Tuesday, March 26, 2013

As We GLORY in HIS Name

Familia!! Mi amor!! Que tal? To all my most favorite people in the universe,
WHAT A WEEK! This has been the craziest, best, amazing week of my life! I can't even believe it is P-day, because last week flew by! But so many amazing things have been happening, I don't even know where to start. All I know is that I am 100% EXHAUSTED. But I am SO HAPPY. It is an amazing thing. Who knew going all day everyday about the Lord's work would be THIS rewarding. I love it here. It is A LOT of work, but the Lord is guiding us along the path that we need to be on in order to find the people that are ready for us to teach. I have learned on the mission that this is not my mission, it is the Lord's. I have also learned that it isn't my will and what I want to happen all the time....it is His. In life, sometimes things happen, but they happen for a reason. If we are truly giving our best and if we are giving it our all, He will lead us down the path that is best for us. I am trying to learn to take His will and make it mine. and RUN with it. Because life is SO short to worry about things we can't control. All we can do sometimes is just press "Onward, as we glory in His name".

First and foremost! DANIEL AND NATE ARE GETTING BAPTIZED TONIGHT!!!!! OH MY GOODNESS! It isn't until after p-day is over, but I will be sure to tell you all about it next week. I feel like I have seen these two men change. The gospel CHANGES you, if you let it. But I have seen this family sincerely make Christ the center of their lives and are giving up a lot of the things that they were doing in their lives just in order to enter into the waters of baptism. They had their baptismal interviews on Sunday. Nate, age 9, was SO nervous for his interview. When he got done, he came screaming out of the door "I PASSED!!!! I AM GOING TO BE BAPTIZED FINALLY!" We gave him high fives and such. He was beaming. Daniel, his father, looks totally different to me now then when I first met him. He has a glow about him. I know that it is because he has allow for the Spirit to take a part in his life. I got a little teary eyed when he humbly told my companion and I, "This change in my life, it is all thanks to you guys. Thank you." Chills went down my spine as I realized---that is why I am here. Even if it is just bringing Daniel and Nate into the fold, even if they are the only ones who will listen and change---it is all worth it for just that one person. It reminded me of the Savior, as a Shepard. He will do anything for just the 1 that is lost. And on Sunday, I got to feel just a little bit of that love and determination to find the lost souls and to strengthen them and help them. I feel like Nate and Daniel are my best friends. The spirit has taught them, and we have striven to help them, and help them know what source to look for for strength. I am so happy. I can't stop smiling. Seeing them and their family. I can't stop smiling. As we have taught them the lessons, even though I can't speak perfect Spanish, it doesn't matter. Because the Spirit teaches in all languages. and THAT is why they are getting baptized. I am SOOOOOOOOOOOO excited for them. Even more than that I am excited for what the less-active mom is doing. SHE IS COMING TO CHURCH! She also told us she wants to take her family to the temple! WOW!!! So we will be prepping her so she can take her family to the temple to be sealed forever and eternity in a year! I am so excited for them! Wow. Also one more thing about this incredible family. On Sunday, I was a little worried they weren't going to make it to church. But they walked in as we were singing "The Spirit of God" in Spanish. As I looked at them, they were in their BEST DRESS and with the whole family! I smiled so big! They were glowing and the ward members greeted them with such poise. I love the Resendiz family, and the Gospel is LITERALLY changing their lives in so many ways, I just can't believe that I have got to witness that first hand and feel blessed to be apart of these AMAZING changes they are making in their lives! The mom is Navajo and she has been reading the Book of Mormon for like the first time in her life! She is a member, but hadn't gone to church since she was little. Amazing. That is all I can say. Amazing. My trainer wanted me to learn how baptisms work, so I got to do all the planning, programs and everything! I hope that it all works out! It is kinda way stressful with everything else happening! But I am so excited! To see them smile....makes it ALL worth it. Also, they asked me to sing! I will be singing "I know my Redeemer Lives" in Spanish! I feel so honored. Hopefully their ears won't hurt too bad after it, and that they will still want to be baptized!! hahah ;)
We are now a trio! The MTC just shipped out 84 VISA waiters for Argentina! A lot of them to this mission! Argentina government must be giving the church a fit, but I know it is all happening for a reason. So my companion and I are now training a greeny! Her name is Sister Sheiss and she is from Utah too! Crazy right? I just can't believe how many people are in this mission from Utah waiting for Argentina. We are all in the same shoes! But you know what? I've decided I don't have time to worry about that. There are so many people here that need the Gospel. I know the VISA will come for me and for all these missionaries when the people are ready and when the Lord needs us. I am really excited to learn more and to help train! I feel like just yesterday I was coming out of the MTC....man how the time is flying!
