Friday, January 31, 2014

Two Birthday Celebrations:), and Companion Exchange:(

One evening, as we excitedly were planning out my birthday, we got a call from the zone leaders saying that one of my old companions had gone home for medical reasons and one of my current companions would be taking her place :( So she left early on the morning of my birthday for her new area.  It was a big bummer.  I have never been so bummed over a companion exchange.  Before she left, we ate a delicious strawberry cake that had been given to us by our friends at the Methodist church food kitchen and opened presents.

On Sunday, we celebrated my birthday again.  We made fudge and brought it to church.  We had a baptism!!!!!!! :D   it was great :D  After stake conference, we went to a member's house to eat my choice of dinner - mole and rice.  She made me a tres leches cake with pink and white frosting.  She's the best!  Another member also made me a dinner (double fed last night!) of pork chops and mac and cheese.  Yum! :D

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Formal Dinner, Nice People, and a Referral!

We went to the island with a member and his friends who were visiting from Idaho, including a former Miss Idaho.  He took us to eat at this super nice seafood buffet and we enjoyed a meal complete with caviar and banana foster.  It was delicious, to say the least.  We met a member who lives on the island and also received a referral! :)  The food was delicious, and the people were super nice.  It was so formal, and really  fun.   :)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I've Been Bitten...By a Pit Bull!

I  am able to cross "Getting bit by a dog" off my mission bucket list.  I was giving a card to someone we contacted on the street when his pit bull ran up and bit me.  I backed away fast enough for it not to be too bad.  One of his teeth just nicked my skin, but he tore my favorite skirt that was given to me by a member in my last area.   I was not too happy.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Tres Leches Cake

So this week was fairly eventful.  To start off, for District meeting, we made a tres leches cake for my birthday.  We frosted it with aqua blue funfetti frosting.  The sprinkles were in shapes of fish.  We thought it was fitting since our area covers an island.  The cake was a hit.  Our district leader officially named our district meeting "Sister Bettinson Appreciation Day."  I had to participate in everything - both prayers, the music, leading the theme, etc. 

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Picture Goal!

This past week, we had a goal to take at least one picture every day!  We almost made it!  Enjoy!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Disfruten la Misión. No la Sufran."

President Maluenda is famous for saying, "Disfruten la misión.  No la sufran."  Which means, "enjoy your mission, don't suffer through it."  I've found that to enjoy your mission, you've got to let yourself have fun, don't sweat the small stuff, and constantly work to be better.  That's what I've been working on this transfer, and every day is more enjoyable.

Yes, life is great down here in Southern Texas...not without its stresses, but it's still fun! :D  Hope all is going well for you!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Do It For the Story!

We are trying to look for ways we can improve every day in every aspect of missionary work:  Working in unity with members to making our contact approaches more and more fun.  We came up with a companionship motto to remember as we're contacting: "do it for the story..." which means that if we're really having a hard time feeling motivated to talk to someone, we just think about the stories we could have teaching them.  It's been fun to see our progress throughout just three short weeks.  As missionaries, we've gotten better in so many ways by constantly asking ourselves what we can improve on. 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Little Miracles!

This past week we saw a lot of little miracles.  We visited a girl who we had taught the Restoration to a couple weeks ago and she had read Moroni 10, felt the Spirit, and believed it was true.  She is willing to read the entire Book of Mormon and the only thing holding her back from accepting a baptism date is she works on Sunday and knows that once she is baptized, she will be committing to go to church.  She's golden! - It was a nice ending to a rough day :)

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Please Come to Church... :)

We are starting to work more with less-active members.  Here, the inactivity rate is high.  There are 800 people on the rolls for one of our wards, but only about 150 people come to church on a regular basis.  We have many less-active members in our own area.  Do you have any suggestions? It's hard to get people motivated about missionary work if they have seen so many people be baptized and go in active within a matter of weeks.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Angels From Heaven?

This past week was pretty normal (?) - we had a nice "chit-chat" with an old guy holding a machete, taught the Plan of Salvation to three drunk guys who literally thought we were angels from heaven, and enjoyed a heavenly chocolate tres leches cake with pecans.

Monday, January 20, 2014

I dyed my hair...

................................................with Kool-Aid!

So last Preparation Day, my companions and I got this idea to dye our hair with red Kool-Aid.  Don't worry!  My hair's dark enough not to get "clown" red and it washes out in about a month.  But it made for a fun and sticky day! 

