Monday, January 6, 2014

Bring Cheer to the New Year

I LOVE being a missionary. It is 2014 and I can't even believe it! I love this mission, these people, the Spanish language and EVERYTHING. Time is slipping through my fingers and I can't slow it down. 2013 was an amazing ride, and I learned so much and am determined to learn even more in this next year. 
Part of being a sister trainer leader for the mission, I have the opportunity to attend mission leadership councils. This past week, we discussed the importance of setting high goals and one idea really stuck out to me. Our wonderful mission president talked a lot about how, "It doesn't matter WHO you WERE because God only cares about WHO you are BECOMING." That, to me, sums up the Atonement of our Savior Jesus Christ. More than ever, Jesus Christ and His atonement is more real to me. Because of what He did for me, I can change and become better. I can reach my divine potential and so can all of us! I know that as we prayerfully set goals for this upcoming year, 2014, Heavenly Father will help us accomplish all we want and more. And the parts of the year where we are too weak to stand on our own, we can turn to our Savior Jesus Christ and He will do the rest. By far, my favorite part about being a missionary, is seeing people change through accessing the power of the atonement and learning to give all their lives and rely totally upon our Heavenly Father.
It has been another week FULL of miracles I don't even know how to start. I really do feel so grateful and blessed to work with the Hispanic people, they are continually living in the presence of God and have open hearts, and are willing to change and come unto Him.
One of those people is Juan Gonzalez. He incredible. Remember how I told you about how we met him on the street the other day? Well, since then, he has been reading the book of Mormon, coming to church and praying. Since his roommates are anti-Mormon, we have been teaching him in the McDonalds near his home when a member-home isn't available. I never knew how strongly you could feel the Spirit in a McDonalds (yes, I know, McDonalds--sometimes if we are lucky it is in the Laundromat). I think this week we had one of my favorite lessons with Juan. He walked in and it was REALLY cold outside and so he said, "after the lesson, I am buying all of us coffee." We smiled. We had a less-active member with us and my companions and I just all smiled at each other. We said a prayer to start the lesson and jumped into teaching the word of wisdom. The amazing part about the lesson was the Juan was like, "Well, if that what God wants me to do--I will do it, even though it will be a fight." Juan has drank coffee since he was a lad, but is giving it up for God. He is changing. In fact, the other day, HE called us, and wanted us to teach him more. I am so excited for him to get baptized!!!
We had a massive miracle this week. SO BIG that it BROKE THE MISSION RECORD. We taught 28 member-present lessons in one week!!!!!! WOWOWOWOW!! Thanks to this ward and lots of hard work! Apparently, it has never been done in the Washington D.C. mission. We are having a total blast going out with members, teaching them how to be member missionaries and we have truly caught the vision of getting the members involved in EVERY step of the work. THIS PLACE IS ON FIRE AND THIS IS THE BEST WARD I HAVE EVER SEEN!!! They are such heroes and examples of sharing the Gospel with everyone. Not only that, but it has been amazing to take out our recent converts and less actives out with us and seeing them grow and change into fully converted members of the church. I have learned an important lesson: If you want your testimony to grow, SHARE it with someone---TEACH someone you know and MORE light will come into your life and your eyes. Want to hear a miracle about some "lights" in my life?
Diana is a recent convert from about 2 months ago. We called an asked if she would be willing to work with us for a couple hours, and she was more than willing. Well, we had some amazing lessons set up but ALL of them fell through. So, we prayed. This amazing member said, "I've got a friend you can teach." So we followed. What followed suite was some of the most incredible lessons I have ever had the opportunity to be apart of on my mission. We taught her friend---tears of joy happened, we are teaching them now. Then, we were really tired and a little down that all of our solid lessons fell we prayed again. The Lord LITERALLY carried us through the use of Diana. Diana lead and guided us from door to door as we tracted. She was soooo guided by the Spirit and it was a miracle---we found 3 NEW FAMILIES we are going to start teaching. What a miracle. Members ARE THE KEY TO THIS WORK. We need each other. Her faith and her willingness to do the work of the Lord with NO fear of denial will be permanently ingrained in my brain. She is an amazing lady. Hna. Castillo is another amazing woman. She came out with us and share how she has changed through the Gospel....people are SO touched by the stories and the experiences that members share through living the principles of the Gospel. THAT IS WHY THIS PLACE IS ON FIRE and SO many people are wanting to hear the Gospel. I LOVE IT!!! :) I LOVE THIS WARD AND THESE PEOPLE!
