Wednesday, December 14, 2011

'Tis the Season

So, it is crazy cold when we are out and about and have to potty, we go in a gas statoin and buy a hot chocolate or something. Well, the other day Hermana Grass opens the restroom door at this Chevron and there is a homeless man havin a good old time! I turn around from the hot cocoa machine because I hear her say, "Oh, so sorry!" and the door slam. HAHAHAHA! I was dying! She kept trying to hide behind some chips for when he came out and it was just too much. I laughed and laughed for the next day or so. :) Who does not lock the gas station potty door! I mean come one man?!

So, our mission goal is 711 baptisms in 2011/this transfer that goes a bit into January...well, we are scraping the barrell and we don't mind getting our hands dirty because we know the Lord will provide...with the Christmas season here I  have been thinking a lot about when the Angel Gabriel came to Mary and her confident response was, "For with God, nothing is impossible." The mother of the son of God said that...WOW! I have no room to be a, we are making good progress...daily new investigators and we have been teaching 2 families! You heard me, families! They are listening, they are loving and we can see how faithful they already are without the gospel, so we can just imagine the assets they would be to the branch! (La familia de J. y A. and Galino y Sofia) We have a branch Christmas dinner and program this Friday that the branch is known for, so we have invited everybody and are going to do a church tour afterwards, so we hope everyone comes...because J and A pooped out on us at the last second before sacrament yesterday...we were fasting and crossing our fingers and we still have faith that the Lord knows best and if it is His will to get them to church, He will. :) There are many other stories I could tell ya, but time is as of right now, just know that I am praying the hardest for these families to feel the spirit's pushes and then for Esme who I can't remember if I told you about her, but she is an 18yr old who just had a baby and is the girlfriend of a less active. The baby is not his, but he takes great care of her and she hardcore believes in everything about the church, but put off baptism to  have the baby 2 weeks ago. So, we are trying to get a solid date out of her this week, because it is critical that she doesn't lose this opportunity...she came to church yesterday and the branch loves her. :) As we were fasting and praying with our whole hearts for these investigators to come to church yesterday and brainstorming how to make them feel welcome and have a positive experience and feel the spirit, we asked certain members before church to make sure and fellowship them and be proactive...but we cannot force. It made me miss you guys for the mere fact that each and every one of you would never have to be asked. I said to Hermana Grass, "Gosh, I just wish my family was here because each of them would be perfect for each investigator and their kids. I can think of how proactive and how each of my family member's personalities would match up perfect with each investigator...I need them on my mission, I need them in this branch!" The branch is great, I just have a really great family is all. :) She totally agreed with me and said that she has had the same feelings about her family too.

I am memorizing Joseph Smith's first prayer from the JSH in spanish right now, because so far it is my favorite thing to teach. Telling his beautiful experience to investigators has been my most beautiful experience on the mission to date. When they say, "Everyone says they have the truth and I am so confused." I get to say, "Well, there is someone who was just as confused in 1820...and because he had the desire to know, he read his scriptures and prayed with real intent and for that effort, he received many answers and all of them were true because they were from God." I also have loved having investigators read the book of Enos. It is clear, concise, powerful and very personal because while Joseph Smith was a prophet called to restore a church and for that he literally saw God and Jesus Christ, when we pray for answers it usually comes like Enos's experience..."words or a voice into our mind." Reading this book does not make the investigators feel overwhelmed because it is so short and it gives them a great example of how and what they should do and how and what will happen if they are sincere. Ok, enough rambling...gotta go, ADIOS! :)

Love you all

Monday, December 5, 2011

Vancouver and such...

Weekly Highlights
·   My new companion/Trainer:
Hermana Grass from New Mexico. She is a great...a ginormous relief. She likes to work and clean and me likey that mucho. Our dynamic with teaching is going well and she has only been out 6 months on the mission. I'm sure I will have more stories of ours in the future, but so far we have no complaints about each other. :) We are in the only sisters in our area and the only other spanish speaking companionship so we cover a wide range.