So, I can't even tell you how crazily busy it has been. Our zone has baptized 3 people already this week and we've got our 2 today and the president has challenged us to 11 by the end of the week. Our mission on average baptizes 450 a month. Isn't that amazing? I can't believe that! The work is ROLLING forward. I just pray and hope that all these people are truly converted to the Lord, and that they stay strong to the testimonies that they have begun to develop. I feel so blessed when I see all these people stepping into the waters of baptism. They are children of God. and when they go down into the water I get teary eyed because I think to myself that the Savior is standing right by that font saying, "Welcome to the gateway to your eternal life, I am so proud of you for the decision you have made." That is all our Heavenly Father wants. He wants us to get back to Him someday, and wants us to live our lives in a way that we can feel His presence and be guided to be back by His side. That is all I want, and right now I am merely a missionary. Or a guide. I want to help guide these people to the information and the Spirit that can change their lives and bring them to Christ. My two jobs as a missionary is to INVITE and to HELP people come to Christ. Christ is my best friend, and my Redeemer. Because of Him, I can become better than I ever thought that I could. He is the reason I am here on a mission, and He died for me and for all of us. Through Him, we can feel peace, happiness and strength. ONLY through Him can we have those things. I hope this Easter and everyday you remember that---He is YOUR best friend. and He is waiting for you, if you let Him in. He can change us and make us better than we could ever be on our own. I love Easter Sunday, because it is all centered on Christ. But I was thinking...man, our whole lives everyday should be centered around Him. I feel like if we are willing and able to do that everyday that we will feel an incredible change within our lives and things will fall into place! This Easter week I challenge you to think of one way you can put Christ first and make Him the center of your life. I INVITE you to COME to Christ, let Him in. Rely on His atonement for strength and help and REJOICE in the fact that through Him we can return back Home with our Heavenly Father. Because of Him, we can live again. I challenge you do implement one way you can put Christ first this week. Even if it is something small. I promise you will feel more at peace and have a joy that is impossible to explain. and HAPPY EASTER!
We have literally been running to appointments, and lessons. The Lord has put so many people in our way, I just pray we have time and the ability to connect with all of them so that they too can be invited to come unto Christ. We are also knocking down a lot of barriers helping these people learn English. Ever day I get to testify that through my Savior Jesus Christ---the impossible is POSSIBLE. And sometimes they look at me like I am crazy, but it is true. As I teach them English, it is amazing how much I am learning in Spanish!!! The Spanish is making improvement, but I still got a long way to go! Line upon line, precept upon precept....right? :)
 We had exchanges this week, and I learned so much from Sister Martinez. I learned how to teach children the plan of Salvation. I have been able to teach that and the restoration over and over again. And it amazes me, how truly simple it is. I have learned how much our Heavenly Father loves us....I can't describe it. He has given us prophets. He has given us and our families the Gospel. He has given us the plan of Salvation. He has given us His Son. He has given us a way to get back. WOW. We are the LUCKIEST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD!! Sometimes I think we take those things for granted. We are here to be tested because He loves us and wants us back. I hope you never forget that, and that you live everyday accordingly. 
My teaching skills still have a LONG way to go, but I am learning. Preach My Gospel is TRULY inspired, I am trying so hard to soak up every word. Along with all this awesome work that we have cut out for us, my companion and I have been asked to speak in sacrament meetings all over our area!!! Holy smokes!! Stress. All the time. But it is the BEST kind. I am learning so much about public speaking, and am striving to let the Spirit help me know what to say and how to love the people that we come in contact with. I love it. This past Sunday, the topic was about true conversion. I realized that conversion is a life time process! EVERYDAY we are to strive to represent and BE like the Savior was, and man. I have a long way to go. But I am trying, and I know through Him, my weaknesses will become strengths.
We also had a training this week from Brother Donaldson (the mission president in the District 1) ! I learned so much about being a BOLD missionary. We are helping people with salvation....so we NEED to be bold. Also he told us a little secret, and it isn't set in stone---but----Dad was right! Missionaries might be getting iPads! And guess what? our mission has been chosen to be the pilot mission! Elder Holland said that he is so excited about it--as our schedules, GPS where potential investigators live, and lessons will be all electronic through iCloud. We haven't got them yet, but they said that the Church wants them soon. Very soon. So we will see. The church believes that this will accelerate missionary work along with the FLOOD of missionaries that are surging into the field. I can't even imagine how powerful using the technology we have been blessed with with bless the lives of so many. I can't even imagine. The work is ROLLING forth, and this is honestly the BEST time to be a missionary!!!! I LOVE IT!!!
We had a sister's conference and I got to meet all these amazing women! Among them are my friends from Samoa! We had a blast sitting down at dinner one night and singing Hymns to the Ukulele! Dad and Tyler---Samoa sounds amazing! They told me all about it! I hope you enjoy it there! Our band name is "The Sunflowers". I like to call it "3 Samoans and a White girl." hahaha. The sisters here are so great, I learn so much from them.
Anyways, it has been a great week! and I can't wait for the one that is coming. Life as a missionary isn't easy.....at all. But it is SO worth it. I hope that this week you find a way this week to put Jesus Christ first and to remember the love that He has for you and the person that you can be with His help. Easter is a glorious time! "For God so loved the world, He gave His only Begotten Son." I hope you remember that, I know you will....because you are all amazing and MY HEROES. I hope this email finds you smiling, healthy, safe and happy! We can change. We can change the world. Everything is possible through Jesus Christ. But the trick is learning to love Him and to love ourselves before we can share that love with others.
Have an incredible week! Know that I am praying for you, cheering you on and want nothing but the best for you!! I love you ALL SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!! :) God speed! Make it a great week!
Your biggest fan,
Hermana Weenig

This is a stained glass window in one of the chapels here.  Do you recognize it?   It was features on the cover of the Ensign a few months ago!  Beautiful masterpiece!!

