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!

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