We heated up Kool-Aid in the microwave then soaked our hair in it for about 30 minutes. The results for me were a nice reddish tint in the sunshine (yes, the sun is shining bright and warm here in the middle of January! I'm in heaven)! :D

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dedicate and Consecrate Yourselves!

Elder Ballard's final point:

Dedicate and consecrate yourselves - We've all been given different talents and gifts that we need to use to build up the Kingdom of God.  We should be generous in giving it all (D&C 4:2). We need to be willing to give God not only our talents, times, and resources, but also our hearts.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Seek First the Kingdom of God

Elder Ballard's third point:

Seek first the Kingdom of God - Don't get so caught up in life that you forget the things that are most important.  Yes, it is very important to have a stable job, to make a living for your family, to get a good education, or to become a contributing member of society, but what is just as important (if not more) is that we stay close to God throughout all our lives.  Make time in your busy schedule to read the scriptures, pray, go to church, serve others, and do home and visiting teaching.  Throughout my mission I have learned that the best way to combat stress, worry, doubts, exhaustion, or any other negative feelings is to work and serve others.  You begin to see that things more in an eternal perspective rather than focusing on the stresses of the here and now.  Doing the small daily things living the gospel requires will help us focus on what's most important and will improve our outlook on life and give us lasting happiness.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Do Your Part!

Elder Ballard's second point:

Do your part - As members of the church - people who know the true and complete gospel of Jesus Christ - we have the responsibility to give others the same opportunity to partake of the blessings of the gospel.  We know that this is our responsibility and the only way for us to be truly happy in the gospel is when we know we are doing the things the Lord wants us to do.  Even if our part is small, it can have profound effects in the future (Alma 37:6-7).

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Replace Fear With Faith!

My sacrament meeting talk was about amidst all the turmoil in the world, we can still look to the future with faith and hope as we live the gospel.  It was really good.  Elder Ballard highlighted four things we can do to have optimism.  The first point was:

Replace fear with faith - There is still much good in the world.  God has promised that his gospel will spread throughout the entire world and God always fulfills his promises (Alma 37:16-17)

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Enfrenten el Futuro con fe y Esperanza

Last Sunday, I gave a talk in church on an article by Elder M. Russell Ballard called "Enfrenten el futuro con fe y esperanza."  It was completely in Spanish!  My talk was about 10-15 minutes long.  Afterwards, everyone told me I did great and that I sounded like a true hispánica.

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Vehicle!

We had exchanges with the STLs.  I went inland to work for a day while by two compañeritas stayed in our area and tore it up!  When I got back, our dear Chevy Malibu had some problems.  Of course, I asked them if they had called the car coordinator - which they said they had - and then they told me that the next day, we were to head to mission headquarters to get a new jeep!!!!!

No one would believe us when we told them.  We had to get permission from our district leader to leave our area to get it so we called him.

"So we're going to mission headquarters tomorrow..."
"Because we're getting a new jeep!"
"Haha very funny.  Now why are you really going?"

We finally just told him that our companion had to get a medical card.  He accepted that answer.

So we were at headquarters ALL day signing papers and getting things ready to go to take our new jeep to our area!  Then the next day, we presented our brand new jeep  - who we lovingly named Jeep Jianie (a combination of all our first names) - to the missionaries in our zone.  You should have seen everyone's face as we pulled into the parking lot of the church in style!  It was pretty priceless.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Compliments? Be Careful!

I learned a valuable lesson at the Spanish Ward: Never compliment anyone on something that they could easily give you.  Twice - right before Relief Society - I complimented a lady on her earrings and another sister on her cool multi-colored pencils.  Well, now I have a new, really nice pair of earrings and a cool multi-colored pencil.  I felt super bad. was super sweet of them. :) Next week, I am only complimenting on hair or a dress ---- something they can't take off and give to me.   :)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Amazing Happenings!

Something amazing happened when we stopped by to see a sister in our area.  Her daughters left a few days ago to go back to college in another state.  They had been in town since July and now they won't be coming home until July 2014.  Because of that, she was super down and she had just gotten home from work when we came.  She invited us in to eat with her.  We ate, shared a scripture, and said a prayer.  She was super grateful to us and told us that she had expected to eat alone that night :(

Fast forward to testimony meeting, she got up and said how grateful she was that God had sent us to cheer her up.  It was so sweet!  I am so happy we decided to visit her home at that time! :D

Friday, January 10, 2014

Character Disorders!

We had a lesson with this awesome family.  They shared with us a fun fact from a movie.  The dad served in the military and as part of his training, he had to watch "Finding Nemo" because almost every single one of the characters has some sort of disorder: Nemo has a physical handicap - his small fin; Dory, that one fish that talks to her reflection, has schizophrenia; and there's a fish with OCD.  I can't wait to watch that movie with that perspective after I return home.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

New Year's Eve = Fun!

