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!  :)

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