Monday, September 30, 2013

Dreamers Make Dreams Come True

FAMILIA! Como ha ido? Les amo tanto. Y estoy muy agredecido que yo tengo ustedes para siempre jamas. :)
Shout-out: HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my beautiful and favorite sister Shaylie! I love you so much and hope that today is the best day deserve it. You will forever be my best friend and sis. I love you!
I love being a missionary. A WEEK OF MIRACLES! and I only get so much time to write. The Lord has prepared so many people to hear the Gospel. They are out there. And they are ready, we have just got to find them. They may be closer than we all think...
Miracle: JUANA HUERTA (from Peru). SHE WAS BAPTIZED and CONFIRMED THIS PAST WEEKEND!!!!! WA HOOO!!!! I am the HAPPIEST girl on the face of the earth. :) Seriously, though. I couldn't be more happy for Juana. She is finally free of all the sin, guilt and has now "entered the gate" and is walking in Christ's path. This was the first convert that I have had the chance to find, teach from beginning to end and baptize. Of course it wasn't us doing any of it. It was the Holy Ghost, and the fact that Juana had been carefully prepared by the Lord.   She was a referral from our other recent convert Jacqueline! AMAZING! Listen to this! Last week, remember how I told you that she said that she didn't want to get baptized anymore, but then called us last Monday saying that she had stayed up all night reading the Book of Mormon and then decided that she wanted to get baptized!?! Well, we went over there that night and she was a totally changed woman. She had read all the way from 1 Nephi to Alma 14! I was literally in shock!! When we got there we took Hna. Osorio (an amazing member) with us and Juana taught us all about the Book of Mormon. She even knew that Amulek was the prophet after Alma! She is DRINKING everything about the Book of Mormon up. She then told us that she had a dream. JUANA IS A DREAMER, seriously it is an amazing gift she has. But she had a dream after reading the Book of Mormon that her mom appeared to her. Her mom has been dead for about 3 years now. But she had a dream her mom came to her and told her, "Juana you must get baptized now, it is harder to be baptized after you die." Juana then told us that her mom was pleading with Juana to be baptized for her. Juana explained she didn't know what to do. So, when we got there, she asked "Your church doesn't do baptisms for the dead by chance, do they?" I was in shock. My jaw dropped open. We had never told her about the temple, baptisms for the dead, yet she wanted to do the work for her mother. AMAZING! We explained to her that she will have the opportunity to enter the temple to be baptized for her mother after she is baptized. She almost jumped out of her seat with excitement! Isn't that an incredible story? The spirit was so strong! I almost felt as if her mother was with us.
Everyday for the past week we have gone to Juana's with different members, teaching her, and preparing her for baptism. Juana has had a very, very rough life. She immigrated from Peru (on foot) and has gone through 3 marriages, has no job and no money. When we first started teaching her, she told us that she was a "Die-hard Catholic" and that she would NEVER change. She always told us that she was a lost case and was too down in sin to ever change. But the from the moment I saw Juana, I envisioned her in white. I envisioned her with a smile on her face, happy and free from sin. My companion and I constantly looked at Juana for what she could be...and I think that is what made the difference. she went from STRONGLY Catholic to being baptized in just over one month. I learned that there is truly power in looking and seeing people for what they can become. Anyways, we decided to do a lesson on the Atonement, because Juana carries a lot of guilt on her shoulders and thought God would never forgive her or love her again. So we thought up a plan! We decided to invite the Elders to come do a lesson on the atonement. Game plan: Donuts. We also invited the Pena family from the ward. The donuts represented the Atonement of Christ. One of the Elders asked each of us if we wanted a donut. It didn't matter if we said no, or yes. (like the atonement, we can choose to accept it or reject it, either way its already been paid for) Elder Olivio (our district leader from Columbia) did 15 push ups per each person so that they could have their donut, representing Jesus Christ's infinite atonement. He ended up doing like 300 push ups, literally dying and out of breath by the end. Juana was shocked. The Spirit pierced the room, and Juana's eyes fill with tears as she watched Elder Olivio suffer so she could have her donut. She then looked at one of the Elders (Elder Phillips) and said "I have seen you before".  She then told us another dream that she had the night prior...She dreamt that she was on a boat with one of her grandchildren. She came to a pool of water (sounds like a baptismal font) and she was a little nervous to get out. But, in her dream Elder Phillips was the one welcoming her into the pool of water. She was hesitant, but went in. WOW! Another dream of baptism! Juana was so ready! Friday night she had her final interview with President Burton....and she PASSED WITH FLYING COLORS!
The baptism was held on Saturday at 4:00 p.m. She brought her 18 year old daughter Christina, who has been curious about the church as well. She looked so beautiful! She wore a new white skirt she bought and kept telling us how excited she was to follow Jesus Christ and change her life and be born again, free of sin. She asked me to speak to her on the Holy Ghost at her baptism. It was so fun talking to Juana in front of the ward, telling her about finding the peace and the comfort that comes from having the Spirit with us if we live right. My companion spoke on baptism! First talk in Spanish, and she rocked it! Anyways, we had asked Hno. Panteleon (from Guatemala) to perform the baptism, because he just recently received the priesthood. He was super nervous! But he did it anyways. Well, story goes like this....Juana was actually dunked 3 different times! We forgot to tell her to bend her knees! oops! I was dying laughing. Since Hno. Panteleon was a first timer, it took a few times on the prayer as well to finally get her baptized! Nonetheless, she was baptized by the third time! The Spirit flooded the room and I was smiling so big. I don't think I have ever smiled so big in my life. She looked so happy, clean and new! I love her so much. And am so happy for her. After, she joked around, saying "I needed 3 baptisms! But now I am clean!!" We just laughed and affirmed--what a wonderful woman. She shared her testimony and said she felt free and clean, "like all the evil had left her body." She then stayed to watch relief society broadcast! She has so many friends in the ward, and I wouldn't be surprised if she was called as relief society president soon! She is quite the social butterfly! She got the Gift of the Holy Ghost yesterday....after much stress on part of us! She said she needed a ride so we were calling all morning for someone to give her a ride, and when the ride got there...she was no where to be found! But when we got to church, there she was....smiling right at us, anxious to receive the Gift, and said "Hermanas! I took the bus!" I just laughed. It's either laugh or cry, right? I am so happy to see Juana so happy. Her life has totally changed. Her daughter told us that her mom is so much happier and free. Christina, the daughter, now wants us to teach her so she can make the same changes as her mother. WOW!
