Monday, November 25, 2013

This Week Was Epic

 I LOVE being a missionary. Every second. I love it. It is amazing. I keep thinking that I will wake up one of these days and this dream will be over. I am SO SO SO GRATEFUL that I have the opportunity to serve a mission. I am so grateful for Jesus Christ my Savior, that through His atonement I can be cleansed and made a little bit better each day. I am thankful for Heavenly Father who loves me and hears my prayers. I am thankful for the "handbook of life" aka the scriptures that guide me along each day. I am grateful for miracles we see EVERYDAY. I am grateful for the gospel and the restoration through the prophet Joseph Smith. I am grateful for my family and loved ones who have supported me and been examples to me throughout my life. I am grateful for trials and stress, because that is what makes me want to do and be better. I could probably go on for hours. But I really am so grateful for life and the ability that all of us have to be here on earth--to prepare and to learn to become more like God. What an opportunity! It has been a CRAZY ride and we have been jammed-packed busy with exchanges, trainings, planning meetings, and my favorite--WORK. I love it. did I say that already? one more time--I love it. I am especially grateful for epic miracles.

EPIC MIRACLE #1:  GIRLS IN SKIRTS TO THE RESCUE. We had just taught Jill one of her last lessons before getting baptized and we were driving home to grab the sheet music to a song we had been asked to perform for Elder Teh (General authority that was touring our mission). We were exhausted, and had been running to lessons, service and the like (the best problem to have) and were in the left turning lane down the street from our house. "Arlington Dr." and the Route 1 intersection is the signifier that we are almost home, and it is one of the BIGGEST intersections in our area. We were racing to get home so we could practice the song a little before presenting it to Elder Teh. That is when I learned a great lesson. All the sudden we saw a man who was turning left from the other side get out of his car in the middle of the intersection and started pushing his himself. His car had broken down. I was in the passenger seat, and without even thinking twice I got out of the car. Cars RACED around me. I yelled "Can we help you?!" Cars where honking and speeding past...but no one was helping this poor man. The light turned green for us and we speedily pulled off to the side of the road and threw our emergency lights on. Then, us two girls, IN OUR SKIRTS--SPRINTED head-way into the middle of the busiest intersection in our area. People probably thought that we were crazy. It was really exhilarating. My heart was pounding. Cars whizzed past us and we started to push. By some miracle we were given extra strength. In the back of my mind I was thinking, "Alright, Heavenly Father, lead us to the Hispanic that we need to teach through helping this African man." Two seconds later this Hispanic lady jumped out of her car and we THREE GIRLS pushed this man to safety! WAHOO. We are now going to teach this Hispanic lady! Miracle! We ran to get our car to help him jump-start his car and while we were there, ANOTHER Hispanic man came and asked what he could do to help. He is interested in the Gospel. It was Epic. 2 girls in skirts under the hood of the car, exchanging Book of Mormons and preaching the Gospel. We even prayed off to the side of the road! One of the busiest roads in Virginia and there we stood in prayer--That the car would work. Call me crazy, but it was by FAR one of the coolest experiences that I have EVER had on my mission. God literally led us to those people. And the man whose car was broken said that he will read the entire book of Mormon and couldn't stop thanking us for taking the time to help him out. He epically ran, Book of Mormon in hand, across the street to find a mechanic. Woah. I AM GRATEFUL FOR MIRACLES. And they will happen if we just let them. Epic.

EPIC MIRACLE #2: JILL BETANCOUR GOT BAPTIZED ON FRIDAY!!!!!MIRACLE!!! She is from Columbia and the ward IS SO excited to have another Columbian in the ward. I love Columbians and will probably live there someday.  So, how we found Jill is a pretty amazing story and a witness that EVERYONE is ready for the gospel...sometimes they just don't know it yet. It is also a testifier that as missionaries---we should talk to EVERYONE!! Back in July, we were in the lobby of an apartment complex speaking to our ward mission leader and he said, "Hermana Weenig I dare you to go talk to that lady sitting down." So, I took the challenge. That was Jill. She has come a LONG way since then. She started taking the lessons and decided that it wasn't for her. But, I knew that she would get baptized. We were constant and served her and loved her. She lost her home, her everything. We, with the help of the Lord and the ward, loved her, served her and helped her get back on her feet. We taught her outside of her homeless shelter. She changed. She repented. She is free. and this past Friday, she was baptized! She was reborn! I can't explain the absolute JOY that I felt. I remember the first time I talked to her that she said, "I promise you Hermana, I will never be a Mormon." Well, that didn't last too long :). I love Jill so much and I will never forget the look and glow in her eyes as she went down into the water and back up. She was glowing. I got to sing "I know my Redeemer lives" in Spanish at her baptism (apparently the whole ward refers to me as the "singing angel." hahaa I will pay them later.)  I have never felt so happy as I was able to share my testimony to Jill, her daughter Adla, and the ward about my Savior Jesus Christ. I love Him. And because of Him we can change and be better. Adla, her daughter of 13 years of age, was sitting by me for the baptism. She has been raised STRONG Catholic, and has been going to catholic school for years. Right after the baptism she ran up to me and gave me a HUGE hug and asked, "Hermana Weenig!!! I feel something so strong. It is telling me to get baptized! Can I get baptized next week? Please! I don't know why but it is what I need to do!" Amazing. She is getting baptized December 6. I can't even wait for her. She is reading the Book of Mormon like crazy and loves it. It was amazing to see the support of the ward as various members have helped shelter Jill and allow her to get back on her feet. AMAZING. She is an amazing woman and now Adla, her daughter is walking in her footsteps. Jill called us last night and says that she WANTS TO GO TO THE TEMPLE! I started to cry! We are going to have her there by the end of the year! :) Jill has also been searching for a job for months now, and just after getting interviewed for baptism, SHE FOUND A JOB!!! MIRACLE. Miracles happen. All over the place!!