Another amazing miracle happened this week! JAVIER AND VANESSA MADE THE GOAL TO GET MARRIED!!!! WAHOOOO!! That means their baptism is the Saturday after that! Thanks to the Spirit, ward members that have come with us, and their willingness to "experiment on the word" Javier and Vanessa are becoming true converts of the church! They are on fire! They have a goal of going to the temple to get sealed in a year and I can't wait to be there for it. They have made so many changes in their lives, but have never seen the need to get married. Javier told us the other day, "You guys, I read this chapter in the Book of Mormon, and realized that I have been living in sin." WOW! Amazing. Things are changing, and THEY are changing because they are deciding that it is time to follow their Savior Jesus Christ. We can all have those moments when we realize "uh-oh, I gotta change" but the beauty of it all is that we GET to change for the better EVERYDAY. Jesus Christ already paid the price for all the crazy things we have ever done. We just have to promise to change and He will help us carry the heavy load.
I can promise you that the Lord puts His missionaries in the RIGHT place at the RIGHT time. But you know what? He can do that with ALL of us, if we let the Spirit guide us to the place we need to be. Here are some amazing experiences we had with that this week:
#1: We had knocked, and knocked and knocked one day this week and NO one was answering. It was earlier in the day on New Years...and people were not very excited to see us. So we prayed. We asked Heavenly Father what we should do, because we had worked so hard and tried so hard and didn't know where to go. Immediately after the prayer ended, "Amen." And then we looked up. There came Doris. A woman that wanted to get baptized, but then we could never find her. God sent her to us. She was SO excited to see us and invited us in and wanted us to teach her. She said she has really had the desire to change, and her new goals for the year include getting closer to God. WHAT A MIRACLE.
#2: Hna. Maldonado (from Guatemala) was out with us. We had tried to get a hold of Marina. Marina, this past week had read and studied the pamphlets and prayed about them. She told us that she KNOWS that everything we are teaching and she wants to get baptized. Well, we had a lesson scheduled for her, but when we went to knock, she wasn't home--we were devastated.  But we had faith that we would still somehow see her. So we decided to go teach and do some street contacting. We had just got done with a lesson, and we had 20 minutes left. That is when we said a prayer. We felt like we needed to walk past Marina's house one more time before leaving the area. And! There she was! On her porch! She said she felt terrible that she missed us and wanted her to come teach her now! AMAZING MIRACLE. The lesson was incredible and the Spirit was so strong. During the lesson she told us that she has been trying to find a church and has tried other churches, but none of them felt like they were the right ones. She said that she has never read more powerful and true doctrine as she has in ours. She is PREPARING TO BE BAPTIZED ON THE 28th! Amazing! But the most amazing part of it all was to hear that woman pray. It was so sincere and real. It was almost as if God was literally in the room with us. I realized that prayer really is a time for us to talk with God. I hope all of us take the opportunity to talk out loud to our Father and ask for help, tell Him thanks and allow Him to help us work out the things in our minds that our stressing us out.
There are SO many miracles that are happening. And I know that SO many more are just waiting to happen. I am so happy, and I hope you are too. This truly is the greatest work and I feel like it isn't even work. It is what I eat, sleep and drink---and I wouldn't have it any other way right now. Every day I see more and more of how Heavenly Father is in the DETAILS of our lives and that He provides MIRACLES if we let Him, and if we trust in Him. I can tell my faith is growing, and I know that God is real and that He loves me and all of us. I KNOW that Jesus Christ is my best friend and right-hand man that I could do and be NOTHING without. He CARRIES me everyday. Let Him carry you too. Because as a missionary and as ANYBODY, there are days that you are tired, stressed, beat, hated, and just want to give up. But HE is the light at the end of the tunnel, and HE makes it all worth it and HE makes us strong when we can't do it by ourselves. Trust Him. Put Him first and ALL else will fall into always does.
I love you all so much and I can't thank you enough for your support, love, and prayers! I love being a missionary. It is the BEST decision I ever made. I love you all so much and I hope you know that you are always in my prayers! This is the year to keep reaching your divine potential---remember: "It doesn't matter who you were, because God ONLY cares about who you are becoming."
Hermana Weenig

Ocampos Family. We have been teaching their friends the Gospel.

Nauvoo stone was the centerpiece of one of the exhibits in the US history museum.

Yes, that is a piece of the Berlin wall. :)
Harry Potter's ACTUAL costume!!

1 comment:

  1. I just love reading her letters. She is one amazing lady and I am just so eager to see everything she will do in her life. She will NEVER not be on fire! If you see this comment, could you please send me her mailing address? (Katie's Lewis' mom)