General Conference is the best. Ever. That was by far the highlight of my week. I am so thankful to be able to listen to the words of the servants of the Lord. I’ve yet to determine a favorite talk because they were all so genuinely applicable. If I could preorder the November Ensign I would. We were able to get one of our investigators there, and she loved it. She wants to be baptized as soon as possible! We’re not sure exactly when that will be because she has to wait for parental consent, but it’s so exciting to see the light in her eyes every time she talks about the Gospel. She reminds me a lot of a young woman I was privileged to teach in Newport News, who was baptized in June and is now going to college. She wrote me an email this week saying that she’s preparing to go on a mission! I couldn’t be happier for her. It’s amazing the joy that the Gospel brings. We were able to share that joy with several new people this week that just moved here for work. We were out last night after Conference and were about to go home because we hadn’t eaten anything yet, but decided to knock just one last door. We did, and a man answered the door. We introduced ourselves and he very quickly invited us inside. We sat down and started talking to the four people present. We asked if any of them were religious, and the man who answered the door raised his hand. He said, “Yo soy mormon.” Which, being interpreted, means, “I am mormon.” You can imagine the shock on our faces. He told us that he had been baptized in Mexico 7 years ago and that he had to come to America to work every 6 months so it was hard, but he still believed it all. We taught his friends and he was a pretty big asset in that lesson. We now have 3 new investigators and a few more potentials because of the example he’s set for them. We were pretty excited about that, because we can now officially start our Spanish group here in Gloucester! The work is hastening, Brothers and Sisters. I pray each and every one of you finds opportunities to share the Gospel with those you love the most, because it really is the most joyous message this world has to offer. Have a blessed week. Cuidense mucho!
I’m gonna have to keep this one short because there’s a little countdown to restart on the computer and I have approx. 10 minutes. But this week was a wacko one. We’ve been planning like madwomen to get our Hispanic Heritage Fiesta thing going, and with General Conference this weekend, we have one less meeting to announce it in. We’ve been forced to go through the Stake directory making phone calls to people making sure they’re aware of the activity and planning on coming. That’s been a little stressful, but we’re excited about the activity and we’re expecting it to be a big turnout. Speaking of big turnouts, we were asked to help out this weekend with a member’s funeral at the church. Most of the ward was going to be at the temple at the same time, so we were keeping things in check with a couple of the sisters from the Relief Society who could make it. The audience of this particular funeral happened to consist mostly of Southern Baptists, and my companions and I were three of the only 6 white people present. It was definitely unlike anything I’d ever experienced before, but it was pretty amazing to how hearts were softened as the service continued and the Plan of Salvation was shared. The Spirit was really strong and I was thankful for the opportunity to be reminded of the sacred nature of life. Even though I was the chorister (which turned out to be more like a soloist), it was a good experience and I was grateful for it. We were also blessed to be able to find a family to teach this week, and they are truly the sweetest family. The mom, dad and 9 year old daughter are all so eager to learn and we’re excited to teach them, so we’ll see what happens! Transfer calls were yesterday and my companions and I will all be staying in Gloucester again this transfer, so we’ll be able to continue working with them. I hope you all have a blessed week!
Lemme tell ya. When your companion has a birthday, it may as well be your own birthday. This week Hermana Newman got lots and lots of birthday packages, and every single one of them had some sort of candy in it. Combined with the box of candy I had from last week, our companionship has enough sugar to last til through the millenium. Not anticipating so many boxes of sweets, Hermana Haywood and I planned a surprise with a sister in the ward who was going to feed us that night. She made a huge chocolate checkerboard cake, and sent us home with everything we didn’t eat. I think it’s safe to say we’ll all be on a diet….after we finish the cakes of course.
Thank you so much for everything this week! I feel much better and I’m doing regular missionary work again woohoo! Being sick on the mission is the worst, especially when you think about all the things you could have been doing while you were at the doctor’s office or lying in bed. But I’m all better now and we’ve tried to work extra hard to make up for the missed time! We saw lots of miracles this week, like every other week, and I’ve learned a lot. Lemme ‘splain. The week started off super fast paced on account of we were trying to make up for lost time like I said, so we had a bunch of lessons and new investigators all in the first two days, but things kinda leveled out by Wednesday, because we didn’t teach a single lesson all day. Every single one of our lessons fell through, and none of our backup plans produced any lessons either. Same story all the way til Saturday. It was rough. We even tried going to a livestock show, hence the pictures. We were doing everything possible to keep busy and find people to teach, but by Saturday evening we had just about burnt through all our investigators, potential investigators, and finding ideas. So we decided to pull over and say a prayer. We asked for guidance and expressed our desire to find people to teach. As we closed, one of my companions suggested we circle around and drive the road we were on one more time. We did so and saw a house that we thought might have Spanish speakers living in, so we pulled over to find a very white man working on his truck. But even though he didn’t speak Spanish, we talked to him for a bit and he became really interested in our message. And since we are called to teach in Spanish, we promised to give his information to the English missionaries here, and went on our way. That had taken about 10 minutes, and little did we know that if we hadn’t taken that 10 minutes, we wouldn’t have driven by a potential investigator’s house for about the third time that day and saw them pull in their driveway right as they got back from work late. And we wouldn’t have been able to teach him the best lesson we’d had all week. And we wouldn’t have been able to meet his roommate, who also wanted to hear about the Restored Gospel, and happens to be the funniest man ever (besides Papa of course). It may seem like a small thing, but I know that Heavenly Father was listening to our prayer and guided us to find them at just the right moment, and have an uplifting lesson that gave us the boost we needed to finish out the week strong. I am so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who listens and cares about us. I know He’s always there and we can always turn to Him in any moment. I’m so thankful for all your love and support! I miss you all and hope to hear from you soon! Love yall!
