Monday, July 29, 2013

I Love this WAY too Much :)

Mi querido familia tan linda! Como estan? Les amo

I love being a missionary. The end. what else do I even need to say? Well, I can also tell you that I would really like to change my race to become Hispanic. like that isn't a joke. I love these people so much. But, I stick out like a sore thumb because I am tall and blond. Great. Officially in the ward my companion and I have been titled "las gueras gringas" which literally translates as "the white blondies." Perfect. Love it. But secretly, I still just want to be Hispanic. I am slowly finding that I am picking up some Hispanic mannerisms....for the better or for the worse. Worse being is that every time I see someone I want to give them a kiss on the cheek! I am sure that has been somewhat alarming for people that are white and don't know me. Also I am starting to realize that the Spanish language is literally the language of angles and I can't wait to be able to learn all the different accents of the people that live here.

I honestly don't even know where to begin this letter because I just can't stop telling you how much I love being a missionary and tell you about all the miracles that we are seeing. I only have a little bit of time to write, and I have way too much to say. My fingers already hurt because of the tension and excitement I have to tell you about this past week.

Can I just tell you? The Lord watches over and cares and PROTECTS the missionaries. I always believed that, but never in such a way that I do now. Ready for a crazy story? Well, fasten your seat belts. And mom, I am totally safe here---so don't be scared. I tell this story because it just makes me have the up most confidence that this truly is the work of the Lord.

Once upon a time, Hermana Wilcox and Hermana Weenig learned the importance of listening to the Spirit. It was probably one of the best days of our lives. We had just committed someone to baptism and had just got done street contacting this man who had met with the missionaries previously. We had parked the car pretty far away because we wanted to do some tracting and some street contacts. We were headed over to a former investigators home (in--okay---it was a sketchy area) and it was getting dark. Okay. There were probably red flags all over the place but we just happily walked along preaching the gospel to every single person that crossed our path. Smiling all the way through. So then we decided...lets tract! So we did. We saw some sketchy things going on down the street so we decided to go inside to tract some apartments. We decided to knock the door. I am pretty sure we were singing "I am a child of God" and just laughing and talking about the last person that slammed the door in our face when all the sudden---I went cold. I had heard someone come up to the door, but there was no answer. I have never heard a voice in my entire life but a voice inside of me shouted "RUN!!!!" I have never felt such sheer terror and sheer horror. The Spirit took off and I felt empty. I turned to my companion and said "RUN and RUN FAST!" We sprinted down the stairs and outside only to find there was a strange looking group headed our way.  I was scared and started crying (of course I started to cry.) And then we saw a ray of sunshine. My companion and I, both out of breath and crying because of our sprinting session, saw a woman. We ran to her and started teaching the Gospel. Silently I felt like someone was still watching us, but the lady in a way protected us. After we were done talking to the lady, the feeling came again. "RUN to the car...NOW." Both my companion and I looked at each other in horror and got to the car....praying all the way that we would get there safe. We didn't know what was going on...only that we weren't safe there. When we got to the car safe we prayed. We pray a lot during the days, but this day we prayed a lot a lot. Just as we started the car, police cars, ambulances and everything pulled up to the area we were just in. Oh wow. my companion and I were shaking, but we were so happy. We sang Hymns the rest of the way home to get the Spirit back  and counted our lucky stars that God watches over us. I never, EVER EVER want to be without the Spirit again in my life. But what a testimony builder that was to literally be guided to safety by the hand of the Lord. I thought haunted corn mazes were scary...but not having the Spirit is like 2839018298 times worse.

White washing and training is my new favorite combo. The sister trainer leaders say that I will likely be training for the duration of my mission, which is actually great news! i seriously love it so much. Mostly, I just love the fact that I get to see the amazing change that happens in these "greenys". They go from not knowing the language at all, to being able to carry on full conversations! Hermana Wilcox is making incredible strides and she really is such an amazing example of hard work and persistence! She will definitely continue to change lives all throughout her life. She is one amazing woman! I love her! Mostly, I think she is training me! She was super patient with me this week when I had a MASSIVE plague that struck me down. yay for sick! But I think I am definitely on the up-hill swing of things. I refused to rest....and then my companion literally made me. I love her for it.

There is not enough time in the day and I can't believe that it is already p-day again. I have never been in an area where there is literally so much work to be done and literally not enough hours in the day to do it all. Get companion and I have literally been praying for more time so that we can do all the things that the Lord has for us to do. I love it. We both got a little sick this week (possibly from the high stress, 3890128 bug bites and crazy hotness) but for some reason the Lord blessed us with the best week of our lives! We literally got so much done this week and our district leaders told us that we are "on fire." It obviously has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with us at all. I have truly come to know that when we turn our lives over to the Lord and totally just forget about ourselves and GO TO WORK He will ALWAYS carry our load and help us overcome whatever difficulties and trials that may come in our paths. But seriously. Someone STOP THE CLOCK. Time couldn't be going any faster and I just don't like it. Did I tell you? The Lord has blessed us with NINE progressing investigators! So many people are ready to hear the Gospel in this area it is incredible! I literally don't know how we are going to do it all, but I know that the Lord will bless are efforts. Thanks goes out to Him and the Spirit for carrying us to where we need to be.

