Monday, May 15, 2017

♪Families can be together forever♪

Happy mothers day :) 🌹
Happy mothers day to all you wonderful mothers out there. Thank you for all you do :) and I'm so grateful for the chance I got to talk to my mom yesterday! And so many other great things have happened this week.

First off exchange miracles are so real. We are the only Spanish sisters in our Zone let alone all the neighboring zones, so we do exchanges with the English Sister Training Leaders. So I was left the lone Spanish speaker for all our Spanish work for the day, but it was incredible. We were able to meet with a referral we have been trying to talk to forever, Ramona. Her brother, Hno Cordero is high priest group leader. We were able to talk to her about the book of Mormon and she seemed a little hesitant to accept it, but she said she would read it and pray about it, because she knows that's the only way she can find out if it's true. And she also told us she would talk to her brother about it some more this week.

Bike day!
Biking in the rain, looking for a referral 🌧

We are trying to conserve our miles a little bit more this transfer, so we spent most of exchanges biking. Sister Wilcox got excited about talking to Spanish people, so she pulled off the road and started talking to some Hispanic people working on a roof. Long story short, they were not as interested in the gospel as they were in asking us if we were married and we both got proposed to. But we did invite them to church, so who knows, they might come someday. And it never hurts to talk to everyone. 

We are really excited because one of our investigators has come to church two weeks in a row now! Jonathan and Gina, his wife, a less-active/returning to activity member. She just had a baby a couple of weeks ago, and they've come to church since then, and they were able to have their baby blessed in Church yesterday. He stood right outside the circle to watch, and afterwards held the baby up in front of the congregation and he just looked so proud and so so happy. In our lesson this past week Jonathan told us he wants to get baptized, he's just reluctant to set a date yet because he doesn't know everything about the church yet. He's starting to read more often in the Book of Mormon, and has been learning a lot by coming to church, and we're really excited about the progress he's making, and hopefully he'll have a baptismal date really soon. The knowledge of eternal families and the huge blessing he has seen in his newborn son is really drawing him close to the gospel. 

There was a two hour marathon sacrament meeting yesterday, because our entire bishopric got released, and all the outgoing and all the incoming spoke, plus their wives, so it was a very long meeting. We're really excited about our new bishop, Bishop Wood. He is from an English ward in New Brighton, but he speaks fluent Spanish, and he has a lot of new ideas. And Hno Torres, our Ward Mission Leader, is now the second councilor in the bishopric. So a lot of big changes, but hopefully it helps us shake things up in this ward a little bit and see some more progress. Our biggest challenges in the ward right now are there's a small core of members who are really involved who are doing everything, and high priests who are home teaching ten families, and a lot of people come late to 1 o'clock church every week and end up missing the sacrament, and there are a lot of transportation problems because people don't have cars, or people have weird work hours, or people were offended ten years ago by something someone said in sacrament meeting. And there's a lot of work to do with the investigators and with the members and with the less-actives, and we're never not busy trying to call people or visit people or help coordinate rides to church or any other variety of things, but we're really excited because there is already a lot of progress happening, and we're not about to run out of things to do any time soon. 

I hope you all have a lovely week, and give your mom a great big hug and thank her for everything. I'm so grateful I get to be a missionary, and for the knowledge I have that families can be together forever, and how much joy that has brought me and that I get to share that knowledge with everyone I meet for the next 15 months. Love you all! Thanks for all the love and support!

"Soy una misionera de La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Días"
Achi is moving to Minneapolis 😭 but she promised us she'll invite us to her baptism 

Cinco de Mayo!

Cinco de Mayo Fiesta! 🎉

Feliz cinco de mayo! You probably thought that wouldn't be that big of a deal for missionaries, but it was a huge blessing this week. Even though it isn't actually Mexican Indendence Day, it is a real holiday that lots of people have lots of really big parties for. On Saturday there was a huge Cinco de mayo festival just a couple blocks down from our house, so we were able to spend most of the day contacting there and talking to all the hispanic people we could find. That was my first time officially contacting on my mission, but it went surprisingly well, and by the end of the day I was pretty comfortable approaching people and talking to them in Spanish. I've found that when they see you're trying so hard to speak Spanish and understand them, people have a lot of patience with us. We've been trying to find new creative ways to find new people to teach, and this helped us find a lot families and people we're really excited about getting to go visit this week. 