With my awesome trainer Sister Muirllo.
Teresa, a wonderful woman we teach from Mexico.
Sister missionary friends from Samoa.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Spreading Seeds

HOLA!!! Mi Amor!!! Como estan? Ojala que te vaya bien este semana!!
My dear beautiful family and friends,
I love being a missionary. Spring is FINALLY here (no more freeeeeeezing days--hopefully). And guess what? The Gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored again on the earth today--for real. The principles we learn by immersing ourselves in the gospel are real, and they have the power to change us into the people that we want to be---if we let it. This week, more than ever before in my life, I have seen the Gospel of Jesus Christ CHANGE LIVES. I have seen people, just within the last few weeks that I have been here stop smoking, sacrifice work to come to church and make huge commitments and sacrifices to step into the waters of baptism. I look at these people and think---WOW, how can they do this? But then I realize it is because they FEEL a change through the Holy Ghost and through the joy that the Gospel of Jesus Christ brings into our lives. The work that we are involved in as missionaries and members alike (for we are all enlisted) is more powerful than I could've ever imagined. I have so much to learn and so many weaknesses to overcome. I am nothing, but a servant to my King. But I know that through Jesus Christ and His atonement I can become exactly the woman He wants me to be. And I know He can do the same for you. Our weaknesses can become strengths---if we rely on Him to help us reach our full potential and more. We are children of a King, how cool is that?! I hope all of us remember that, no matter how tough the road gets.
Okay, I am getting WAYYYY to preachy. :) Sorry!  But listen to this.You won't believe this! I finally have my first tracting battle wounds!! I am so happy! My companion and I after we tract all day we laugh about our battle wounds. Whether it is when we fall from not seeing a curb....or haha or just walking a lot! Man, tracting is one of my favorite things. We get to meet the most amazing people and people of all different types-people that hate us and people that give us homemade jam! I love it! I have learned how important member missionaries are, as they can help guide us to the people who are ready to hear the message of the restoration. We ask everyone we meet for referrals and this week the Lord had prepared a LOT of people for us. We can bearly keep up! We are indeed weak servants of the Lord, and everyday it is a battle--but finding just even that ONE person makes the hard day all worth it.
I love this area in which I am serving right now. The only thing is, is that I can't wait for it to stay warm--Dear Summer, come as quick as possible!!! :) Even though I am in Brigham City, UT, I feel like I am in a foreign country. (p.s. sorry if this email has really bad grammar this is the first English I have written/spoke since last week) Since people from all over the world live here I have had the opportunity to meet and teach people from Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, Spain, Guatemala and get this---CORDOBA, ARGENTINA!!!!!! Can you believe it!? The Lord puts people in our path to inspire us and to let us know that life is WAY too good. Yesterday, we got to teach a woman from Argentina! Her father came from Cordoba and was there telling me all about it! I learned so much! I am excited for my VISA to come, and I know that it will take a lot of patience...but I am supposed to be here right now, because that is where the Lord wants me to be. The Lord knows me SO much better than I do, and all I can do is focus on the things I can control, and getting my VISA faster is not one of those things. I seriously LOVE the people here so much, and can't wait to get to know them even better. Also I LOVE the food and the cool thing is....is that I am learning how to cook Mexican, Argentine, and Italian food!! Since all the people we teach are from a different country they also know how to make delicious food! So that has been a blast learning all these different cultures, foods and accents! I have loved it!
For the most important part of this letter....
The work. Missionary Work is a LOT of work. But I think it is the most rewarding kind. The tricky part is, is that it demands faith. In Alma, we learn that faith is like a seed, the seed being the word of God. In order to have faith and to build faith it requires that we "treasure the word in our hearts" and that we act according to what the word says. That is really hard sometimes. But I know if we will do it the Lord will bless us as it says in Alma 32:43 "Then, my brethren, ye shall reap the rewards of your faith, and your diligence, and patience, and long-suffering, waiting for the tree to bring forth fruit unto you." Sometimes I feel like a lot of the work we are doing here is merely planting seeds. A lot of people don't want to talk to us because they are devoted Catholic, but I know that everyone has their time. I just hope our testimony that we leave with them will someday bloom and open doors for them in which they can receive the Gospel. I have faith that it will, even though it is really hard to believe sometimes.
My companion and I have become great friends as we have had the best of times and the worst of times. We have tried in every way possible to stay busy and to be working every second that the Lord has given us to work. Right now we are focused on finding people (tracting) and building relationships and strengthen the members in our branch. I don't know if I have said this before but my companion and I are over the Sycamore Branch here in Brigham City. But the branch includes people from all around the 20 mile radius of Brigham City. So it is a large area. There are about 100 members in our Spanish branch. There is a lot more that are inactive. My companion and I are doing everything we can to strengthen the relationship between us and ward members so that they can learn how to be powerful missionaries and how they can play a vital role in reactivating those that are less-active. This week has been a lot of strategic action. We have been meeting a lot with our  ward mission leader to get him involved in the work in every way possible. We have had to develop that relationship with him, but I think that he is finally on board, and more and more members are starting to trust us. We also have been doing a lot of reactivating!! A few of the people we have been teaching are finally starting to come back to church!! I am SO happy!! Sometimes they just needed to be reminded of the joy they felt when they attended church, and other times they need to be reminded that church isn't about the people---it is about the PRINCIPLES that are taught and reinforced there.