It is impossible but I just discovered that it is SO possible to have the worst and the best week at the same time. It literally is so amazing to me that that Satan can mess so much with the people we teach and it is amazing to see how the Lord counteracts that with a glimmer of hope by helping our investigators progress and giving us the strength to overcome hardships and trials. If I have learned one thing on my mission, I have learned that God is SO aware of us and He loves us exactly the way we are---and if we are giving our BEST, he will always bless to succeed in whatever way that we need to. This week was amazing. That is literally all I have to say. We found this new area to go tracting. And guess what? We found 12 new people in just that little area to teach!!!!! IT IS AMAZING! One of them is Dulce. When we found her she literally could have gotten baptized the next day. As we explained the Joseph Smith story to her and testified of the Book of Mormon, she was like "YES!" And she said that she has never felt so peaceful and happy in her life than she did when she heard the message. She said that she knows it is true because of the joy she felt when she listened to us teach. (That would be the AMAZING Spirit testifying of the truthfulness.) Anyways, we invited her to be baptized at the end of August and she accepted!!! She was so cute---she was like "I would love to be baptized, but can I just come to church first?!" AWESOME! We were dying. When we returned to teach her the plan of salvation, she just knew with all that she is that the Church and the plan is real and for her. It has been really fun too because we have been taking the young women with us to go tracting and teaching. So the young women are present in our lessons, and when they is POWERFUL! (and it is also not with a gringa much easily understood.) I LOVE THE YOUTH OF THIS CHURCH.

Anyways, I am so SO SO excited to see Jackie get baptized in a week or so. She will be baptized on August 10th, which is pretty much the best thing that ever happened to the month of August. She is tearing it up and has made huge improvements! We also have 3 other people preparing to be baptized at the end of the month! I can't wait! These people are so amazing and the Gospel is changing their lives. LET THE GOSPEL CHANGE YOUR LIFE. I am literally learning from trial and error and also from watching others that when we put the Gospel first and Jesus Christ at the center of our lives....either everything falls into place or drops out of our lives. Love it.

This ward is on FIRE. Enough said. There has been a convert baptism every week and they are always more than willing to fellowship investigators and come to lessons with us. They are starting to trust us with their friends too. I love LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE member referrals! So on those referrals for the missionaries! They would LOVE THEM! and YOU!

Anyways. I love this work. And you CAN be a missionary right now. You don't need the tag. Just be the best person you can be TODAY. Forget about yesterday. REPENTANCE is so real. Change. Become who you have always wanted to be. Heavenly Father will help you achieve your goals.

Thanks for all your love and support. I can't thank you enough. You are all shining lights and examples in my life and I love you so much. I just want to kiss and hug all of you NOW. Yes, I have this thing with besitos.....XOXOXOXOXOX.. Thanks for your prayers and love. Really, it means the world. I pray for you ALWAYS. please remember who you are and be safe out there, champs!

Your biggest fan,
Hermana Weenig

P.S. Sorry there are no pictures this week. No time. But I did find a
54784 inch cockroach in our kitchen the other day. I would have taken
a picture, but I was too busy throwing up. :)

