Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Spirit of God, Like a Fire is Burning

Querido familia bonita!!!! te amo MUCHISISISISISMO! Como estan? Besitos!! xoxox How are my favorite people in the universe?

Tracting the streets of Brigham City, UT w/Sister Schiess.
I love being a missionary. And man, I am exhausted. There is a reason that this is called missionary WORK. Because it is WORK. And work has its ups and its downs, but I will tell you one thing--this work is worth every single hard day. Seeing someone come unto Christ, my best friend, makes me the happiest girl in the world.  Every mile we walk and every single person that we talk to, we are focused on sharing our best friend and the happiness of the Gospel. So amazing...but so exhausting. All day everyday. I love it! I can't be more grateful to be able to here on a mission!! I am learning so much about how to work well with other people, how to resolve doubts, how to public speak, how to serve someone else all day everyday, but most importantly....I am learning how to help and invite other people to come unto Jesus Christ so that they can access the POWER that comes from His atoning sacrifice. Guess what? You are invited too. If you are struggling with, well, ANYTHING--rely on Jesus Christ. He is ALWAYS there for us and can give us the strength to do the impossible and overcome ALL of our weaknesses :). I have seen it. In my own life and
 in the lives of countless others here on my mission.
With Sister Schiess.  I will miss her.
TRANSFERS ARE TOMORROW!!! I am getting transferred from Brigham City! I am so sad, nervous, excited and stoked! I have loved being a trainer and working with Hermana Schiess. I will miss her dearly!  But I am mostly sad right now because I have grown to love the people here in Brigham City so much. They truly have become like family, and I now consider Brigham City to be my second home. They say that as a missionary you learn LOADS more than you teach.....and man, I would have to agree with that statement fully! As my mom and dad would say, I have left it ALL on the "playing field" and given it my all, and can't wait to go to a new area with 2 new companions where I will serve for the next 6 weeks with everything that I am. I will miss the Sycamore Spanish branch, and I am so happy to see that the people who have converted are still coming to church....and I hope that they continue to do so for the rest of their lives so that they can one day go to the temple! I have literally
Brigham City, Spanish Speaking Sisters
given all my heart, mind, might and soul to help bring people to Christ and to help strengthen the kingdom here in Brigham City. I have no regrets as I have literally left blood, sweat and tears here. For better or for the worse. I will miss Brigham City as I have come to know and to love all the people here dearly. I know that I have given this area and these people my best--and although I know I am not perfect, I am leaving with a smile knowing that I have grown and learned much from the people here. But as the prophets in the Book of Mormon talk about---my soul literally rejoices seeing all these people coming unto Christ. Changing their lives. Repenting and LIVING the commandments of God. They are so much happier, peaceful and better. I love seeing that change that comes from the Spirit and living the word of God! :) I just pray and pray and pray that they all continue on that path, because it will change their lives forever. Literally.

Words about my VISA!! So our mission president announced that the VISAs are starting to come through! Out of the 15 of us waiting here in the Ogden mission, only 5 have got their VISAs. They will be going to Argentina on the 17th of June. If I get my VISA before then, then I too will be headed for Argentina then! I am so excited! But I know that it isn't on my time, it is on the Lord's. I am committed to focus and serve faithfully here until I am called to move on to Argentina. I might be here a while, but I will serve with all of my might. So, I will just plan on serving here as a missionary until the Lord sees it fit to move me to Argentina. I trust Him--with all that I am, even though sometimes the pathway looks dim.

CAN YOU SAY WELCOME TO THE FUTURE OF MISSIONARY WORK?!!? The word is out. The iPhone and iPad will be used in missionary work. Thomas S. Monson, a prophet of God, has mandated that area books, planners and everything we do as missionaries go into the iCloud on the iPad. and guess which mission has been chosen to be the pilot program?! THIS ONE!!!!!!! Every missionary will be receiving an iPad and we will be trained by representatives on how to utilize the GPS functions and other functions to find the people ready to hear the Gospel. I don't know much about what is happening, but all I know is that it is going to be EXTREMELY exciting for the Church. We will be able to use and access Mormon.org and LDS.org with all the videos, talks, scriptures and everything during our lessons with investigators. Whats more is that through other social networking mediums we will be working with people all around the world. Amazing, right? I am so excited for the Church and missionary work!
The amazing zone I was in this transfer!

This was a week of miracles. AGAIN. The Lord is so amazing, and I am finally starting to understand the power and the CRUCIAL role of the Holy Ghost in helping people become truly converted to the Lord. I have loved walking because we are able to chat with and help people on the streets at all times.  We have found a couple of strong potential investigators and have committed a woman named Maria that was carefully prepared by the Lord to be ready to be baptized. SHE WILL BE BAPTIZED ON THE 22nd of June! We are so excited, and so is she. She is what we call in the mission as "Golden." Her, as well as her family has been carefully prepared by the Lord in every way possible, and she said that she is ready to make a change. In fact, this was one of the biggest miracles that I have ever seen in my life. We had just had the Sister's Training Meeting and just had role played how to share the Spirit in the first lesson. We were determined to use the role play and make sure that we clarify the powerful role that the Holy Ghost plays in conversion. Maria, a potential investigator, answered her door and we started to share with her the exact role play that we had done earlier that morning. Maria--like us--was feeling the spirit so strong. After the first vision she stated that "I don't know how to explain this feeling but it feels like a warm blanket encircling me, and I know what you just told me is true." The role play seemed to work like a charm and the Spirit was so strong! Maria accepted to be baptized and she also accepted a date to prepare herself to be baptized!!!! We were jumping for joy and were a little emotional after because we were so grateful for the Spirit and for the role play and training that we had earlier that morning. The church is true. Joseph Smith said what he said he saw. That, I KNOW. and because I know it, I know how I need to live to be happy. I just want to make sure I can share this same message with all those I come in contact with here!

