Monday, August 26, 2013

Dreamers. Mission Inception

Hola mis amores! Mi familia! Mi VIDA! ay, ay, ay, Yo les quiero MUCHISIMO. Ustedes son escritos en mi corazon.
I love being a missionary. Way too much. I don't think I ever want to stop being a missionary. I was contemplating writing this email in Spanish, and then I realized that wouldn't be very nice. And I am working on having more charity....;) haha Okay that was a lame joke. I think I am getting less funny as the time goes on. But I love the mission. You hit your very highest of highs and you also hit your very lowest of lows. I literally feel like I have been thrown into the sea of refinement and I "love" having my weaknesses come out everyday. Remember that 40 day fast? Guess what! It is working! Things are becoming easier....slowly, but surely. But I know as we come to conform our will to the Lord's life is SO much better. Sometimes being in the sea of refinement is like a dream--either a nightmare or a happily ever after. Most the time it isn't so pretty. But all of life is a refining process...and we have two options. 1. enjoy it. 2. survive it. There is a difference. I have been trying to enjoy. Because today is the last day that it will ever be today again. So why not? Work hard, smile, set goals and then just do your absolute best. Be the best YOU...not the best somebody else. (soapbox, I know.)  But guess what? I LOVE THE PEOPLE here so much. SO MUCH. Like I said, I am living the dream life...and these people are dreamers....quite literally.
Finding Vanessa and Juana, the GOLDEN dreamers. So we have been doing a lot of service this week. From washing dishes, to vacuuming, to moving furniture, to making fliers, to baking, to pulling weeds. One day we were helping the new sisters in the area get into their apartment. On our drive home I had the weirdest thought pop into my head. "Go see Vanessa and Juana." I fought it for a second because we had to make other appointments and things, but it came back. "Go see Vanessa and Juana, now." So Hermana Wilcox and I went with haste. Vanessa and Juana are referrals from our recent convert Jaqueline, and have come to church for the past 3 weeks and they will be baptized mid-September probably. Anyways, we walked up to their door and we knocked, but no one answered! We were both confused. Why would be guided here? We knocked 3 times and still no answer. But, as we started to leave, Vanessa and Juana pulled up. Miracle. We began teaching. Since they have been SO prepared by the Lord and will probably be ready for baptism in a couple of weeks, they had a lot of questions for us. Lessons with them are so much fun because they are SO interested and SO in love with the Gospel and have such an desire to change and come unto Jesus Christ. I love it. It is so much fun to see their real intent. Anyways, Juana stopped the lesson and told us that she had been praying to know what Church she should join and then she said that God gave her the answer through a dream...
Dream One (Juana, the mom of Vanessa): There were 3 windows that were all dirty and all splattered with mud. Juana was standing in the mist of the three windows. Then Jesus Christ came to her and said, "It is time to be clean, child. Come unto me and wash your dirty windows."
As you can image my mouth dropped open. That sounds like baptism. She told us that she thought the same. She knows that this Gospel is the same gospel established by Jesus Christ when he was here.
Vanessa continued to tell us that earlier in the day she had prayed for God to send her messengers from the Church she was supposed to join. That day, we showed up at her door. AMAZING. Right? God works in the most mysterious ways, and I am seeing it more and more on my mission everyday that His ways are NOT our ways...they are SO much better. :) We got to church the next Sunday and Vanessa and Juana showed up with some members in the ward. They were so happy to be there. Vanessa ran up to us and was like "I had a dream! You know how you told me to pray? I got my answer!" Listen to this...
Dream Two (Vanessa): She was standing by the shore of a pool of water and she kept hearing a voice that said "You aren't ready yet to come into my kingdom. Now is the time to prepare, because the time is short in when I will be coming again." She then saw Jesus Christ inviting her into the pool of water, her friends all around her turned away, but she took a step and then woke up.
