Saturday, April 29, 2017

Lions and tigers and sloths...

Hello all! It's been another crazy week in Minnesota. The weather is starting to warm up, but then some days it's 30 degrees and raining, so we're never really sure what to expect. 
As the weather has been warming up it's been great to get to use our bikes and walk around more and get to talk to more people. Every Saturday night we have soccer outside our church building, and try to have some ward members there and invite our investigators and less-actives, and it's been a really great way to help start fellowshipping a little more and get everyone more involved in missionary work in a fun way.

So many miracles this week. So the Spanish areas are weird here because we cover 5 English areas, but have the same amount of miles as the English missionaries, so it takes a lot of really careful planning, and getting to the end of the month and realizing you are out of miles and need to ask everyone for rides everywhere. We were in Hastings with the English sisters trying to visit some Hispanic people who live there, and the Cottage Grove sisters were driving us because it's twenty miles away from our apartment. Our mission was having a mission wide finding hour, where everyone sets aside one hour on Friday from 3:30 to 4:30 to spend either tracting or contacting, and our goal for that hour was for every companionship to find one new investigator and place one Book of Mormon. We had not been able to find any Hispanic people in Hastings who were home or wanted to talk to us and had just been talking to some English speakers. But we had 10 minutes left in our finding hour, and stopped in a trailer park and had time to knock on only a couple of doors. We said a prayer to ask for help to find someone who needed a message of the gospel today and to be able to meet our goals of finding a new investigator. And the first door we were lead to knock on was a Hispanic woman named Maria, and she gladly let us talk to her for a few minutes, and we were able to give her a Book of Mormon and testify of it's importance and of Christ, and able to set up a return appointment for next week. As we were going to leave we asked her if she knew anyone else in the area who spoke Spanish, and she told us she was the only one on that street who spoke Spanish. It was so amazing that even though it seemed unlikely and I didn't have a lot of hope of being able to meet our goal, we planned and followed the spirit and were able to find someone who needed to hear that message that day.

I have learned so much this week in my studies from the last few chapters in Alma. Usually I kind of skim through them and don't really try to get a lot of spiritual information out of them, but we've been talking a lot about how they do a really great job of showing us in our day how we can live righteously even in tumultuous times and still have charity and love for all when everything else about the world seems to be telling us to behave the opposite. 
That's all I have time for today, but I hope you all have a great week!

Alma 48:11-13 "And Moroni was a strong and a mighty man; he was a man of a perfect understanding; yea, a man that did not delight in bloodshed; a man whose soul did joy in the liberty and the freedom of his country, and his brethren from bondage and slavery; Yea, a man whose heart did swell with thanksgiving to his God, for the many privileges and blessings which he bestowed upon his people; a man who did labor exceedingly for the welfare and safety of his people. Yea, and he was a man who was firm in the faith of Christ, and he had sworn with an oath to defend his people, his rights, and his country, and his religion, even to the loss of his blood."

There's this amazing ice cream shop called Nelson's
and this is a child size and it's the best thing in the whole world.
Temple Trip!!

Dinner with the Trevino's and their friend from New Zealand,
he had an awesome accent and also shared a lot of
really cool stories with us about his mission as well
Hermana Hughes and I always get made fun of at
District Meeting because we bring salads to each for lunch

P-day at the Zoo = SLOTHS

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Feliz dia de pascua! 🐣🐰

Hello all!! Happy Easter! This week has gone by so quickly, I can't believe it's p-day again already. 

Exchanges this week! It was a little bit terrifying, but it ended up being a great experience. Our STL's decided to leave me in the Spanish area, and out of the English YSA sisters came to our area, Sister Brett. She was great to work with, but she only took Spanish for one year in junior high, so it was a good experience learning to rely on the Holy Ghost. I probably prayed 500 times for the gift of tongues, but we saw so many miracles. One woman, Cecilia, who we have been trying to get in contact with for weeks, we decided to stop at her house and she saw and was like "Hermanas! Come in!" And we were able to talk to her a little bit, and I'm 90% sure she said she was glad to see us because she has a lot of questions that the church she has been attending couldn't help her answer, and we were able to set up a return appointment. Planning is really hard when you have only been in the area for three weeks, but the day went smoothly, and we got a lot of good lessons in. 

One of our investigators, Cruz, fell off a two story building about a month ago and broke both of his legs, so we go teach him in the hospital. And there's a flu outbreak going on, so we also get to teach wearing hospital masks. He's progressing pretty well, he has a lot of questions about scientific things, and this week we spent a lot of time talkinga bout artificial intelligence and whether or not they have spirits...but he also has a lot of good questions about doctrine he's willing to study and get answers for. 

There was also that awkward moment this week, when no one in the ward invites the missionaries over for dinner, so we our district just ate dinner at the church, and we had an interesting combination of sourdough waffles, barbecue chicken, and tortillas, because what would Spanish missionaries be without tortillas for every meal. 

Things are going pretty slow this week, our biggest breakthrough was that Juan y Juana, two of our most progressing investigators, agreed to think about not meeting with the testigos de jehova (jehovah's wittnesses) anymore. Think about it. And they agreed to cancel their appointment with them on Sunday at 1 so they can come to church. 

And every hispanic person we have talked to has asked about why the Easter bunny is such a big deal in America. If anyone knows, please enlighten because we haven't been able to find anything. We talked about the symbol of the Easter Egg though, and the symbol of life being born again out of death, or something that would appear to be dead. And relating that to the restoration of the gospel, in that the gospel was restored in a perfect form, the same way Christ was ressurected, and the same way we are going to be resurrected. Everything, even Easter eggs, testify that there is a Christ. The church is true! Read the Book of Mormon! Happy Easter!!