So, as a missionary one of our main purposes is to invite and help others come unto Christ through the process of repentance and accessing the atonement of Jesus Christ. Basically as the scriptures say--we are to preach and call the people to repent. A call to repentance (or to change lives for the better). I have always been scared about the word "repentance" especially about helping other people go through the process. It just sounds like it is only for the people who are doing this awful, horrible stuff. Well guess what? It is for everyone. The goodies the badies the middle-grounders and everyone in between.  And I need it....everyday. Because I am so imperfect. The more and more I study the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the repentance process...I am realizing that it is a CHANGE OF HEART, a devotion to be and do better. Repentance allows us to be and feel TRULY free. To feel free, happy and like you are accomplishing your goals is the GREATEST feeling in the world---and the cool thing is, is that is what repentance is! It is changing our bad habits into good ones! At first I thought I wasn't fulfilling my purpose as a missionary because I wasn't literally out there saying "Repent, Repent!" But I realized that inviting people to read the Book of Mormon, Pray, go to church, get baptized, live the commandments---those are ALL changes for the better, and thus constitute as repentance! It truly has been so amazing so see this change in the lives of so many! I am striving daily to repent, because I know that there is SO many ways that I want to be better in. My biggest dream would be to be like my Savior, Jesus Christ, in every way possible. I know that I won't get there in this life, but I am working my hardest to develop His characteristics.

Thanks for all your support, love and prayers! I hope you know that I pray for you everyday and count you like 2 million times when I count my blessings! I love you sooooooo much! Thanks for all you are and all you do for me!


Hermana Weenig :)

P.S. SERVE someone today. Get outside your box!!! :) 
Hermano Carranza our wonderful branch mission leader

Sycamore branch meeting house....My home away from home :)

The Delacruz Family....on their way to baptism!! :) so excited for them!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Onward, Ever Onward as We Glory in His Name

Querido Familia tan bonita!! Ay! Como estan!? Te quiero muchisisisisisimo!! To the ones I love THE MOST :) Yes, YOU.

I LOVE being a missionary. I love it. And I think I have discovered why they call it missionary WORK. Want to know why? Well, it is EXHAUSTING. But the best kind. The kind that you forget about everything else except for the people that you are serving, loving and teaching. The kind that it feels like you are searching for the lost sheep and know they are there but sometimes it feels like they are a needle in a haystack. The kind where you get the COOLEST scars/tan lines on your feet from walking all day. I love it. It is the kind of work where everyday you are reminded of all your weaknesses and the kind that pushes you WAY out of your comfort zone and forces you to THINK outside the box and to change who you are into someone a little better. Even though it is hard, it is the greatest thing in the world. I never imagined that a mission is so much more than what everyone says. It truly is the greatest gift and opportunity, I just hope I can take advantage of every second of it. This past week I have had an overwhelming desire to yearning for the people here to come unto to Christ and to change their lives forever--but I am realizing that all I can do is love, serve and teach them...then they get to choose the rest. But Change. That really is what happens when we let Christ take control---through the power of the Atonement He changes us, molds us and makes us into the people we need to be. I have seen this power of Christ's atoning sacrifice in my own life over and over again, and my joy is even bigger when I get the chance to see others using that same power to change their lives. 

I HATE Satan. Yep, you heard me. He seems to have chosen this week to declare all-out war on our investigators. David, our "golden" investigator says that he KNOWS he is supposed to be baptized and he KNOWS it is all true. But he says that something inside of him tells him that he "shouldn't do it" and that he doesn't "feel worthy to change." Who is that giving him those feelings?!? UGGGGH!! So we have been working to resolve his doubts and help him realize his potential as a Son of God and the power that baptism brings. Also, Remember how I was so stoked for the two ladies that were set for baptism this Saturday???  Well, it fell through. My companion and I were devastated. The father of the family is a devote Catholic, and the mom is a less active member. The two don't want their girls to get baptized until they can show "consistency" in going to church. But the girls have been attending church for the past month.....so we are PRAYING that the parents hearts soften. The girls want to be baptized so bad, because they know that it is true and that it is what our Savior Jesus Christ would do.  I am striving to do and to be the best I possibly can, and even though I know I won't ever be the "perfect missionary" I sure am trying with all that I am to be the best I can for the Lord. This week was full of ups and downs. I am learning that it is so important to remember that after all we can do, the Spirit is there to do the rest--and ultimately these people that we are teaching are free to choose for themselves whether they will follow Jesus Christ. And honestly, I think that that is the trickiest part of missionary work....we can't force them...but we can love them and pray for them and show them the way. But it is ultimately up to them to change. We are continuing to teach Jenny and Ana Ramirez, and they are progressing--but want to push the baptism back till July. Although it was a little disappointing for my companion and I, we know that the Lord has prepared others here and we can't wait to find them.  