Monday, July 22, 2013

I Love this Work

I love being a missionary. Seriously, I love it. Like I am literally living my dream life and can't stop thinking about how much I love these people and this work. I seriously can't believe it is p-day again. I told my companion that I didn't want to have a p-day because I just want to work. :) she didn't really like that idea, so here I am. But, CAN YOU SAY BUSY!? This past week has literally flown by. Time seems to be slipping through my fingers and there isn't enough time to do all the things we need to do. But can I tell you something? Training and white-washing is the best and the most fun that I have ever had on my mission. I am LOVING it. It is really hard and stressful, but God is literally carrying us and miracles are happening every single day. My companion and I are literally sweating like 102893092839081209381 gallons of sweat everyday and we have like 30948203948390842908 mosquito bites on our legs. We are like constantly itching and then laughing because our legs literally look like we have the plague!  But "vale la pena" (its all worth it). Here is to one of the best weeks that I have ever had on my mission. Literally. Thank you Heavenly Father.
So my companion and I have been super busy building member trust and building relationships with the "big wigs" like the bishop and ward missionary leader and ward missionaries and the ward council. We have been busy pulling weeds, cleaning houses and dishes and teaching a lot of family nights to help the members see us as true representatives of Jesus Christ. I love service, like more than anything else in life. There is just something about it that not only shows others how much you love them, but it also builds your relationship in a way that nothing else could. I love it. AH! But we have begun to see the results of it already! In fact, we picked up 15 referrals just this past week! No idea how that happened. But it sure makes an empty area book fill up fast. Not only are the members eagerly looking for people to share the gospel with us, but they ALL volunteer to come to lessons with us. THIS WARD IS ON FIRE!!!!! Most all of them have been baptized within the past 5 years and this ward gets about 30 baptisms a year! So everyone has "caught the wave" of missionary work and it is the coolest thing ever. They are willing to drop whatever they are doing (work included) to come out and tract with us or come to lessons with us. AMAZING!! The church should come film this ward, and show everyone how it works. It makes me so excited for when I come home to implement all I am learning about how to be a true member missionary. DEAR LOVED ONES---I LOVE YOU. BUT HELP THE MISSIONARIES!!! Pray, seek inspiration for people they can teach, go with them to lessons, DO ANYTHING! They need you. Without the members, we are nothing...because we NEED fellowship in order to build COVERTS not just baptism. :) There was my missionary soapbox. But really---stop reading this email and get to work ;).
Miracles are happening everyday.
Jacklyn! JACKLYN! JACKLYN!!!!!!!!! She is on fire. Like hotter than it is outside. (which, by the way is an astounding 112 degrees plus humidity). Our district had a baptism this week, and so we invited Jacklyn and Ricardo to come see what they will be doing. They came and they brought their ENTIRE family!! Jacklyn loved it, and told us that she can't wait to be in the font on August 10th. After the baptism we took her on a church tour with a recent convert member and her husband Ricardo and she expressed to us that she knows that this is the true church with all of her heart. The Spirit jabbed my heart like a big drink of hot chocolate. Looking at Jacklyn and her smile and just seeing her making all these up tea, giving up her Sunday work, reading and praying daily, coming to church every, it is AMAZING. She is so much happier and it has been SO fun to see her progress in these past couple of weeks. We are hoping and praying that her husband (Ricardo) who also wants to get baptized, is able to quit smoking ASAP so he too can be baptized. He is down to only 2 cigars a day, but still not enough. We are going over tonight to take his pack from him.....if he lets us. We, of course will not be smoking the cigars. But anyways Jacklyn came to church again this week! She is so solid. She is really good friends with Hermana Rojas who is another Peruvian in our ward. They hit it off really well. But the even greater thing is, is that she came to ALL THREE HOURS OF CHURCH and she loved it! In relief society the ladies went crazy! They like attacked her almost with so much love. My companion and I were literally almost crying because we have never seen anything like it. it was almost scary, but actually probably the greatest thing that ever happened. She had like 10 woman around her asking her questions for like the whole day at church! AMAZING. They also had her introduce herself in front of the whole relief society and Jackyln announced her baptism! She said "I know that this is where I belong. I have been to a lot of different churches and this is the only one that feels right." When she announced that she is going to baptized on the 10th of August the relief society really GASPED. All the oxygen in the room was taken out of the room and I am pretty sure some of the older ladies passed out because of their excitement. WHAT A GREAT DAY AT CHURCH! Not to mention all the crazy kisses I got on my cheek. My companion and I have decided that we will probably develop a bruise on our cheek from all the "besitos" we get. So much for no kissing on the the time I get home my kissing charts will have been off the charts!
Anyways are you ready for my super sketchy mafia story that turned into a woman and girl who are going to be baptized on the 24th of August?
So Hermano Tapia is our ward mission leader and he is literally the greatest thing that ever happened to missionary work. If a member can't go with us to a lesson he is hounding them and makes them find someone else to go with us. He lives in this super rich apartment complex and knows how to work the system. This apartment complex is also filled with Hispanics. One night we wanted to meet with him and discuss areas to tract and to involve members in the ward. So we were to meet with him around eight and he took us to this bar in a far, dark corner. It seriously probably looked like we were working for the mafia because it was dark and we had a map and were talking about specific names. But, Hermano Tapia is a champion---we got a lot of ground work laid. Then there was an Hispanic lady in the lobby and Hermano. Tapia said..."hey! go teach her." So I walked over to start teaching Jill, who is from Columbia. She was literally prepared carefully by the Lord. We sat down and started to teach the first discussion. She loved it. She said---this makes sense! and she accepted to be baptized. But literally right as we were discussing baptism the power went out and we were sitting right next to the elevators. People were trapped in the elevators! But, we continued to teach (we didn't know what else to oops, but we had no other option). Long story short....Jill invited us back and she will be getting baptized on the 24th of August with her girl named Maria! AMAZING! I am so excited for her. Who knew the power of power-outages and sketchy bars???
As for tracting goes....
It is still my favorite part about missionary work. Lets talk about some of this week's highlights:
We knocked on this woman's door and she answered the door covered in nothing but a towel and we taught her the first lesson and invited her to baptism. She said that she would have to get dressed first....hahaha. I did not think that was that funny. but she did. Ah, man.
We were walking down the street and there was this woman carrying like 50 groceries who was Hispanic. This equaled the perfect opportunity for service, right? WRONG. She saw us see her and started walking faster. So I ran. Yes, I ran to catch her and asked if I could carry her groceries. She looked at me and said NO! So then I just walked by her (we were hitting a light jog at this point) and taught her about Jesus Christ. She finally softened, but then told us she was a Jehovah's witness and doesn't want anything to do with us. Ah, man.
We knocked on this one man's door and he yelled through the door "Quien es?" (who is it?) and we told him. Then we heard him lock the door and then he complained that he couldn't open his door. When I told him that I could help him open his door, we heard the dead bolt go on, and he said he just said it is impossible to get out. When I offered to call the police to help him get out of his apartment, he rejected and told us to go to a different door. When we went to the back of the house....there was no other door. Ah, man.
We tried the "singing door approach" to spice things up this week. If people wouldn't let us in the door. We sang "I am a child of God" to them in Spanish. Almost 100% of the time, they would then let us in and we were able to teach them. AMAZING. The power of music is so real and both my companion and I love to sing, so we have had a total blast. There was one lady who was really hesitant about letting us teach her and then we sang. She said "Get in here girls!" My companion and I just smiled at her and jumped into the restoration.
The Lord has helped us immensely. Actually, He has done it all. None of this was me or my companion. We are just wanting to work and work hard. The new motto for life has come up, because I am sure not perfect, even though I try really hard. As a missionary it is easy to get down on yourself (just like in life) and sometimes things don't go as planned. But I have learned instead of getting down on yourself it is better to face life with the attitude of: "Everyday in every way, I am getting a little bit better and stronger." And although we are going to slip up and make mistakes, I think all the Lord really wants of us is that we are constantly progressing and becoming the people and GODS we are meant to be.
Thank you so much for all the love and support you send to me via email, letters, cards, packages and prayers. They are the best thing in the world! May God bless you and I hope you never forget who you are and what a great purpose you have on this earth.

