Sunday, February 23, 2014

Plan of Salvation and the Atonement! :)

My companion and I have been asked to speak in church again.  We're speaking about the Plan of Salvation and the Atonement.  I'm super excited.  Those are my favorite things to teach investigators.  We had an amazing lesson in the Young Single Adult Relief Society about it.  It was taught by a Return Sister Missionary who served her mission in Utah.  The spirit was super strong.  They told about before this life when the Plan was presented to us by our Heavenly Father we shouted for joy.  A member of the Relief Society Presidency said when she was investigating the church, it was that knowledge (that we had lived with our Heavenly Father before this life and shouted for joy at hearing of the opportunity to come to Earth) that led her to be baptized.  She said that after she heard about the Plan of Salvation, she knew she had found what she had been looking for.  Everything that the missionaries said after that just went in one ear and out the other because she could not stop thinking about it and feeling so happy :)

That's what we're focusing on with many of our investigators this week, so I'm super excited to give a talk on it in Sacrament Meeting.   :D

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Stuck in Traffic

The weather is getting nice again.  Because of President's Day and Valentine's Day falling on the same weekend, our little area of the world has been super crowded the last few days.  It's just a taste of what the entire month of March is going to be like as Spring Break starts rolling around.  On Saturday, we had a lesson on the island.  We got stuck in traffic on the top of the bridge.  It was really cool.  We had a sweet view of the Laguna Madre.  We even saw dolphins swimming around.  My companion even saw them jump (I had looked away for just a second to move up in the traffic line).  It was really cool for her because she's never seen the ocean before.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Work is Picking Up!

The work in this area is really picking up.  The Spanish Ward has heard our cries for rides to church and they have now created a very efficient system to get investigators and less-actives to the Sunday meetings.  Also, we have a wonderful older couple who is here from Idaho for the winter who have been called as Ward Missionaries in the English Ward.  They are helping us out a ton with visiting less-actives and recent converts in our area.  We're also going to start working with the Stake Relief Society  President to visit less-actives in our area.  I'm super excited.  The enthusiasm for missionary work in the wards really picked up after the amazing Stake Conference on members and missionaries working together.  The members down here are fantastic!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Breakfast at the Doorstep!

This week, we had a challenge in our zone to see which companionship could get the most referrals in a week.  The prize was the Zone Leaders would bring the elders "breakfast in bed" and the sisters "breakfast at the doorstep."  Well, apparently we won and as we were going outside to wash our car and to start our laundry at 6:30 AM on Preparation Day in our pajamas, our Zone Leaders were out in the parking lot waiting for us.  I really didn't think they were serious when they announced that challenge, but apparently they were!  Needless to say, I was not super excited to see them.  But on the bright side, we totally won the zone challenge! :D

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Fortunate Week :)

I got a bag of fortune cookies for Valentine's Day from a family in the Spanish Ward.  Their little seven-year-old bore her testimony to us about the accuracy of those little slips of paper enveloped in a delicious, crunchy cookie.  I have eaten four of them so far.  My fortunes are as follows:

1) I will soon inherit a large sum of money
2) I will soon reach perfection
3) My luck will soon reach a high point
4) This year will bring me much happiness

I would say it was a pretty fortunate week 8)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dogs? Well...

So, before my mission, I thought a puppy would be a nice pet.  I even recall putting that on my FB status.  Then I came to South Texas........

After knocking on too many doors, being with a companion who stopped every five minutes to pet a dog, having one almost every morning for a week leave nice presents on our doorstep, getting my favorite skirt ripped by a pitbull, and yesterday, getting scared out of my wits walking in a dark ally on the way to a very ill investigator by a crazy dog, I've come to the conclusion that dogs are just not for me.  Their Satan's number 1 biggest tool against missionary work.  I could write a book about my South Texas dog experiences.  However, I would very much like a bunny who acts like a dog.  One of our investigators has one.  It's adorable.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Primary Songs Teach the Gospel!

We've been having fun using the Primary Songbook (in Spanish)  I got for Christmas.  I never realized how much doctrine Primary songs have in them!  You could teach every single Preach My Gospel lesson in just a few minutes singing those songs!  We were teaching them to a cute little family.  They had two little girls ages 7 and 4.  It was adorable!

Ward Missionaries are Wonderful!

An adorable retired couple who lives in our area just got called as Ward Missionaries and they are doing incredible at magnifying their calling!  They are Winter Texans meaning that they are originally from Idaho, but have just come down here for the winter.  They are in charge of the reactivation efforts in our area and so this week, we enjoyed a wonderful little lunch in their trailer talking about some individuals.  On Sunday, they gave us a list of all the Less-Actives in our area with notes.  We were surprised to see that they had made a dent in contacting them all!  We gave them some more names of people who weren't on their list.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Super Mission-Minded Members!