This week, was probably the longest week I've had in a loooooooong time.  On New Year's Eve, our whole zone went over to one of the cities in our area and had a movie night.  We watched Mulan!!!!!!!  Don't worry!  It was approved by the President.  We took all the couches in the church and moved them into the gym then we turned off the lights and enjoyed the movie!  Seriously the funnest zone activity I've ever had!  I never realized how funny that movie was!

Afterwards, we went home, planned, and made it to bed by 10:30.

Monday, January 6, 2014

I Forgot...We Had Transfers!

So I forgot to tell y'all that transfers happened.  My "old" companion went to my previous city (not the same area, but the same zone)....

....and I'm training AGAIN!!!!!!

I'm also in a trio.

My new companions are absolutely fantastic! :D  One is from Utah, and served with me in a previous area.  She was a greenie when I first met her and came out with my second greenie.  She now has three months out in the field (can you believe it????)!  Man time flies so quickly --- I'm getting so old on the mission!  

My other new companion is from California.  She is so fun!  She seriously reminds me of Lindsay Lohan (like how she was in the Parent Trap).  She sounds and acts just like her!  It's crazy.  She was serving in South America for several weeks, but then she got sick and got reassigned to our mission!

We make quite the trio.  It has been quite the week!  I am super excited for this transfer.  We have lots of plans and I can't wait to start on them!  My companions are absolutely wonderful!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

God Answers Prayer!

For the month of December, we had a goal of baptizing two people.  We had a handful of super promising people with baptismal dates scheduled for this month.  We felt like we had done everything to help them out.  As we looked back on our efforts, we felt like we held nothing back.  One by one, everyone fell through.  As the last week of December came, we had only one baptism.
So Sunday, we were in our last ward of the day, and we were feeling really bad that it was nearing the end of the month, we had tried our absolute hardest, we had fasted and prayed so hard and so diligently to hit our goal, but due to things honestly out of our control, we only had one baptism.  It was super frustrating.  We went into an empty room and prayed.  Then we went on with the rest of our Sunday meetings.
After church, a family in our ward invited us to attend the baptism of their daughter.  We have been working with their family a lot lately and had even had some missionary discussions with the young daughter to prepare her for baptism at the request of her parents.  It was at the same time as the convert baptisms of the other missionaries.  We got there, and the family immediately invited us to take pictures with them and we even had a small role in the program providing the music.  During the baptismal service, both my companion and I realized that although this baptism wouldn't count as a "missionary baptism", we had still taken part in it.  We taught her all the missionary lessons and now we were here with the other missionaries to watch her take that big step in her life.  The family even counts us as their missionaries.
It was a very sweet, simple moment to realize that God was aware of our situation and our prayers had been answered - in His way.  We had two baptisms in our area - we hit our goal - even though we're the only ones who know it.

Friday, January 3, 2014


Splits this week were fun!  I went on splits with a member who really wanted some missionary experiences.  Needless to say, she was just giddy when we called her up for help.

"Hermana, can you come be Sister Bettinson's companion today?"

"Siiiiii!!!!!!!!" - Adorable (or qué cute! as she would say)

I introduced her to people from the English ward and she introduced me to her friends.  It was a win-win (win) situation :)

I also went on splits with a YSA who served her mission in Utah.  It was fun hearing the "Utah missionary" side of things.  Utah is a completely different world!  She said that tracting is extremely hard there so how they found investigators is they would visit members and get the run-down on the neighborhood from them, then go visit their non-neighbor friends.  We have to work very hard to find a good balance between visiting members and finding by our own efforts.  She was in charge of 11 stakes at one time....we're in charge of two wards down here.  She was a Spanish-speaking missionary so if they ran into anyone who spoke English, they would have to refer them to the English-speaking missionaries.  It's always interesting to hear how other missions work...all are so unique.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Christmas Happenings!

On Christmas Day, we went and visited many people we know, and talked to people on the street.  We went back to the hotel that overlooks the ocean where we went for our first Thanksgiving dinner.  It was super fun to tell everyone Merry Christmas!  Everyone was so nice and willing to listen to us because of the holiday.  It's the best.  I love Christmas! :D  We shared Luke 2:8-14 with the members and told them that because Christ's coming was good news and a time of great joy, they needed to share the message with everyone.  Surprisingly the spirit of Christmas and missionary work go super hand-in-hand.