Monday, December 23, 2013

The Best Christmas Present Ever

 I love being a missionary. This past week was a week of change, miracles and MORE MIRACLES. Christmas time=everyone wants to come unto Christ, and it has been 70 degrees or higher and so we have had a BLAST caroling and teaching and serving EVERY single person we see. But before I tell you anything else, can I just tell you about the best Christmas present I have received so far?...
SANDRA GOMEZ got baptized yesterday!!!! I am so happy that I can't even type on this keyboard right now. The people in the library that we are at probably think I am totally creepy because I can't stop smiling. That is OK, because I am so happy!! The story of Sandra is really something quite amazing. Back in September, my companion and I were out knocking doors trying to find someone to teach. We weren't having any luck, in fact all of the doors that we were knocking on were just slamming the door in our face. Instead of getting down, we decided to pray. We asked Heavenly Father, "Where do you want us to go?" After praying I told my companion I think we need to go over to the corner of that street and just stand and wait. My companion probably thought I was a crazy person, but she just smiled and agreed. So we went and we stood--Not a Hispanic in sight. We sat there for about five minutes and then we started to get a little anxious. "Why would the Lord send us here?" I thought to myself. And then it happened. Across the way, there stood Vivi--a member from our ward that we had been working with a lot. Next to her, was her roommate and best friend, which was Sandra. We ran up to start talking to Vivi. Vivi introduced us to Sandra, her roommate. We all walked back to the house together and we invited Sandra to listen to a spiritual message. From that point on, Sandra chose to take the discussions, has been coming to church, reading the Book of Mormon and feasting upon the truth. She has come a long way. She had a lot of hard things happen to her in her life, but she kept going---and was finally made free from all of her guilt YESTERDAY!!! WAHOOO!! Her roommate said, "I never would've thought to share the Gospel with Sandra, but look at her now...a new woman!" WHAT A MIRACLE! Sandra was so happy yesterday and was glowing. Seeing her go down into the water and becoming totally clean and deciding to follow Christ and give Him her all was the most beautiful, inspiring and best Christmas present I could have ever received. But she didn't do it for us....she did it for God. She has taught me so much especially that it really doesn't matter what other people think---sometimes we obsess about how we are viewed in the eyes of others--Sandra truly has it ingrained in her that the only opinion and thoughts that matter are the ones that God has of us. And she understood in order to be in the right path, she needed to be baptized. Half of the ward turned out to the baptism and are helping her grow! I was asked to sing "Yo se que vive mi senor" at her baptism and every time I sing that song seems to become more real. I really do know that my Redeemer lives and that because of Him I can change and become more like God. I want to be like Sandra---only worrying about what HE thinks.
TRANSFERS! I am no longer in Alexandria! I am in Annadale, VA...which is right next to my old area. I HAVE DREAMED OF COMING TO THIS AREA, and I can't believe I am here! And what is even better is that my companions are my DREAM companions! Hermana Dopp and I are still serving as sister training leaders and we are loving it! I love her SO MUCH! She is a wonderful example and influence on me. We served side by side in Alexandria for 4 months, but were never companions, just in the same district. We both said that we couldn't ask for anything better for Christmas! And I get the honor and pleasure to work with another wonderful sister missionary this transfer! We are in a trio--Hermana Sorenson! I LOVE HER SO MUCH! She really is a ray of light and I can't wait to get to know her more! They are both from Utah and they are the hardest working missionaries EVER. We have set some SUPER high goals for this transfer and are being ambitious enough to BREAK mission records. It is the time. This ward is AMAZING. I was actually roped into singing a solo my first Sunday in the ward! They had me sing "I heard the bells on Christmas day," in Spanish. It was a blast, my companions even came up and sing a part of it with me! I love them (they are troopers)! The ward LOVES the missionaries here and they are SO ready to is amazing! We can't wait to work with them and involve them. It is truly amazing. We have some incredible investigators that are reading the Book of Mormon and that are coming to church and preparing to be baptized in January. I can't wait to work here and to work side by side some of the greatest missionaries to walk the earth.