It is so exciting to be with the members here!  All of them are super mission-minded and it's fantastic!  On Sunday, a member of the bishopric in the English Ward came up to us just to express his enthusiasm over reactivation.  A couple of weeks ago in Stake Conference, it was brought to everyone's attention that the stake has over 1000 less-active members living within its boundaries and the bishopric member told us that our English Ward alone made up many of those members.  He smiled and told us that we all have work to do and that he was excited for the members and missionaries to join efforts.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Transfer Time, But We're Staying!

This week, transfers are happening.  For only the second time in my mission, nothing is happening to our companionship: no area or companion changes!  That's pretty crazy!

I'm super excited for this upcoming transfer!  It's going to be a blast and we have some awesome plans to start us off!  We're still working on converting/reactivating people with cars.  We're determined!  This area needs it soooooo much!  We wish our city  had it's own branch.  That is our biggest motivation!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

You Look Suspicious

We got stopped by a cop because we "looked suspicious."  We were walking and he shined this bright light on us as he pulled up and asked what we were doing.  hahaha :) All we had to do was say we were missionaries and he let us go. Super funny.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

My Year Mark! Do You Need a Ride to Church?

So I hit my year mark on the mission.....I can't believe I've already made it this far!  This week was really eventful! 

We created a new plan to work with members that I am super excited to try out!  It's not super creative, but we think that it will work.  The motivation for this is that we're running into not very many people having cars and the church is a good 25 miles away!  So there are a handful of less-active members who are less-active for that reason: They don't have a way to get to church.  We've tried soliciting rides from members, but they already carpool in quite-full cars.  The only solution: find, teach, convert/reactivate people with cars!  And do enough of it that a branch will be organized closer to the people -----> Problem Solved!

So, with that motivation behind us (we're not just baptizing and reactivating to hit a zone or district goal, but to make life easier for the members down here), we decided that we are going to invite every active and less-active member to find a friend (non-member or less-active) who needs the gospel and in the next week, contact that friend and make arrangements so we (the missionaries) can have a family home evening in their home.  This way, this investigator or less-active already has a friend, the member (active or less-active) has a responsibility in missionary work, and they can both be edified together.  

We've already talked to a few members about this and we're going to talk to more!  We've already had very positive responses.  Now the challenge is sticking to it!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Hastening the Work!

I am super excited for the push in missionary work!  I am super excited to have so many more ideas in how I can work better with the members in my area and that we have our own set of missionaries in our ward because that means when I get home, it won't be super hard to work with the missionaries!!!! :D 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Stake Conference!

We attended stake conference.  President Maluenda was presiding.  Elder Martino was the general authority and the topic was "Hastening the Work."  It was seriously one of the best church meetings I have ever been to!  They talked directly to both the members and the missionaries and gave us counsel on how we could better work in unity.  What was said there was gold.

President Maluenda left every member the commitment to ask everyone they know if they would be willing to listen to a message about Jesus Christ.  If the answer is no, just keep being their friends.  If the answer is yes, get the missionaries over there! :D  He promised that in the future, we will be very thankful that we had shared the gospel with those around us.

Elder Martino pointed something out very interesting.  He first defined that priesthood keys were the right to receive revelation to direct the church or an organization in the church.  He then said that the mission president has the keys to direct the missionaries and determine who gets baptized.  However, the keys over missionary work belonged not to him, but to the Stake President and the Bishop.  Isn't that interesting?  

He then read Moro. 10:31 and said that it's a commandment to us as members that we extend the boundaries of our stakes. There are three parts to this commandment:

1) Finding those who don't have the gospel
2) Retaining new members - they're babies in the gospel!
3) Reactivation! - these are people who have been baptized, but are not participation in the sacrament which means they're not renewing their baptismal covenants week after week.  Covenants are important because only through them can we participate completely and fully in the Atonement of Jesus Christ

He read Moses 6:31-34, which talks about Enoch being called to preach the gospel.  Enoch was super scared, but the Lord promised him that he would receive the help he needed and he would succeed if he worked, did his part, and opened his mouth.  The same is true with us as missionaries and as members.  We need to work, do our part, and open our mouth and we will have everything we need to participate in the hastening of the work.

The meeting was so awesome!  He shared with us the story of Alma and Amulek and pointed out that Amulek was a less-active member who became reactivated then he helped out the missionaries (Alma) by being a Member Present during the lessons and because of that, he was able to help convert more hearts to the gospel than Alma was able to by himself (Alma 8-12).  It's really good.  I encourage y'all to read those chapters with that in mind.