WOAH!!!!! Another baptism dream! That is incredible. The Lord works in amazing ways, and Juana and Vanessa are flying in their progression! They are reading the Book of Mormon like its the latest Harry Potter and have a list of questions for us every time we come. I LOVE teaching them. Dear Satan, STAY AWAY!!!
New strategy for finding Hispanics: follow the ice cream man. Yes, you might think it is just our stomachs wanting ice cream. WRONG! There is this old man who travels around this apartment complex and sells Mexican ice cream. When he rings his little bells Hispanics come FLYING out of the apartment! It works like a charm...EVERY time. The great thing about this strategy is that, not only do I know all of the ice cream flavors by heart and that the ice cream man will be baptized one day, but when the Hispanics come flying out for their ice cream they are SO happy and are ready to sit down and relax. Perfect time to teach the gospel as they sit there licking their ice cream and hearing about how they can be happy now and FOREVER. Classic. I love it. Through following the ice cream truck man we found 4 new people to teach and that want to come to church. AWESOME!!!
I LOVE BEING ON A BIKE! Remember how I used to be one of those people who would always get mad at bikers? Gone are the days! I now understand how difficult it is for the poor little bikers! Man, it has been so fun being sore. We can't even sit down to study at times. It is hilarious. It is like a process to see if we can cause pain to each other because we both are hurting! It is amazing though. I love being outside. Sweating and feeling the wind in my hair. I FEEL like a missionary now. Also, my companion and I are in training for mastering the skill of riding bikes with skirts. Tis a feat in of itself. We literally went from driving a 2013 Subaru with Bluetooth connection and all... to an elder's bike. Riches to rags. Perfect. Another piece of humble pie, but it is DELICIOUS. I love it so much, and think I will get into biking someday when I have time.
Tender mercies and miracles. We have been working a lot with a convert to the church who has also been preparing to go through the temple to receive her endowment. Her name is Giovanna Cruz. She is such an amazing lady, and this week she received her endowment!! WOW!!!! We were so excited for her! On the day that she got her endowment we went by to congratulate her...but much to my surprise there stood one of my cousins!!! WHAT!!!! I WAS IN SHOCK! I stared at her for like 10 minutes with my mouth wide open! Laura and Matt! WOAH! What a treat that was to see them!! It was the coolest thing in the world to see them. I had a hard time talking in English! haha good thing they both speak Spanish!  But then we found out that Matt was the missionary who BAPTIZED Giovanna!! How cool is that? The world is so small....but we are all connected to each other! That blew my mind. It was fun to sit down to a lesson with them, and the Spirit was so strong as we talked about family and I was reminded how lucky we are to have our families forever. What amazing people and a moment I will never forget. We all have our own mountains to climb, but with the help of the Lord---He ALWAYS sends some tender mercy to help us. We might not always see it, but if we turn to Him, He will lift us. But it takes us turning to Him first. The Lord is in the DETAILS of our lives. What are the chances that I am working with a woman who was baptized by family years ago? That is pretty cool.
Hermana Wilcox and I survived the transfer! WAHOO! We will be working together in the same area for the next 6 weeks as I get to finish training her! She is awesome! She truly has become a great friend and working companion. I am so happy I get her for another 6 weeks! I learn so much from her great example and know that we will be friends for life. I love her!! :)
I love it here! The temperature has been amazing and I love this place. Let's move here someday, alright?
Thanks so much to everyone for your prayers and your love and your support. I love you all so much and pray for you always.
Shout out!! Tyler, my amazing brother! I am so sad I couldn't be there for your farewell, but everyone tells me that you TORE IT UP! (not surprising!) I love you so much and know that you will be an excellent missionary! Enjoy yourself for this last week or so, and get ready for the best ride of your life. :) I love you so much and am so proud of your decision to come run away to become like God for 2 years, but also to serve Him with EVERYTHING you've got. Don't look back. I am cheering you on.