OH MY!!!!! Guess what?!?! NATE AND DANIEL RESENDIZ ARE GETTING BAPTIZED A WEEK FROM TODAY!!!!!! I can't tell you how excited I am for them. I feel like they are some of my best friends already. We have been teaching Daniel (the father) and he has been so prepared by the Lord, that every thing we teach him he understands and accepts. The spirit is so strong whenever we teach Daniel, he finished up his last lesson yesterday night, and shared a very simple, yet powerful testimony with us last night that gave me the chills! Daniel has nothing, and he works 3 different jobs. Yet, he has given up time, energy and money to meet with us and to come to church. It is amazing, I hope I can be as strong as he is someday--he is such an example. But his whole countenance has changed and he and his wife gave up coffee and tea this week! I am so proud of them!! His boy, Nate (age 9), is also getting baptized! It has been quite the experience teaching him from square one. I have learned that teaching children has to be entertaining, short, sweet and simple. So a lot of my studies this week have been focused on the simple truths of the Gospel and how I can teach it clearly. We taught Nate the restoration last night, and man. Even though he is only 9, he is such a smart boy. After we read the first vision, he said he felt so happy. Ah man, I know Joseph Smith saw what he said he did. The power of that happening is what brings people to this Gospel. I gave Nate a CTR ring in Spanish! He absolutely loved it! He said that he is going to do everything he can to "choose the right" or "Haz lo justo" in Spanish. I am so grateful for him!
There are so many stories and not enough time to tell them all, but let me just tell you about this other family we are teaching! The family's name is the Rodreguiezs. The dad is waiting for his Green Card so that he can be a legal citizen of the USA, and lives with his girlfriend and they have two kids. More than anything they want to be baptized, but they can't because they aren't married. We asked why they hadn't been married and it is because he registered for his green card as a single man and has been waiting 10 years for it. If he gets married, then all of that waiting will go to waste, as the process starts all over again. They are the most amazing couple I have ever met though. We have been teaching them all about the church and this past week we took them to the chapel to do a tour. Their eyes sparkled as we showed them what church is like and all the things that they can learn within its walls. They are so anxious to be baptized, and I pray that their papers will come soon so that they can be married and then baptized as well. It will take a miracle. But I know through faith that miracles  can happen! I hope they remember that, we tell them to keep praying and keep working hard. The mom said her favorite thing about going to church is the music. And so my companion and I decided to end the tour in the chapel and do a lesson on the importance and significance of the sacrament. I then got to sing them my favorite Hymn "I know that my Redeemer Lives". It  was in Spanish and it was rough, but I know that the Spirit was able to communicate the peace and the message that is present in that song. We also brought a member from the branch to fellowship them, and they went to Temple Square on Saturday with the member and her husband! We are so excited to see what is happening with this family! I can't wait to see them together and sealed as a family for all time and eternity. :)
Other than that, we have been doing a lot of contacting, referrals and finding. I've never realized till now the importance of the Spirit. When we rely upon Him, we are led to exactly where we need to be, and we learn the things that help us to become the missionaries and people that the Lord needs us to be. Cheri, another less active, has been a smoker for years and was abused by her husband. She hasn't gone to church in 20 years and we found her living in a beaten down trailer park. 3 weeks ago you wouldn't recognize her as the same person. She has cleaned her house, is reading the book of Mormon and bought brand new shoes to go to church in and she is starting to give up smoking!! She said "you girls were the push from God that I needed to get my life back together." But it wasn't us, it was the Spirit. I am so excited for the changes she is making. She is so much happier and so much more confident in who she is.
We also do service every week either teaching English or singing for the people in the Senior Center. I love it so much.
I have noticed that God really does know us. And He really does watch over us in everything we do! I've learned to pay close attention to the people that He puts in our paths. Because it is usually from those people that we learn the most important life lessons. I learn so much from everyone we meet. I love the mission. I feel like it is INFORMATION overload. I just hope I can soak it in. (especially the Spanish language.)
I haven't gone inside the Brigham City temple yet because it has been closed for cleaning. But I see it everyday, and seeing that temple reminds me of my purpose as a missionary. I have left my family for 18 months, so maybe even just one family can be together with their family forever. It also reminds me that I need to work hard everyday to stay worthy and to stay focused on how I can gain eternal life. I want to look back on my mission and on my life and know that I did everything I knew how. I am not perfect, in fact I am FAR FROM perfect. But my Savior Jesus Christ IS perfect. And through my Savior Jesus Christ, I can make it back with my family someday to live in God's presence. That is what I want. More than anything. And more than anything I want that for everyone, especially those I meet here on the mission.
The Lord continues to pour out His blessings here in Brigham City, UT. Everyday I feel like there is a door opened. And when one closes another one opens--sometimes we just have to be looking for that open door.
I hope that all of you are so happy and that you are safe, healthy and enjoying this journey called life. There is so much to enjoy in life and so much to learn. People and those relationships we build with those on this earth and our Eternal Father and so vitally important. I never want to take them from granted. NEVER GIVE UP. LIFE GETS HARD, BUT YOU CAN DO IT. I KNOW YOU CAN!!
Challenge of the week: Every night write down at least 1 thing that you are grateful for. It can be a person, a place, an idea or anything. I find the more we look for the blessings in our lives the happier we become. I want to hear about what blessings you find!  We are so blessed and the Lord gives us so many things to bless our lives. I hope you all know that you are all HUGE blessings in my life, and for that I can never thank you enough.
I am so proud of all of you and all you are accomplishing and doing. REMEMBER---"Through God, all things are possible" and that we can do anything with the power of faith. Know that I am always there cheering you on and praying for you everyday. I love you all so much and can't thank you enough for your examples and support. The work is ROLLING forward.
STAND STRONG. Helaman 5:12
Your biggest fan,
Hermana Weenig :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A Week of Miracles

