that was possible to go to church this coming week! Woohoo! I love them so much!

Today we had one of my favorite district activities. We danced. We learned the national dance of Chile which is supposed to be a kind of flirty dance I guess but you don't touch each other. It was very classic and the majority of us are definitely American because it was so hard for us to get it. =P Also we learned a Tahitian hula dance from one of the American sisters in our district, Hna Matagi. That was super fun because the elders really can't move their hips....the sisters can't either. =P We also did a few line dances and then we ate a dessert from Chile can calsettas rotas ("broken socks" o.O) they were absolutely delicious. =)

This week was also the Town party so we ate nothing but Mole and didn't work yesterday because of all the drunks wandering around last night. =P We also got a nice stomach ache from the Mole but we're better now so that's good news. =) 

Oh this coming week we'll be finding out about transfers O.O I'm kinda nervous. I don't want to leave my last transfer and I don't want my district to be changed. They're just all so awesome. =)

I hope you all have a wonderful week and that you can all see miracles each day! =)
This is a huge butterfly that likes to watch me do my laundry :)

July 20, 2015

This week we got to see Heavenly Father answer a few of our prayers.  One day we had asked for at least 4 lessons in one day, as it is difficult to have lessons in our area.  This day we walked to one of the little towns, looking for some investigators that weren’t home.  As we finished writing a note to leave on their door and to let them know that we had been looking for them, it began to rain.  We had just decided to look for a reference before heading back to town where we live when the rain got worse and we were still in this little town about 30 minutes from home.  We both had the feeling that the Lord was going to use this rain to help us get in a door.  While getting drenched, we passed an older woman with her granddaughter waiting out the rain on a little bit of dry ground.  We stopped to ask if she knew the reference and she didn’t but after a few minutes of talking to her, she began to feel bad for us because we were soaked.  She then invited us to her house and we listened to her express her problems and concerns that she had within her family.  We received the opportunity to testify of the power of our Savior and of God’s intentions for our families.  We will be having an appointment this week and we pray that the Lord led us to her and softened her heart to let u sin because she is prepared to receive the gospel message.

This week was pretty crazy.  We had our first interviews with President and it was nice to get to know him.  He asked about what was my greatest challenge in the mission and how was I able to overcome it and how would I recommend that someone else overcome it.  He also asked for my testimony of the Savior and his atonement.  It was good, to be honest.  I still miss President Christensen but I know that President Nelson is here at this time for a reason and that although the adjustment has been  rough for him and his wife, he will do amazing things in this mission.

We’ve been working a lot with Mayra and Chay and we are really hoping that they will accept a baptismal date this coming week.  They have finally accepted that they need to be baptized but now they want to wait for a year!  We are working on them J  They are amazing, they learn so fast and are almost members seeing as how they go every week to church and participate in all of the activities and not to mention that Chay wants to fast this week!  I’m so excited to have this opportunity to watch God work again personally with His children.  It’s one of those experiences when we truly fulfill our purpose and only show up to answer questions and assure them that what they are doing is the best for their family and God does the rest.  I really want to see them baptized before I end my mission and if Heavenly Father is willing I just might!!!

Instruments in the Hands of God

My new companion Hermana Sellers

So this week we got to meet a the cousin of a member. Her name  is Georgina and she lost her daughter about 4 years ago and still can't get over it. She cried a lot while we were with her but we were able to testify of how the gospel could help her and that Jesus Christ lived and was the only person who could help her heal. We're hoping to go do service with her on Thursday. It was super cute because we asked if we could help her in something other than sharing the gospel and her little 6 year old son piped up and said, "Well, I was thinking that the grass out front gets really long and a lot of snakes hide in there and so I don't know if you can help us cut it or something like that." We're hoping to get the Priesthood together so that they can help us out.
Mayra and Chay are progressing pretty well. They are beginning to see changes in their lives and the members are doing a great job of helping us out on this one. They've been doing FHE's without us having to ask, and are visiting them and really helping them progress. Tonight we're going to have a family home evening with them so that they can learn how to do them and begin to do them each week with their little girls. =)
This week we were truly instruments in the hands of God.
There's a recent convert who hasn't been able to go to church because she's living at home and her dad hasn't given her permission to go and she's having a lot of problems with her older brother. After looking for some people in the next town over and we had 20 minutes before an appointment and nothing to do. We stood still for a few minutes discussing what we were going to do when the thought came, "Let's go find Elvira." We called her first because we had received the threat of being kicked out if her brother found us in her store. Then we went and talked to her for a minute. That's when she mentioned what God had just done for her. She had gone out back to pray and told her Heavenly Father how she felt and that she wanted a sign to know that he hadn't forgotten her. She then walked back into the store and instantly the phone rang and guess who it was....the missionaries. :D How amazing is that?! The moment she had asked for a sign to know that God was aware of her, the sister missionaries that were just down the street receive the thought "Let's go find Elvira." We felt pretty privileged to be the answer to a prayer. =)
We also had a zone activity today that was pretty fun. We had a stick pull and I went up against a super-buff Elder....we broke the stick. ;P He was pulling on the outside and I was pulling on the middle and it was just perfect enough the break the stick in half.

Happy Fourth of July!!

So this week was pretty exciting.

We got to meet our new mission president, Pres. Nelson from California. He passed by each of us and gave us a handshake and asked us a few questions like "Where are you from?", "How long do you have in the mission?" and such. He got really excited when he talked to my companion because they live about 45 minutes from each other and he knows her stake president. He made sure to remind us of the most important rules in the mission. He brought such a  wonderful spirit into the room when he walked in. It was so beautiful to see them and even though he might have been a little nervous in front of all of us missionaries, he gave a wonderful talk.

This week we had an awesome lesson with Mayra and Chai. First they made us each lunch with them which was fine because the member wouldn't be able to give us lunch that day. However, after we got them seated and ready to listen, we talked a lot about prophets. They've had a bit of trouble accepting the idea of a modern-day prophet however we read the story of Korihor and Alma to show what a false prophet teaches and what a true prophet teaches, ya know, the whole "by their fruits ye shall know them" thing. They still haven't accepted that this church is true but they know it. Oh, they so know it. =P Actually, some members have been helping and visiting with them and just talking to them about their experiences as they've been learning about the church and they're just loving it. They feel so much peace and calm and Chai said that he felt that this church was exactly what he needed. :D We're so excited for them. We invited them to be baptized and they accepted! We only need to put a date with them to be baptized and get them married and then we can get them on their way to an eternal family! :D

We went to San Vicente this week, you remember, the town with the people who almost stoned us? Well, we got to meet the cousin of one of the members here and we feel that they will actually be able to progress. They lost a daughter of theirs in Abril to Lupis (that disease that makes your defenses turn against you and your body begins to attack itself) and she left a little son with less than a year. We are also hoping that this will be part of opening the door for us to this little town that has never accepted missionaries. We almost feel like it's Ammonihah, and I'm pretty excited to put into the practice what Alma did to bring the gospel to this rebellious little town. One of the first things he did was 1. labor hard in the Spirit, 2. Pray for the spirit of the Lord to be poured out up the people of the town. We'll have to see how it goes this week. =)

Oh, on the 4th of July, I wasn't going to do anything seeing as how I'm in Mexico and in the mission and holiday's don't exactly exist here. =P However, it's my companion's favorite holiday and so we bought a little cake and a 4 candle to celebrate. The cake was finished last night...cake doesn't last long in a missionary's house. =P