We have been focusing on leaving "no stone un-turned". We have met with almost every bishop and ward mission leader in our area and have received maps of where people lived. In doing so, we have been able to pinpoint where the Hispanic people live. We have received an contacted various referrals that have led to potential investigators and current investigators! I am learning so much about how to work with stake presidents and bishops, and am starting to learn the incredible value of member missionaries. We are very excited about the people that we are finding and we know that there is even more out there that the Lord has prepared. We also have been focused on building member trust and building member missionaries. We have been holding training sessions for members and will start doing role plays with them so that they can feel more comfortable in knowing how to share the Gospel with their friends. We have already seen the success of this tactic as one family in our ward brought a non-member to their house for us to teach! His name is Leonardo! It was seriously a miracle! This family that we trained are recent converts and still have struggles with addictive substances, but they want to member missionaries because they have seen how the gospel has blessed their lives! it was wonderful! This man is now investigating the church and we are starting to teach him the lessons. I have learned the power of utilizing the members and the power that they have to testify during lessons. We are working extra hard to make sure we have members at all our lessons and have been focused on involving our 4 progressing investigators in other church activities. It has been amazing to see the change in branch members as well as investigators as we reach out to them and involve them. My companion and I want to baptize people who will stay converted to the Gospel, and we are following Preach My Gospel verbatim by making sure that we are involving all the members of our branch possible so that they can truly become converted to the Gospel, and not just us. 

I AM SO EXCITED FOR CINTIA DELACRUZ AND DAVID CRUZ!!! Cintia and David are two investigators that are progressing rapidly in the Gospel. The Lord has blessed us to be the instruments in his hands for these two wonderful people. The Spirit truly has been teaching them, and both have the goal to be baptized, but both are a little scared about the commitment--as they realize the seriousness of the commitment. They have been coming to church for the past 3 weeks, reading the book of Mormon and are getting involved with members in the ward. It is truly wonderful! They both have their own personal struggles and addictions that we are helping them overcome, but we know that they will be prepared for baptism by the end of this month! We are very excited for them and the changes that they are making in their lives. Cintia gave up coffee....which is probably the biggest miracle ever. She gave it up because she knows she will be healthier if she does. David is working on giving up smoking and the booze---this is a little more difficult. He started smoking when he was 4 years old and was physically abused all his life by a drunker-ed father. But the cool part is...is that through the ATONEMENT of Jesus Christ we can be FREED of addiction and of past haunting memories. He is slowly coming to this realization and I am so excited for him to continue making these huge changes in his life.  

Someone should write a book about how to teach the restored Gospel to Catholics. That is the biggest difficultly we are facing, and helping them understand that need to be baptized by someone holding the proper authority of the Priesthood  I love Catholics SO much---they have amazing traditions and beliefs. All of the people here that are Hispanic at one point in their lives or another were Catholic. Doesn't mean that they go to church, but it means that they are rooted in that tradition. We are trying to focus on the family and just how much the Gospel blesses and unites families forever through the temple and priesthood authority. Any advice?

Mom and Dad--I will always be safe here because guess what? The gangs have got our back. Yes, my companion and I had our first run-in with an Hispanic Gang---tattoos, cigars, the swag and the works! They were the nicest people I have ever met! We struck up conversation about the NBA and about how the Heat is the greatest team ever...and then one of the gang members was like--"are you going to talk basketball or about the word of God?" When I answered both, they couldn't believe how Koby Bryant and the Gospel connected. They started talking about how they will never be Mormon, but that they respect missionaries and will protect them with their lives. As my companion and I talked about the restored Gospel, these gang members ensured us that they "will hunt anyone down that even tries to lay they hands on you, because yeah, we ain't Mormon, but we respect the missionaries." Brigham City isn't necessarily downtown Detroit, but it is awesome that we have got the gangs on our team. I thought that was hilarious! They were such amazingly nice people, and now I feel a little safer walking home at night. :) 

There is a lot of work to be done here in Brigham City and I, with my wonderful companion, are learning and working hard so that we can try to be influential instruments in the hands of the Lord. Transfers are next week, and I am a little nervous. There is so much work to be done here, and I just want to keep laboring in this area as I finally feel that I am getting into the "groove" of missionary work here. One thing that we have been striving to develop and to work hard in has been being able to teach simple and to teach according to what the spirit directs. Yesterday, we were out finding and visiting some referrals that we had received and all of the sudden I got this picture in my head. I saw this house with a lady sitting on the doorstep. I didn't know quite where it was, but I just listened. Although it was rainy and it meant we had to get drenched, we went. The Holy Ghost literally drug us to where we needed to knock. Then opened the door to a woman who was ready to hear about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. AMAZING. I can't explain the gratitude that I have for the Holy Ghost. He is honestly the one who does the converting---we are just here to be the instruments through which He speaks. 