I LOVE being a missionary. 
How in the world are you!? I love you all so much. Is it crazy to say that I love you all more than I did a month ago? Well, don't think that it is crazy. Because I do. I have loved hearing about your lives and what all of you are doing. Thanks so much for ALL your support, I seriously feel like I am the luckiest sister missionary in the world!!! I am so proud of each one of you and hope that you realize that you are beautiful children of God with unlimited potential. I know that now more than ever. When I am teaching our investigators or merely talking with people on the street I have started to see them in a totally different light than I ever have before. I am starting to feel and care for each person I met or teach with a love that the Savior has for them. Even though I am still developing on how I can sincerely love each one, I have seen the power and the love the Savior and Heavenly Father has for EACH of His children. It is OVERWHELMING and EXHAUSTING. But I can't thank Him enough for the opportunity to be an instrument in His hands to help other people feel that love as well. I am so excited for everyone putting in their papers and getting their calls!! It is a INCREDIBLE work that we are apart of, but even if you aren't wearing the name tag YOU are a missionary too!! The Lord needs us to be His hands.
Guess what?!!? My trainer says that I am going to be training soon!!! Can you believe that? I am so nervous!! I feel like I don't even have a grasp on things yet--one month to try to grasp all of this wonderful-ness can be OVERWHELMING. I am learning SO much though, and I can't stop smiling.  I just trust that the Lord will help me despite all the weaknesses that I have. We also had the chance to attend a mission conference this week where we learned all about how we can be the best missionaries that we possibly can. The biggest thing I learned from the conference is to remember that ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE THROUGH FAITH. The training was amazing and reminded me of just how many things I need to work on to even be close to where the Lord needs me to be.  
I know lots of people have questions about my VISA--No news yet. I should be hearing from the consulate within the next two weeks, so we will see. They said that they don't know when the consulate comes until the day before. Through waiting for my VISA I have learned the power of faith. Sometimes we are put in situations that we can't control, but we can control how we react. This is a situation in which I have no control, but yet with everything that I am I have faith that my VISA will come. This first month of my mission has been ABSOLUTELY incredible and I wouldn't trade it for anything. Argentina often feels like it is far away, but I know that the Lord has a time for everything. This is my wonderful opportunity to serve in the state that I have grown to love throughout my life---and HONESTLY I love it. I love the people. I feel like I am Mexican. I only speak Spanish and teach Hispanic people. The cool thing is, is that I am learning the language a lot easier, because if I don't know how to say it---they help me say it!! Speaking of the language.....I still have a long way to go, but it is amazing how I feel like I don't know any words and then we get into a lesson and then magically (the Spirit) I am able to talk without any glitches. The gospel is so amazing. This work as a missionary is amazing.
QUICK EMBARRASSING STORY: I now think and speak Spanish 24/7. And so this one time we were tracting and this lady answered the door she was white and totally American and I started rattling off in Spanish---but I DIDN'T realize it!! She looked at me all confused....and my companion burst into laughter. My companion through laughing explained to her that I wanted to practice my Spanish. Oops! That was a BAD door contact. But it gave us something to laugh at.
Miracle #1: DANIEL AND NATE RESENDIZ ARE GETTING BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :) :) I am soooooooooo happy that they have made this decision! They will be baptized two weeks from today. Nate just barely turned 9 years old, and we are just getting started teaching him all the lessons. His dad, Daniel, has had all the lessons and can't wait to be baptized. He works 3 different jobs 7 days a week, and is exhausted every time we teach him. But he is golden. He took off work (a big deal, because he and his family are dirt poor) just so that he could make it to sacrament meeting! Boy, that was a crazy sacrament meeting! We invited him and challenged him to come to church and just when we thought he wasn't coming.....he showed up with his ENTIRE FAMILY!! I was so excited. His wife is less active, but she showed up too with their other too little kids. The amazing thing was though is that they were wearing full Sunday-best outfits! They came in jeans and stuff the week before, and this time they showed up in the best they had--even though it wasn't much. My heart was filled with such joy! I can't even describe it to you!! We taught Daniel the 10 commandments and the importance of church later that evening and he was so into the lesson. He had tons of questions and you could see the happiness on his face! I am so excited for him!! Nate is the one in the picture I sent. His family didn't have anything for his birthday party, so my companion and I hurried to the store to buy a birthday hat, sign and balloons. You should have seen his face when we walked in. Happiest child I have ever seen!! :) This family lives on a ranch in the middle of no where. They have nothing. Yet, they have everything.
SIDE NOTE: I hate Satan. We were supposed to have a baptism this weekend with Anasayi Velasquez. Anasayi had a dream that she was supposed to join the church, but the other day all the sudden she said that she didn't want to see us anymore. She said it is because she is worried and doesn't know what her mom will think. I was absolutely devastated. BUT THEN....listen to this next miracle.