I love you more than anything in the world. xoxox
Your biggest fan,
Hermana Weenig

The bishop's daughter and her garden. We helped her weed for like 2 hrs! Her name is Cecilia! I love her
My twin! This man also has a "gimper" pinky like I do! He is an investigator, but insists that he and I are twins because of our deformed pinkies.

Yes, that is a birthday cake for a girl that turned 15 in our ward. For Hispanics, the 15th birthday is a bigger deal than marriage.
Desk of destiny.
Love my companion :)

                       White washing is a journey. Here is the map, now we have to find.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Please Don't Stop the Rain....or Should I Say, TRAIN-ing

I love being a missionary. I love training. I love my companion. I love white-washing. I love my new area. I love this work. TRANSFERS HAPPENED! I am WHITE WASHING AND TRAINING! Can you believe it? I am learning really quickly that God DOES NOT call the qualified, but He does QUALIFY who He calls. I am so reliant upon the Lord right now, because sometimes the load of training and starting over fresh in a totally new area is stressful...but oh, so worth it. "white washing" means that you start a new area (they take the elders out and put the sisters in)---or basically you start out with nothing and literally find all the people and connections---I LOVE IT!! It has been a lot of fun and a lot of relying on the Spirit to guide us to where we need to go, so that is so awesome!! My stress levels have been at an all-time high---but stressed in literally the best way possible! There is not a free minute in the day--intermixed calling, tracting, finding, ward mission leader, bishop, service, ward members, investigators, area book and putting together a training program for Sister Wilcox, life is great!! I was transferred to Alexandria, Virginia which is just
Sister Wilcox (Layton, Utah)
outside of Arlington! And this place is amazingly beautiful and I can't wait to see the Lord's hand in the lives of the people here! We took the place of 2 elders (and yes, we inherited their gross apartment as well...calling out all febreeze) and were put in the area of missionary work to "revive it." Side note about the apartment: The elders literally captured the grossest cockroaches they could find and put it in a cup for us to find! What a lovely surprise! But as for the new area I love it! But more importantly, I love my new companion...FRESH from the MTC!!! Her name is Hermana Wilcox and she is from Layton, Utah and 19 years old. She is literally my twin. It is going to be the best transfer yet. I can feel it in my bones!
Training. Whew. A LOT OF PRESSURE. It is such a sacred calling and such an important role because the first six weeks of a missionary's "life" will set the tone for the rest of their mission. I am literally learning how to be a mom. I get to care for her and think about her 24'7 about how I can serve her, help her learn, help her understand and help her get the experience that she needs so that she can be ready to train someone else! So far, training has gone great!! Sister Wilcox is so wonderful and I am striving so hard to help her feel like she is the bomb missionary! Which she is! She is learning SO SO fast! She doesn't know hardly any Spanish, so we are doing a lot of language practice. Despite the fact she doesn't know the language, I will just stop talking in lessons and pray for her like crazy to open her mouth. She does...and the Spirit always helps her to speak clearly and simply. I have absolutely loved every second of training. I am learning so many important teaching skills and learning how to help Sister Wilcox find joy in the work and to gain confidence in herself as a missionary. She is amazing! Training has also made me want to step it up a notch and really set the place on fire! We have been having a blast and have been working like CRAZY....and have been seeing some pretty amazing miracles. Sister Wilcox and I will be friends for life and I just hope and pray that I can help her be the best, most obedient and Christ-like missionary that she can be. That is my hope and dream! Funny side note: I turned on "come, come ye saints" the Noteworthy version. And she was like---Oh my goodness I am obsessed with Noteworthy!!! Then there was a long pause and i smiled to myself. When she found out I was in Noteworthy she literally asked for my autograph. I told her no because I should be asking for hers because she was on the BYU color guard before coming on a mission! She is hilarious. I love her. She and I are going to be trying the "singing door approach"...which I will explain next week if we are successful. :) She wants me to train her both in missionary work and singing. hahaha She cracks me up.
Miracles happen. Did you realize that? They TOTALLLLLLLY do. And I can't even tell you how amazing this ward is. I am in the "Old Town" ward which apparently is the highest baptizing ward in the mission. We did service for the bishop and he called us in on Sunday to tell us that he expects nothing but the best from us. PRESSURE, right? I pray that through the power of God we will be carried and able to achieve all of our goals. I love it. His goal for us is to truly focus on PEOPLE and true conversion. The ward is amazing! On Sunday we had like 10 different members come up to us wanting to go out on splits with us....AMAZING. They said that the last time there was 2 sisters in the area the work just took off. No pressure, or anything. I am just striving to work my hardest and give my all to the Lord, while understanding that I will probably fall short. But I know that He will carry my efforts and help me and my companion to accomplish all of our crazy goals. Did you know that God will do that for you too? God knows we have dreams and goals. And if we follow what we have been asked to do and strive our hardest to do our best than we are given the opportunity and strength to accomplish those goals. That I know for certain.