I have been learning a lot. Through the ups and the downs I am learning about how to be a better servant of the Lord. I love missionary work and am striving to do everything I know how to do to serve, love and teach these people. Hopefully, in doing so, I can become more like my best friend and Savior--Jesus Christ. I just want to be able to help my investigators realize the great blessing of the Gospel, and I can't wait to keep working. Our gospel is centered on Jesus Christ, but it is also centered on families. And how God has given us families to learn and to progress. That really is life eternal--Family and the principles of the gospel. Isn't it amazing? One thing that I have really learned from my family and here on the mission is the power of Love. But not just any love, but Charity....the pure Love of Christ. I am striving with all that I have to learn how to have charity for all those that I meet. This week strive to love someone. But love them through the way that you treat them and serve them. Actions ALWAYS speak louder than words--that I know. 

Thank you for the support and love you send to me each week!  Keep working hard and SERVE someone today!!! And never forget to share your testimony of the gospel through your example and word! I love you!

Your biggest fan,

Hermana Weenig :) 

P.S. No word on the VISA yet, there is about 200 VISA waiters for Argentina in Utah right now....so we will see! It looks like I may be here for a while. But that is okay! I love it! And I am learning SO  MUCH! I am so grateful to be here! :) 
This is my new backpack that I take tracting......hahaha :) 
We hiked the "B" last p-day!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Field is White....

Quierdo familia!!! Te quiero mucho!!! Y mis personas mas favoritas de todo el mundo!! Como estan?!

Holy smokes.:) :)  I haven't been able to stop smiling. There are various reasons for this...but want to know the biggest one? I GOT TO SEE AND TALK TO MY FAVORITE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD THIS PAST SUNDAY---MY FAMILY!!! Yes, Dad and Tyler in the hot hot hot HOT Samoa and the family in Orem, Utah! What a great blessing technology truly is! Although we didn't get much time, I loved hearing about you and seeing your faces and shedding a few tears together. We truly are SO lucky to have the guidance of the Gospel, and I am SO SO SO happy I have been taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ (in its simplicity) so that I can live with YOU guys FOREVER and EVER. What could ever be better!? But Mothers day-- It still feels like a dream! You all look absolutely stunning and I am sorry that I couldn't stop crying. I have the greatest example of a mother, and I am so grateful I got the chance to share my love for her and my appreciation for the hero that I have in her over the internet.  I loved talking to you all SO MUCH and I love you SO MUCH and can't think of anyone or anything that would make me happier than being able to chat with my BEAUTIFUL family who are my best friends. I was so happy I didn't know what to do with myself! I am so glad that we got to chat about you, and your lives and how the Lord is helping you accomplish all of your goals and dreams. KEEP STANDING STRONG and all that you ever wanted...and MORE will happen. But it takes that continued obedience to the basics and RELYING on the Lord and our Savior Jesus Christ.

I love being a missionary. Why? I am learning a lot, especially the ability to be guided by the Holy Ghost, confidence in the Lord and His will, and most of all learning how to fully dedicate and consecrate my life as a servant to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is a lot of hard work. A lot. But, if it was easy, it wouldn't be worth it. I smile and count my lucky stars that I have the opportunity to serve, love and teach the people that Jesus Christ would have taught had He been on the earth today. I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE being a missionary. Too much. I started crying this morning with the thought that I only have 15 months left. So short!! I have been overwhelmed with a sense of URGENCY to find the people out there who are lost, with no direction or true source of happiness. I am loosing track of time, myself and my needs and have begun to focus solely on the people. What do THEY need, what can I do for THEM? How can I love THEM? How can I teach THEM with the power of the spirit and simply, so that they can understand? I lay in my bed at night with my mind racing 10000000000 miles per hour, even though my body is exhausted--asking the Lord what more can I do? I am so anxious and excited to help these people, love these people and teach these people....so that they too can learn "what source they can look to for a remission of their sins" and not only that, but who and what we can look to to truly CHANGE OUR LIVES and BE HAPPY now and FOREVER.

Two things (of the 50050983049830948290380 million things) that I have learned on my mission---#1. I AM NOTHING. but with God, I can accomplish everything. He has prepared a plan for me and for you and for ALL his Children. and it is SO simple, but sometimes we forget. And that is sad. I NEVER EVER want to forget. And I can't believe I get to share that plan with His children--everyday! #2.THE LORD IS PREPARING PEOPLE TO HEAR AND LIVE THE WORD OF GOD....everywhere. Even in Utah. yes, I know what you are thinking. Non-members in Utah?! What!? Well, there are many of them. And for some weird reason....they are ALWAYS put in our path...and for some reason they ALL speak Spanish. Like the scriptures say, "The field is white and ready to harvest," but for me, it is "Hispanic" and I can't wait to find them! I am just striving to do everything possible to do so!!!

JENNY RAMIREZ IS GETTING BAPTIZED!!! MARK YOUR CALENDAR!!!! MAY 25!!!!!!! I AM SO SO SO SO SO SO EXCITED FOR HER! What an incredible decision she has made!!!  We still have to review some things before she enters the waters of baptism, but SHE IS SO READY. The Lord has been preparing her for a long time, and I just feel so honored that we have had the opportunity to be apart of the change that she is making in her life! She has been so active in coming to church, reading the Book of Mormon, and praying. She says that she can't wait to be baptized. She is so strong, as she will be the only active member in her family. Her parents have given us permission to baptize her and say that she is free to make her own decisions, despite the fact that they are devote Catholics. Surprisingly though, they want to have a Mexican fiesta afterwards and invite all their Catholic family members to come and celebrate! Sounds good to me! I am just so excited for her and the change that she is making. When we asked her why she wanted to be baptized she said "So that I can change, be the person I want to become and have the guide of the Holy Ghost." WOW. The blessings of baptism are endless. SO EXCITED FOR HER!

