Monday, September 22, 2014

It was the best of times . . . it was the worst of times . . .

Dear Family,

This week was... extremely short. Considering I wrote Wednesday, this might be short. I doubt it. It has been crazy. Just to give you the heads up, next week i might write on Tuesday because there is an activity for the sisters in the Capital. 

Okay. Wednesday we had exchanges with the sisters that live in our house. It was a successful day. In our zone we have a Companionship of the Week contest. For every new investigator it is 1 point. For everyone in church it is 2 points and for baptismal dates its 3 points. There has been one area that isn't part of our district that has dominated. Our district is determined to beat them. We are a bit prideful, but we have been doing it all with sincerity, so I feel like it isn't bad. The goal in the zone was to find 25 new people and 5 families. This zone is always at the bottom of everything in the stats, so it is a miracle if every companionship finds more than 10. 

But we worked hard in my area. We were running between every cita. But it was really good. 

Thursday our dl and our zl visited a family we have that is progressing. It is the A. R. family. They are so great. They are not married, so we talked a bit about that. This family amazes me every time we are with them. They are chosen. 

Friday we had intercambios with the sisters in Guaimaca. They are in training. Like almost always, I was with the new sister. I usually go with them because I understand their point of view better and my companion understands how to help the trainers better. When I trained it was a piece of cake. When I was trained I almost jumped off the balcony. But this sister surprised me. She was calm and composed. She is 28 from Mexico and isn't feeling stressed at all. I have never been with a sister like her. 

And she is super sweet. She will be a rockstar missionary. I think that if she went to byu she would be a theatre major. 

I got food poisoning, but I was able to rough it out. I held off pretty well until the nighttime. I don't know why I have had to get sick in the intercambios, but it is good because it helps me focus on working. 

She taught all of the lessons by herself. It made me laugh. But she did let me testify at the end, which was nice. We talked a lot about equality and unity. We also practiced A TON in companionship study before she went back to her area. We did at least 7 practices. It was really good. And then I helped her with English. 

Saturday we finished the exchanges and we got back to our area and ran from the bus to be able to visit as many people as we could. We did divisions and visited all of our investigators with baptismal dates and then in the night time we focused on finding because those are the most productive hours. It was a great day. And a sister missionary just returned from her mission, and is super ready to work with us. 

Sunday was an interesting day. It was beautiful, yet hard. We passed by the A. R. family and they had been up all night with food poisoning too. We told them that even if they made it late, it would be okay, but they were prettyy unsure. We left without much faith that they would go. 

We felt beyond blessed and extremely humbled when they showed up just after the sacrament. They decided to put God first. The husband has been unemployed for a while and they are expecting a baby. It has been stressful. After we left their house a man showed up saying that there was a job opportunity, but he had to go RIGHT then to get it. The husband said that first he would go to church and if God wanted him to have the job, he would get it. It is to drive a truck. He doesn't have a current license, but out of all the applicants who were there and had their licenses, he received the job. He was able to see how he needs to always put God first and he will be blessed. It was beautiful. 

All in all we had 7 investigators at church. This week has been so humbling. In all of my prayers at night I have focused on only thanking Heavenly father for the blessings. I don't ask for anything. It has helped my relationship with Him become so much more intimate. 

We had 28 lessons this week.  And we found 28 new investigators. And received 18 referrals. There have been so many miracles. And it is amazing because we had to travel for the intercambios. It has helped widen our vision and increase our faith. 

Yesterday after we did divisions with some sisters in the branch I reunited with my companion to find her talking to a sister that has been training. We have had communication with them every day. Yesterday we found out that they are going to have emergency changes. It is super sad. I was shaking when I heard. But I also know that I have tried to help them as much as I could. They will be having them today with the sisters that live in our house. Sister G is going to Campamento to finish the training of the sister and the Trainer is coming to our house. It will be good, as that she has been in the red zone of stress for these last few weeks. It will be good to have her close. 

Well, That is all. I have felt extremely blessed this week. And humbled. Pray that the A. R. family goes forward in their wedding plans and that we have enough money to pay for it and eat and have intercambios. woohoo. But it is so worth it. 


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dengue Fever!

Okay family, sorry for not writing. Clearly it was not within my control. It kind of stinks, though. 

Monday we had a parade here in T for Independence day and nothing was open. Tuesday we were invited to the DL counsel/training. It was really good, but I missed writing you all. 

It was a crazy week. Turns out I had Dengue. Now I can check that one off the list. It is classified as Classic Dengue. I was super blessed. I received a blessing from my DL and with the help of the power on High, I didn't miss a single hour of work. I wanted to die in the nighttime and in the morning, but I was able to function enough to work. 

