Monday, November 18, 2013

The Field is White

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! Wow. What an incredible week, and I can't even express to you how happy and how grateful I am right now. So many miracles are happening right and left I don't even know where to start! We have been so busy and absolutely exhausted at the end of everyday, but it is truly the most amazing work. And the Lord carries us and give us the strength and leads us to the people that are ready. Amazing things are happening in this area and there is still so much to be done!

I am serving in the amazing Alexandria Old Town ward still, which I am so happy about! President told me that he wanted the sisters to go on an exchange where the area is a "model area" of how missionary work should be done! So now it is the area where all the sisters will come to hopefully learn amazing things from these people! I have the most wonderful new companion! Her name is Hermana Simpson! She is 22 and has been out for 12 months. It has been so much fun to get to know her. She is an absolute gem and we have set some HUGE, hairy, audacious goals for this transfer. We will start doing our exchanges this week with the other Hermanas. I am so excited to get to know them all. I am so grateful to be here in old town and to work with such a wonderful companion. I love this place. There are so many miracles happening in this place and I can't wait for all the ones that will happen this week. The people are incredible, and I love them SO much. What makes me the happiest is seeing CHANGE. These people are changing and it brings me a joy that I can't describe! They are on fire! Its so amazing to see the Lord in the details of their lives and to see them making changes to become better.

Miracle. REINA REYES GOT BAPTIZED EARLY FRIDAY MORNING!!!! WOW!!! I AM SO HAPPY!!!!  Seriously. I can testify to the fact that the Lord prepares people and allows them to be ready to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ in their time. Reina Reyes is the most humble person I have ever met. She sleeps on the floor of her apartment complex and is ALWAYS serving others. I love her so much. Her daughter, Karen, was baptized back in August. We began teaching Reina and even though she prayed, came to church and read the entire Book of Mormon...she still had doubts about getting baptized. One day I felt prompted to get up and run into the door and explain to her that not getting baptized is like running into a door...and keeps us from progressing. She was silent. The Spirit bore testimony of the truth. Then she said that she wanted to get baptized...right then! We said we could set it up for 2 days LATER!!! AMAZING! A little stressful because it was Wed. night when she told us and she said that she wanted to get baptized ASAP. We had transfers wed, so it was so fun getting everything together! Thank you to miracles and willing ward members the baptism happened! Reina didn't want to tell anyone that it happened, but the amazing ward came to support her! She was so nervous! But she kept staring at the photos of Christ and saying that "I know that this is what God wants me to do, and so I am doing it for Him." She kept hugging us, and I just couldn't stop smiling because she was so happy!! We sang "Yo se que vive mi Senor" (I know that my Redeemer lives) and the baptism was perfect for Reina--short, simple and sweet.  After she was baptized there was such a light in her. She looks so happy! She is my sister and hero. I know that Reina will stay a strong convert forever! She is already wanting to get sealed to her family in the temple. She was confirmed yesterday in the church and the ward has grabbed her in and is fellowshipping her--amazing. I sat by her at church and she told me after she got confirmed that she feels so at peace, something that hasn't happened in years. Her life has literally turned upside down and I couldn't be happier for her. She is a hero for me. And she will be someone that I look up to and remember forever. I can't wait to see her be sealed with her family in a year. MIRACLE!

JORGE CASTENEDA BAPTIZED HIS LITTLE NEPHEW AND IS PREPPING FOR THE TEMPLE!! Jorge is AMAZING! When we first met him he was completely inactive. But slowly, and surely, he has come back to church. This week he got his temple recommend!! and yesterday he baptized his nephew Misael!!! Amazing! We taught Misael about the importance of baptism and worked with Jorge to teach him. Jorge and Misael were SO happy. I was so happy I couldn't even stand it. So see both of them in the font.....after so much that they have been through and changed so that they can be truly is a miracle. Repentance and the Atonement are so real...and they work. It changes people. I really consider the Casteneda family to be like a second family to me. I love them so much, and have seen endless miracles in their lives! All of their family was at church this week! AMAZING.

JILL BETANCOURT IS GETTING BAPTIZED THIS FRIDAY!!! I am SO happy for her! We have been working with Jill for a while! She is proof that as missionaries we should talk to EVERYONE. Back in July, I saw Jill sitting in her apartment lobby. I went up and started talking to her and taught her the restoration. At first, she didn't except it. But, through time and through trials that the Lord put in her life, her heart was softened and NOW SHE IS SO STRONG AND GETTING BAPTIZED!!! She reads the Book of Mormon everyday and comes to church every week. The ward is taking care of her. She is changing. She is relying on Jesus Christ. She is changing her life. She is inviting EVERYONE to come to her baptism! So it is going to be HUGE. But we are so excited. She gave up her tea and coffee and is ready for baptism! I can't wait to see her all in white this Friday. She has done a TOTAL turnaround. And out of all the investigators I have ever taught, I have seen the powerful influence and ability of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to work within her life. It is truly amazing! I love her so much and consider her to be a best friend.

