Sunday, June 29, 2014

Disappearing Elders = Pistachio Ice Cream!

On Sunday....all the missionaries (4 sisters and 5 elders) were supposed to do a musical number during sacrament meeting in the Spanish ward.  We got everything set up before the meeting, then right after the sacrament, the elders disappeared without saying a word.  Half way through the first talk, we sent a text to them asking where they were.  Turns out they left and were not planning on coming back, so we (the sisters) were left to do everything by we are receiving a tub of Pistachio ice cream sometime this week.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

A Baptism...Out of Our Area...Is Still a Baptism!

On Saturday, we ran into our investigator who had just moved a couple of weeks ago.  She informed us that she had already made contact with the missionaries there and is preparing to be baptized in the VERY near future.  Yay! :)  That made us so happy.

Friday, June 27, 2014

God Answers Prayers!

On Friday, we had been going all day without any food and by 7:00 p.m., we were hungry.  We said a prayer asking for food, then stopped by to visit a family.  We had a nice chat and little lesson with them, then just as we were about to leave, my companion asked if we could have some granola bars.  To our surprise, they brought us out 2 gourmet sandwiches, Doritos, a full pie, a bag full of zebra cakes, Cheez-Its, granola bars, and cookies.  We learned a valuable lesson that day.  God definitely answers prayers! :)

Another happening, as we were walking back to our car at the end of the night, I saw a small something jump out of the grass, hit my leg, then jump back.  I didn't think too much of it in the second between when I saw it and when my companion screamed.  My first thought went to a giant spider so I screamed, too.  After those few brief, but startling moments, we composed ourselves then went to go see what it was.  Lo and behold, it was a harmless, little frog.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Amelia, the Pug

On Thursday, while contacting in the hottest part of the day, a little pug started following us around.  We named it Amelia.  I had no idea, but pugs breath super loud!!!  We got a picture of the ugly thing.  I also learned a cool new bike trick.  I can get on the bike while it's moving!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Texas Road Kill...

On Wednesday, we saw a dead racoon on the side of the road.  It was pretty gross.  We wanted to get a picture of it, but neither of us had our cameras on hand. We also received a very interesting text at about 10:30 at night.......

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Love, Have Fun, Speak Spanish, Be Humble!

On Tuesday, we went over to President and Sister Maluenda's house to make breakfast for the incoming greenies.  There were 7 new greenies this transfer --- all of them sisters - a first in Texas McAllen Mission History!  Both my companion and  I had grand-babies in the group - or in other words, some of the greenies we trained were training some of the new greenies in this group.  It was so fun to see the enthusiasm in all of their faces.  I remember well how I felt at the beginning of the mission.  There's nothing quite like it.  They asked us what we'd suggest to them as they were first starting their missions. I said to love their companions no matter what and to have fun.  My companion said to speak Spanish at every moment possible and be humble.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Round Two! Do Something Memorable Daily!

Well, this week started off great!  We kicked off a new transfer and everything with me and my companion stayed the same. We're in for round 2 together. We set some awesome transfer goals for ourselves, one of which included doing something memorable every day.  Needless to say, it was a success |-)

On Monday, for our Preparation Day activity, we made a music video.  It was quite fun.  We did it to "Joy to the World" by Vocal Point

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Are You Personally Converted?

We made transfer goals as a companionship this week.  We have a goal to speak Spanish 24/7 this entire transfer! Wish us luck!  I'm more excited about it than my companion.

We have a bit of bad news.  One of our investigators had to move, so she is no longer in our area.  We told her to let us know when she knew her address so we could send other missionaries to her house.  We were kind of bummed because we had put so much energy into helping her get baptized, but the ward members,  through their example, have helped us see the importance of just trusting in God's timing and plan for us and those around us.  She'll get baptized soon!

Other than that, our week went fantastic!  We had zone conference this week.  I was asked to give my testimony during it. I talked about how the biggest convert in the mission should be ourselves and although that has been said so many times, it is probably the best lesson any missionary can learn.

During zone conference, the recurring theme was that how much we learn on our missions (or even in life in general) depends on how we serve.  Our President kept saying that the mission is not about us, rather it is about everyone, but us (it sounds less-confusing and cooler in Spanish).  He said that when we do everything we can to make this mission about serving others and less about serving ourselves, then we learn the most.   In turn, the mission becomes about us.  It kind of sounds like a paradox, but it is really true.  As we turn out and serve others - especially during the times when we would really rather help ourselves - we grow tremendously and we actually end up helping ourselves more than anyone else.

