Monday, October 28, 2013

Like Unto Moroni

 I love being a missionary. Have I told you that before? THANK YOU for giving me this incredible opportunity to serve God's children 24/7 with all that I have got for this short time. I feel that my love for the people and this great work continues to grow and grow everyday. THIS WAS ANOTHER INCREDIBLE WEEK OF MIRACLES! I know for a fact that God, our Heavenly Father, is a Father of Miracles, the Master of change and perfection and the one who loves us more than our mortal minds can imagine. Thanks to the atonement of Jesus Christ and this incredible Gospel, I am changing. A lot. I learned so much this week and was so spiritually fed through sister mission conference, launching leaders and stake conference this weekend---information overload. I also realized how much I need to work on. God doesn't ask us to be perfect though. He asks us to be better each day, and that is why we have been given repentance. In launching leaders we learned about the importance of becoming a LEADER. and STANDING for something always. I want to be like unto Moroni someday! "Yea, verily, verily I say unto you, if all men had been and were and ever would be, like unto Moroni, behold, the very powers of @#!*% would have been SHAKEN forever; yea the devil would never have power over the hearts of the children of men." (Alma 38:17) We can all be so strong like Moroni, so much so that Satan will not have power over us. How incredible! This is who I want to become, and I hope that you all are becoming this also.

MIRACLES. Reina has been searching for answers, and I have no doubt that in a few short weeks Reina will be baptized. Reina could actually be baptized tomorrow. She has received all the lessons, reads the Book of Mormon everyday, comes to church and fasts for answers. She is incredible!! She knows that she needs to be baptized and she has a sincere desire to be baptized. She says she wants to wait till December because that is when her birthday is...:) She is a keeper. I truly do love Reina, and to see the changes that she is making in her life, it is incredible. We had the opportunity to fast with Reina. She told us the purpose of her fast was so that God would provide her ideas of where she could work so that she can have Sundays free to go to church every week. She has such incredible faith.  Yesterday, Reina told us that she had received an idea to start making El Salvador food and going door to door to sell it for money, so that she doesn't have to work on Sunday! What was crazy about that is that I had the exact same idea earlier that day! The Spirit works in incredible ways. Reina says she is going to start now, so that she can make the sacrifice to come to church. She says that she knows that is exactly what she is supposed to do, and doesn't care if she doesn't have enough funds for awhile. She is deciding to put God first. She truly is raising her own "title of liberty." It is incredible to see the change. She studies, asks questions and feasts on the word of God. She tells us that she knows that we were sent as angels to her from God to help her be on the right path. There is light growing and shining in her face. She is happy. Although she doesn't have many worldly things, she HAS EVERYTHING. and she is so happy. She is truly "like unto Moroni." I know that she will be baptized, and I can't wait to see her go to the temple in just over a year :).

We had an incredible stake conference! We got an entire new stake presidency and they took the bishop of our ward with them! Bishop Matos has been the bishop of the Old Town ward for 10 years! can you believe it? And now will be incredible in the stake presidency. We will be getting a new bishop soon! Also, Elder Fallabella (of the seventy) came and spoke! He was such an incredible speaker and talked about how we can hasten the work for the people here on earth, but especially for those on the other side of the vail! He stressed the importance of going to the temple because we are ALL missionaries! And there is so much work to do. He is from Guatemala and the ward cooked everyone a Guatemala meal for after! I had the chance to met him, and he is the type of person I hope to be like. Humble and funny. I also had the opportunity to TRANSLATE stake conference from English to Spanish! There wasn't enough headphone sets for all the members in the ward, so Hermana Casteneda asked me to translate the 2 hour meeting for her! I was super nervous at first, but I said a little prayer and said, "help me do this, because I have no idea!" It was quite difficult, but I made it through. They talked so fast, and it was hard to keep up at times! I think she may have got a little bit different of a version of conference than everyone else, but she said she understood perfectly! MIRACLE!

We stopped in on a family that has helped us with a referral to see how they were doing. The entire family speaks Portuguese. They have 3 little kids under the age of 8 and they all gathered around to hear what we were going to say. I felt the Spirit so strong that we needed to sing "I am a Child of God" but in 3 different languages. So, they sang the first verse in Portuguese, we sang the second in Spanish and we all sang together in English for the third. That song has become the theme song of my mission. Everywhere we go we sing that song. It is literally the most important truth of this gospel. As we sang all together I looked in the eyes of those kids...they were so shining with hope and renewed joy. I started to cry. The Spirit was so strong. We REALLY all are CHILDREN of God. We are brothers and sisters, here to help and lead and guide each other back to Him. Amazing.

