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.

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