Stand strong.
Hermana Weenig
Matt and Laura and I :)
 Giovanna, her daughter, my beautiful cousin Laura, my amazing companion and I after Giovanna received her endowment.
Mount Vernon South District! These are the 8 missionaries that were in my district last transfer! I will miss them! We now have 10 in our ward! AMAZING

Monday, August 19, 2013

Bugs Bring Blessings

Hooooola Familia!! Les amo tanto...pero TANTO TANTO!! Como a ido ustedes?!
SHOUT OUT: HAYDEN KARL WEENIG!!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! I LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!! I can't believe you are 15! I consider it an honor to know you, and to even call you my brother! I love you, man! I hope it was the greatest day ever!
I. love. being. a. missionary. This week I have really learned that life isn't a competition, but more of a 3-legged race with God. He is the only one that matters. Seriously, though. If we are good with Him and working are our hearts out to give of ourselves to build up his kingdom, then what else matters!?! I love the people. I love the gospel. I love the humidity. I love my family. I love Spanish. I love a lot of things apparently, because this list is getting longer. But guess what? I also love creepy, nasty, gross, huge bugs too. WHAT?! Did I just say that? No. I didn't. Wait, yes I did. Because I do. Story time you say? well I think so.
It was any other ordinary day. (joke. Those don't exist as a missionary.) My companion and I had just finished our workout and to our surprise there was a HUGE, gross, creepy bug that only exists in nightmares, on our ceiling. Yes. In our house that JUST got sprayed. Delicious. So what did we both do? Well, we screamed. Then we cried. And I did a little girl dance of fright. And then we kept pointing at each other to kill it. Neither one of us dared. After about 15 minutes of screaming and crying and yelling at the other to kill the bug we decided that it would leave eventually (smart, right?). So we got ready and then sat down for study. But the bug remained (of course, it was over MY study desk. I had the thought that it would probably fall right on top of me, but it didn't.) We have been studying faith and how faith can make miracles happen, and make hard things in our lives become easier. After we finished our studies the bug, in its slithering-like fashion, remained. We decided to pray. Yes, we did. We prayed to have strength and faith (ironic that we were studying that topic) to either kill the bug or find someone quickly outside to help us kill the critter. After we said "Amen" we both heard footsteps outside. We ran. That is when we met Mierna from Peru. We asked her if she could come kill a bug for us. She said "Claro que si" which means of course. We were relived. Then she went to grab her son after she tried to reach the bug but couldn't. My companion and I looked at each other...GOLDEN INVESTIGATOR was written over both our eyes. God had literally send us an Hispanic woman to kill this creepy bug for us, but more than that she would now have the opportunity to hear the Gospel! Anyways, her son killed the bug and all was well. We thanked her over and over again, and then told us who we are. She wanted to know more. So we set up an appointment. To make a long story even longer, we went to her house for the first lesson. The Restoration was MUSIC to her ears. It turns out that Mierna moved here a couple of weeks ago and had gone to the LDS church in Peru and wanted to know more, but never had the chance to meet with the missionaries. After we talked about Joseph Smith and after she bombarded us with questions, she decided to be baptized. She says that she has wanted to get baptized for a LONG time. She will be baptized on the 14th of September! Isn't that CRAZY!!???!!! We then taught her to pray and she prayed the most sincere prayer I have ever heard. She literally talked with Heavenly Father. It was amazing. She started crying. The Spirit sent the chills up my back and I couldn't even talk. She told us "I feel happy again." Heavenly Father works in interesting ways. But I have learned when we are willing to follow what He asks us to do, even though we might have any idea as to WHY we are doing it, He sends miracles our way. Who knew that bugs would change lives?! Apparently He did.