Transfers were this past week and Hermana Hughes got moved to Rochester, so my new companion is Hermana Shepherd. She's from Colorado, and this is her fourth transfer in the field, which means she has only been out of training for one transfer herself. Neither of us know exactly what we're doing, but we're slowly improving every day. Leading out an area halfway through training, speaking a foreign language is kind of stressful, and I was really overwhelmed and freaking out for the first few days, and I'm still freaking out just a little bit, but this is really helping me learn to rely on the Lord, because there is absolutely no way I can do it by myself even if I wanted to. We have already seen a lot of miracles, and have a lot of new investigators. And sometimes an ice cream break can solve a world of problems. 

The big breakthrough this week is I finally can talk to people on the phone in spanish. Fun fact, talking on the phone, to anyone besides family and close friends, is one of my least favorite tasks in the whole world. Last transfer I managed to always get out of it, but now since I'm the one who knows people in this area, I have no more excuses. I don't always understand everything, but I get the general message of what they're saying and they get the general message of what I'm saying, and the gift of tongues is real. 

We got a lot of new investigators this week, but didn't see a lot of progress in any others areas. We're getting the 611 potential investigators in our area book a little bit better organized and we've got lots of doors we're excited to go knock this week. It's amazing how quickly you get over the embarassment and awkwardness of knocking on a strangers door and trying to talk to them about religion when it's basically all you do most of the time. 

I hope you all know how much God loves you. It's a lot, I promise, more than we can imagine and I know he feels that love for each of his children. Thank you for all the love and support! Have a great week! 

There are Peanuts Characters like this all over St. Paul, hometown of Charles Schulz 🐶


Ice cream solves all of our problems, well not all, but most of them.

Throwback to the MTC because it's still 100% relatable and I just got this picture. 

Saturday, May 6, 2017

"They did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies"

La familia Servin. We are really excited that Alex
is going to be able to get baptized soon!
Buenos dias! 

Because it was the end of the month, we were seriously low on miles, and might have gone 30 over, but the elders in our district say they went 50 under so we should be good. We did bike a whole ton this week though, even a few miles in the pouring rain. But we survived, no one got hurt and we feel 500% more like missionaries when we're biking everywhere. 

Hermana Hughes also hurt her foot right before I got here, so 7 weeks ago, and this week we finally got permission to go to the doctor to get it checked out. So after waiting in urgent care for 3 hours we finally got in at around 9:30 pm and got an x-ray, and shared a gospel message with the people working the x-ray machine, and good new is her foot isn't broken, but they also don't know what's wrong so we'll just have to wait and see if maybe it starts to feel better after a while.

The word of this week is reconnoiter, the verb form of reconnaisance. I had my first zone conference this week, and it was incredible, besides the fact is snowed the whole time because Minnesota is crazy. We learned a lot about the importance of following up with everyone. Not just investigators or people you're teaching, but everyone you're working with. If you ask the bishop or a member for a referall you have to go look into it and report back, or in other words reconnoiter, within a week, and show that you place a lot of importance of finding through members and taking seriously the people they ask you to go visit. So now you'll never forget the word reconnoiter. And we had an incredible experience this week asking a member for a referal 

I have learned so many new things from the Book of Mormon this week. One of my new favorite stories is just a few verses from 3 Nephi 4:8-10. When the Gaddianton robbers are coming to attack the Nephites it says "And it came to pass, that the armies of the Nephites, when they saw the appearance of the army of Giddianhi, had all fallen to the earth, and did lift their cries to the Lord their God, that he would spare them and deliver them out of the hands of their enemies. And it came to pass that when the armies of Giddianhi saw this they began to shout with a loud voice, because of their joy, for they had supposed that the Nephites had fallen with fear because of the terror of their armies. But in this thing they were disappointed, for the Nephites did not fear them; but they did fear their God and did supplicate him for protection; therefore, when the armies of Giddianhi did rush upon them they were prepared to meet them; yea in the strength of the Lord they did receive them." As missionaries, and as members of the church, or as members of whatever faith or belief you are, people are going to think you're pretty weird for believing the things you do and doing the things you do. Our faith might be viewed as weakness, but we know we place our faith and our trust in God, and that is all that matters. When our first line of defense is crying out to the Lord God for protection, He can protect you against anything the world might try to throw at you. 

Missionary work is so hard, but it is also so amazing, and everyday you learn more and become better and know how to do more and be better the next day. Thank you as always for the love and support, keep doing great things! 

Spanish Speaking Missionaries in Minneapolis

Bike Day!

Road trip to Wisconsin (just to see this sign then
we drove back across the bridge)

Stillwater is the best! A great day of antiquing :)