If the ward wasn't enough, wait till you hear about our incredible new investigators---RICARDO AND JAQUELINE! Oh my goodness. Where do I even begin? The elders said that they had talked to them about baptism before leaving the area. So we have been teaching them. The first night we met them, they were a little unsure about baptism. We knew that they had word of wisdom issues, so we decided to teach about addictions and overcoming them through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Ricardo has this HUGE desire to quick smoking and quit drinking tea. He says that he wants to do it for his kids and he wants us to help him. So I made a deal with him. If he stops smoking, I will stop my horrible habit of biting my nails. So far....SO GOOD! He hasn't smoked more than 3 cigars! Which is a HUGE change from doing 13 a day. He told us that every time he thinks about smoking, he says a prayer! How amazing is that! His wife, Jaqueline said that she would just stop right away and has been doing it! Jaqueline is a WHOLE different miracle. The night we met her, she broke down and told us that her life was nothing like she wanted it to be and that God has abandoned her. The Spirit guided us and we were able to teach her about the reason we are on this earth and who she is as a daughter of God! Her Spirit and her countenance changed. We invited her to come to church and to change her life by following the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. Well, guess what?! She came to church yesterday!!!!!!!! I almost fell flat on my face! The ward did such an amazing job helping her feel welcomed and loved! She couldn't stop talking about how much she loved the sacrament talk about why bad things happen ("for our own experience and good.") She also was begging us to come over that night to teach her more. SHE IS SO READY TO BE BAPTIZED IT IS AMAZING. We taught about the commandments and how when we keep the commandments we are blessed. Her and her husband started asking us all these questions about their weaknesses. We had an incredible member with us that gave up smoking and drinking to become a member...and her powerful testimony shook the house. My companion even opened up her mouth to bear a sweet, simple and POWERFUL testimony! She is amazing. And although I know that speaking another language is extremely difficult for her....but she is doing it and AMAZINGLY. But we then read the Book of Mormon with them in Ether and how we can make ALL the weaknesses in our lives become our strengths. We then invited them to be baptized on August 10th. THEY ACCEPTED!!! Jaqueline was so funny because she was like--I want to be baptized NOW! Since her husband still isn't completely off of cigars, she asked if she could be baptized without him. She says that she knows that this is what God wants her to do! The Spirit was SO strong. Pretty sure I had the chills going up and down my spine the whole time. Her eyes were glowing and she was smiling so big. We asked her to pray at the end of the lesson. She said in her prayer, "God, thank you for sending these angels to me to talk to me. I know that it was really you talking to me through them. I am ready and want to prepared to be baptized in August!" As you can imagine I was literally dancing out of the door!! Me and my companion screamed when we got outside! we are so CRAZY excited for her! The member that was with us jumped up and down and gave her the biggest hug! There was so much love and so much excitement...and the cool thing is, is that it was all because we know the BLESSINGS and the JOY that she will have in her life through following Christ. I AM SO EXCITED FOR HER!
We have had a blast tracting and finding people that are ready to hear the word of God and change their lives for the better. We had a fun day of tracting the other day. Let me tell you some of the crazy stuff that happened. My companion and I had just prayed to be guided to were to go, because we felt lost. We were in an apartment complex, but didn't know quite where to knock. We started walking and then we saw him. Yes, we did. There was this old man outside of his apartment lifting weights. Yes, and old Hispanic man lifting weights. It was great. My companion and I looked at each other and then we charged forward with Book of Mormon in hand. We began to teach him the message of the restoration. Santos, the old weight lifter, was like---"I have been looking for something exactly like this to make me closer to God!!!" He was so ready to hear the message and we invited him to pray. He didn't know how, so we had the opportunity to teach him! I am so excited to see what happens with him! But the funny thing about that lesson is that his grandson put a bird on me and then left. So I taught the whole lesson with a creepy bird on me! WOOT WOOT. Good thing the Gospel is so true. That same day we knocked on a door and a lady saw us and said "I am way too busy for you two!" and slammed the door in our face. I thought my companion was going to cry (fresh out of the MTC...there they never get doors slammed in their faces :) ) oh the joy. I have also begun to notice something. Hispanic men sometimes just like the fact that we are female and not the face that we are messenger's of God. So we may or may not have to run away from a lot of creepers. but hey, that is okay. It keeps the day interesting, right? haha.
Anyways, I am learning more and more that the sooner we get lost in the service of others, the quicker we find ourselves. If you are struggling with something or are feeling down. GO SERVE. It will change your life.
Thanks for all the love and support and prayers! I desperately need them! you are AMAZING! and never ever forget who you are! I love you all so much!
Hermana Weenig

Monday, July 8, 2013

Peace, Like a River

I love being a missionary. I hope you are reading this email with a huge smile on your face. And that you had the greatest fourth of July ever....I am so jealous you went to see Kelly Clarkson!!! LUCKY! Watching the fireworks at the capital was pretty amazing. It amazes me how easily entertained we are, but fireworks for missionaries was like Christmas day! I LOVE AMERICA.