I love and will dearly miss Old Town. I feel like they are now my family and I cried a lot when I had to leave. But I was so happy as well..To see all of the changes and all the people coming to Christ and to know that I will be seeing them again soon. They all made me promise to come back after my mission. It was so special and such an honor to work with the members, investigators, less actives and families in that area. It will ALWAYS hold a special place in my heart. I love those people so much, and it wasn't the easiest thing to leave them, but I know it is what the Lord needs and wants so I will do it.
Amazing miracle! Just this past Friday we were out street contacting and teaching and singing to everyone we passed, we were having a blast and were guided by the Spirit to this older man named Juan. We started to talk to Juan. He was a bit cold to us at first and then we sang "Joy to the World" and explained to him that because our Savior has come, that we have the chance to change and become like God. His face lit up. He told us that he wants to change and repent and come closer to Christ but doesn't know how. We invited him to come to church, he ACCEPTED!!!! WOW! He said he really wants to start following Jesus Christ. We had the faith that he would come, but it was just a street contact so we weren't sure. But then! We called him Sunday morning to invite him and he was so excited to come! AMAZING! He was in church and stayed for all 3 hours! HE LOVED IT! He will get baptized soon I know it!
For the first time on my mission we are teaching an ENTIRE family who is all interested and are all progressing. They are amazing! Their names are Javier, Emma and Vanessa! They are from Honduras, and every time we teach them, they have studied the book of Mormon, the pamphlets and the bible, and so they already know what we are going to teach. They are going to be getting baptized soon, after Javier and Emma get married! :) We are so excited for them and teaching them has been so cool because we have honestly been able to see how Heavenly Father has carefully prepared them to hear the Gospel and accept it. It has been AMAZING.
I could sit here and tell you about miracles for hours, but I don't have enough time to do that. Just know that the work is HASTENING. Miracles happen every day multiple times a day. IT IS AMAZING. I love this great work. I love Spanish. I love these people. I love my companions. I love this area. and I love this Gospel. I love my Savior. I love change.
It has been quite the week, we are SO busy and I love it. We are working really hard to get this area on FIRE and I know it will be soon. It is really nice because it is about 70 degrees outside right now. It is raining, but it is WARM. No coat, no tights and I am loving life!!! Christmas time as a missionary is amazing. So much cheer, joy and so many people home! Also, it is amazing to be here, helping other change their lives and come closer to Christ. I am so happy and I can't even stop smiling.
I love you all so much and I hope that you have the BEST Christmas season and best Christmas EVER. This year I have learned a whole new meaning of Christmas. Divided up, Christmas is---"Christ" "mas". "mas" in Spanish means "more". Which would mean that Christmas means "more Christ." I thought to myself, "shouldn't we CONSTANTLY be trying to put MORE CHRIST in our lives, things work out better that way." I realized that Christmas is about giving, not getting. But more importantly it is giving our WHOLE heart, mind, desires, wishes and time, and might to Christ. Those really are the only things that we can GIVE to Christ....and in return He gives us SO much more. He is the master of the masterpiece of our lives...and if we just give Him the "paint brush" and quit trying to do it ourselves He will make us and build us into who we are meant to become. When we give ourselves as gifts to Christ, it means to dedicate our life to Him and serving Him. That is what I want to do for now and for the rest of my life. I am so happy and so honored to be serving our King this Christmas and for all the Christmases from here on out. :) I hope this Christmas is the BEST!
Merry Christmas!

Hermana Weenig
Vivi, me, Sandra, Hermana Simpson and her new companion Hermana Ward.
Hermana Simpson, Sandra and I at her baptism!! SO HAPPY FOR HER!
My family away from my family...the Castaneda family
The Rojas family and our investigator Ruben from Old Town! I love and will miss them!

Jaqueline and Ricardo. Love them. Ricardo WILL be baptized one day.

Reyna and I. Hard Goodbye.

Jill, love her.

 Larry and Krista. Musical genius. With their doggy "Mozart". 
In the recording studio with Larry Clowes! 

Hermana Simpson and I consider it to have been the "best p-day ever."

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