Me and Hermana Schiess are learning that EXACT obedience truly brings about miracles. With everything that we are and with all the energy that we have we are striving to not only be 100 percent obedient, but to be more aware of the promptings of the Holy Spirit, so that we can more fully be guided to the people that are ready to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Whenever we do, there is always someone there to serve, love and then teach. Through doing many role plays and focusing our studies solely on our investigators, Sister Schiess and I have been able to teach in greater unity and peace. We are learning how to trust one another and rely upon the spirit to direct what we will teach. People are changing their lives....and I am kinda obsessed with the changes that all our investigators are making!! One went from smoking 4 cigars a day to only 1! WAHOO!!! They are becoming "new creatures" through the Gospel. Isn't that AWESOME!? We can ALL become who we want to become...change and leave the OLD us behind....but only through the Atonement and Gospel of Jesus Christ. I know this. I have seen it. Everyday. If you want to change, don't wait another second. Come unto Christ. He is WAITING for you with open arms.

For example--the story of Holly. Holly was active in the church about 40 years ago and never went back because she said that she had a bad experience with the people in the church. The people aren't perfect, but the Gospel is. Well the first time we met Holly she was really rude to us and wouldn't even talk to us. But for some reason we felt prompted to go back. We went back the next day, but this time we were prompted to ask her if we could bless her and her home. She timidly accepted. After we got in the house we could tell she was bitterly depressed. We blessed the home. Her face changed---it was like a light bulb turned on. She continued to tell us that her husband had died, and she felt that there was no reason and purpose for her on the earth today. As directed by the Spirit, we asked her what she was missing. She continued to tell us that she didn't understand her purpose anymore without her husband and didn't think God really loved her. She said that she had bought all these books about how to be happy again and how to understand what happens after this life. We asked her if she had read the Book of Mormon. She said "No, not in 20 years." We continued to testify and tell her that the Book of Mormon IS THE ONLY TRUE book of happiness. It is ONLY book in which we can find the answers to all of our questions. All of the comfort in the world comes through reading that Book. Also we can find our purpose and our need for this life IN THE PAGES OF THAT BOOK. She looked at us in awe. She said "Give me this book. I want to read it." We gave it to her. The next time we saw her, I have never seen a happier human being in all my life. The physical change in her was un-real. NEVER ever forget the power of the Book of Mormon. I KNOW it is true. Every word. It is the proof that God loves ALL of His children, that ALL of His children have purpose and I know that we can find ALL the answers to life's questions through the pages of that book. After walking out of her house we were so spiritually exhausted, we nearly collapsed. The Lord led and guided us to talk to Holly that day. She is changing her life.

We are teaching a lot of lessons and we are trying to pull out ALL the stops to get members to come with us so that our converts are truly converted to the Gospel, not us. We have been working so hard to build member trust, trust from our branch presidents and trust from the Bishops, ward mission leaders and stake presidents (something this area was lacking when we first entered). Funny Story: After the last correlation with ward and branch missionary leaders the Elders in our zone where asked "Elders, what is wrong with you? All the baptisms are coming from the sisters!!" The Elders weren't too happy about it, but I thought it was hilarious. It isn't us that does the converting anyways....IT IS THE SPIRIT. We have been super involved in strengthening the families of our branch through FHE and encouraging them to take hold of sharing the gospel to their families and their friends. Almost every single person in our branch of 30 is a convert to the gospel, and the rest of their family is Catholic. These people are so strong, but are often scared of sharing their testimony. We are doing trainings in the homes of branch members so that they can practice and learn how to bring up the Gospel and share what makes them happiest with their family members! I hope that these trainings are helping them become missionaries!

We are truly striving to teach whenever we find and to find whenever we teach. Just as preach my Gospel says, the Lord always puts the people who are ready to hear the word right in our pathways, it is our job to recognize those promptings and apply it to their lives. We are teaching 4 progressing investigators! We couldn't be more excited for the decisions that are making to better their lives. We are striving to teach simply, powerfully, and with the spirit. It is a work in progress, but we are a little bit better everyday.

Sundays as a missionary are LITERALLY insane. They are my favorite days, but by the end I literally feel like I just ran 30 marathons. This Sunday, Mother's Day, was a HUGE miracle! We had ALL 4 of our investigators at church! The cool part about this was that we didn't really have to do much to get them there! We invited them and reminded them, and they came...mostly on their own!!! Me and my companion where literally jumping through the roof when we saw each one of them walk into sacrament meeting.  what a
miracle! The Lord is literally blessing every effort. Even if it seems small. Even cooler than them coming to church was the comments that they made after..They said that they felt happy, peace and joy--and that they learned a lot about things that they can do better in their lives. They all want to come back. WHAT?! I am so so so so so excited for all of them. The branch has been amazing as we have coordinated who our investigators will sit with, meet and talk to. The branch is really taking them under their wing as they are making these huge changes in their lives!! Our district leaders almost passed out when we told them we had 4 investigators in church....my companion and I will now be training the Elders in our district on how to get investigators to come to church. I am super nervous and don't know what to train them on, but I just know that it is the Spirit that does the converting--not us! We have just been praying and fasting a lot to know the needs and concerns of our investigators. That has helped us be able to apply the Gospel to their lives and help them understand how doing this things will BLESS their lives forever.