Thank you for all the love and support!
Have a great week!

Hermana Meredith 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

"Feel the Spirit"

Buenos dias! It's been another great week.

First off miracles. Conference was incredible, but we were kind of sad that none of our investigators came to church to watch it, and many people we followed up with the next day said they forgot or didn't have time. Then we went to meet with a less-active we teach for the English Elders in our area because she doesn't like them. She hasn't ever shown any desire to come to church, but we invited her to watch a session of conference, and when we walked into our next visit she couldn't wait to tell us that she had watched all four sessions. She spent thirty minutes telling us about her favorite talks and all she learned, then told us that she wants to come church, and asked us if we could find a ride for her. I was so shocked I about fell off my chair, but we were so happy for her, and general conference really does bring miracles. Our motto for this week using the Easter Initiative has been "watch the video, feel the spirit, be baptized!" And as we've been trying to show it to literally everyone we talk to it has brought so many blessings, and it helps so many people realize that our message is about Christ.

One of the really strong members of our ward, Hermano Patiño, is an Uber driver, so he gives us referrals sometimes of people he's driven who he's started talking to about the gospel or about Christ. And he says "tell them you know their friend in Jesus, the Uber driver." We went to go talk to one of these, and he told us that her name was either Megan or Amanda, and that she lived in either 667 or 669. Apparently she was a little drunk so the information wasn't the most accurate. So we went to 669 and asked if Megan or amanda lived there, and the guy who came to the door said "yeah, Megan lives next door" so we went to 667 and asked for Megan or Amanda, and the guy who came to the door said "Oh yeah, Amanda lives next door." He closed the door and we just started laughing because we're still not sure exactly what happened. So we'll have to try back there in a couple of weeks. Fun part of the week was our whole mission got to go to a Twins baseball game. Finally something where I understand what's going on. It was really fun to go be with a lot of other missionaries, as well as attend a baseball game in dresses and suits and ties. We definitely got a lot of questions, but best p-day ever. 

This week I have learned so much about how God answers our prayers through the scriptures. When we sincerely inquire and ask the Lord for help, he will answer our prayers and lead us exactly to the verses or the words of prophets that can answer our questions. It's sad because the hardest part about getting people to progress is getting them to church, and a lot of people we teach can't get to church on their own, because they don't have cars, because they can't get drivers licenses or a loan to get a we spend a lot of time trying to arrange for rides. It's a problem we can't really create a long term solution for, so we're doing the best we can to help. 

Thank you all so much for all the love and support. I love you all and love hearing about all your missionary experiences! Have a great week!

Hermana Meredith

1 Nephi 15:8 "And I said unto them: Have ye inquired of the Lord?"

Monday, April 3, 2017

"The Prince of Peace"

It has been another great week to be a missionary! I hope that everyone watched conference and loved it!! We didn't have as much success committing our investigators to watch as we had hoped, but there are a lot of messages we are eager to share with them this week. 

God really does answer all of our prayers in the best ways sometimes. The ward here is incredible, and I've already gotten to meet a lot of people, but I've been having trouble feeling like I'm able to connect with the members, because of the language barrier and "oh it's the new missionary from Utah." But we were at a member dinner this week talking about a Twins game this upcoming week, and the members were talking a lot about baseball and how much they love major league baseball and thanks to my little brother John's obsession with baseball I actually knew what they were talking about and was able to participate in the conversation, and they were really impressed I knew who David Ortiz was and the difference between the two leagues, and it's a really little thing, but a huge blessing because it was a way I was able to talk to them about something that they're interested in, and I have just seen so many blessings like that this week, little things that seem irrelevant but ways I know I have been prepared to talk to so many of these people. Every member and almost every investigator I've met has also commented "oh ella es muy alta" so apparently 5'7" is pretty tall for here in Minnesota. 

The language barrier is still difficult, but getting a little easier to manage every day. Because there are so many people here with all different kinds of accents, we have some investigators I'm at 90% comprehension with, and then some I just pray that Hermana Hughes has got that lesson because I have absolutely no idea what's happening and I try to just bear a little testimony at the end about what I think the lesson might have been about. The key is trying not to look bewildered when someone is speaking faster than the speed of light. A lot of our investigators aren't making a lot of progress right now, and it's been difficult the past few days to get people to answer our phone calls or respond, and we've had trouble setting up appointments and getting to meet with some of our investigators that have really been doing well recently. Our tracting strategy the past few days has included a lot of inconspicuosly listening at doors in apartment buildings to see if people are speaking Spanish inside. It's all very methodical, no worries. 

The best thing this week has been being able to share the new Easter Video. We are trying to share it to everyone we talk to, English and Spanish speakers, just anyone who will stop to listen for even two minutes. It really is such a powerful testimony of the Savior. This Easter Campaign is so powerful, and we have already seen that this is exactly what so many people need in the world right now. We've been inviting everyone we talk to to share it with someone who needs it right now, so I want to invite all of you to do the same, either on social media or with a specific person, but invite someone else to either watch the video or share a message of the peace the Savior brings with someone you feel need's it right now, especially if that person is you. I loved President Uchtdorf's talk in relation to this message in conference yesterday. We shouldn't dwell on fear or evil or the unknown, but we should dwell on the peace that God brings us. We live in such a great time and in days of such great oppurtunity with the fulness of the restored gospel. It brings to mind the line "Look around at how lucky we are to be alive right now." 

Have a great week! Thank you so much for all your love and support. Continue to do great things and share the gospel!

Hermana Meredith

Isaiah 9:6 "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."

1- our ward building is in the parking lot of the St. Paul temple
2- The Torres fa tamily, he is our ward mission leader, and she always make us the best Mexican food after church, and fish tacos are now my fav
3- Conference!!