·   We live with Sister Wise:

An english member from Vancouver who is probably in her 60's and her husband passed 6 years ago. She is very easy going and loves her dog, Molly and she has severe pain from Fibromyalgia (spelling?) and really misses her husband. She teaches a small preschool out of her home to 5 kids since she was a school teacher all of her career and had 6 kids. Since living alone and being physically challenged it seems that she has kind of left her home I am glad to know how to clean, I just wish I had more time to do so. Ok, one funny thing and one spiritual thing about her and her home this week. So, above the her living room T.V. is a painting of her husband...but it is a painting of a picture of him and he's got these awesome 80's glasses on...but the thing is that it totally reminds of Magnus' painting that chases Trunchbull on "Matilda!" A bit creepy...but he's the center of the room and I have to just look everywhere else, otherwise I will laugh or scream. Haha! Ok, spiritual thing with we had a couple of our evening teach appointments fall through on Saturday and we are not supposed to go home early. So, we kept trying to visit other people etc. and nothing was working and this week has had a lot of changes in the mission that have prevented us from really planning or studying or organizing anything to be better prepared to teach. So finally, Hermana Grass said that we'd go home and do that so that we wouldn't be giving up early, but still doing what we needed to do at home. Well, we walk in the door and Sister Wise is trying to put lights on a small Christmas tree and just looked totally depressed and sad. So, we immediately start helping and she gets all cheery and says, "Thank you. I have not felt like putting any Christmas decorations up since my husband passed and having you here is the first year." She told us stories about each ornament and admired the tree the rest of the night. Although we didn't find more people to teach that night, we think the spirit forced us home to be there with her.

 MTC Stuff I wanted to tell ya:

  First, here's a picture of Hermana Wright & I in our silky robes.
  Okays, so finally in the MTC I begged and forced everyone to watch Elder Holland's "The Miracle of a Mission" and finally we did on our last night in class and everyone was enthralled and afterwards it was the most spiritual meeting our District ever had together as everyone shared some pretty personal and cool stuff about serving. Afterwards everyone thanked me and I just told them to thank my brother who actually talks, acts and thinks just like Elder Holland. 

Current Missionary Work
·   Maiah - 28 year old gorgeous girl who started dating a recent (2yr.) Latin convert and noticed that his family had a happiness and wanted to know more so she came to church twice and then the Hermanas before me taught her a week and 1/2 and then she got baptized last weekend. So all of that happened in less than 3 weeks...basically while I was at the MTC. Anyway, we are continuing to teach her and Hermana Grass kept telling me about her and she was a "golden investigator", then I met her and I call her a "gleaming gold" because she is the happiest, most loving person I have met because of the gospel in her life. She and I really click and she actually only speaks english. We are continuing to teach her, but she is really meshing with the branch.

·   Francesca - Early 30's, from Mexico and has 2 young boys. She is very confused why everyone claims to have the truth and she was very interested in the concept of Modern day prophets. I told her that she reminds me of a man called Joseph Smith who was also confused...BINGO! However, she is very angry with God and has not prayed to him in 2 years because she feels that he has not blessed her for leaving her family behind in Mexico. This has been my most spiritual lesson because I was able to answer many of her questions through listening to her and the spirit very intently and answering clearly and concisely. In the middle of her explaining her past, she suddenly stopped and said to me...your gaze is so intense and so really believe in what you are doing here! That touched her and she is letting us come back. I found out later from Hermana Grass that she has been approached before but nobody could get through to her and having me there, Hermana Grass was amazed that Francesca shared so much and wanted to hear more. We've had a couple more of the same kinds of situations where Hermana Grass can't believe that after chatting with me that they are letting us come back! I am not magic...but of course I instantly feel the love that God feels for His children when I meet them and apparently they can feel that through me, so at least I am doing that right...I'm still getting used to the is weird...but it is good. Haha!