Monday, December 2, 2013


I love being a missionary. And I am so thankful for the opportunity I get to serve the Lord with all that I have got, even if it is just for a short 18 months. I am grateful for all of you have supported me through my whole life and especially here on my mission, I can't thank you enough. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving as a missionary is probably one of the most fun things that I have ever experienced! This ward is literally like a family to me, I love them and care for them so much. We were invited to attend 5 different Thanksgivings. WOW. Talk about a LOT of food. It was so funny....I have never had RICE at a Thanksgiving meal...with lots of hot sauce to make the turkey spicy. Nonetheless, I experienced 5 different country's Thanksgiving meals: Columbia, Mexico, Honduras, Peru and El Salvador. Mashed potatoes with cilantro in it! yum...... :) what a dream. It was a BLAST! We weren't allowed to go out and tract, but we were allowed to teach the ward members and investigators that had invited us over. I love these people so much and I am so grateful for them. It was really fun to see all of these families (Cardosos, Panteleons, Reyes, Casteneda and Gomez) and see them so cheerful and happy! The food was amazing, but it definitely wasn't a typical American Thanksgiving. I have never seen so many turkey's in my life! I truly enjoyed sharing the spirit of Gratitude with them. It caused me to reflect on how many things we actually do have to be thankful for! There are endless things! Air, roof, a body, life, smiles and EVERYTHING--The pure joy of laughing and spending time together. I really am thankful for this ward family. But I am even more thankful for my wonderful family back home, I love you guys so much. I learned a very valuable lesson that Thanksgiving day...Love really is spelled T-I-M-E. Miracles are happening right and left, THIS LIFE IS FULL OF MIRACLES...big or small...every single one is proof that God loves us.

I am thankful for change. Sandra Gomez is a completely changed woman. I have always heard and known that the Gospel is a Gospel of change. Sandra, I think, is the most powerful example of that. That, and how member can truly change a person's life. You've heard me talk a lot about Vivana before, she is essentially my sister. She is a member of the church that we have been helping to get her totally active. Anyway, Sandra lives in the same apartment as Vivi and one day we saw her and asked if she would want to learn. She looked depressed and lost. Sandra accepted, and has been coming to church and taking the lessons ever since. THERE IS A LITERAL LIGHT growing in her face and in her eyes from doing the right things and coming unto Christ. I am SO excited for her because she is GETTING BAPTIZED THIS WEEKEND! It really is a miracle. She has had many spiritual experiences where she knew that this was exactly what God wants her to do, and she is willing to make the changes to do it. Just like Sandra is changing, all of us can change and mold into something better---IF we trust and give the control to our Savior Jesus Christ. I am realizing that repentance doesn't just make the sinner a good man, it also makes the good man a better man, and the better man a greater man and the greater man the best man....hopefully that cycle continues until we are perfect one day.

Sidenote: Jorge Casteneda, who was less active a month ago, is now coming to lessons with us and will be baptizing Sandra this weekend!!! IT IS A MIRACLE! 

Being a sister training leader is a lot of work, but it is a LOT of fun. I love going on exchanges every week and meeting all the sisters and seeing the way that they do missionary work. These girls truly are so talented and I know that God has hastened the work by calling some incredible ladies to go forth with faith. This week I had the wonderful opportunity to go on exchanges with Hermana Stanford. She is from Canada! It is the coolest thing on exchanges, because we are asked to help them and motivate and inspire them, and there is no way that I could do it with out the Holy Ghost and Heavenly Father doing the work. I have never felt the Spirit so strong as I have when I am doing an exchange with a Hermana and getting to know her and trying to serve her and help her reach her full potential. I really do love all the sisters in this mission. And I am so extremely grateful for the opportunity that I have had to work with them.

The Old Town ward is on fire with missionary work! The work is HASTENING in this area and in this ward. We are striving to have a member with us at EVERY single lesson, and it is making a huge difference. The members are loving it. And the more lessons they come to us with, the more that they want to participate. I am learning as a missionary that the members are what truly make this work fly! And it is so much fun working side-by-side with the ward. I love them so much. It is amazing the Spirit they bring into the lessons, and they are truly helping our investigators enter into the waters of baptism. We had 15 lessons with a member present this week (which apparently broke the record) but we are starting to truly see the amazing benefits of member missionary work. We can't do this work without the members of the Church helping us out! :) So, call up the missionaries today--they will love you. It has been really fun to have all of our recent converts come out with us to teach. Reyna Reyes especially, because she has such a burning testimony and such a firm belief.