Juana Huerta is going to the temple! Remember back in August how we baptized Juana!?! She is my most favorite person in the ENTIRE world, and now she is getting her interview to enter the temple to do baptisms for her mom this Sunday! Apparently she has had a LOT of dreams this past week of her brother and mom appearing to her and asking her to get baptized for them. They talked about it in church and Juana is SO excited and SO ready. WOW! She is amazing. She loves coming out to preach the Gospel with us! She has made such a difference in the lives of Jill and other investigators to be there support team and she, too, is learning as they learn. It is AMAZING to watch. I am learning now that it really is true--that when the fruit is good it makes the people have the desire to share it with all they come in contact with.

The drunk men miracle. We had 15 minutes left, and we wanted to teach another lesson :). So we went to the house of some potentials that we have named Miguel and Jesus. We knocked the door. Out step the two of them and same with the rancid smell of alcohol. They were drunk....completely drunk. We started teaching them a little bit, and we realized that they were so out of it that they weren't taking anything in. They kept saying, "You have the most beautiful eyes. You are from Spain, aren't you?" Kinda creepy. But then something amazing happened. Miguel could hardly say a word to us because of all of the booze. But then we asked if we could pray with them. They agreed. We prayed, and blessed them with their night...then we said "Amen." Right when we did, Miguel started praying the most perfect, heartfelt prayer I have ever heard. It was from his heart. But what was even more amazing is that he didn't slur at all. He spoke fluently and without any glitches of any kind. Amazing. He talked to Heavenly Father like He was right there with us. It was incredible. I learned, from a drunk man, that prayer is for everyone. It is also communication with our Father in Heaven. It should be from the heart. It was incredible. It doesn't need to be fancy. I learned so much from him. The Spirit flooded that trailer-park doorstep as Miguel said, "You are the only one that can help me, protect my family, because I can't and you can." His sincerity almost brought me to tears. We are teaching him. We have an appointment tonight. I can't wait to see what happens!

Sunday MIRACLES. AMAZING. The Lord is working amazing miracles in the lives of our investigators! We had 5 investigators at church!!!! Jill came. Marta Lida came! Hna. Cardona's husband came! But the most incredible miracles were that Viviana brought her roommate that we started teaching a while ago, SANDRA, to CHURCH!!! It was amazing!! Sandra found anti-Mormon stuff and didn't want to talk to us anymore, but something changed. And now, she is talking to us and wants to be baptized! She also came to see the baptism yesterday!!! AMAZING! When she saw the baptism she asked me, "Is that how you do it?" and I said, "Yeah, do you want to be baptized." She said, "Yes, I really do." AMAZING!!!!!!! WOW!!! The other miracle at church was that RAMON CASTRO CAME! WOW!!!! He loved church because it was the primary program and loved seeing all of the children! How amazing! Jorge Casteneda took him under his wing. Ramon told us he wants to be baptized, but is held back by his family. I know miracles will happen and he will be baptized soon! WOW. AMAZING MIRACLES.

ALSO Ruben, a friend to the Rojas family, will be baptized on the 7th of DECEMBER!!!! I can't even wait! yesterday, He accepted the day full heartily and said that he had been thinking about it a lot and knows that this is what he is supposed to do in his life right now! AMAZING. He is so knowledgeable and I can't wait for a couple more weeks when he too has entered the waters of baptism!

Let Jesus Christ carry you, and let the Atonement CHANGE you. That seems to be the theme of the mission and of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is a Gospel of change and we have been sent here to earth to be tried---it is supposed to challenge us and be hard--otherwise we wouldn't grow. But the cool part is that God gave us our Savior Jesus Christ to come an go through all that we would have to go through so that we can repent and we can change---EVERYDAY. To become a little better and better everyday. Use it. :)

I love you all so much and can't thank you enough for all your love, support and prayers. I love and pray for you always. I really do and hope that you know that YOU are the biggest blessings that I have in my life. I hope you never forget how much I love you and that your Savior Jesus Christ is ALWAYS there for you.
Stand Strong,

Hermana Weenig
 Reyna Reyes in front of the baptismal font, I am SO HAPPY for her.

Hermana Wilcox, Elder Olivo (our district leader) Reyna and me just before the baptism! SO HAPPY FOR HER!

Hna. Simpson, Jorge Casteneda, Misael, and me yesterday at his baptism! This is truly a double miracle! I am SO happy for them!!

The scary fog outside our house.
Every house we go to we get water bottles. So we have decided to collect them. This is just from 2 weeks. AMAZING.

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