I have never worked so hard, served so much and been so focused on others in all my life. From cleaning, to yard work to WHATEVER IT TAKES for someone to listen to the GREATEST message in the word....we do it.  I am striving to become the best missionary I can be. I know that I am weak and need the help of the Lord but I am learning so much. I love the people and I love the work. There is SO much work to be done here, and although it is stressful at times, I know that the Lord will help us accomplish the things that we need to.

I love this work. I love YOU SO MUCH. I am so happy to hear from you, and can't thank you enough for all your support.


Your biggest fan,
Hermana Weenig

P.S. No word on Argentina yet, but my VISA will be here---I know it! Just on the Lord's time....that's all. :)

Cintia showing up to church in her Black Cadillac. She said she would go to ALL three hours of church...only if she could do our hair!! WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET HER THERE! That is why we are rocking the awesome hair! :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

I am Living the Dream Life :)

Hola familia bonita y mis amores de mi vida!!! :)

I LOVE MISSIONARY WORK. I love it, I love it, I love it. Oh my goodness. If you can't feel how big my smile is right now, I might have to send you the cheesiest picture of my face. I am SO happy, and completely lost in the work---in fact, I can't even believe that it is P-day AGAIN! Time is FLYING. I love the people here so much and I love studying, preparing, and serving them in anyway possible, so that they might "come unto eternal life." I LOVE IT HERE. I love the Spanish language, I love the culture of the Mexican people, I love this place---but more so I love the work. At times I seriously cannot believe how lucky and blessed I am to have this opportunity to serve the Lord with ALL my heart, mind, soul, and strength all day EVERYDAY. It is the greatest opportunity and blessing. I can't believe how lucky I am that I get to go around serving, inviting and teaching others as Christ would have done on the earth today if He were here. I have been humbled to the dust of the earth to remember that it isn't me at all that this gospel, this work or my life is about---it is about HIM and about the people He has prepared to be willing to listen and hear the Word of God. I love it. Even though it is REALLY hard, and training and being a first-time senior companion has been a LOT of learning, it is ALL so worth it. Even if it is just making someone smile.

My companion is amazing. I love her like she was my own sister. We are both so different, but that makes us strong together. I've noticed that I am learning things from her like how to listen, and how to connect with people on a deeper level than just the surface. She is a wonderful human being. Despite our weaknesses, we spend A LOT of time praying, because we know with the Lord we can be more united and more powerful when teaching our lessons. As we have striven to make sure that there is no contention and as we serve each other all the time---we have come to notice that the Spirit is so strong and that our lessons ALWAYS go amazingly better. We set goals everyday, every week and have goals for the entire transfer, and we are

With Sister Schiess getting ready for church!The day of miracles!! I love this girl!
working what seems like "overtime" to accomplish those goals. We are pushing each other to be the absolute best we can be. I have been striving with all my heart to make her first experience as a missionary one that she can feel and know of the JOY that comes through doing the Lord's will and the Lord's work. It has been interesting to spend a lot of time on my knees, praying and praying to know how I can help her to focus on the work, get lost in the work, have fun and be confident as a servant and missionary of the Lord. I have come to know that the Lord loves all of His children dearly and that He knows exactly what they are going through. Because of that, I have been able to receive guidance to help my companion learn the way to do missionary work, be trained and learn the Spanish language in a way that hopefully she will be ready to train and bless the lives of other missionaries as well. I just hope that she is happy and that she is loving and enjoying the work and people. Sister Schiess has made incredible strides in the Spanish language, as we are now ONLY talking in Spanish, and helping each other keep focused. We walk about 8 miles on an average day (I have got the COOLEST tan lines and scars on my feet. I love it!!) and one thing I am working on is not walking so fast. I have learned that I get really stressed, because I know we are on the Lord's time and I have learned from my companion that stress makes the Spirit run away. Sometimes we miss opportunities because we are SO focused on what is next. I am working on BREATHING and remembering that I won't ever be perfect in this life. Even though that drives me crazy, because more than anything I want to be the perfect missionary for the Lord. But He doesn't expect that, He expects our own best. Whenever we feel like we don't know why or what to do....we STOP. Even if it is the middle of the street---and we pray. It is amazing how the Holy Ghost has guided us, and there have been times I have just wanted to shout out loud--"THANK YOU!" for my Heavenly Father, who honestly is showering us with all sorts of opportunities to teach and to serve. We strive every single day to find and be lead and guided to the people that NEED us. And without a doubt, as we are willing to do things that may be out of our comfort zone, the Lord puts people in our path. I have seen the scripture "search and ye shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you," come to full fruition. Hermana Schiess and I also have a blast talking in Spanish and learning all about our crazy dreams and goals for investigators. We laugh a lot. She is such a gem, I am lucky to have her as my companion. Her favorite things are playing frisbee, reading romance novels and staring at stars. She is superb, she reminds me of a Disney princess. One of our favorite things to do together is run around outside in the mornings or write poems together about the Gospel.

