Then spake Jesus saying, "He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." John 8:12

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March 30- Let’s Never Stop Learning

Fernando’s reading the Book of Mormon, and said he had to read 1 Nephi twice to understand it. He still wasn’t quite sure, but he decided to keep going, an when he got to 1 Nephi 11 (where Nephi explains the vision that’s in 1 Nephi 8), he was like, “I got it all right!” We taught him the Word of Wisdom, and he said he didn’t understand what was bad about coffee and black tea, but he could feel that it was the word of God. This week we taught him how the Church of Christ was lost and changed during the Great Apostasy, and how it was restored in 1820 , and he decided to set the goal of April 18 for baptism. But when he came to the stake center to watch Meet the Mormons on Friday, he truly received his answer. We were sitting in the movie with some other investigators, but when it was over, we found him and asked him what he thought. He said, “You young ladies have a lot of work ahead of you.” And we were like “…” haha because we weren’t exactly sure what he meant. “I AM getting baptized on April 18. I know now that this is what I’ve been looking for. I’m not confused and there is no doubt.”

I’m not confused, either. There is no room for doubt in me, either. I knew this church was true when I decided to come on a mission. Trust me I would not have left all y’all and everything I had going for me if I wouldn’t have known. But on the mission, my understanding of God’s plan for me and for every one of us has deepened and strengthened even more. I have been reminded that God knows me. I have been reminded of who God wants me to become.

I have learned that growth is painful and difficult; often we doubt ourselves—can I really do it? I’ve learned that growth is a choice. He will give us opportunities. We can seek out opportunities. But God doesn’t force anyone to grow. I have learned that when we seek and accept opportunities to grow, that is only the first step. Persevering is necessary. And our perseverance will yield many more fruits if we rely on him during the journey.

Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; 
therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, 
for in his strength I can do all things, Alma 26:12

I want to inspire every one of you to accept these opportunities with joy. To seek these opportunities with confidence in yourself, in your Father in Heaven, and in your Salvador. Jess wrote me a couple months ago that the pain of growth is a good thing: “It's kind of like playing a sport and your muscles hurt and you can barely breathe, but that means you're doing it right, so it's miserable and wonderful at the same time. That's the challenge of a lot of the things we do and care about in life. They come with a little bit of pain and difficulty. Homesickness is hard because no one can see your homesick or sad or whatever is going on inside. So it's a kind of silent suffering. But that feeling of homesickness is a reminder that you are on your mission! That you have people to love! That you have family and friends and a wonderful life to come home to! If you think of it that way it would be worse to not be homesick, right? So maybe when you're feeling homesick, you can be like YES I'm homesick! Kind of how an athlete says, YES I can't breath because I'm running as hard as I can make my body run.” I thought that was pretty smart. So let’s accept the challenge to become better. In every aspect, but spiritually, above all.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.Matthew 6:33

President Ezra Taft Benson said, “When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.” And President Hinckley, "You cannot afford to do anything that would place a curtain between you and the ministering of angels in your behalf." This next weekened is General Conference, and I invite you all to prepare! With lots of prayer and meditation, write down some questions you have and leave space for the answers. I know the Lord is aware of you and will help you recognize in what direction to go.

January and February

Hey everyone :) I didn't have a lot to say in January or February, but that's not because there wasn't anything happening! 
·  One of the hermanas let me make tortillas by hand :D

 ·  One of the recent converts gave us a GIANT bag of garbanzo beans, and they were taking FOREVER to eat, so my companion helped me take them out of their shells so I could just eat them haha

  • A Valentine's day baptism: Oh man Valentines Day in Morelia was exactly the same as a Valentine's Day in Sac. Aka would NOT stop raining. I was kinda worried about our convert, getting wet, cause he's like 75, and I mean the church is not exactly a warm building. The water heater didn't want to work but in the end it did! And even though all his family is Jehovah's Witness and said they weren't gonna come, they filled the baptismal room! He bore his testimony after his baptism and when he cried, he was so surprised!!! I think it was the first time he had cried since being a kid.

  • Enjoying being lost in the middle of nowhere :)

·         We had a little family home evening/ birthday party for one of the sisters who we work with a lot. She cried because she's a recent widow, and has been fighting depression and suicide, since it happened, and I was the only one to remember her birthday. It was literally one of the those moments where you think, "Whatever I have had to go through to be in this city on this day, so that I could help her have a good birthday, it has all been worth it, and would be 100 times over." Mom, thank you for teaching me that birthdays are important.

·         I opened my closet on my birthday and look what I found from my companion :D

While I'm thinking about it, as much as I love mail, don't send me any packages! If you do, they will most likely get here when I am no longer a Mexican resident. Seriously. Letters are still safe, for a short little time. So write me :D <3 xoxox :D