Christina and Juana invited us to dinner last night (AMAZING PERUVIAN FOOD!) and we celebrated her conversion. Juana came out of a box! She was so funny! I have never laughed so hard in my life. I was dying. Her daughter doused her face in Tres Leches cake...Juana just smiled! What a gem! She told us because she has started a new life following Jesus Christ that she can finally be herself again. She is so happy! She also told us we need to make sure to share the same message that we shared with her to they can experience the same joy. WOW.
Reina Reyes. Amazing woman, amazing story. She too, came from El Salvador on foot when she was 24. Her story about going days without food and giving up everything so she could raise her children in America is amazing.  She is so ready to be baptized, but we are just working on her to come to church more often! We have been doing a lot of manual service for her like organizing, cleaning and helping her get her life in order. So she invited us over for El Salvadorian Papusas! DELICIOUS! But what was even more amazing than the papusas, is what happened after. We taught her about living prophets, and how Thomas S. Monson is leading and guiding Jesus Christ's church on the earth today. We talked about Moses, and Noah and others who guided the church in the olden days. Then we pulled out a picture of Thomas S. Monson. She went silent and a little pale. She took the picture from my hands and stared at it for 5 minutes in silence. She said, "I have seen this man before, I know him." The spirit flooded the room and filled her heart. She too is a dreamer, she said that she might have seen him in a dream. We left her a talk to read and invited her to watch conference with us. She agreed. She says she wants to be baptized soon, she just needs to read the rest of the Book of Mormon (which she does daily!). WOW!
Singing is the secret weapon. There is this trailer park that is 100% Mexican. No English. No nada. My companion and I walk every other day (we share a car with the Elders, because our bikes have been stolen). We were walking and street-contacting in the trailer parks one night, and this man ran up to us (very out-of-the-ordinary). He said "Sisters, Sisters! You are the ones that always sing to the children!" My companion and I looked at each other in confusion. He continued to tell us that we are the angels that always sang to the children that live near his home. He explained that he had waited, and waited for us to come back, but we never did. It must of have been some other sisters years ago that would come and sing to the children. We were super interested in what he was saying, and he told us that he wants us to teach him so that he can change and be a better man. He told us to follow him and he would show us where all of the children play. He was so excited to hear us sing! (I have no idea how he knew that we sang). So we went. We followed him to a place where there was like 30 kids gathered, making bracelets. and ALL of the parents where gathered on the side of the streets looking at us. My heart started to pound as I realized that this was a HUGE opportunity to share the gospel. Jose Louis got everyone's attention and said "They are back, and are here to sing! LISTEN!" We sang "Soy un hijo de Dios" (I am a child of God) to all the little kids and their parents. It went silent. The Spirit testified to what we were singing was true. After we finished, one of the kids yelled out "Who are you?" and we explained we are representatives of the Savior Jesus Christ. We started to make bracelets with the children. They flocked around us and didn't want us to leave. I didn't want to leave. Christ always talked about the power and happiness of little children, and it is SO real. I hope one day I can become like a little child again. Right after we had 3 different parents come up to me and ask about the church, wanting to know more. We are now teaching 3 NEW families! AMAZING.
There has been so many miracles and I can't even keep up. The Lord is working in so many mysterious ways. Just yesterday, we were going to teach Ricardo, one of our investigators, but he wasn't there. So we stopped to talk to some people, and I was worried that we were wasting time. Little did I know that the Lord was going to put someone right in our path right when they needed us. Well, we were stalled long enough to cross paths with an investigator that we have been searching for for a couple of weeks. Amanda (from El Salvador)! She was there in our path. We asked her how she was....she began to cry. I remembered something I had studied earlier that morning (the Spirit popped to scripture references into my head) and we shared with her how God listens and answers prayers. She looked at us confused. She wondered how we knew to share that. We promised her, as representatives of the Savior, that all would be well. We will be seeing her this Wednesday. I learned, once again that the Lord will guide our EVERY footstep, if we let Him.
Jill and Ricardo FINALLY came to church! So happy for them! They both loved it and said that they want to come back. Jill, from Columbia, said that she wants her daughter to learn all of this, so she is bringing her daughter next time! WA HOO!
Somehow we taught 27 lessons this week to investigators! It was not us! Our district leader called us to congratulate us on the feat, but we were in shock as well! The Lord has prepared so many people and so many miracles are happening, I am left in shock everyday! We have come up with some new ideas and initiatives that we presented to the Bishop to get the work moving even faster in this area! I am SO excited!!!! :) I love this ward and all the people here. They are literally my family. I AM SO HAPPY! I LOVE THIS WORK SO MUCH! I LOVE THE PEOPLE TO MUCH!! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!
Transfers are this week---and Sister Wilcox and I have decided to turn off our phone....we refused to be transferred. :) , so I will let you know if I am transferred on Friday. You will probably only hear from me if I am being transferred. I love you all so much! It has been a BLAST being able to train Sister Wilcox, I have learned so much from her and I love her dearly.
Thank you so much for all of your support, love, letters and prayers! You are my inspiration! I love you so much! Remember that MIRACLES happen. TRUST HEAVENLY FATHER. Pray, and He will lead you carefully along EACH DAY! Know I think of you and pray for you always.