Guess what? Do you want to hear a joke? Going on a mission is the easiest thing anyone could do. Joke. ha ha. Missions are not easy. No one ever tells you that. But one thing I do know----missions aren't easy, but I KNOW they are worth it. Want to know why? I feel like every weakness that I have ever had has been amplified on a mission. How fun is that? I get to go out an conquer and learn about where I am weak EVERYDAY!!! Do you think I am crazy? Well, because it is crazy! Because God wants us to grow and learn at a rapid pace, He often gives us more than we think we can handle. But, I have learned something. As we look at our weaknesses and our trials as acts of love from our Heavenly Father, we truly do begin to believe and LIVE in a way that we KNOW EXACTLY WHO WE ARE....children of God. How amazing is that? We were talking with one of the most incredible women that I have ever met. We were discussing the fact that we are TRULY children of God, but sometimes we don't even realize it. She gave me an analogy that blew my mind and I want to share it with you...with the hopes that you in turn truly remember this when you feel worthless, lost or when everything seems to be going wrong and you just want to give up. Here it goes...

Before we came to earth our Heavenly Father sat down with YOU. He knew everything about you, your likes, dislikes, weaknesses and strengths. He sat down and  chatted with you and told you how much He loves you and told you how excited He is for you to have the opportunity to become a God/Goddess. We talked about the life that we would have on earth and talked about the things that would help us grow the most. Heavenly Father brought up each of our strengths and weaknesses and asked us what we would like to work on and become perfected in. As we looked down at His master plan of lists of "classes" (trials) to take we saw things like "testimony" "faith" "patience" "charity" and a million other things. We saw and knew everything that we would have to endure. We knew it would be hard...but we saw the outcome. We saw the character we could develop and WHO we could become if we endured well. So, together, with our loving Father in Heaven we decided that this was how our life was going to be. WE CHOSE WHAT WE WOULD GO THROUGH SO THAT WE COULD BECOME PERFECTED IN THE AREAS WE NEEDED THE MOST HELP IN. When we came to earth we forgot all about the plan that we made with our loving Father, so when hard times come we get mad with Him. Only to forget that THIS is the EXACT plan we had chosen to follow not long ago. Trials and affliction is that plan unveiling. Sometimes we turn and run and just want to quit. But little do we realize...we signed up for this. Trials and affliction is really want CAN refine us and change us for the better....if we let it. Because we are DIVINE beings and because we will eventually become Gods and Goddesses, God has given us a divine and incredible power. That power is the power of the Atonement. Through it we can CHANGE, GET HELP AND FEEL STRONG when everything in life seems to be in shambles. Sometimes we don't feel the need or are too proud to use the Atonement (the grace of Jesus Christ). But little do we realize that with that power we can do ANYTHING. God has literally given all of His children access to the thing that can help them overcome ANY negativity, trials or affliction. He knew how hard it would be, despite the fact we knew it was coming. So He sent His Son, Jesus Christ. WHATEVER your issues, thoughts, problems or trials are....PLEASE get on your knees. God will bless you strength. That doesn't mean the load will be just means you will be stronger.

This week has been a week of many miracles. In my life right now, the people are the greatest miracle and blessing. One of these people include Sister Reyes. Sister Reyes is an incredible woman. She was baptized a couple years ago, but has since fallen away from the church. She hates who she is. She hates the way she looks, the way her life has been and feels worthless. Her self confidence and her purpose in life was so overshadowed by things of the world. It amazes me how often Satan attacks women. Tells them that they aren't thin enough that they aren't pretty enough, that they aren't good enough for anything. HOW FALSE THAT IS, but how often do we let it control our minds, but fretting about pointless things! If we can learn to see with ETERNAL EYES, nothing else really does matter. Literally nothing. As I looked into the eyes of Sister Reyes that night all I could see was sheer beauty. A Queen that has merely forgotten WHO she is and WHERE she came from and most importantly WHO she is becoming. I think EVERY girl struggles with this. WHY!?!??!?!? because Satan is so darn good at what he does. He makes the most powerful, beautiful and righteous daughters of God feel like they don't even deserve to lick the dust off the floor. Sister Reyes was bawling and crying saying that she is not worth anything that she is ugly and that no man would love her. Then we started to sing. Yes, weird, but true. We sang "Soy un hijo de Dios" (I am a Child of God) with her. The Spirit entered that room so strongly I couldn't fight the tears. "I am a child of God, and HE has sent me here....has given me an earthly home with parents kind and dear....LEAD me, GUIDE me, WALK beside me, HELP me find the way.....TEACH me ALL THAT I MUST DO to live with Him someday." Does that song not perfectly describe our purpose on earth and the role that Heavenly Father plays? If we would just remember that all we do in this life and all we endure, suffer and go through is BECAUSE WE ARE GODS in TRAINING! Never forget that. Sister Reyes has never looked happier than I have ever seen her after that night. She walks with confidence in knowing that she is in fact a Daughter of a King, and that is all that matters. She is a daughter of a king. Just like you. You are a son or daughter of a King, and because of that...NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. We are going to mess up at times and we are going to forget...but when you are constantly seeing with eternal eyes you will remember and understand that you chose this and YOU CAN DO THIS because you have undying power BECAUSE OF WHO YOU ARE. We got to teach the  young women this week. Oh, how I love the young women. They too need to know this. Everyone does, but ESPECIALLY them. Remind your young women, and all the women in your life who they are. DO NOT LET THEM FORGET!

On a less-preachy note----My companion has informed me that I have "arrived" with the Spanish language. Not in the fact that I can speak the language perfectly at all....but....I HAVE BEEN SLEEP TALKING IN SPANISH! Hooray! My companion also sleep talks and so it makes me wonder if we ever have conversations in the night. Who knows. All I know is that I was screaming with joy when I found out!