EPIC MIRACLE #3: ALL of our recent converts are preparing to COME TO THE TEMPLE and do work for their ancestors! Jill, Reyna and Juana! It is absolutely amazing. They all are preparing and have such a burning desire to enter into the house of the Lord. I am so excited for each one of them. And I know that that they will be amazing members of this church forever more. It has been really fun to see all these people that I have had the chance to help them learn about the gospel now sharing the gospel with friends. Yesterday, Jill's confirmation, I was sitting there with Adla and I looked around and saw that all of these recent converts were sitting by friends in the ward. I almost started to cry I was so happy. But what made me even more happy was to see them happy. 

EPIC MIRACLE #4: Jorge, the less active--now active member, BLESSED THE SACRAMENT this week! Amazing.

EPIC MIRACLE #5: Sandra got anti-mormoned like a month ago. She stopped talking to us and then something happened. A miracle. She was in church this week. YESTERDAY SHE TOLD US SHE WANTS TO BE BAPTIZED!!! WOWOWOWOWOWO!!! WAHOOOOO! She is getting baptized on the 7 of December! Wow.

Elder Teh, of the quorum of the Seventy, came to tour our mission. I was asked to sing for the musical number. Was I a little bit scared? yes. But my wonderful companion plays the piano like an angel and we did the EFY arrangement of "I know that my Redeemer lives" (reminded me a lot of you, mom and dad!). I love music. I love to sing. I love sharing my testimony thorough music. As I sang and I looked at Elder Teh, I felt my Spirit soar. "I know that my Redeemer lives", I really do. He lives, and that means that I can do the impossible. That means that I can conquer hard things. One missionary approached me after and told me that the song changed her mission, she said "I just need to preach the Gospel with passion like you sang that song." I was so nervous to sing, it probably didn't sound the prettiest, but I did give it all my heart. And that is ALL God expects of us. To give Him all of our hearts, sometimes we are just a little hesitant to do so. Elder Teh, really liked the song and I had the opportunity to chat with him for awhile after the meeting. It was an incredible conference and I learned a lot from him. The biggest being that we must continually strive to come more and more into the presence of God so that we can stay FAR away from the line of sin. Satan is really tricky and even too much of a good thing can be bad.

SIDENOTE: I love Spanish. I speak it all day everyday. Eat, drink and sleep it.  I love it. I love it. I love it. I just wish I was Hispanic. Jorge Casteneda says that I am slowly becoming a Mexican. YES!

Being a sister trainer leader is a BLAST. I am learning so much from these incredible hermanas! They are so amazing and they teach me so much day in and day out. Exchanges are a so much fun, even though they are exhausting, and it has been really fun to work with all different types of missionaries. I have such a love for each sister in this mission and I feel so blessed and GRATEFUL to have the opportunity to work with them. Anyways, it has been really fun. We work a lot with the APs and we are planning some trainings for all the Spanish missionaries this week. I am really excited, but really nervous. We have been working hard to make it a spiritual experience for all the missionaries so hopefully they will enjoy it! :) A little stressful...but I love it.

Our ward got a new bishopric this week! Bishop Matos was a legend....he served as Bishop for 10 years! Amazing! But I know that the new Bishopric will be just as amazing. We are working with them really closely to make missionary work a HUGE focus and helping get the ward involved in every single way possible.

My companion is amazing and we work REALLY hard together. I couldn't have asked for anyone better: talented, beautiful, spiritual giant and practically perfect. She really is such a hero and we love this great work. I am so GRATEFUL for her.

Thanks so much for all of your love, support and prayers. I love you all so much and I can't thank you enough for all you do for me. This is the greatest work EVER.. I just can't tell you how thankful I am for miracles, for you and for this incredible gospel and the amazing opportunity to be a missionary.  I hope you have a fantastic, safe and thankful week! HAPPY THANKSGIVING!! I count you a million times when I count my blessings! :)
Stand Strong,
Hermana Weenig :)
Adla, me, Jill Betancour, Ur Saldana (the ward member who baptized her) and Hermana Simpson. 
Hno. Tapia, Jill, Adla, me, Hna. Simpson and Hna. Wilcox. I love ALL these people SO much. This was right after she was baptized.

Hna. Simpson and I. We realized we have taken no pictures together, and said it was time. :) I love her.

Epic sunset.

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