Stand Strong!
Hermana Weenig
Juana and I.  I love this woman so much.

Sister Wilcox, Me, Juana, her daughter Christina, and Hno. Panteleon. SO HAPPY FOR HER!

Hno. and Hna. Tapia! They are our ward missionary leaders! Incredible people! From Peru!

Dinner with Juana and Christina! Juana is a gem.

The Deeelicious Peruvian food. :)

Making bracelets with the little ones!

 Service project in the ward! We made bags for kids with cancer.

Monday, September 23, 2013

I Believe in Miracles

HOLA FAMILIA y mis queridos! Les quiero TANTO, TANTO.
Woah. I believe in miracles.  
LOVE being a missionary...even if that means that I have to eat 5 grasshoppers to get a man to come to church. yes, five MASSIVE grasshoppers. Yep, bugs continue to bless our lives. Story time. We have been working with a Mexican family who has 2 less active sons an a less active father. They are one of my most favorite families. Their name is the Casteneda family. A name I will never forget...because of their great faith and all they do to help us as missionaries out. But anyway, we were teaching a lesson about overcoming pride, and in walks the father. A wonderful man, but he has been struggling with a horrible internet addiction that has torn their family apart. He walked right over to the fridge. He pulled out a bag of HUGE "Grios" (grasshoppers) and set them in front of me. My stomach cringed. Huge, gross, and covered in some sketchy Mexican chili.  I was just hoping that he was getting them out to throw away. We were just finishing the lesson, when I invited him to come to church. I knew it was a long shot, but I did it anyways. He said he would come if I ate (chewed and swallowed) 5 grasshoppers right then and there. What could I do? I had his daughter sitting there in front of me with sparkling, hopeful eyes and my companion anxiously awaiting my response (as we have tried EVERYTHING for him to come back to church). I don't know what happened, but I agreed. We shook on it and I looked at the critters in the back with sheer disgust. Then I remembered the scripture "With God, all things are possible." And trust me, I was praying the whole time that I could keep them down. I don't know what came over me but I reached my hand in the back and picked the first grasshopper up and ate it. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. I thought my companion was about to throw up. Reached in for my second. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. The taste was almost unbearable. I looked at Hermano Casteneda's face, and I smiled. Sheer amazement and horror was in his eyes. No backing out now. I ate the other 3, by the fifth almost ready to lose it. My companion was in shock. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. The daughter stood there with her mouth WIDE open. But, despite the "delicious" flavor in my mouth, I finished. We shook his hand as he stood there dumbfounded, and left. And, just like he promised, Hermano Casteneda was at church this week--smiling :) (maybe it was because he knew how sick I would get) !!! AMAZING! Hermana Casteneda said it was an answer to her prayers, and the amazing thing is, is that it looks like he will be coming again next week. Even though my stomach took a turn for the worse, someone came back to church, and that was all that mattered. I don't think he was expecting a gringa to put down 5 grasshoppers. Pero "vale la pena". I truly learned, that literally EVERYTHING with His help is possible. Even if we don't want to do it. I believe in miracles.
WOW. I believe in miracles. EVERYONE has their time to be baptized and hear of the Gospel and Heavenly Father is amazing, and this is His work, and it is moving forward like wild fire. One word--Juana. She is the incredible investigator from Peru. Most amazing investigator I have worked with yet. The most miracles have happened with this woman. Literally everyday. She is progressing and growing like RAPID fire. It's almost like Heavenly Father is crying out to her to be baptized. One morning we were studying and I had the distinct impression to call Juana. (it was weird because she said she was leaving to New York for the week.) But, I picked up the phone immediately. Juana answered, an said that she had been praying all night for us to call because she had lost our number and was back from New York and wanted us to come teach her more. I believe in miracles. She is more than ready for baptism, and has made wonderful friends in the ward. In fact, she is already attending church activities! The ward has done amazing at welcoming her in. But, satan is the worst. Yesterday, Juana's final baptismal interview was scheduled for after church. Juana was at church, but after church, she told us SHE DIDN'T want to be baptized anymore. We had to cancel the interview. (We have been working so hard with her, so my companion and I were devastated.) Hermano Tapia (our ward missionary leader) pulled her aside and talked to her about seeking answers for herself. We told her that no one is going to force her to be baptized, but that she has to know that it is true for herself. She told us she needs time. She walked out of the church building and I felt like she took my heart with her. So, as far as we were concerned the baptism was off for this Saturday. Then, when we almost were at the point of despair and tears...MIRACLES happened. Lets just say a lot of prayers where said on her behalf. This morning, we got up to workout and saw that Juana had called us at 1:00 a.m. Confused, we called her back. No answer. Then, during study....the phone rang. it was Juana. My companion and I thought we had totally lost her, but we saw it was her calling us! AH LE LU IA! We answered. She began to tell us that last night she got home from church and said it was time that she knew if this religion is true. She told us she stayed up all night reading the Book of Mormon. She told us that she read the entire book of Nephi and most of Alma. She told us that she thinks that she is like Lehi, in his dream of the tree of Life, partaking of the fruit. She told us the Book of Mormon filled her soul. She asked us if this was the sign from God she has been waiting for. We, with our mouths wide open an our hearts pounding, explained that she was receiving a testimony from the Holy Ghost that it was true. She then told us that she has had a change of heart and wants to be baptized this Saturday. AMAZING! I believe in miracles. BIGGEST MIRACLE EVER! She will be baptized this Saturday. She told us this is something that she needs to do, because she knows it is true and that she wants to be right with God. Amazing. I AM SO SO SO SO HAPPY FOR HER!!! (my companion and I almost passed out this morning from amazement). I believe in miracles.
OUR BIKES HAVE BEEN STOLEN--so now, we WALK! So apparently our mission is the leading mission in bikes stolen--Perfect. It was the Elder's day to have them, and we got word last week that there was bad news. The news was bad. The Elder's came to us with their heads hung down and nothing but helmets. We are still looking for them. Let's just say we have been doing a lot of walking. Rain, sleet, heat and mosquito. I love it. If you see our bikes....let me know. :)
When investigators come to church it is better than getting a iPhone for Christmas. REINA CAME TO CHURCH--MIRACLE! We have been working with her all week and helping serve her and prepping her so that she could come to church. We taught her the 10 commandments (she already knew them) and reminded her of the importance of church. She said that she has been praying for a long time for God to provide a way for her to come (us too) and it FINALLY HAPPENED!! When I saw  her walk in the church building I literally started jumping up and down and did a little dance! I was so excited for her! More just excited that she was being nourished by the good word. She tells us that she is really close to being baptized, we just need the man that she lives with to move out. But she wants to be baptized more than anything. She testifies of the Book of Mormon and reads it like crazy. I have loved watching how this incredible gospel has changed her life. I believe in miracles.
The ward I am currently serving in has 300 less actives. Yes, 300. So we are busy ALL day everyday. My companion and I presented some ideas to the bishop and ward mission leader and sounds like they are going to be taking affect soon--to make converts not just baptisms! We are really excited to see how that plays out. There are so many people to see, teach and love....I just wish there was more time in the day! Seriously! Sometimes LITERALLY running from place to place. It is a total blast. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE SO MUCH! A couple of days ago we were out tracting in the POURING rain. We talked to EVERYONE! And we found 6 new investigators. Lots of doors slammed in our face, and some where so nice! One Honduran family opened the door and we said "We are representatives of Jesus Christ and..." then the man said, "You are?!? Well come right in!!" What a miracle. We are now teaching him and his entire family. I believe in miracles. Even though we were soaked and freezing, we were so happy. 
Funny side story: We had an appointment with one of our investigators, Maria, so we knocked on her door and she let us in. We excitedly entered the house ready to teach the importance of the Book of Mormon. But where we usually sit, much to our surprise was a CHICKEN! Yes, on the couch! Maria didn't seemed phased at all, in fact she treated it like her little doll. My companion and I looked at each other without knowing what to say or do. So we just sat down next to the chicken. We asked her why she had a chicken in her house. She said, "It's a surprise for my mom! Fresh chicken soup tonight!" I laughed it off, hoping that she was joking. I asked her again, but only to receive the same answer. She wasn't kidding. Uh-oh. Hermana Wilcox and I taught the importance of the Book of Mormon to her as the chicken danced around our feet and left a "little present" for Hermana Wilcox. I just hope that she read the Book of Mormon as she ate her "fresh" chicken soup that night.
Singing. I am convinced that the most beautiful language to sing is Spanish. The ward loves my companion (Sister Wilcox) and I to sing. ALL THE TIME. Yesterday we sang for the ward "Yo se que vive mi senor" (I know my Redeemer lives) and then someone else asked us to sing at their son's baptism that was later that night. We sang "Yo trato de ser como Cristo" (I am trying to be like Jesus) at David Osorio's baptism. It was so cute, he sang along with us! There was like 50 members at his baptism, what a turn out! One of the members wants me to give her private lessons as a vocal coach...haha. If any of you have been lucky enough  to hear the beauty of Hispanic people sing in large groups, you are very lucky. They sing with ALL that they've got. and when I mean ALL they've got, that means the good, the bad and the ugly. I love it.
Fall is here and it is starting to get chilly! But, I love seeing all the trees starting to change color. We are really busy, happy and loving life. I just can't thank you all enough for your support, love and prayers. I love you all so much and pray for you everyday. I am so thankful I get you for forever. Don't forget to smile. Life is so short, so BECOME who you are meant to be. Live, laugh and follow the AMAZING path your Heavenly Father has set out for you. Be safe!
Hermana Weenig
 Sewing up a storm with the ward at the ward's Day of Service! I love these woman! They played Salsa music while we sewed! I want to be Hispanic.