The apartment is literally infested with cockroaches. We find them is like a game. I love it! At night we come in the door exhausted...but we flip on the lights and creatures flee to the corners....with shoes in hand we have competitions to see who can kill the most! We should probably just get spray...but the game is way too fun. One day I woke up and in front of my eyes on the blanket was a bug! YES! I love knowing that there are living things everywhere. I am working on loving ALL of God's beautiful creations. One juicy, crunchy cockroach at a time. :)

The work is extremely busy! I love it! So much! We have been doing a lot of finding. A LOT. We teach a ton of lessons (usually the restoration), but the problem is finding them again. The Hispanic people are a very hard working people without a schedule or concept of time. So we are working with a variety of investigators and have some awesome members that are coming to lessons and hosting lessons in their homes! I love getting to know the people here. We have also taught in the most interesting and fun circumstances. One time we were teaching this old man on his stairs and the fire alarm went off (right as we were inviting him to baptism, of course) and people started running out! It was hilarious, but we got a return appointment with him! We were in another lesson with a family we are teaching (Jose and Silvia Hernandez family) and their little kids ran up to us and gave us raw meat. My companion and I looked at each other and hesitatingly said, "Wow! Thanks! Raw meat!" We sat their and taught the rest of the lesson with raw meat in our hands. GROSS!! But it is all so worth it. I love these people so much and what I love even more is seeing them grow and progress to be a little closer with their Father in Heaven. I am also having a little competition with one of our investigators to see who will finish the Book of Mormon first! So far she is beating me! She is incredible!!!

Today we went to the Potomac River as a Zone activity! What a BEAUTIFUL sight! As we hiked around the river I thought to myself--"Peace, like a river." How often do we forget to just STOP and enjoy life? I would dare to say most of us don't do it often enough. Go out and ENJOY your life. Find something everyday to be excited for and happy about! There really is SO much beauty around us!

Transfers are this week, so we will see what happens! President told me that I will be training! I am super excited, but super nervous!
Thanks for all your emails, letters, prayers, and support! It literally means the world to me!


I love you more than anything in the world,
Hermana Weenig
The four Sisters in our zone that speak Spanish! -- Hermanas Christensen,  Rane, Weenig, and Allen.  At Great Falls! A national park that is near our home! 

Great Falls National Park

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sweet Land of Liberty!

I love being a missionary. I am living the dream life.

I seriously feel like the luckiest girl on the face of the earth to be able to be in the nation's capital for the 4th of July, and it is amazing how the patriotism here is blazing like the sun. It has been really cool to use the connections to religious freedom and the founding fathers to the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because this nation was established by inspired men and because they declared religious freedom from England, it created an atmosphere for God to restore His church upon the earth once again. Had it come any sooner than it did, it wouldn't have survived because of the heated contention on the subject of religion at the time. THE FOURTH OF JULY IS BY FAR MY FAVORITE HOLIDAY....for the mere fact that because our country has freedom...we have the freedom of religion. What an amazing right we have as Americans. I love being here in D.C. during this time....yesterday in church we had a combined lesson with everyone and our bishop (an amazing lawyer) handed out copies of the declaration of independence and the constitution of the U.S.A to every member and we went through it all together. We discussed the truly amazing rights that we have as American citizens and why America made it possible for us to have the restored Gospel. My mind was blown and it was by far my most favorite lesson ever. I LOVE AMERICA. We are seriously so lucky. I hope all of you take the opportunity to celebrate freedom this week, but more so to realize and contemplate the fact that because of that freedom, we are able to have the restored Gospel here on the earth. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE BLESSING! I'm so excited because on the 4th of July I will be watching fireworks at the nation's capital! It is LITERALLY MY DREAM COME TRUE! And what is even cooler is that we get to watch them with investigators, so we can talk about the Gospel as we celebrate the very reason that we are able to have the restored Gospel in this country.

We are going to be having a baptism!!! WA HOOOOOOO! Hugo Hernandez will be getting baptized this month on the 21st! I can't even wait! He is probably one of the most incredible people that I have ever had the opportunity to teach. We were teaching him the plan of salvation and how one of the steps that we take to get back to Heavenly Father is baptism. We were having the lesson outside (I have no idea why because we were sweating like crazy) and all the sudden the Spirit filled our hearts in a way I have never felt before. Hugo stopped and stared at us for like a minute in silence. He told us that he knows that he is supposed to be baptized, because he is 100% sure that the Book of Mormon is true and that God wants Him to be baptized. My first reaction was initially shock and the Spirit was so thick (thicker than the crazy humidity) I could barely talk. He then told us that he is searching for a new job so he can quit his other one to be more frequent in coming to church. Hugo said that because of the Book of Mormon he has found purpose and direction in his life. Amen to that! Hugo is such a great example to me. He loves the Book of Mormon and reads it like it is a literal guide for his life. That is the way that I know I should always read the Book of Mormon, because that is what it is intended to be! A guide for our lives!