Miracle #2: Just as we thought Anasayi had shut the door, Heavenly Father opened a window. We have been helping teach English to all the people up here who only speak Spanish. There is a course through the church called "Daily Dose" and a TON of non-members that are Hispanic are taught English through this program run by the church. (it is a genius missionary tool if you ask me.) When they finish the lessons there is a graduation. One of those graduations happened to be this week. :) We were there helping set up and everything and low-and-behold there walked in Anaysi WITH HER MOM (wants nothing to do with the church, strong catholic) and WITH HER DAD (recent convert to the church). WOAH! The mom and the dad where one of the ones taking classes!!! Well long story short, we made best friends with the mom. Now she wants us to come over!!! We already helped her do her laundry, and have an appointment to come over and teach her English. I hope that this opens a door for her to hear the gospel and for Anaysi to have the support that she needs to be baptized. OH! That was the other thing too--Anaysi decided that she wants to be baptized too (again), as long as her dad is the one that does it! So we quickly got the President of our branch to arrange for him to receive the priesthood so that he could baptize her!! We hope she will be baptized by the end of the month! And hopefully her mom will come around too!! :) SO excited for them!
Miracle #3: We have been trying to reactive Ana Ramirez forever I feel like. She owns her own little Mexican store and she is so nice to us. But she works all day everyday even on Sundays. She wants to take her kids to church, but can't because she says her husband, who is Catholic, requires her to work all day on Sunday. All of our lessons with Ana take place in her store. Benefit of doing this is that we get to teach her...and we get to meet all the Mexicans in Brigham City, because they all come there to by food from their home. Well the other day, we were teaching Ana about faith (which she has now committed to talk to her husband about closing the store on Sundays....SO EXCITED for her! I pray it goes well) and all the sudden 3 people walked in. Ana, to our surprise, said "Hey come learn about this! It will help you!" Me and my companion just looked at each other and smiled. Two of the people were not members and they seem really interested in the church, hopefully we start teaching them officially soon. And one was a less active that hadn't been to church in years but was trying to figure out how he could get the priesthood! It was wonderful! The Lord literally just put these people right into our laps. We had like 3 different lessons while there. We got some great potentials just from that one little act! Amazing!
Miracle #4: After our happening in the store, my companion and I where running down the street because we knew if we didn't we would have no time to eat dinner and get to our next appointment on time. We were okay with not eating though because of all the people we just had met. But we were exhausted because we had been tracting the entire day. It was right when I was thinking...."Man, I am starving" when a man yelled, "Hey Sister Missionaries!! Do you have a second!??" This kind man then asked us if we would join he and his family for dinner right then and there. It was a blessing from Heaven. We got to meet their wonderful family and teach them of the gospel as well as fill our empty stomachs! I learned that Heavenly Father is LITERALLY in the DETAILS of our lives. He cared that we were hungry and He sent us help. It was amazing. I know He does the same for all of us on a DAILY basis---if only we could recognize all the little things He does! He literally is the most loving person. I am so grateful to that family we got to meet and teach and eat with! They are wonderful!
I feel like I can't even begin to write about all the miracles that are happening on a daily basis!!! I know two things. First Satan is real---and his rage against this work is more than I could ever have imagined. He does whatever possible to make sure it doesn't go forward and often makes missionary work seem impossible. Second I know that God is stronger, wiser and faster than Satan will ever be. Heavenly Father is so wise....and He does know better than ANYONE... and because of that, the work is rolling forth. The blessings and the miracles I witness everyday can attest to that very fact. I love being a missionary. I am learning so much about the gospel, others and even myself (I have SO much to learn still). It seems that whenever there is a gloomy day, there is ALWAYS something there that is the "silver lining on the cloud." If you are reading this, I hope you never forget. No matter how hard it gets...just focus on what YOU can control--your attitude and your actions. I promise you the Lord will be there to help you do the rest.
Other than that, my companion and I are SWAMPED! We literally RUN from appointment to appointment. We are the only Spanish-speaking missionaries in the area so we cover 5 different cities. It is wonderful. I love my companion so much, she is a gem.
I hope this email finds you happy, smiling and working hard! I love you so much and pray for you more fervently than I ever have before in my life. I just want you all to be the happiest you have ever been. And if you are wondering what I am doing, well I am probably running around smiling and exhausted from trying my best to be an effective tool for the Lord (I have got a LOOOONG way to go.) I am exhausted. But in the best way possible.
I love you all so much!! Challenge for this week: Study faith. Faith is the first principle of our gospel. It is what makes our days happy. Without it, I know I would be a hopeless pit of despair. Faith is "things hoped for" not seen. But it is by faith that we can return again someday to live so happily with our families and our Heavenly Father. It is through FAITH that we can do what seems impossible. All of us have things that are going rough/that are scary, but faith makes those rough times much easier.
Your biggest fan,
Hermana Weenig :)