My favorite part about being a missionary is watching all your plans fall through and then realizing that God had something much better planned in the first place. Hm....that sounds a lot like life, now, doesn't it? Anyways, it has been something really special for my companion and I to see God work in the most interesting ways--in our personal lives, but mostly with the lives of the people that we are teaching. One night our lesson fell through. Then our back-up fell through. Then our back-up to our back-up fell through. We got down to "Plan W" I think...but that was when the amazing things started to happen. We basically decided that we knew that there was someone we were supposed to meet, but didn't know where. So we trusted in the Lord and asked us to lead us there. And He did. We had 15 minutes before 9:00 and we were determined to teach someone. But we looked around and no one was in sight! So, we said a little prayer! After we had the feeling to walk for a couple seconds to the left. Weird right? No. In our path right at that time was one of our investigators Joel just getting back from work! We had been looking for him, and we finally found him!! HURRAY! Isn't that crazy!? We were able to teach him a lesson, and help him through a trial that he is facing right now. I love this work.
So transfers are this week. I am not sure where I am headed, but it looks like I will be staying here and training again! I AM SO EXCITED!!! But I will be able to let you know on Friday if I am moved. But...get this! We are going to be on bikes! I can't even wait. It is going to be a total blast. Bikes=perfect. Helmet hair=even better. Bikes + skirts=uh-oh. Don't really know what I am going to do about that, but I am sure that we will figure it out. :) enjoying the journey, right?
So it has been a week of singing! Once Hispanics figure out that you can carry a tune...there is no going back! Elder Wilson is our district leader and he is headed home this week. But he is like 27 and has a master's degree in vocal performance...OPERA! Since he is going home, everyone and their dog has been asking him to sing and he said that he wanted to do a we did---a Spanish opera duet! It was an beautiful song about the Book of Mormon it is called "Yo no lo Vi, pero crei". It was a lot of fun doing it! We sang in our ward and then sang at a fireside for the whole mission and the recent converts! Elder Wilson has an incredible voice and I told him that my family would be so proud that I was singing opera again......shout out to Grandpa Weenig!! :) hahaha I couldn't even keep up with his skills, but that is okay. The point was, was that I will have a bruise on my cheek from all the besitos I got. For some reason they thought I was some girl from the show "sopranos"? haha what is that? anyways, it was a blast.
This area is on FIRE. The gospel doctrine class now takes up THREE entire classrooms! can you believe it!!??! It makes me soooooooo happy! Vannessa and her mom come every week now! They are the friends of Jackie who just got baptized! We are starting to teach them, and I know that they will be baptized soon! There is such a cool vibe in the ward. Everyone is crazy about doing missionary work! I hope your ward has caught the fire like this one has! They are amazing!
Today I got to "The Washington D.C. Mall" to see all the amazing monuments. What a joy! I am such a nerd and was SO excited to see all of it. There wasn't a lot of people, but it was really amazing to see and remember who lucky we are to be Americans. But even more than that. This time that I was in D.C. I realized something. The freedom of this country made the restoration of the Gospel of Jesus Christ possible. Every monument had a different meaning to me. I am free to be here on a mission and help others come unto Christ because of this amazing country and because of the warriors and leaders that lead this country to freedom. And yes, we have our down sides...but overall we live in an INCREDIBLE place. We tried to knock the white house but some huge security guy wearing black stopped us. There goes my "converting Obama" dream out of the window. Ah, man. Maybe in the next life. :) But really. We are so lucky to live in the country that we live. The Washington monument is under construction....kind of life my life right now. and all of our lives, right?
Anyways, I love you all so much, and I am always praying for you and cheering you on. If ever you are down and feel like you don't know what is in store for you....STOP. God has a much better plan for you. STOP TRYING TO CONTROL EVERYTHING. Let God be in control. When you have questions about your life and where you are going.....ask Him. He WILL lead you to become and put you through trials and let you have successes and failures SO THAT you can become what you are meant to become. Life is never easy, but it is always worth it---if we let us REFINE us. Let God refine you and make you into everything you are meant to become.
I love you all so much. Thanks for all the support and love you send to me. I don't get much time to email! But I would love to hear from you and write you back! Please send me your address via email and I will try to get a letter off ASAP. I love you and hope you know that your Heavenly Father loves you. Keep up the good work, and NEVER EVER EVER give up.
Hermana Weenig