With that principle in the back of our minds, my companion and I went off to work.   Immediately, we had just a no good, very rotten day.  It was pretty bad.  We got yelled at by multiple people all right in a row.  By 8:30 p.m. both of us were pretty upset at just about everything.  Having gone through all our plans that day, we rode our bikes back in the direction of our car.  We were both so frustrated that as we passed some people in the street, we didn't even stop to talk to them (I know, it's bad and we felt even worse as we passed by).  Finally, when we were almost to our car, we saw a cute little family.  We both decided we had had enough of this pity party we created for ourselves, so we stopped and had nice little conversation with them.  They gave us some referrals, and we were on our way.  Immediately, we felt so much better.  The contention that we had felt disappeared by the time we made it to our car.

Man, it's been a good week......

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Hastening the Work: When All Else Fails, Just Love!

This week was my companion's birthday. We went over to a member family's home in our area. They are deaf so they taught us the "Happy Birthday" song in sign language than we sang to her in America Sign Language (ASL).  It was really fun!  Later, we enjoyed a nice cake.

Our English ward is the official deaf ward in the area, so during church, there is an ASL translator.  It's super fun to watch during meetings.

I gave a talk on Hastening the Work in the English Ward.  It was short and sweet, and went really well.  I shared Alma 13:24 and talked about how we have seen evidence of God preparing the hearts of his children.  For example, God uses the members to prepare his children - a few weeks ago, we knocked on the door of one house and the people who answered the door were super excited to see us because they had known several members of the church throughout their lives. They immediately let us in, gave us Cheetos, Cheez-Its, fruit snacks, trail mix, and water.  It kept us going for the next week!  We were able to talk to them about the Restoration and they were touched by the message.

Then, I talked about what we needed to do to prepare ourselves to take part in this work.

1) We need to start with ourselves - it's like personal study hour for missionaries
2) We need to help out our families - it's like companionship study for missionaries
3) We need to help out others - it's like when missionaries go out to work each day

Three other missionaries and the Ward Mission Leader also spoke.

A success we had this week:

We stopped by to visit a family, within the first five minutes we were "reprimanded" for asking too many questions.  Things weren't looking so great, but we decided to just listen to them for a while.  The tension eased, then we sang them a song and shared a scripture with them.  We ended with a prayer and told them we loved them. The lady of the house responded that she loved us, too. She also gave us some delicious cookies and little pies to take with us as we walked out the door.  Mission Accomplished.

Moral of the Story: When all else fails, just love.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Miracle Baptism!

So this week, we had a baptism!   We had been working with an investigator for quite some time (since before I got out here!).  He did not want to be baptized until he was in college (a good year and a half away) and no matter what we did or sad, he would not change his mind.

Then, our district leader suggested we let him interview him The interview lasted over an hour, and he felt the Spirit and decided he wanted to be baptized   :D :D :D yay!

On Sunday, he texted us and told us he was too tired to go to church.  We told him that if he wanted to be baptized that day, he'd have to.   So he agreed willingly without much persistence on our part.  He came to church, all went smoothly. We saw him right before he left , and he's still excited and ready for his baptism at 5:45 so we can start at 6 to be done in time for Seminary Graduation at 7 --- we were on a really tight schedule.

So we go about doing missionary things for the rest of the afternoon.  We arrive back at the church at 5:30..  5:45 rolls around and people are showing up for the baptism.  Everything's great until a member, who was supposed to pick up our baptismal candidate, shows up. Our baptismal candidate is not with him.  The member told us he went to his house, but he was not answering the door or his phone.  We try to get a hold of him, but no luck.

So, we went with the member  to the  house at around 5:55 and start ringing the doorbell - a lot.  Nobody is answering. We kept thinking about the lesson we had had during zone meeting the day before: that if things aren't working out the way they should we have got to "do something about it" and make the miracle happen.

Long story short, we found out his door was unlocked, we found one of his neighbor friends, and his friend walked inside his house to his bedroom and woke him up - he had just been taking a nap.   He came outside still rubbing his eyes, saw us, grabbed his stuff for the baptism, then we all went back to the church arriving at about 6:25.  He quickly changed into his clothes, the baptism started at 6:35, it was over right at 7, and as soon as it was over everyone left to go to seminary graduation.  I was so tired by the end of that!

But, we had a baptism!!!! :)   It was truly a miracle, and - as do all miracles - it required a lot of effort and trust in God on our part.. There was a point where it just seemed like no matter what we did, we ran into a brick wall, but we kept trying, trusting that truly God wanted our investigator to receive the blessings of baptism. We followed the Spirit - and we saw the blessings!

It was truly a great week!