 Hermana Cruz and I at the ward's Day of Service. We made 100 emergency bags for kids with cancer.
Juana! She came to the activity! I love her!
 It was Jacqueline's birthday this week. We are preparing to go to the temple together! What an amazing recent convert! She is incredible, and it is so fun to see her grow!

Monday, September 16, 2013


I love being a missionary. I seriously can't thank you all enough for giving me this opportunity to forget about myself for 18 months and give all I have to the Lord. But you know something? Life is never easy; and I am learning to be SO grateful that it is not. Heavenly Father loves me and all of us enough to let us go through hard times so that we can grow. And growing is never really actually that fun, but it is so incredible to see who you become if you trust the Lord and lean on Him. Step into the dark, forget about what you want or what the world thinks of you---focus on what He wants and what He wants you to be. Then, the picture and the purpose of life is SO much clearer. Then, and only then will you experience sheer joy. The real kind. I am not talking about the "I just won a million dollars" or whatever. I am talking about happiness. The real stuff.  As I have served, studied and worked in the Lord's vineyard this past week, I have learned so much. Not only about how to teach, Spanish and working with others, but who I am as a daughter of God--what I stand for and who I am. But, I think one of the most important things that hit my like a ton of bricks this week was HOW to enjoy life.  Love. That is the answer. Real love. Loving God more than you love life itself, fame, school, fortune, titles, things, music and everything. Love who you are. Love who the Lord wants you to be. Love living the way He wants you to live, then you have Joy. 