This is a picture of the creepy, amazing bug. Yes, it was gross.
 This photo explains my love for Hispanic apartment complexes, rain and being a missionary. :)

Family! You came to see Abe Lincoln with me!!

 Lincoln memorial

Washington monument

The white house. No, we couldn't knock the door of Obama unfortunately. :)

WWII memorial

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

This Place is On Fire!

I love love love love love being a missionary. This place is on fire. Literally. A raging fire of mountain fires!!!! Like I don't even know what to do with myself. We have scheduled appointments booked out all day all the way till THIS COMING SATURDAY!!! Can you believe it? Besides being super stressed and trying to finish training Sister Wilcox before the transfer, LIFE IS GREAT! The Lord has literally been blessing us so much and has been helping us to grow and become into the women and missionaries that we need to be.  I have been studying faith a lot...and am starting to see first hand the power that faith actually has. Really, truly NOTHING is impossible if you have faith and if you are willing to act upon that faith. I wanted to first give a shout out to everyone who sent me stuff for my birthday! I actually kind of forgot that it was even my birthday...and then--mail! THANK YOU!!! Thanks for supporting me and making it such a special day. I consider you to be the COOLEST family and friends in the world! I hope someday I will be as magnificent as all of you are. Thank you for your service and kindness.
But, guess what?! JACQUELINE JIMMENEZ IS NOW BAPTIZED AND CONFIRMED A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH!!!! I seriously could not ask for a better birthday present than that!!! Jacqueline and her husband where a referral from the ward members. When we started teaching her, I thought that her husband would get baptized before she would. But, she felt the Spirit. She felt the love from the ward. She felt wanted. and she KNOWS that the Gospel is the only way that we can truly be happy in our lives. Now, she is baptized, and her husband will probably be there in the water in a couple of weeks (he has got to give up the smokes first). But we were so excited for them! The day of Jackie's baptism was probably the craziest day of my life! We decided to reactive the Rojas family by taking them out on splits with us and it has
Elder Ross (who baptized Jacqueline), Jacqueline and her family and Sister Wilcox!
worked! They are now faithful members and came to the baptism on Saturday! What joy it was to see them there! When we were asking Jackie who she would like to baptize her, she asked me to do it....hahahaha so, we had to review the lesson about the proper priesthood authority. So instead of baptizing her, she asked me to speak about Baptism. I told a story about a friend and I went and got really gross and muddy and wanted to be clean again so we jumped in a spring lake. The feeling of cleanliness is incredible, and I am so So SO SO happy that Jackie got to experience that first hand, but SPIRITUALLY...which is like 10 times cooler anyways. And guess what? We all get to do that every week during Sacrament...that is why it is so important to go to church! Anyways we helped Jackie get all ready for her baptism and walked her into the dressing room before going into the font. She told us that she was a little nervous but excited. We prayed. Then we watched her go under the water and start her life over again. SHE BECAME NEW. SHE STARTED A NEW LIFE. And when she came back up from the water she was literally glowing. She was so happy. I was standing there at the font stairs and I was literally in such a warm spiritual place and in a daze of happiness (good thing I didn't fall into the font!) that I didn't realize that I didn't have a towel for her. Oops. Nice going Sister Weenig, golden star for you! So we used other dry baptismal clothes....whoops! After she was changed and all she had asked my companion and I to sing. We had prepared the song "Mas cerca Dios De Ti" (Nearer my God to Thee) a'capella with harmonies (SHOUT OUT TO NOTEWORTHY!) And while we were singing Jackie started crying (either because it was really bad or that someone had just cut onions). Then Jackie bore her testimony. POWERFUL. I will never forget it. She said that this will change her and her family forever. She kept thanking us, but we didn't do anything. She said that she knows for a fact that the Gospel is true and that she knows that she is a daughter of God. I couldn't stop smiling. Actually, I was smiling so much my cheeks almost died of muscle strain. Her husband and two little kids where there. As I looked at them something struck me. I looked over and saw all of them dressed in white, entering the temple to be sealed for eternity. I KNOW that they will. And I hope I am around on my mission still to see it all happen! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE DAY! Jackie has paved the way for her entire family! and I am so excited for her!
Sacrament meeting of amazing. and stress. Story time. 4 of our investigators came to church yesterday and 5 less actives that we have been working with came to church. WHAT?! can you even believe it!? We didn't even know who to sit by, there is only two of us! The ward was so kind and open to our investigators and took them right under their wing! Jackie was confirmed a member of the church and then right after the meeting introduced us to two of her friends that want to hear the missionaries and be baptized!!!! WOW!!!! I couldn't even believe it! But what was even more amazing is that all of them but one stayed for ALL THREE hours of church! It was so much fun!!! Being a missionary, church is really stressful---especially when you have investigators coming. Coordinating rides for them, making sure someone of their same age, country and gender is there to greet them, sit by them and make sure that they are understanding and enjoying there experience at church. No big isn't like there whole salvation is on the line or anything.....ha ha. Anyways what an amazing week! Apparently our zone had 25 people at church on Sunday and our zone leaders almost past out!