Tuesday we had the Mission Council with all of the SLT and the ZLs. My companion and I had to lead a discussion about how we can help the mission focus on Hombres older than 18 and families. It was really good. I wanted to die because I felt so sick, but I don't think anyone noticed while we were talking. During lunch I didn't want to eat, so Presidente realized that something was wrong. He and Hna. Fortuna talked to me and gave me advice. They have been really good. They have called to check on me many times. They are great. 

Tuesday I saw a package for me form Camille. I decided to leave it there during the mtg and get it after. When I passed by the next time it had disappeared. Pte sent the packages back to the office. It was sad, but I was able to get it yesterday. It was quite joyful. GOD BLESS AMERICA. We just do it so well. Thank you Camille for all of the thought and time you went through. It is appreciated! 

Thursday I sitll felt pretty week, but the fever had finally gone away. We found an incredible family. They will be baptized Oct 11 if everything goes well. They need to get married. We found another part member family that should be baptized that day, too. They also need to get married. Looks like my diet is starting. But It will be a great day. 

Friday I woke up with a full body rash. It was like hives. Apparently it is an after effect of Dengue. It was fun. We had intercambios that day with sisters that are STRUGGLING. They are in training and the trainer is super stressed. Super. She calls us everyday. EVERYDAY. I spent 45 minutes talking to them pday because they were both crying. Luckily they have the evaluation with President this week. That should help them a lot. 

Sunday they filled a food calendar for us. That has been a blessing. 

Monday they had a parade for about 7 hours in the main street. It was pretty boring, but fun to see the culture. Poor kids were suffering in the sun. 

Yesterday we had the mtg with the DLs. It was really good in that they talked about the relations between sisters and elders. We have been having a few problems with that lately. There is too much love and support going on. But now everyone is super clear. 

We are happy and working hard.
I am not sure if i will finish in this area or not, but I trust that the best option for me will work out. 

Weird. Three of the 4 sisters that are in our house finish at the same time. One of them is already ready. Honestly, I forget that the mission will finish. It doesn't seem real and doesn't even cross my mind. 

Love you all! Have a great week! 

Monday, September 8, 2014

No changes, and we had people at church!!

Dear Family,

This week we were all nervous for changes. There were only 2 companionships in all of my zone that didn't have changes. And we were one of them! It was great! We are happy to still be here together. This area is challenging, but I feel like there is still more for me to do here. 

Tuesday morning we were waiting for the phone call for changes and we decided to serve the District President. It is hard for me to focus when we are waiting. We helped clean their roof tiles. [I really hope that doesn't mean she was on the roof! I just wrote her and asked her to never do that again. It is supposed to be against rules for missionaries due to several being killed that way.]

Wednesday were changes. We served again. Hna. Hernandez in our house went home and our district leader left the area. My new district leader is..... ELDER ROSALES. The one that Kat knows. It has been a night and day difference. We are all happy and excited now! 

And guess who is living in my house? HNA.CLARK. [They were companions for three months and in the MTC together]

I couldn't be happier. I love this sister so much. The atmosphere has changed so much in the house. There is now love and respect and laughter. I knew she would be coming. It was strange. I prayed one day in the morning and then into my mind came the thought that Hna. Clark was going to be the new companion of Hna. Gonzalez. A few days before changes I told her, jokingly, that she would be living with me soon. THEN IT HAPPENED! 

Thursday we had a surprise meeting with Elder Ochoa from the area seventy with Pte. Beck from the Young men's presidency. They talked a ton about the Sacrament and asked how we will Always Remember Him?

That will be the topic tomorrow in el Consejo de Lideres. Oh, by the way, my companion and I am leading a discussion in the Consejo. That should be interesting. President called us last night to tell us. Every time he calls we get nervous.

I also ate 2 icecreams in honor of Kat's birthday on Thursday. One for her and one for me. I thought it was fitting. 

Friday was an interesting day. We had planning because of the meeting Thursday. And we found a new investigator named Mildred (referral from a member) that came to church this sunday! We had 4 investigators in church. It felt good. And 3 were because they have good member fellowship. That is the only way to have investigators in Church here. 

The night time was a bit rough. A few days before a less active man had given us a reference that was right in front of his house. We went to contact them and were chatting with them outside their house. Everything was going well, but then we heard screaming coming out of the house of the less active. We also heard hitting. The husband was beating his wife. It was awful. And then he left the house and chatted with his neighbors for a few seconds as if nothing had happened. And it is definitely not the first time this has happened because there was no reaction from the neighbors that we were talking to. That means it has happened many times before. But now a lot of things make sense. 

But it made me realize that I have been quite sheltered. I know things like this exist, but I have never been that close to it. It was a bit traumatizing. My companion has seen a lot of it in her mission, but this was my first time. We finished talking to the couple and we turned the corner of the street and I lost it. I sobbed. It just made me so sad. For so many reasons. But more than anything it made me SUPER grateful for the family I have. The family is ordained of God. Really, Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. My testimony of this has grown so much in the mission. 