MIRACLE! I don't know if you remember how back in August we were teaching Vanessa Huerta, daughter of our recent convert Juana Huerta? Well, she moved to New York back in August back with her husband the day before she was supposed to get interviewed for her baptism. We had contacted the Elders up in New York, and they said that they had tried to meet with her, but that the husband wasn't letting them in. And then a miracle happened. One morning, during companionship study, the phone rang. I almost fell to the floor when I heard Vanessa's voice on the other line! She said, "Hermanas! I moved back to Alexandria and I am living with Jaqueline Jimmenez (who was a recent convert of ours that was baptized in August.)! I have been waiting to come back to church and want to keep learning. Can you come by?" No way. We were so excited. We headed up there to find out that she had tried and tried to come to church, but wasn't allowed to, so she left and brought her kids back down here so she could come to church. She wants to be baptized within the next month! MIRACLE! I truly do know that the Lord's timing is the timing that is meant to be. She wasn't supposed to be baptized right when we thought she was supposed to be, but now, by a miracle, she is back here and ready to change! AMAZING.

Spanish Forum was a hit! We were super nervous, because it was a conference totally in Spanish and we had to give a 30 minute presentation. After lots of planning and prep I think it was a hit! It was a lot of fun, and I love all the Spanish missionaries so much! I found out that one of the Hermanas knows Tanner Camp! Apparently she was best friends with Tanner's wife back in the day! She is wonderful! small world. Anyway, Spanish forum was really guided and direct by the spirit to make it into a spiritual masterpiece. I hope that all the missionaries got a lot out of it, I know that I did.

We have started to a do a little bit of online proselyting through Facebook. Yes, I know. I am not a facebooker.....and I am still trying to get a testimony of it! But I am starting to see incredible miracles coming from it. For example, I am teaching some of my non-member friends that I met in Mexico! I am teaching Monse Hilgerdra, my "sister" when I lived in Mexico, and she is currently living in France! So I am teaching her the Gospel online! And she is loving it! It is amazing to see how the technology of the world is changing the work of the Lord. It is literally expediting it!! AMAZING.

This past Saturday we had a ward activity where there was 3 of our investigators and their families there! It was a HUGE MIRACLE. They are all getting to know the ward really well and it is so fun to see those relationships growing. Anyways, we did a few fun skits to the ward--explaining how fun and easy missionary work is. They are really all fired up to work with us! I am so excited to see all these changes! And they had a little musical portion and some of the people didn't show so like half the ward asked if I would sing. Hahaha, so my companion did an amazing improve piece on the piano and I sang "O, esta todo bien" which is "Come, come ye Saints" in Spanish. It was so much fun. I seriously love sharing the Gospel through music.
Adla will be baptized not this week, but the next. Her family is experiencing some extreme difficulties and so we are working with Jill, her mom and recent convert, to help them get through. I have never realized how lucky we truly are. We have food to eat, somewhere to sleep and clothes to wear. By definition, we are the luckiest people ALIVE! Adla is so strong and such an incredible young lady. I am excited that she, despite her trials, is also changing. I love this work.

The Christmas Spirit is in the air. It is so fun to see all of the lights coming on (the Hispanics usually keep their Christmas lights up all year, the only difference now is that they are plugged in... :) ). We are challenging all the ward members to find just 1 person before Christmas...whether it is a non-member, a less active or ANYONE who needs inspiration, and help them come unto Christ. I want to extend the challenge to you! How incredible would that be? If each of us just reached out to one person this month...lives will change and you will be filled with joy as well!

My heart is so full and so happy. I am so thankful for all of you and for all of your support, love and prayers. You are always in my prayers and I hope you never forget how much I love you. Just remember, that sometimes when there is a mountain placed in front of us---it is our first impulse to want to sprint to the top and conquer it. But God doesn't work like that. God works "line upon line" and "precept upon precept" and so we become and overcome little by little...which in hiking terms would mean that God helps us up the mountain by helping us up switchbacks. We may not think we are progressing, but little by little, we end up getting to the top and looking down wondering how we did it! God promises us that by the small and simple things, great things WILL come to pass. And I know that is true. Little by little God can change us, but we need to be patient and walk with faith up each mountain He puts in front of us.

Hermana Weenig
Cardoso family!! Happy Thanksgiving!
El Salvador Pumpkin the Reyes! What a treat!
The Mexican storage closet. :)
 Hno. Casteneda eating GIANT grasshoppers! Mexican popcorn! YUM!

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