Sometimes missionary life (and life) is tougher than nails and everything falls through and the person that was going to be baptized tonight leaves to New York...haha (not funny.) Juana's baptism was scheduled and ready to go today, but she informed us just yesterday that there had been a change of plans. But she said she will be back in a week, so we will have the baptism then....that is, if she doesn't decide to just stay there (who knows). The relief society responded so quickly to their situation though. Their family had no job, no food, and nothing. And they have little kids. The little kids hadn't eaten in days. I have such a testimony of the Relief Society...the next day after we let the president know about their situation, there was food filling their kitchen. I have never seen a family more grateful. We showed up that day and Juana and Vanessa were in tears. They couldn't stop giving us besitos and kissing our hands telling us "thank you." It wasn't us, it was the Church. This Church is incredible. They really do give to the poor and help the hurting souls. Juana calls us angels, and says that there is absolutely nothing stopping her from getting baptized. Being in that lesson with her after, we realized that the Spirit had touched her heart and changed her. She went from being a die-hard Catholic to preparing for baptism next week. Amazing. The Lord works in mysterious ways, and the Church is incredible because it is centered on Christ. Which means helping and serving all those in need.
Hermana Wilcox is starting to talk in the gift of tongues...perfect Spanish! And I am so happy for her! All of this Spanish-ness is paying off!! Slowly....but surely! I am so proud of Hermana Wilcox she is an amazing missionary, and I am so glad I have had the chance to work with her!
We went to the Nationals game this past week. What a BLAST. It was super funny though, because all of us missionaries where blasted with the world--music, sports, mascots, people, drinks--you name it. We probably seemed super awkward, and I forgot how CRAZY the world is. But what a sight we were! It was both the Washington D.C. South and North missions so there was about 500 missionaries at this major league baseball game! And what was even cooler is that we were all there in our skirts, and white shirts and ties! People noticed us. They showed us on the jumbo-tron like a million times and we had a lot of people come up and ask us who we were and what we represent. AMAZING! There is a Mormon guy on the team and so it was really cool to be able to cheer and support him. This was for the "Day of Service" that Washington D.C. is doing, so it was really cool to represent the Church on a national level. The lady that checked our tickets told us that "the missionaries glow! whatever you have you ought to give it to the whole world, because they need it!" Cool, right?
We had the coolest experience just yesterday with a member referral. Sister Palmer called us and said, "Hey, my neighbor is Hispanic and she is not a member of the church. I gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to a lesson, can you be here Sunday at 7:00?" I almost started crying because I was so happy! What an amazing member! We as members should all be like that woman--Unafraid to share the gospel. The lesson went amazingly. Having lessons in the homes of members is golden. The Spirit is already there and the member can testify powerfully. It was amazing to see Lida (the woman from Peru) open up to the Gospel. She is so excited to learn more and said that she wants to read the WHOLE book of Mormon. WOAH! And there is a member there to help her every step of the way. Never as a member of the church are KEY to this great work.
We had Zone Conference this week and we learned the power of prayer and receiving personal revelation. Prayer is our access to be guided in the exact direction God needs us to be in. As I have seen the investigators pray, specifically Reina who is PRAYING like crazy to find a new job so she can come to church...I have seen miracles happen. Doors of opportunity open. God provides a way for you to do what you need to.
Jacqueline wanted a priesthood blessing this week (our recent convert), and the Elders gave her an incredible blessing. Afterwards, she said she felt like she was on fire and was sweating because of how happy she felt. I have never heard anyone refer to the Holy Ghost as making them sweat, but it did for her. :) Amazing that we have the priesthood power again on the earth.
Anyways, it is starting to get chilly here in D.C.! But it makes for less-sweaty bike riding. I still love everything. A lot. I am so happy and healthy. It is just REALLY sad when people don't want to change or make commitments. That is ok, they have their own agency. I can't control them, but I can control me. Thanks so much for all of your support, love, prayers and EVERYTHING. You are always in my thoughts and my prayers. I hope you have an incredible week and remember who you are and to serve. 
Hermana Weenig
 Karen, who was baptized 2 weeks ago, and we are now teaching her mom! She taught us how to make the El Salvadoraian food "papusas." DEEElicious!
Vanessa and her beautiful family! I love them so much, and I will miss them! I wish them the best in New York. What an amazing miracle with the Relief Society though! :)
Sister Wilcox, me, Sister Rasband, Sister Dopp and Sister Crazier! All of the Spanish speaking sisters in my district at the game! What a blast!

 Bryce Harper up to bat. He is a Mormon! WOAH!