We had a baptism last night for Arlando! He is an investigator that was just counting down the days to be baptized when I got here. I am so proud of him and his decision to change his life and follow Christ. It is
amazing because now He, his sister and his mom are all members and have plans to go to the temple as soon as they can! But funny story about the baptism....our ward mission leader is a total stud and has complete faith in us as missionaries. We showed up a few minutes early to the baptism and he asked if I could do a special musical number in Spanish. Awesome! two minutes of prep time. Then he wanted another elder to join me for a duet! AWESOME! hahaha we were laughing so hard because literally like 30 seconds before we were supposed to sing we decided the hymn. We sang "Joseph Smith's first prayer" and little did I know but the Elder I was singing with is like some famous opera singer from Norway! I was blown away! So that was a surprise!! haha but hopefully they were able to feel the Spirit. But I love seeing these children of God changing their lives and dedicating themselves to follow Christ. I am so proud of Arlando! What an amazing night and feeling that was present at his baptism! A lot of his family are still not members, so we were able to make a lot of contacts and share the message of the restoration with all those present!

I love this area. I love Arlington. In fact, I want to live here someday. But more than anything I LOVE THE WARD and the PEOPLE. I never realized how much you could truly love people without hardly knowing them. I consider us all to be family...because we are. I am also having to learn how to drive in this crazy city. So FUN! my parallel parking skills need work, but hopefully I will learn!!

I had the amazing opportunity to attend the Washington D.C. temple this week! WHAT AN AMAZING, AMAZING place. The temple never fails to amaze me and I always learn so much. But this time I went, I have never felt so much at home. It truly amazes me that no matter where we are in the world the GOSPEL
and the joy that comes from the Gospel is exactly the same. I felt an overwhelming sense of being home when I walked through the doors of the temple. What an incredible temple. It is FOR SURE one of my favorites. If you haven't been to the temple in a while.....GO. People need you and you need the peace and the happiness that comes from serving in the house of the Lord. As a missionary, the temple seriously is like a reset button, and a chance to feel God's love in such a strong manner. It is also a chance for us to make sure that we are on the right track to fulfill our divine potential as children of God. Wait a second....the temple is there for everyone to do that! Take advantage of it :) . As I was in the temple, one of the paintings caught my attention. It was a picture of the founding fathers. Apparently one of the prophets had a vision of them coming to him wanting to have their temple work done! How incredible is that! The temple work for all the founding fathers has been done! I love the temple.

The most incredible thing about the Gospel, and the thing that most people don't realize and internalize is that WE ARE LITERALLY CHILDREN OF GOD. You are literally a CHILD of GOD. He is literally our father. This fact has never impacted me as much as it has this past week. I have been praying like crazy to be able to see myself and all those with whom I serve through the eyes of God, and guess what? Its working. The gospel message and sharing it with everyone is truly so much more urgent when you realize that ALL OF US HAVE ENDLESS DIVINE POTENTIAL. We literally are here on the earth today to learn and prepare for Heaven...essentially to become like God. Because He loves us, He wants us to become like Him and even more---so thus we have trials and affliction to stretch us and shape us into the people we need to become. But because He loves us He has given us access to the ULTIMATE power and gift to make us better EVERYDAY. If we use this gift everyday we will indeed become better, overcome challenges and weaknesses and fulfill our DIVINE destiny. This power is the power of the ATONEMENT. Use it. Not just for sins, but to constantly be getting better. Because I am learning more and more that the Atonement of Jesus Christ and the power that we have because He knows us and knows what we go through......allows us to change on a daily basis for the better. It helps us accomplish all of our goals and makes us be happier and MORE LIKE GOD! I challenge you to use it...and to ALWAYS REMEMBER who you are. YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD who has been sent here to prepare to become LIKE HIM. How awesome is that?

Fabricio was just recently baptized and is 13 years old. He is severely depressed and suicidal at times. He has been abused from a young age by his mother, and told us that he feels like an ant, and a "bug waiting to be squished on a windshield." He told us that he isn't worth anything because he isn't popular and is an outcast from people at his school. This is something that a lot of people have and will struggle with. I know that I have at times felt insignificant and worthless. Fabricio kept comparing himself to Bill Gates and told us that he will never measure up. That is when the Spirit flooded the room and my companion and I opened our mouths and let the Spirit do the rest. We were able to teach him that God doesn't care about which career we have, how much money we have or power, but He DOES care that we are learning and progressing and remembering who we are and what we are truly becoming. We shared Moses' experience with God and how God kept referring to Him as His son and kept encouraging him to never forget the potential that he has as His son. I will never forget the expression on Fabricio's face. There was silence for a while and he stopped and thought for a second. Then he asked, "You mean God doesn't care about popularity, things, power or anything?" We responded yes. "You mean I am kinda like a King in training?" The Spirit was so strong and Fabricio's eyes where glowing. We responded yes. His whole attitude changed and said that he is going to start focusing on becoming a King instead of becoming popular. What an incredible thing! Maybe we should all do that.....REFOCUS. Who are we and who can we fulfill that divine potential! If you are reading this, please never forget that the whole purpose of this life is to be a GOD IN TRAINING.

Thank you so much for all of your support, love, letters, packages and EVERYTHING. I pray and think about you everyday and just want you to be happy. I am so glad I have an ETERNITY to spend with the most amazing people in the universe. I love you. Never forget who you are and the POWER you have. Don't let Satan make you think otherwise.

Stand Strong.
Hermana Weenig


Sister Riley. She WALKED to Virginia from El Salvador!!  Amazing!
My favorite little girl in the ward! She always follows us around and wants to be a missionary.
"I love to see the Temple"