MIRACLES. Marta Lida is a walking example of how the Book of Mormon changes lives. I think I have told you a little bit about her, but her neighbor, is LDS and decided one day to open her mouth and share the Gospel with her neighbor. She gave her a Book of Mormon in Spanish. A week later we began having lessons with Marta. She loves it. This week, we went to Marta's house and SHE IS ON CHAPTER 8 of the Book of Mormon. How great our joy was and I couldn't stop smiling as she said that whenever she is lonely or sad, she reads. Whenever she has a spare moment, she reads. That book is real, and it changes lives. It can change yours too if you read it, ponder about it and apply it. I also can't tell you how powerful members are when they share their testimony and the gospel with their friends! It truly makes ALL the difference. Now, Marta is going to be baptized on November 22. Yesterday we had an incredible lesson with her. We taught lesson 3, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Spirit testified as we taught of the 5 steps we take to follow in the example of Jesus Christ--Faith, repentance, baptism, the gift of the Holy Ghost and persevering to the end. As we taught, her eyes filled with tears. "This is exactly what I have been looking for, for so long. My life is going to change. I will do whatever it takes to follow Jesus Christ and be baptized." WOW! We almost fell off of our chairs. Not only that, but she told us that she is making every sacrifice and arrangement necessary so that she can come to church. One of the major issues serving the Hispanic people is that most all of them work on Sundays. Giving up their job is like giving up their life line for food, clothes, rent everything! But Marta said she is willing to do it. What an incredible example. She told us she has already given up her Sunday job so she can come to church. AMAZING WOMAN of FAITH! After the lesson, Marta prayed the most sincere prayer I have ever heard. She was talking to her Father. She promised she would follow in His steps. The Spirit flooded the room. It was incredible. Marta then turned to her neighbor, who was in the lesson with us, and said "Thank you for giving me the opportunity to learn the truth." That is what it is all about. We never know who is prepared to hear the Gospel. I know she will be baptized. I am so happy for her. She is taking steps to become more "like unto Moroni."

This ward is absolutely incredible. They are bringing their friends to church and they have truly "caught the wave" of missionary work. Hna. Sussane Rojas is incredible! She has referred us to 2 solid investigators and was the one who referred us to both our recent converts Juana Huerta and Jaqueline Jimmenez. This week we had the chance to have a couple of lessons at her home with a friend of hers named Ruben. He is golden! He cannot read, but he listens and he memorizes so quickly. In fact, he has the entire new testament of the Bible memorized. He has just listened to it over and over again, and that is how he learns. AMAZING! He is so ready and loves learning about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As we taught him about Joseph Smith and about the Book of Mormon, he sat there in amazement. He told us that he didn't know why but he just feels and know that what we are teaching him is true. We are going to read the Book of Mormon to him daily and get him a Book of Mormon in Spanish on tape. Hopefully he will memorize that too. :) He is so ready for baptism, and I know that he will be baptized soon! He also always brings us food, even though he barely has enough for himself. He tells us that we are servants of the Lord, and that the least he can do is feed us. What an amazing man!

We had a sister conference this week with President Riggs! How inspiring! They talked about our role in the Priesthood and how ALL of us (male or female) have access to the POWER of the priesthood. It was so inspired! Apparently a lot has been happening in SLC about woman having the Priesthood. So they got all of us sister missionaries together and broke down every aspect of the Priesthood and now I understand so much better! I am so grateful for the priesthood and I know that I am a woman that has my own divine is crucial. Men and women are different, but they are EQUAL in God's eyes--we are both ENDOWED with the Priesthood power, and I know that if I keep the covenants I have made with God...I will have access to this great amazing power. Never forget your divine role of being a virtuous woman (or man).

We also had the opportunity to attend a ward member's "quincenera" (which is a HUGE Hispanic tradition to celebrate when their youth turn 15 years old.) These events are always huge! Everyone comes there is food for 100's of people, there is a dancing, decorations, and the girl that is turning 15 has a huge dress on and all the youth dress up in best dress and dance for all the adults. IT WAS AMAZING and IT WAS MASSIVE! I couldn't believe it. It was held in the gym of the stake center! The family that was having it, the Argueta family, has been out of a job for months and didn't have enough money to fund the event. So by a miracle, the ward stepped in and helped her to have her quincenera. What an incredible spirit that was there, also a LOT of investigators came. So we were running table to table getting to know them all and spreading the Gospel. Amazing! Hna. Rojas brought a new friend! Her name is Enma and we are starting to teach her! What a miracle!

This literally was a week of miracles. I love this great work and these people.

Thank you so much for all of your love, support and prayers. I need them dearly. I look up to all of you so much and hope that you know that you are always in my heart and prayers. I love you so much and hope that you never take one single moment for granted. This is our time to PROVE that we are Noble and Great. WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD. We were chosen before we came to this earth, and we were NOBLE AND GREAT. "Among these there were many of the noble and great ones; and God saw these souls that they were good, and he stood in the midst of them, and he said: These I will make my rulers...thou wast chosen before thou wast born." (Abraham 3:22-23) And now is our WONDERFUL opportunity on earth to truly SHOW and to "prove them herewith, to see if they will do all things whatsoever the Lord their God shall command them." (Abraham 3:25). How amazing is our opportunity in life! It is amazing! You truly are noble and great, and NOW is the chance to prove to your Heavenly Father that you will REMAIN noble and great for always! :) Don't be afraid to be "like unto Moroni" and stand for what you believe. I hope that you have a great week, and that you reach out and remember that you are noble and great. He needs you, and you need Him. STAND UP TO YOUR TRUE IDENTITY.

Hermana Weenig
Elder Fallabella from the quorum of the Seventy and I. He is such an incredible speaker and example. It was fun to speak Spanish with him! :)

The quincenera cake! it was huge!

The set up at the quincenera!

Stephanie and I. She was the woman of the night! She turned 15! The Hispanics celebrate it like it is the end of the world! I want all my girls to have quinceneras :)
Last P-day we had the chance to visit the Historic high school T.C. Williams! It is the high school where "Remember the Titans" was based off of. True story! First school to allow black athletes to play ball :) "Oh, ah I feel, Oh an feel good!"

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