Happy Birthday, Nate!!

My Trainer and her trainer -- 
In mission lingo:  My mom (my trainer) my grandma (her trainer).

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Four Words for You -- I Love the Mission

Que tal? Four words for you---I love the mission. No matter how hard it gets out here and not matter how many times I feel like giving up, there is always a miracle that Heavenly Father sends down that makes me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. It is amazing that that feeling and that love is available to EVERY SINGLE person on the face of the earth. And that is what I love most about being a missionary. Is sharing the love that Heavenly Father has for his children in a very LITERAL way with the people here in Brigham City, UT. Can I just tell you how cool it is to be a missionary? I get to think about other people all day, and I find the more I do that and the more that I put my heart into the work, the FASTER time flies. I know that if you are reading this letter that Heavenly Father loves you more than you can even imagine. I have prayed many times during the times that I have taught lessons to people I hardly know to feel the love that our Savior has for them, and the feeling is absolutely overwhelming. This has been a crazy busy week, and I am still trying to get a grip on things here in the missionary field, but I absolutely love it.

I am going to be 100% honest, the Lord is trying to teach me patience. 3 weeks ago I thought I was headed to Argentina, and I was so excited. But then plans changed due to the Argentine consulate and VISA, and I was reassigned to the Ogden, UT mission.  Even though it has been a huge trial of my faith and a huge mental barrier (with my family just living in Orem), I have decided that missionary work is NOT geographical. Missions are exactly the same wherever you go, and I am here in Brigham City, UT learning all about the glorious work that our Father in Heaven is bringing about the children of men. What an opportunity! I am kicking myself for even being a little sad/dissappointed at one point. The point is, is that Heavenly Father knows each of us WAYYYY better than we will ever know ourselves, and right now I am learning patience, humility and faith in ways that I never thought I would. I get to serve all day everyday, and I love the people here SO much already, I never want to stop serving them. People are incredible and the Lord finds incredible ways for us as missionaries to get inside their homes and to start teaching them. But it isn't us that does the work, we are merely the instruments. It is the Spirit of God that teaches them and brings to much joy into their lives. I have witnessed that over and over again and I have only been here a week. Can I just tell you how lucky I feel to be a missionary and tell you a little about my days here.

5:55 a.m. Hermana Murillo (my awesome companion) and I get up and go running and exercising. Lately, we have been running to the Brigham City temple and back! It is such a great way to start the day! We also try to say "Hi" to everyone who is also crazy enough to be out on the streets that early in the morning.

7:00 a.m. Eat Breakfast and get ready for the day.

8:00 a.m. Personal study--What I have been studying has been preach my gospel, spanish and "Jesus the Christ". It is so fun to study the gospel. I am learning so much! I learned this new way and system to mark my scriptures and I can't wait to get going with it!

9:00 a.m. Training and Companionship Study--since I am WAY fresh and WAY "Green" in the field I get 1 hour of training where we do role plays of lessons with potential investigators! All in Spanish, of course! It is a lot of fun, but I have A LOT of practicing to do before I can become the type of teacher that the Lord needs. The second hour my companion and I plan the lessons for the day and we study whatever questions are investigators have so that we can answer them. Before each thing we do though, whether its studying, tracting, or role playing, we say a prayer to be guided by the Spirit to know what to do. The Spirit is so important as we plan, prepare and learn things. I have never learned that significance as much as I have now. The Spirit is incredible, and because of Him I am learning more than I ever could on my own. I just hope to remain obedient and worthy of His constant presence. :)

11:00 a.m. Language Study. SPANISH SPANISH SPANISH. I study and memorize scriptures, phrases, words and quotes for the lessons that we are teaching that day in Spanish. Even though I feel like I can't totally memorize everything that is in my textbooks, through the Spirit I am able to remember all the things I studied when I teach a lesson. It is amazing. My Spanish is coming along slowly, but surely. I live with all Hispanics and they all speak fluently, so I learn SO much from them. I love them all so much. They help me learn, and I am so grateful for them. FUNNY STORY: we went to a dinner appointment with a member (the 4 of us) and the guy said that I look like a stray.....(due to the blonde hair and white skin). It is kinda funny though because now I just feel like I am Hispanic, because those are the people I am with 24'7. I love it.

12:00 p.m. Lunch. Usually actually just more study time for me :) I'm trying to learn all I can and soak up all the information I can to help our investigators.

1:00 p.m. Out of the house for FINDING PEOPLE. Since I am in an area where I am Spanish Speaking, we go door to door (tracting) trying to find people who are ready to hear the Gospel. Tracting is actually WAY fun--I love it. So much, like for real. Since we have a car (because our area covers like 5 cities), we drive to a trailer park or to a neighborhood and start knocking. It is amazing how many non-members there are here in Brigham. It is really difficult, because if they aren't members there is ALWAYS a reason, because they all have at least heard of our Church. Some people hate us and slam the door in our faces, others try to bible bash with us, and other people (the members) bring us inside and keep us warm. No matter where we are or who we are talking to at the door, we always invite them to come unto Christ. We always bear testimony about what the spirit tells us to say, and we try to find some way to serve the people in which houses we knock. Some, of course, just open the door and scream "NOT INTERESTED" without even saying hello. It breaks my heart, not because the door gets slammed in my face, but because they are missing out on the one thing that makes me who I am and what makes me and the ones I love SO HAPPY. All the people we meet at the door, when I talk to them-- I feel such an honest, geuine concern for them---weird, right? I also just have this immense amount of love for them, even if they hate the Mormons and hate the missionaries. Other than that we just keeping smiling and keep asking everyone we see for referrals! We actually get tons of referrals, the problem is is that they are Englilsh speaking, so we have to give them to the Elders in the area. So from 1-5 we are constantly finding ways to SERVE, to TEACH and SERVE and to demonstrate the Savior's love to all that we see and come in contact with. The coolest part about all of this, is that this is what the Savior would have been doing if He was here. So when things get rough, or I get down on myself, I try to think about who might be in the next house that needs a friend and to feel the love of our Savior? and then--we find that one person who needed some comfort. And then it is ALL worth it.

5:00 p.m. Dinner. Usually with the members. I have met so many amazing families and made so many great friends. The members here are wonderful. I usually eat Mexican food, because I am in the Spanish Branch so all the dinner appointments we have are usually Spanish food, and MAN! THOSE PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO COOK! I need to get all their recipes. We always pray and share a message with them at dinner, and that is my most favorite part!