Monday, September 9, 2013


Hola querido familia bonita! Les amo tanto! Mas que todo en el mundo!!
I love being a missionary. And I am exhausted. We are exhausted. Exhausted, but I have never been happier in my entire life. How does that even work? No idea. I feel like we are running on a 1209830928098 speed treadmill, but I love it. This really is the greatest work. And it never ceases to amaze me that when I feel like I am going to fall over from being so tired, the Lord lifts my companion and I up and gives us the strength to carry on. I don't really get it, but I do. We can do all things through the strength of the Lord. There have been days when I just pray that I can have enough energy to do it, and I have been given it...time and time again. Just when I think I can't do it, I do. That is what happens when we rely on the Lord's strength and not our own... :) All I know is that I am happy.
Bugs continue to open up windows of opportunity for us. Well, this week I ate what they call "Mexican Popcorn." And lets just say that the LEGS of the popcorn where stuck in my teeth for like 4 hours after. Gross, right? "What is Mexican Popcorn" you might ask? Well, it is grasshoppers coated in chili spice. Delicious, right? I love eating bugs on demand. We had two options....1. eat the bug OR 2. Die of shame and be labeled as "gringas" for the rest of our lives. The Lord promises us the strength to do all things...even if it is to stomach a creepy crawler. So Hermana Wilcox and I reluctantly ate the bugs. Delicious. You should have seen our faces. What did it taste like? Well, a bug. It was crunchy and juicy...and its leg was stuck in between my teeth. The point was, is that because we ate bugs one of our less active members came to church this past Sunday!!! AMAZING MIRACLE!! Eating bugs and letting them laugh at your reaction of utter disgust brings people to church...apparently! It was either that, or the lesson (Hermana Wilcox and I are convinced that it was eating the bugs that did it). Because after we ate the bugs, we got to teach about church attendance and how it is crucial for us to go and to partake of the sacrament (while one of the legs of the grasshopper was in my teeth.) Yum. Oh, the things you get to do as a missionary. Did I tell you that I have never been happier?
I know for a fact that the power of prayer is very real. I am beginning to see and learn that the power of prayer is even more powerful when we pray with the intention to ACT on the answer and guidance that we receive. This week I have seen that power first hand on so many different occasions, but especially on Saturday. We were really motivated to teach a lot of lessons, and we knew that we could teach a lot and find a lot of people ready to hear the gospel if we were brave enough and just talked to everyone Heavenly Father put in our path. So we said a prayer. We told Him that we were ready and set to get "5 lessons in 2 hours." After we said "Amen" my companion and I looked at each other and couldn't believe that we had just resolved to get 5 lessons in 2 hours to investigators. WHAT?! It seemed impossible for a split second and then we looked at each other and SMILED. We have seen the Lord work so many miracles before, why not this? So we grabbed our Book of Mormons and restoration pamphlets and started to walk and knock. It was almost as if the people just came out of the woodwork. From a family in the car, to a man in his garden to a woman playing outside with their kids. We taught 5 whole lessons in an hour and a half! And what was even cooler was that they were all interested in learning more and being baptized eventually if they found it to be true! WOAH! Talk about miracles. When we got lesson number 5 we looked at each other in amazement. How were we doing this? That is when we realized that by no means was it us doing the work. The Holy Ghost was guiding our footsteps and timing everything just right so that we would run into the people that we needed to teach that day. What a miracle. The Lord could do this work in a split second, if we let Him. The trick is, and what I am still trying to learn, is to allow Him to guide me and to let Him use me as an instrument in His hands. I know that I am nothing, but when He uses me in His way I am happy.
Bikes and skirts are an interesting combination. There are lots of tricks to the trade, but mostly, I love being on a bike because we get to talk and help everyone! I love it so much. The other day I almost died laughing because a man asked us if we were training for the Tour de France. I was so tempted to tell him that the new fad for the race is skirts and massive backpacks with books in them. But I resisted. We shared the Gospel with him instead. Maybe someday he will remember those 2 girls flying down the hillside in skirts.....maybe. Also, I am loving the crisp autumn air of September. Loving the wind in my hair on the other hand....lets just say that the people aren't listening to the Gospel because my hair always looks nice--that's for sure. :) I am so happy on a bike.
Vanessa and Juana are back, and I am so happy! They scared us really bad because we lost total communication with them for a few days. Then by a miracle we found them again! Guess what kept them from us? Anti-Mormon materials. Man, that stuff is yucky. They had so many doubts, questions and weird assumptions about our faith that I have never even heard of! But after 2 lessons of questions and doubts being drilled at us, and thanks to some incredible members of our ward who came with us to the lessons, they have the desire to be baptized still! AMAZING! I thought they were long gone when they started asking about the most bizarre things, but it made me realize how hard Satan really is working to destroy the goodness of this work. We are so excited because Juana is getting baptized THIS SATURDAY!! HURRAY! Vanessa wants to get baptized, but she wants her husband to learn as well, so that they can do it together as a family. So she will be heading back to New York, where the missionaries will be teaching both her and her husband! Its been so incredible to see them progress, and change and truly come unto Christ. They are making such huge sacrifices and they seem so much happier now. Vanessa craves the Spirit. Whenever we are in her home she says "I don't want you two to ever leave! I feel so happy when you are in my home!" We told her that it wasn't us, but the Spirit. I can't wait for the day when she receives the gift of the Holy Ghost which will allow her to feel like that at all times.
Be grateful for food and a roof. There are a lot of people that we are teaching who haven't eaten in days....yes, here in America! It is so hard to see them struggling like this, and so Hermana Wilcox and I have been bringing them treats and their little kids devour them within seconds of bringing them. They have little kids, but yet they have no jobs, no money, no place to live and no food. The church programs are amazing and they work fast. But remember, when you get down on life, to count even your smallest having work or having food or having a roof over your head. I know people that would think they had died and gone to heaven if they had that!
I LOVE MY COMPANION. Yep, she is a shining star and I love her for it. I have learned so much from her example. She is so confident and truly is a self-less servant. I have learned so much from her and know that we will be friends for life. It has been really cool to watch both of us change and grow into better people (hopefully...haha). We are working until we drop and honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if this Hermana Wilcox changed the whole world forever. Shout out to her and her family--Thanks for sending me an angel!
This week I will be attending my first-ever major league baseball game. Since it is Washington D.C.'s day of service we will be doing service for the day and then attending the game at night as an entire mission! Apparently, the church is really excited for us as a mission (250 of us to be exact) to go and represent the Church on such a national level. So if you are watching ESPN look for the Nationals baseball game this may or may not see a bunch of us missionaries in skirts and suits! I will wave to you! :)