Sunday, March 22, 2015

blog- march 16- I will never take this Gospel for granted again

On Thursday we were walking by a construction site when someone hollered at us, “Hermanas!” I almost didn’t want to turn around because sometimes they just holler at us to bother us. But I am a missionary so I can’t just ignore people! So we turn around and walk back toward them, and one of the guys says, “There’s someone here who wants to talk to you.” Haha we didn’t really know what to think, but we asked when we should come back. They said they got off work at 5, so we went back at 5. And it was kinda funny cause we just stood there waiting because we didn’t know who to ask for or anything. And right away, out came a maybe 30 year old guy, bunch of curly hair, and we started to talk. He said that one of his coworkers (the one who had talked to us) was a member of the church and had told him to look into it. Wow! That was a good start. We told him we would come back to teach, because we need a sister from the ward to come with us in order to be able to teach him.
Friday my companion got really sick (allergic reaction from some pork they gave us Thursday). So we spent the morning in the doctor and the afternoon in our meeting with the Ward Missionary Leader, and we weren’t able to go all the way out to the construction site.
Sooo… From Friday night to Sunday night it RAINED. Saturday from the moment we left the house in the morning until the moment we got home at night, we were soaking wet. Everything. Shoes, skirt, even my scriptures got wet. There was no sister from the ward who was willing to come with us, so Hermana Herrera and I went just to invite him to church. His eyes were so big and so sincere when we were testifying to him of the truthfulness of the gospel and the perfection of the plan that God has for him. He said he shouldn’t go because he only had his contractor’s clothes, but we said it didn’t matter. He’s one of the guys who does NOT go to church, but what he felt standing out there getting wet in the pouring rain was hope. He said he would come.
Sunday morning we put on every sweater and jacket we own and started walking toward the area where our investigators live (about a 30 minute walk). But the streets were so flooded, and it was so cold, we really didn’t want to wade through the water again! So we surrendered and called a taxi haha! We did the rounds in style this time (aka with a car) and the taxi driver probably thought we were really funny. Two little girls running around in the icy rain collecting all the people in the neighborhood to come to church. When we passed by the construction site, out came Fernando (that’s not his name) in clean jeans and a polo!
It was stake conference, and it was amazing. But seriously, amazing. They taught us about the family and it was incredible everything I learned. Fernando was sitting in front of us with some members, and I was watching him to see how he reacted. His shoulders were tense the whole time. Afterwards, we asked him what he thought. He said, “I feel overwhelmed.” I thought it was because of all the new words and the way everything was done, but he said, “All my life I thought being a man meant being tough, winning, having people be afraid of you. I learned today that’s not true. But I’ve already taught my son everything wrong. Is it too late? I want to change, but when I try to change, they make fun of me. I’ve never heard these things before. I’ve done sooo much wrong. Can I be forgiven?”
We sat down right then and there in the chapel and started teaching him. As we closed the opening prayer, he had his fingers pressed tightly across his eyes. “They burn!” I asked him if that happens to him a lot, and he said no. It was in that moment that someone started playing on the piano one of my favorite songs, a duet that we learned at EFY. It was so surreal. I wanted to capture that moment and hold it forever. We taught him that what he was feeling was the Holy Ghost, a personage that helps us recognize the truths we learned before coming here, but had to forget. “I feel so weird,” Fernando said. “I have never ever felt this before.” I love teaching about repentance. He has things in his past that aren’t okay. Repentance is the ONLY way to be clean and happy. It makes me happy just thinking about all the times in my life that repentance has helped me regain control of my life, regain the confidence to come before God and work side by side with Him, regain peace.
It was a moment that I couldn’t hold back tears, either. To watch the transformation from rough, dirty, contractor, to clean, humble, repentant father and husband—to see his hands twisting and turning as he tried to tell us how hungry he is for peace—to see his eyes huge and shining as he asked if it is too late—that was something that changed me, too.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

whats it like to open an area? day 1

Hi everyone! It has been a long time since a blog I know. I miss you all a lot and think about you so much! I have lots of great experiences that I reeeeally want to share but I am in the world’s worst ciber- as in, nither the internet nor the keyboard work-  so that is definitely not going to happen today. Just thought I would get the news out that I’m in Zamora, the land of the berries, YAY J 

Yesterday (Monday) I woke up at 4:30 and went to the bus station to go to Guadalajara. We got there and waited a long time with a lot of hunger (The mission has made me a very good eater. If anyone has a toddler that is not a good eater, just send them on the mission! Haha just kidding.) till we started the meeting and got our new companions! I’m training again 

My new companion is great! She is from Medida. So anyway we had the meeting and finally managed (again) to get all our suitcases and pillows and blankets back to the bus station. We got home at midnight. The Zone Liders had to let us into our house and give us the cell because we are opening this area. Today was relly weird because we don’t know any of the members, investigators, streets, how to pay the electricity, anything!

But anyway we walkd into the house and the first thing I noticed was the house has a lot of windows. Which is awesome because in Mexico the houses sometimes have like NO windows but was a little creepy when you’re in a new place neither you or your companion has ever seen or been before so you don’t know who could be watching, and there’s no curtains haha. But one thing I love about the mission is I feel safe ALL the time. It’s more proof that the mission is real and the Spirit is real. We hear often about all the things going on in the world around us, but I feel way safer in Mexico than I do in Sac.

We hit the sack right away and woke up to clean the house and eat leftover sandwiches before our district meeting in the morning. My companion was like, “I thought sister missionaries would be… clean…” She was a great little worker and cleaned more of the house than I did. Then we discovered the shower doesn’t work. It was kind of like bathing at the Ladd. It’s not the first time in the mission that I had to bathe with a bucket for weeks, but the other time was our fault (we thought the boiler was broken but really the gas had run out). I think it was easier to get clean when I lived in the jungle in Ecuador. At least there, there was a river…

Ok haha but being serious now. I am excited! Morelia was a really hard place, where the people were extremely cold. The people here so far seem more warm and I am excited to get to know them and help them learn for themselves that this absolutely incredible gift I have in my life is true, and that it is for them, too.