This 40 days of fasting is killer, but a its like a chocolate covered onion. It is literally refining everything that I am horrible at out of my life but it isn't exactly fun. I am craving to develop more Christ like attributes. I have discovered that the promise in Ether 12 that if we "come unto Christ, He will show you your weakness" is really true. and sometimes the truth ain't pretty. But I know I invited all of you to try it as well and want to invite you again! Things that have always been so hard are getting a little easier every single day! Prayer really does work and Heavenly Father really will help us make ALL of our weaknesses become strengths.
Member missionary work is the greatest thing that happened to missionaries. and missionary work. If you are a member of the church and you are reading this---guess what? You are a full time missionary. WE NEED YOU! We have been working hard to get members present with us for every lesson and for every time that we even go out and tract or whatever it is, and it makes ALL the difference!!! Go help the missionaries! They need you!! :) I am falling more and more in love with the people here, especially the members. Working with them makes lessons so much more powerful and gives the investigators a chance to connect on a deep level with someone other than 2 gringas!
Miracles all over the place! Birthday miracles. They happen. Especially when you forget it is your birthday. And I seriously don't even think I deserve the amazing day that I got. But I have decided and know that got really is so aware of us and wants us to feel loved and special....even on our birthdays. So I woke up to my wonderful companion who had put up a birthday sign and cupcakes. What. My favorite---red velvet nonetheless. (she is the coolest companion ever.) Then we got a call from the mission president. He sang happy birthday to me! How nice! And then--the kicker. He was like you have something amazing awaiting you in the office, "get in here now before it is all gone!" So we drove to the office! There stood a fruit
bouquet sent from my dearest friend Candice Ann Clawson and her family! It was so delicious! Since our mail has been down for a couple of weeks there was also other packages from my wonderful family and letters from friends! I can't thank you all enough. It made the day super special. But then, guess what? I was driving us home and I got lost. I look like 398409384039 wrong turns and started to get really frustrated with the situation. We had a lesson set up to go over and the knock the door of one of our member's friends and we were late! But I have learned something, the Lord has timing for everything. If we had been on time, we would not have found Juan! Juan is an investigator we have been searching for forever and because we came when we did we were able to catch him out walking on the street! We got to teach him a lesson and now he is committed to baptism! WA HOO!! Miracle. Then we rushed down to Danilo's house. His little son's Leo's birthday was on the 7th as well so be brought him cupcakes and got to teach his dad.They literally have nothing. His dad had nothing to give him on his birthday and I felt horrible. But when he saw the cupcakes we brought him his little face lit up. Miracle. Then we rushed over to Stella, Jorge and Julia's house to teach them a quick lesson before we had to head out to Jackie's baptismal interview. We taught them the power of prayer. They have changed so much and they are reading the scriptures and wanting to know more. They are an amazing family. I can't wait to see them get baptized. So we extended a baptismal date to them for the 7th of September....and....THEY ACCEPTED!!! We were bouncing off the walls! Then, if that wasn't enough, they went to the back room and pulled out a tres leches cake for my birthday! THEY ARE THE GREATEST PEOPLE EVER! They even had a happy birthday sign on it. They told us the reason that they did it, was because they know that we are servants of the Lord and "don't ever get tocelebrate birthdays." It meant the world to me. As we ate cake, I thought about them and their service that they had given to a total stranger. Do we ever stop to serve the strangers in our life? That made such a HUGE impact on me. On a day that was just a regular day of work, they had made it so special and changed my whole day. I am so grateful for them and their example! The Lord watches out for His missionaries. Then we rushed to the church for Jackie's baptismal interview and she passed with flying colors!! Man, it was a great day. But actually it is just the greatest work in the world. Serving the Lord is the greatest thing in the world and I have never been so happy in my entire life. :)
Thanks for all your support and love. I love you so much and pray for you always. Never forget that faith can move mountains. (Alma 32:21). Set your goals high, and then rely on the Lord to help you achieve them! He will. I know He will. He has carried me. He will carry you. He is still carrying me, and I can't do this without Him.
Thanks again for everything!