Holy cow it’s been 6 months? It seems like it’s only been a few weeks but yet again it seems like I’ve been here forever. I think time just kinda stopped for me as soon as I arrived and the world’s been spinning without me. I have a hard time believing that this time next year I won’t be wearing a nametag anymore. It gives me just that much more motivation to make this next 12 months really count. I was telling Mama in my other e-mail that it’s crazy to think I’ve been here for so long and I still don’t feel like I’ve made a difference yet. I think I came here wanting to have a lasting impact on the people here, although I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting to have happen. I look back on the past 6 months and don’t feel like I’ve actually made all that much of a difference. That’s not to say it hasn’t been worth it or I can’t see a change, because I certainly see everything differently now. My view of the world, the people in it, including myself, and of my Savior has changed a lot. I’ve witnessed many miracles while here and I feel like a different person because of it. So I know that at least I will have converted myself. I guess that’s what happens when you do the Lord’s work. It’s a great blessing to be here. I’m a part of something much bigger that I can even comprehend. I see that every day when I take a moment to think about the magnitude of my calling as a representative of Jesus Christ. The amount that I don’t yet understand by far outweights what my mind does have somewhat of a hold on, but what I can testify to, is that this church is true. Jesus Christ has restored his Gospel and Priesthood authority on the earth once more through a prophet, and we have the Lord’s guidance because of it. He knows who we are, and what challenges we have. I recieved a confirmation of this earlier this week as I was talking to a former companion of mine, who now lives with us as a result of some other events (don’t ask). I was impressed by the love the Savior must feel for her, and as I was talking to her, I realized that I everything I was saying applies directly to each and every one of us. YOU (insert pointing finger here) are a child of Heavenly Father. He loves you. He knows your name. He knows what’s in your heart, so you can be sure that when no one else understands, He does. He gets it. He gets you. And He reaches out to you every day if you let Him. As we share this truth with people every day, it’s easy to forget to apply it to myself and really internalize how amazing that is. I am a daughter of God! How cool is that?? I wish I could make everyone just grasp that concept. If people really understood their divine nature, every other principle of the Gospel would just fall in line. They wouldn’t have a problem with the Word of Wisdom, because they wouldn’t dare defile their bodies with harmful things. They would easily accept the Plan of Salvation, because it makes perfect sense that Heavenly Father would have sent us here with a sure way to return to Him again. There would be peace and love in the world, because it would be clearly understood that the worth of every soul is precious in the sight of God. Every once in a while I get a glimpse of the eternal nature of these truths, and it just blows my mind. We had an experience this week like that. We were in a lesson with a man who’s been confined to a wheelchair because of a work-related accident. In the middle of the lesson, I had a prompting to sing “I am a child of God” to him. So my companions and I sang all three verses. Most of those that know me also know that I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to music, choirs, harmony, etc., but I can honestly say that I’ve never heard anything more beautiful and in-tune than that song. And I’m sure it has nothing to do with our talent. My companions and I all agreed that that was the strongest we’d felt the Spirit in any lesson we’d had so far. I know that it was witnessing to me the truthfulness of the message those verses contained.
Hellooo! I have news! First though, lemme splain what all happened this week. It was our first full week together, Hermana S. and I, and we just went straight to work. In case I forgot to tell everyone, our companionships were switched up a little bit in the middle of this last transfer, so Hna V. switched places with Hna S, who I just started training instead. She’s been working really hard and we’ve been getting a lot done together. At the beginning of this week we had a lesson with a few ladies we’d been teaching for a while, but were never going anywhere. Finally I felt to tell them that there were other people that we needed to teach that were more prepared to hear our message, so we were going to focus on them. This didn’t really make sense to me at the time, since they were really actually our only investigators. But I said it anyway, and we parted ways until they feel ready to call and listen again. But we went ahead and focused our efforts on finding people that were prepared. One day we were driving and passed a greenhouse that we’ve driven past 20 times already. We decided to go ahead and stop in, and we did. We approached the hispanic workers there and proceeded to talk to them. They asked what we do and as soon as we told them, they asked if we had time to sit and talk with them. So, con mucho gusto, we did. We sat and taught the message of the Restoration. And they were so excited. They had so many questions and asked if they could come to church even if they weren’t members. We told them of course! And they promised to ask work off to come. We stopped by again a couple days later just to check up on them and they again asked if we had time to teach them. So we did, this time about the Plan of Salvation. They were equally as excited and now want to be baptized. We will hopefully see them again this week at English classes, and they promised to bring all their friends. We’re really looking forward to it!
I think I always start off saying it’s been a crazy week, but man, has this week been crazy! It started off pretty normally (as normal as a week in the life of a missionary can be), and we had a few appointments, most of which fell through, meetings, etc. Then mid-week we went on exchanges and I learned SO MUCH. The problem with being so far away from everyone else in the mission is that we don’t have much contact with the other Spanish speaking missionaries outside of our district. So it was a minor mind-blowing experience to learn how to plan more effectively from another Hermana. I don’t think I’ve gotten that excited about goal setting in a while. But at the end of the exchange, we got a call from President Baker (which is always scary) telling us that my companion Hna Valdez and I would be temporarily split up to accommodate an emergency transfer for another companionship. So that added to the craziness. So I am now training my second trainee, who speaks 0 Espanol. So it’s been difficult and I feel completely unqualified to carry the Spanish by myself, but I feel like I’m improving for sure and I’m grateful for that. We’re working together on her Spanish and she’s learning really quickly. I think this will be a blessing, however challenging it might be.