This is the coolest mission ever. Waiting for a VISA is the greatest blessing ever. I am learning how to teach the lessons in both English and Spanish---and man, I am learning a ton. It is crazy how when you study and try to apply the Gospel principles to others, how you begin to understand more fully and firmly the principles for yourself. Although almost all day we are teaching and talking in Spanish, it has been really cool to learn how to talk to people on a Spiritual level with people that live in my own backyard---Utah. There is so much work to be done here! SO MUCH WORK! I have learned how to work with bishops, stake presidents, ward missionary leaders and members to truly find, strengthen and teach the "lost sheep."  I love it here, and I totally feel like I am in a different country. I have truly learned that missionary work isn't about WHERE you are, it is about HOW you serve. And I have been trying with all that I have got (although falling short many times, I am sure) to be the absolute best missionary and person that I can be for the Lord and for the people here.

Awesome experience of the week---we had exchanges!!! And guess who was my companion!?!? Sister Erickson! My MTC companion! Isn't that CRAZY! I felt like I was coming home, as I got to spend time with her! She is one of my dear friends. Sister Schiess went to Logan and I stayed here to train and teach Sister Erickson. It was a little weird training her, because we were MTC companions, but it was a lot of fun! She taught me SO much as well! I learned a lot about creative ways to teach children and how to help
With Sister Erickson
people want to be baptized. Sister Erickson was with me for 24 hours and said that she has never been so exhausted and happy in her life.....is that a compliment? haha I hope so. But she said that that was the "first time" she had felt like a real missionary. I was laughing really hard when she called me a professional missionary....because there is no such thing, and I am THE FARTHEST thing from that. It is all the Lord and the Spirit of the work. But she is the sweetest and I would die to be her companion someday. We talked to everyone and took advantage of EVERYTHING that was placed in our path. How I love learning from other missionaries. She is wonderful. We are both crossing our fingers that when we get to Argentina that we will be companions ONCE AGAIN!! THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!

Anyways...can I tell you about some of my favorite people and how they are coming unto my best friend, Jesus Christ?

David Cruz- So, Sister Schiess and I were walking....(haha surprise) and we felt the impression to go and visit one of the referrals that we had received from the Bishop. We did, and we were expecting to get an older man that has lived in the area for a while, but then---David came outside. David is about 21 and is living with his Aunt and Uncle right now because he has no money because he said he recently just gambled it all away in Las Vegas. Well, I have never felt the Spirit so strong as we did in those first few moments with David. He took a serious interest in the church, despite the fact that he has long been a Catholic. We asked him if he felt like he had purpose in life, and he said "No." And then we asked him if he would like to know what that purpose is. His face changed...it lit up and he eagerly asked..."Yes!! Can you please tell me?" It was so sincere, and amazing, I can't describe it. The Lord has been preparing David for a long time. Right there on his doorstep we taught him the Plan of Salvation and gave him a Book of Mormon. He said that he would start reading immediately. And he did. We came back the next day and he honestly could hardly wait to hear more about the Book of Mormon. He told us that he was wanting to know more, we taught him the Restoration and read the Book of Mormon with him. We invited him to church----AND HE CAME!!!!! investigators like NEVER come to church, so this was honestly a HUGE miracle! He said that he really liked church, but was a little confused. After explaining a little bit more to him, he just kept wanting to know more. David is one of the most humble people I have ever met. He says that all he wants is to be happy and have a family and be the best person he can before God. Yesterday we went back and taught him more of the Plan of Salvation....when we were talking about our life on earth and the importance of baptism---we invited him to be baptized....and HE ACCEPTED!!!!! He is preparing to be baptized on the 25th of May!!! I AM SO EXCITED FOR HIM I CAN HARDLY STAND IT!!!! He reads the Book of Mormon daily and says that it is such an interesting story, and he said that he wants to prepare to be baptized. He is SO GOLDEN. I just hope that he stays firm in the path and that he keeps keeping commitments. The Lord is helping him understand a lot, because we are NOT perfect teachers....but I KNOW the Holy Ghost is. So we rely on Him a LOT.