Love, your biggest fan,
Hermana Weenig

 For p-day we went to the Potomac river for a gaunt and got to see all the cool docks and stuff just right across from Washington D.C.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Becoming a Soldier!

I love being a missionary. I love training and white-washing. More than I love anything else. I am totally lost in the work and I am a little worried that I won't get out ever. Dream, thoughts, everything is surrounded in how I can become the missionary that the Lord needs me to be. But its MORE than that. Its how I can become the woman that the Lord needs me to be. Literally I feel like I am in the "furnace of affliction" and in the "refiners fire". But, even though there are some days that I just want to give up, something keeps me going. And that is the VISION of what I can become when I make it through this. Note to all future missionaries: Missions are not easy, but nothing in life that is worth it is easy---you will be pushed and refined to a point that you didn't know possible--when life gets to rough to stand, I challenge you to KNEEL and PRAY like crazy until you feel the strength you need to carry on. I am doing that A LOT. Probably a lot more than a lot, and yes, I probably have bruises from every time I hit my knees. But it works. It gives me more strength and more happiness than I could ever know. That is my challenge to you. When was the last time you REALLY prayed? When you knelt down and had a conversation with your Father in Heaven. Tell Him everything. I have learned that I can't do anything without His help. I really can't, and none of us can.
There is something telling me that this is my time to run away and become like God. So here I am. The path is not easy, but I know for a fact that I am being refined. I am amazed at how it seems to me that God puts investigators, companions and others into our lives that are struggling with the same weaknesses we struggle with. When you teach something you have to search it out and then LIVE the principle....and that has caused me to rage an ALL OUT WAR AGAINST SATAN. He will not win. And I am going to become the woman, mother and missionary that I was meant to be. With the help of God and with a clear VISION and GOAL and PLAN and ACCOUNTABILITY...I will do it. I am excited. I can see what I want to be...but sometimes it feels like I am drowning in water with all the things I need to work on!
Our mission is starting a 40 day we can kill ourselves from no food or water...hahaha NO! Actually, we are starting a 40 day fast from the natural man. And I invite all who are reading this email to join the bandwagon and decide to fast from the natural man for 40 days....and hopefully by the end of that forty days it will be part of you not to be involved in bad behaviors, thoughts, actions or habits. Our mission president is really stressing the importance of "becoming soldiers" in the army of God. He says that this is the most obedient he has ever seen our mission, but now he says that he received revelation that Satan is about to attack and that we, as God's army, need to be STRONG in WHO we are. The fast includes this: Start with an actual fast and wrestle with the Lord to figure out what exactly your weaknesses are. Write them down. Then pray every morning and night with the list in front of you asking for help and living the temptation and weaknesses in your head during your prayer and ask for help to never do them again. Then, at night report to the Lord how you have become a better person and a more consecrated servant in His hands. I started my fast today. Man, it was the hardest thing ever to write down all the things that I am horrible at. It was like putting salt in a wound. But, I know that this fight with the natural man and overcoming my weaknesses, habits, and becoming more like our Savior Jesus Christ will allow me to become the woman, mom and person that I am meant to be here on the earth and on to the eternities. So, I am giving up EVERYTHING that "pokes at the Spirit" and deciding to totally let God be in control. I have decided that sometimes I think I am smarter than God and that I don't need His help and that I can do it on my own. Boy, I am wrong.  When we let God take control of our lives and lead us and shape us into the people we were meant to become, life is SO much happier and so much more wonderful. Why waste time not becoming.
Miracles are happening all around and I don't even have time to write 1/1,00000th of them. But I will tell you that my testimony of the fast increased by like 290380 % this past Sunday. The Casteneda family. They are from Mexico and are true and true "tamale" Mexicans. We work a lot with the recent convert mother of the family. She was a stalwart drunk and had a rough past. But now, because of the Gospel she is going strong. Her husband and her two sons have fallen away from the church and are no longer active, even after being sealed together in the temple. We went to visit her the other day and she broke down in tears. She felt shame, guilt and embarrassment that her own husband and children would not come to church with her. She said that it pulls at her heart and makes her cry. We asked her if we could join her in a fast to have her sons and husband come back to church someday and that they will have the desire to come. She gave the most powerful and sincere prayer that I have ever heard to begin a fast. She pleaded that her son and husband would have the desire to change and that they would be able to be united in the Celestial Kingdom today together. It was a really long prayer but the Spirit was so strong in that room I thought I was going to faint. Anyways, we started the fast....I thought to