I think I scared my companion a bit. I don't cry. I am never even sad. But I lost it. She wanted to go the house, but we had 20 minutes left, so we taught another lesson. I knew that if we returned to the house I would still feel awful, but if we taught someone, I would at least feel the comfort of the Holy Ghost. 

Elder Rosales has given us a challenge. We are all going to find a family to baptize for October 11. We will have a white night. Many zones have done it and had a lot of success. One zone did it and baptized 36 people, including 7 families. It was incredible. 

As a mission, we hit 255 baptisms. We have never hit 200 before. It has been the goal for the last few months. Now the goal is 300. 

Sunday I woke up with a crazy fever. We went to Church and I just sat there dying. Then we went home and I layed down. But it was quite a miracle because the time to leave the house Sunday is 3 and to enter is 8. At exactly 3 the fever broke and we left. I had a ton of energy and I felt great. We worked hard. At exactly 8 the fever returned. I had the fever all night long. But It broke again. Right now I am doing great and we will be able to take it easy. 

We were super grateful this week for the new changes and the success. I have been humbled quite a bit. 

Happy birthday Grandma! I hope you partied hard. You are awesome! 

Have a great week! 

A Two-headed Serpent??

Dear Family,

So I am definitely not training. They already had their meeting. I know it sounds bad, but I am pretty grateful I won´t end training. I had such a great blessing the first time that it would be really hard to have a bad experience to end my mission on. But I guess I would learn a lot from it. Anyway, I am happy. 

We think that I will change areas and I feel peace with whatever happens. Even if I didn´t feel peace, what is my option? But I sure do love my companion. The area tries my faith, but I am grateful for that. 

We didn´t have any investigators at Church yesterday. That was a bit rough. But we worked super hard this week. One of the zone leaders called us last night and started off by saying, "Sisters, I called to comfort you because you haven´t had investigators at church for 2 weeks."

That sure comforted us. Really, it has been a  bit frustrating, but we are fighting to stay positive. The elders are always super surprised when they call us to ask why we didn´t have investigators and we answer super chipper. Honestly, I don´t feel chipper, but it ususally helps the elders to not get after us as much if we sound super positive. The elder last night asked me how I was always so happy. Fake it til you make it, pal. That is my motto. 

But we had a really good week. We got tired of all of our investigators that lie to us, so basically we dropped a ton. But we were able  to find 20 NEW INVESTIGATORS. That was a blessing. At least the zls were happy with that. They said in their time in our zone nobody had found 20 before in one week.

Wednesday we found the cutest old blind man. He clapped his hands while we sang him a hymn. He is just darling. 

We also served the branch president's wife. We passed by one night at 7:30 and they had a TON of huge rocks in the street that they had to move into their house. We had a half hour left, so we helped them. It was super funny. They are used to women not lifting heavy objects and a litle old lady spent the whole time lecturing me for being strong and able to lift the rocks. They weren´t that big...

But I just pretended I didn´t understand her Spanish and kept on working. Many hands make light work. We finished quite quickly. But it was funny to go back to the house and see that we were COVERED in dirt and scrapes. Filthy. But they are our neighbors, so nobody saw us. 

Friday my companion made me empanadas from Paraguay. Get ready for those when I get home. I am now a pro and they are super good! 

Saturday one of the girls in our house tried to convince me that everyone has a huge serpent that lives inside of them with 2 heads. And everything we do is for the serpent. haha. If we get fat, it is because the serpent got fat. If we get skinny it is because the serpent got skinny. She is gullible. A man told them this and she believes him. Now she is super scared.  

We also found a lady who said she has the authority to baptize, present children and marry people. She got it after 8 years studying in San Pedro. She didn´t let us say a single word. And she told us that she wasn´t going to preach to us because she didn´t want to take away our ignorance because even though we were teaching a false doctrine, we still helped people. That was nice. 

I have learned to be super direct in the mission. This week I have felt like Abinadi because everyone is so stinkin wicked. So wicked. The worst is that they know it and they are fine with it. This week we were talking to a couple that know they are sinning when they aren´t married but still didn´t want to marry. By the way they have been together for 50 years and they don´t look like they have many left. Anyway, I don´t know what happened, but before I knew what I was even saying I told them that we weren´t just ordinary missionaries asking them to do something, but it was as if Christ himself was there inviting them to repent. The spirit was strong and they looked pretty shocked, but decided to continue sinning. It was our first lesson with them... But missionaries have visited them for a long time. 

Well, I hope Kat has the best birthday ever and that she eats cheesecake for me. OR something pumpkin.