Jenny Ramirez---We have been working with Jenny for about 3 weeks now! She is a beautiful 12-year-old girl that is Catholic! We had been praying and praying that she would want to be baptized and she has expressed various times her wish to be baptized!! We are SO EXCITED FOR HER! The only problem is, is that her mom is a less-active Mormon (hasn't been to church for 25 years) and her dad is a devote Catholic. A miracle happened though. The mom really wants Jenny to be baptized, if she wants to be. The dad, on the other hand really does not want her to change religion and has a bit of prejudice against the Mormon faith. We hadn't been able to sit down with Jenny and her dad, due to the fact that he was always away at work. The man scares me to death, because he is tough as a nail, but slowly the Lord has been working on him.
Jenny Ramirez (in the pink, brown and white dress -- age 12) with her family
Just yesterday I prayed that we could somehow have an encounter with her dad to see what he said about Jenny being baptized. Well, we got an answer. And I was scared to death to ask. But I did it. Surprisingly, he was really open to the idea. He said that if Jenny wants to be baptized, then that is TOTALLY fine. My jaw dropped. This was a man who wouldn't even talk to us 3 weeks ago....and now he is giving us permission to get Jenny baptized!!!! I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED! The Lord works in mysterious ways! I wanted to run around screaming with joy because I was so excited, but I couldn't (unprofessional....haha). But I am so excited. So Jenny will be baptized on the 25th of May as well, as long as she comes to church one more time! We are so excited for her and for all the changes that she is making. From the day we first met her till now, she is a TOTALLY different girl. She smiles, she is happy and more confident. That is definitely what the Gospel will do for you. Another amazing miracle was that on Sunday when we went to pick her up---there where her other 3 sisters all dressed up and ready to go to church. It was quite the interesting morning. We went outside to walk to the 2 miles or so to their house and the wind was blowing like CRAZY. We picked up Bre (a 13 year old in the ward that is fellow shipping Jenny) and by the time we got to the Ramirez house...out hair was out of control. It was hilarious. But we knocked on the door and there they were. Ready for church. I was so excited I nearly cried. The dad was there HELPING them go to church!! What?! Apparently the girls were crying because they didn't want to go, but because of the example of Jenny and a mom that was pushing them out the door they came. They loved it! One of the little girls said that her favorite part of was "the bread". Jenny said that she felt so good and happy and peaceful. Man, that is what church will do for you. I have never seen those girls so happy in their lives as I did after church. We have been teaching all of them, but they are under the age of 8--except Elizabeth, who also wants to be baptized!!! They all said they want to be baptized when they finally can. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS FAMILY!!! I also pray that the dad comes around someday....we will see :)

Cintia Delacruz--Remember how last week I told you that Cintia prayed to for her husband to find a job? Well, by some miracle, even though he doesn't have his papers, he FOUND A JOB two days after! A better paying job than he has ever had! I danced around the apartment when we found out. Cintia's husband, Felipe, now wants to know what we are teaching Cintia!!! AMAZING!!!!! They firmly believe that it was only through God that this miracle happened, and that all is possible with him. They have such incredible faith. I asked Cintia when she will be ready to be baptized, she still has a lot of doubts about baptism, so we are working to resolve those. They also have to get married before they can get baptized.....we are teaching
Learning how to make "Carne Asada" a famous Mexican Meat! YUM!!
the law of Chastity this week...so that will be an experience! But, despite all of that, I am just SO excited that they have gained a testimony of prayer. Cintia also got a priesthood blessing, and said that she has never felt so much peace in her life. We told her she could have that feeling all the time, and she really really wants to learn more. I think she is just scared of commitment. any suggestions? I have been praying like crazy to see how I can better help her. She is amazing. We also did a service project for her, we helped her organize a fiesta and set-up a fiesta for her little girl! I also learned how to make carne asada! It is amazing Mexican meat. I love Cintia, and can't wait to see what the future brings.

There are SO many miracles. Everyday. Every second, it feels like. I want to share just one more quick one with you....We were over doing service for some older people in the area, when I got a strong impression to visit a member in our ward. Her name is Sister Aitken, and is Peruvian. She is a diabetic and she is pregnant. She has been really stressed about being healthy so that she can take care of her baby. Her baby was due in August. She also served a mission. At first, I was like--Why would we visit her? She is already okay. But the feeling persisted. I grabbed my companion and described my feelings and thoughts. We left immediately. When we got there she was a wreck. She was balling hysterically and was so frustrated. She was studying to get a drivers license here in the states and felt like she wanted to just give up because it was too hard. She said she had just prayed for help, when we showed up. I got the chills. We were able to comfort her, leave her with a prayer and strengthen her the best that we could. We got news the next day that she past her test! The test she had taken 12 times before! AMAZING. But then!!! Even crazier! Later that evening she went into per-mature labor, and somehow both she and the baby are 100% okay. It was amazing!!! The Lord is watching over her. I learned that it is SO important to listen to even the smallest promptings in our lives.

Anyways, I love being a missionary. It is a lot of hard work and there are a lot of things that I don't understand. But I have learned that we have the greatest power on the earth. The power to pray. Like Joseph Smith did when he was younger....He Asked God. In James 1:5 it says, that if we EVER lack wisdom, or have a question, that we can "ask of God." How cool and how powerful is that? I want to challenge all of you, if there is any question or direction that you are lacking in your life, that you should "ask God" and then have the FAITH that you will get an answer. Sometimes it isn't the answer that we want, but He will always help us to have the strength to ACCEPT His will and His plan for us. I know that is true, and challenge you to find that out for yourselves. It is the coolest thing in the world.

Family---I am so proud of you!! I JUST WANT TO GIVE YOU THE BIGGEST HUGS AND KISSES EVER. I can't wait till Mother's Day!!!! I can't wait to talk to you and see your beautiful smiling faces in just a few days over the internet!!! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH! I can't thank you enough for all your support, inspiration, and love! I am so proud of all the things you are doing and the ways that you are building the kingdom in the world!! I pray for all of you.


Hermana Weenig
Some members of our branch.  Sister Hume (Boliva) and Sister Roberts and daughter (Mexico).

Hangin' with an investigator's goat!  :)