myself, well, they will be reactivated by the end of the month for sure. Little did I know the power of that women's faith. Her boys and her husband hadn't come to church in like 25 years. Yesterday, at church, my companion and I were greeting our investigators and members when my heart jumped out of my chest (I am pretty sure I looked pale and also stopped breathing) but I saw the ENTIRE Casteneda family walk in. My jaw dropped and I couldn't find the words that I needed to speak. God blessed that the father, their sons and their son's sons to come to church. And then they stayed for the full 3 hours!!! can you believe that? As they walked in the mom pulled me aside with tears in her eyes and said "Sister Weenig, thank you. Every member of my family is here. It is a miracle from God." I told her that it wasn't me that she needed to thank, but it was God. After the day was over, we ended our fast. More grateful and happy and praising the Lord than we have ever been in our whole lives. The mom just kept saying over and over again. "I have never been so happy in my life." Fasting works. I used to just think it was a thing that was cool to do once a month. Nope. It is one of the most powerful tools we have. USE IT. :)
Speaking of sacrament meeting....I love Hispanics. It always goes over like 30 minutes. This time it went over like 35 minutes. There was a line from the moment testimonies started!!!! They had to tell people to stop coming up. This ward is on FIRE! I love it so much, and they are such a strength to me. One lady didn't speak Spanish, and there was this guy that was trying to translate for her. She started talking about some pretty weird stuff and that translator just started making up stuff that wasn't what she was saying. I was dying laughing. I love this ward.
Power of laughing. Sometimes in life doors get slammed in your face. (literally or metaphorically). In my case literally. Sometimes the SAME door gets slammed in your face three different times. and sometimes people call you the "weird Mormons" when you don't even know them. Sometimes you get people who let their dogs bite your legs till they bleed while you teach the restoration to them and invite them to baptism (I have scars! Also my companion ran half way down the complex about to scream about the wretched dog that was attacking us).  And sometimes (when you are lucky) you get people that look at you and tell you that we are "not for me." I always ask myself.....WHAT IF WE WERE SELLING GIRLS SCOUT COOKIES?! Then they for sure missed out. But actually, they missed out on a lot more than just that. They missed out on their salvation. They will remember us someday hopefully.Then we are given the decision to choose. To cry or to laugh. I have learned from my companion that it is much better to laugh. It is FUN to laugh! Especially while doing missionary work. When life gets rough. Laugh.  My companion and I have been praying to find joy in everything and especially to be able to have the talent of good humor. So when something unexpected happens we choose to smile or laugh. Those are the only two options. No frustration or rage. Just laughter. And my companion has the best laugh ever. Also, confession. We may or may not BLAST the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in the car. I have been sung to tears at least 3 times.
So, apparently our numbers are the highest in the mission or something. I don't know. But I don't really care. But now we are speaking in front of the entire mission (the Spanish speakers)...thanks? hahaha No, we are really excited! The Lord has literally carried us to find the people that are ready for the Gospel. Both of us are struggling with different things, but the Lord really does help us to become strong enough to overcome them all! It is kind of fun battling the things that are really hard for us. Did I tell you that I am waging an "ALL OUT WAR AGAINST SATAN!!!" ? But the Lord literally is carrying us. The meeting is tomorrow...have we had time to prepare? Um, No. So that is what we will be doing for p-day today! Preparing a speech! YES! my favorite thing. Hahahaha
Anyways amazing things have been happening! Jackie gets baptized THIS Saturday! That is about the best birthday present a girl could ever ask for! And she is SOOOOOOO ready. We had a lesson about tithing the other night with her and the Pena family. I was really worried about the lesson, because Jackie literally lives paycheck to paycheck. They have NOTHING. So teaching tithing really scary. She began to have a lot of doubts during the lesson and that is when our member that we brought to the lesson started telling her conversion story. She found out that tithing was true when she paid it while having nothing, and trying to buy things for her wedding. She was able to get all she needed and more through paying tithing. AMAZING. After the lesson Jackie prayed one of the most sincere prayers I have ever heard. She asked God to forgive her for being so selfish and for robbing Him for so long. She decided from that point on---NO MATTER WHAT--to pay her tithing. I AM SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO EXCITED for her to be baptized. I am literally jumping off the walls.
Thanks so much for all of your support, love and prayers. I pray for you all the time. I am trying to become a more consecrated servant of the Lord so I would love to hear your testimonies, favorite talks, or spiritual experiences that you have. I love you, and I am just trying to be more and more focused on this great work. Please remember who you are and that you can become what you were meant to become through Jesus Christ.
Love, your biggest fan,
Hermana Weenig
P-day emailing at the library