6:00 p.m. Out tracting again or going to appointments with investigators. I have meet some INCREDIBLE investigators and in-active members, and I am going to try with all my heart, mind and strength to either get them baptized or reactivated! I truly believe that these people are some of the most humble people I have ever met, and are such examples to me. Let me tell you about them.

Armando--our #1 progressing investigator. He has been through a lot and still has some bad habits to kick, but we taught him that through the Atonement of Christ, we can do the impossible....and he believes that he can too. We just challenged him to get baptized last night....AND he said he wants to, but he isn't quite ready yet. Last week we challenged him to read the book of Mormon (the first little bit) and he did!!! One of the coolest miracles was that he told us that he KNOWS that the book is true. Amazing. He is from Mexico, and he is such a funny guy. He is trying to learn English and we have been trying so hard to get him to pray on his own. Finally, after a lot of prayers on his behalf, he prayed for the first time last night out loud in front of us. My eyes started tearing up, because it was the most sincere and powerful prayer that I have ever heard. We taught him the plan of salvation last night, and it was amazing to see how his face lit up when we told him that one day he could live with his family happily in the celestial kingdom. I think that he will be ready for baptism soon. I hope and pray that that day comes while I am still here.

Llorena--Wife of Armando, but a die-hard Catholic. It is a little tricky, because in Mexico being Catholic is like APART of your culture, so she has had a really hard time changing religions. But, last night after we taught the plan of salvation she said that she felt "peaceful and calm" which are both feelings of the spirit. We told her that this is the Holy Ghost testifying that what we said is true. She said that she is "Catholic and will always be Catholic, but if she were to change, it would be to Mormonism." I just smiled and asked her to read the Book of Mormon and pray to find out if it was true. She accepted. I'm so excited for her, especially because she already is EXTREMELY spiritual. She prays and serves people, and she is extremely receptive to our lessons. I love her a lot. Such a wonderful woman.

Hermana Flores-
Less active for 2 years. She is a wonderful lady, but stopped coming to church because she didn't feel worthy. We taught her about the atonement and we taught her about repentance. She said she wants to come to church, but that she needs to pray more to know that her sins are forgiven. I am excited to see where that goes!

A schizophrenic. She is a single mom, who is active in our branch, but is severely depressed and has a hard time focusing. We spent all last Saturday helping her clean her home. It looked like 100000000 tsunamis and earthquakes had hit her house. Dishes for weeks on end hadn't been done, and so me and my companion got to work. But I learned something so valuable from Cheri. Despite all of her problems and hard trials in life she told me that the Lord blesses her everyday. She said that we were "her angles" and that just the night before she had prayed for help, and then we called. That was such a miracle. She couldn't make breakfast, so I got to cook! I make chocolate pancakes, eggs and bacon! Her and her boy scarfed it down, like they hadn't eaten in a while! Some of the most grateful people I've ever met.  It was a miracle that we even found her. A member gave us her name, and she said that if we hadn't come she would have not been able to make it. That was such a testimony to me and she is so grateful to the Lord, and I need to learn how to be more like her in that aspect.

Other than that we have a baptism in a couple of weeks!!!! BOOOO YAAA!! Her name is Adlia, and I will tell you more about her soon--when I know more. We just found out that me and my companion are going to take over the entire Brigham area and the other sisters are being moved out. I am so excited! So we actually have I think like 4 other investigators, two that already have baptismal dates. I am so excited for them and to get to know them even more. More so, I am just grateful for this grand opportunity to be an instrument in the hands of the Lord. THE CHURCH IS MOVING FORWARD BECAUSE IT IS TRUE!!!

ALSO we are doing secret service AKA "Strikes". My companion and I decided that we need to build stronger relationships with the members in our Spanish Branch (to get in their friend circle for referrals) so we are starting to do secret service to them every night before we turn in.

9:00 p.m. Planning with my companion. We try to figure out all that we can do to help those in need.

10:30 p.m. BED. I am usually in bed a little before (if I can finish everything I need to) because I AM EXHAUSTED.

So that is what everyday is like! Even Sundays! Except we get to go to church! :) It sounds kinda crazy, but I love it. Even though it has been really hard, it has also been the most amazing thing I've ever done in my life. I feel like everyday has the high of highs and the low of lows, but that it is because of that that I am able to be molded and shaped into the person and woman that my Heavenly Father needs me to be. I am trying with everything I have to serve Him with all my heart, might, mind and strength so that I might find those children who are lost or are in need of help. I love this work. The work is ROLLING FORWARD like a TIDAL wave with all these new missionaries. And I am SO excited for all those coming into the field. IT IS AMAZING, and it WILL blow your mind how incredible these people are and how your desire to help and to teach reaches bounds that you never thought were possible. How lucky we are to take part in this great work---if you are a full-time missionary or not. We WILL bring the world His truth. As a communications major, I'm always trying to figure out what is the MAIN thing I am trying to get people to do and what I am trying to say. And that is to come unto Christ and to take the steps necessary to live in eternal happiness with Him again someday. What a glorious message! SO AMAZING!

I love this work. I love being a missionary!! It is wonderful. I miss all of you dearly, and I can't thank you for the love and the support that you send me. It keeps my spirits up!!!

Make this week the best week ever! Serve someone today!! It is amazing how much happiness you will feel!!! 


Hermana Weenig
My Awesome Companion, Hermana Murillo (California)
Our apartment -- The home of Brigham City's four Sister Missionaries

The Hermanas