Mom, thanks for teaching me how to play the piano. I am now the pianist for our ward, the relief society and the primary when necessary. I have a blast doing it. Especially when the ward chooses songs that have never been sung by anyone on earth. Sight reading those aren't very fun especially when its in front of the whole ward....oops. But, none the less there was some type of music. But really, I was excited that I could contribute to the ward in some way, and music has been that ally! So thanks mom and dad for helping me learn the piano!! (all of those years of tears finally paying off!) :)
Thanks so much for all the support, love and prayers that you send to me. I need them so much. I hope you know that I am always praying and thinking about you! Being a missionary is the biggest blessing I have ever had in my thanks for letting me serve. I am learning that we aren't here on the earth just to endure. We are here to ENJOY. "Men are that they might have JOY." So smile. Even if it is hard, be grateful it is...because it is making you stronger. Much stronger. I hope you have a great week and that you, as am I, try to beat this natural man within us.
Hermana Weenig :)
Hermana Casteneda and I. She is the type of person I want to be when I grow up. Always serving and always loving. She made us Chilis Re-llenos! Incredible!

Yes, I ate that. That is a grasshopper. I still feel it jumping in my stomach.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

You are Divine. And Your Destiny is Calling.

Hola mi familia y mis personas favoritos en todo el mundo! Les amo muchisimo. En serio. Como mas de todo en el mundo. Como estan?
Shoutout: TYLER!!!! Suerte!!!! (good luck!) Good luck as you enter into this amazing roller coaster ride, it will be the best two years of your life. Not always easy, but so worth it. Soon to be Elder Weenig! Brotha! I am so proud of you, and look up to you! You are going to be the most fantastic missionary this world has ever seen. Thank you for being my hero and best friend. I am so proud of you and can't believe you are already headed on a mission! YOU WILL BE INCREDIBLE! :) I am rooting you on, champ. I love you so much!
I love being a missionary. More than I did last week. Can you believe that? But seriously. Everyday is like waking up in a dream. I can thank Heavenly Father and family for giving me this incredible opportunity to come on a learn, to serve, to grow, to love, and to BECOME. I love the people so much, I love the language, I love my companion and love being a missionary. I love it. I never want it to end!
I am realizing more and more that we are so blessed to be CHILDREN of God. And because we are children, we are constantly learning and constantly trying to become like Him. Sometimes we fall or make mistakes, but that is okay. We are His. We are divine, and He loves us and wants us to be built and shaped into something much better than we are. That is what makes life so amazing. Can you believe I get to tell people that all day everyday? SO COOL! I get to tell people everyday that they can change and be happy. I get to tell people that they are loved and they are princesses and princes in the Kingdom of God. I love this work, and there is so much to be done!
I have been doing a lot of pondering on our divine worth and who we are as individuals....and I have discovered something that may have been obvious to others, but it has never been obvious to me. Guess what? The ONLY opinion, judgment and expectations that matter in life are Heavenly Fathers. Yep, that is right, and if we are constantly looking to please HIM and NOT the world, then we will always be happy. When I am a trying my hardest to please HIM, then I am happy. If I am beautiful to HIM I am happy. If I am doing what HE would have me do, I am happy. If I am learning of HIM I am happy. If I am setting goals and working hard to refine my life to be closer to and becoming more like HIM, then I am happy. The moment I take my eyes of Him and start worrying about the world, I am not happy. What an interesting concept. There really is no such thing as true happiness in the things of the world....awards, acclaims, beauty, perfect grades, titles, cars, money...whatever it is. The only thing that brings REAL happiness could be obtain by the poorest man in the world. It is a true and progressing relationship with our Heavenly Father. I know that. I have seen that everyday on my mission. If you haven't in a while, or even you have, get on your knees tonight and pray to Heavenly Father to help you see your DIVINE potential...your ETERNAL potential. Ask to see yourself through HIS eyes and what HE would have you do. Your life will change. You will be happier and life will seem more enjoyable. Let God control your life, it takes you to far greater places and heights. This I know. Forget what everyone else thinks, and focus on what HE thinks. Satan wants you to worry about what others think, but it doesn't matter. "The people who matter don't mind, and the people who mind don't matter." and God doesn't mind, He just wants you to be and do your best at conforming YOUR will to HIS. Change your life....Everyday. I am trying and it isn't easy, and not necessarily fun, but I just want that "natural man" out of me...NOW!!
Miracles are happening all of other the place. My heart is so full, I can't even type really. Sorry about the long soapbox, but my eyes have been opened.
REINA GAVE UP HER COFFEE!!! Wahoo! What a feat! Reina is one of the people on this earth that sincerely has a desire to please God. She knows who she is as a daughter of God and she wants to change her life to live in accordance to what He has in store for her. So, we bought her cinnamon gum and a huge thing of hot chocolate. We showed up to one of the lessons and put the hot chocolate and gum on the table and told her to hand over her coffee. She was a bit hesitant, but, SHE GAVE US HER COFFEE!! She said, "Get that out of my sight. I am done. I am never going back." Amazing woman. But what was even more amazing is that she told us that she always gets headaches after not drinking coffee. So we taught her about fasting for strength. We fasted with her. We fasted that she would have the power to give up her addiction and that she would not have any more headaches. That was almost a week ago. Reina has not had a glass of coffee, and she hasn't had one headache. Can you say MIRACLE!!?!? Amazing. She is going through the hot chocolate fast, but she is off of coffee and tells us she is never going back. She told us that she can feel the power of God helping her not drink and not get headaches. What an incredible woman. We put that coffee somewhere we can see it everyday, as a reminder that with God, NOTHING is impossible. Giving up coffee, for Reina, seemed impossible. But its not, with God. 
Karen and her little girl got baptized this week!!! Karen is Reina's daughter! And what amazing conversion story of this family! We taught her a little bit, but she is more comfortable in English, so she was baptized in the English ward and we did tag-team teaching with the English missionaries. She is literally the most amazing example I have ever seen of TRUE change. She went from being a drug addict, bum on the street, to being baptized a member of the church. Tattoos, earrings and all, Karen was the most beautiful person that has ever been baptized in my eyes. She is so happy, and she has a desire to do what God has in store for her. I will never forget her powerful example. In fact, yesterday when we saw her she was wearing the young women's medallion on her neck. She truly has changed her life and has come unto Jesus Christ. She gave up everything....her old life, habits and likes....and literally has become a NEW creature in Jesus Christ. We can do that every week through the sacrament!!! Cool, right? But what a miracle that she got baptized! I loved helping teaching her, but she was the one that chose to make the decisions she did. Now, her and her daughter are preparing themselves to enter into the temple together to be sealed for time and all eternity....they are going to be a FOREVER family. All because of coming to Christ, and changing and living how He would have us live! I AM SO SO SO SO SO happy for Karen and her daughter. The Spirit at her baptism was incredible. She was in tears after. She told me that when she went down into the water she saw all of the black in her life go white. The words she told me she felt was "I feel like I am a new person. I am born again." Amazing. I love seeing these people coming to Christ.
Spanish. The feat of all feats. It is the language of dreams, I just wish I could speak it perfectly. Pero estoy luchando! (But, I am fighting!) Actually, just today I finished reading the entire Book of Mormon out loud in Spanish!!!! WA HOOO!!! I am so excited! But I have so much still to learn, and am reminded and humbled everyday of how much I need to improve my Spanish. But I had a cool experience with the gift of tongues the other day...can I share it? The ward was having an activity with all of the sisters, and the stake president of the Relief Society wanted to understand what was going on in the meeting. She doesn't speak Spanish, and there was a need for a translator. Hermana Rodas, our ward's relief society president, looked at me and said "venga!" which means "get over here". I was scared. I have never translated for someone! But, I knew that the Lord would help me to be able to translate. All the sudden they started giving their talks in Spanish and they were going fast, but then all the sudden my mouth opened and I was translating everything into English! What! That was so cool. I KNOW that it was NOT me, it was the Spirit. But it was so cool to see that the gift of Tongues is real. I just hope that I can learn this language more and more everyday, so I can connect and love these people on a deeper and more full level. But I read a talk by president Uckdorf that said that we need not worry about learning the language of the people, but of learning the language of Charity. That is the most important language, because it surpasses all language barriers known to man. I need to work on that language more than Spanish. :) Do you speak Charity?
We got to make some papusas with one of our investigators. We told her that if we could teach her about the true church of God, that she could show us how to make this cool El Salvador food called "papusas." When we taught her the restoration, her mind literally was blown. She loved it. Except she says that she won't get baptized until she is 30, because that is when Jesus was baptized. That is called following Christ's example to the "T". Her name is Maria, and she is amazing. Also, it was a blast making papusas with her.
Vannessa and Juana are amazing. They are feeding off of the Gospel, and literally love everything that is about the Gospel. They have so many questions and are progressing rapidly through the lessons. They have had some hard times, but Vannessa and Juana both told us that they know that we are literally "angles sent from heaven" to show them what God wants and needs them to do. Woah. They both are getting baptized in the next couple of weeks!!!! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???!!! I AM SOOOOOOO EXCITED!!! Vannessa told us that she made a promise that if God would send her messengers from the church she was to join, that she would do anything they asked of her. We showed up the next day. Amazing! She is getting baptized, and I can't even wait to see the changes that are already happening and that will happen. The Lord is literally blessing my companion (Hermana Wilcox) and I with so many wonderful people to teach and to help grow and develop in their faith. We even taught Christina, Vannessa's little sister the restoration...and she told us the other night that she has been praying every day and know that it is true! AMAZING! I think that she too will be baptized soon. More than anything, I just love these people so much and am so excited for the changes that they are making! I love them.
I got to go to the temple this week. I love that place so much. I hope you go every change you get. It is what makes us the happiest.
I hope this letter finds you happy, safe and sound. I love you so much, and I am ALWAYS praying for you. I also can't thank you enough for supporting me here on my mission. It means the world to me. You mean the world to me. I couldn't have asked for a greater opportunity in the whole world than to serve my King for 18 months. Such a short time. Thanks for loving me and supporting me and helping me. I look up to you all so much, and love you for who you are. Never forget who you are and WHOSE you are.
Stand Strong.
Your biggest fan,
Hermana Weenig
Coffee for hot chocolate. The BIG switch.

Karen's baptism!!! I love her so much and am so proud of her!

Making papusas with Maria!

Temple trip! Makes me the happiest girl in the whole world!

 We went to the temple with my new ward family! I love these people so much! Hermana Giovanna Cruz (from Peru), Hermana and Hermano Adams (from El Salvador), Hermana Claros (from Bolivia) and Hermana Wilcox and I (from Utah).

This is my apartment.....hahaha just kidding. :) maybe...