Monday, March 24, 2014

God Softens Hearts--Like Butter

First of all, a shout out to my brother, Austin!!!  Congrats on your mission call  -- Spain Malaga Mission.   Wow!  That is so awesome!  You'll be amazing out there!!

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!! :)  God always has an incredible plan for each of His children, and I am learning that HIS plan is always the best plan, even if it doesn't seem like it at first. MIRACLES, MIRACLES and MIRACLES are happening all over the place!! It has truly been the most incredible thing. The Lord is so great, and what I am learning is that the Gospel centers around change. Just like the majority of our own lives. God sent us here to the earth to change--and change is constantly happening---to refine us to make us the best version of us as we possibly can be. It is has been amazing to see how God changes the hearts of the people here in Washington DC---they go from having hard hearts to hearts as soft as butter. Change does happen with patience, love and faith.

BRYAN HUARITA GOT BAPTIZED YESTERDAY!!!!! We are SOOOOOOOO happy! It was probably one of the most incredible baptism that I have ever had the opportunity to see. He has been learning about the church for 10 years, and finally got baptized yesterday! He really is one of God's elect, and it was seriously such a blessing and honor to have been able to be apart of his conversion process. One of the most amazing things that happened with Bryan's baptism was the fact that ALL of his less active and in-actives friends came to support him. ALL of his non-member family was there!! The place was PACKED. And so many lives were touched through him. Bryan is going to be an incredible missionary someday. He had asked us to sing at his baptism, so we did. My companion is INCREDIBLE and she is quite the musician on the guitar. Bryan is a BIG-TIME guitar player, so we thought it would be really cool if we used his guitar for the number. We did. We arranged a version of "Gran Eres Tu" (How Great thou Art), and we sang it for him! :) It was so incredible to see how many people Bryan has influenced in his life and to see him FINALLY taking this huge step to get baptized. I have honestly seen first hand how the steps of faith and repentance really do precede the step of baptism. Bryan is seriously one of my best friends, and always will be. He is one of those people that I have met on the mission that you know you knew before you came here. I am SO happy for him. It was so cool to see him go into the water, and back out---so clean, so happy and so fresh. After he was baptized, he leaned over and said, "This is it, my new beginning to my story." I thought that was so profound. It is so true. Bryan's decision to finally get baptized is a miracle. It was NOTHING that we did, it was all the Spirit working through him and his desires to change. I AM SO HAPPY. And now, he is preparing to enter the temple so that in a year from now he can leave to serve his own mission for the church! He will be one of the most incredible missionaries ever! :) I know that all of those people in that room felt the Spirit SO strong as he bore his testimony that change is possible and we know A TON of good is going to come from that baptism...more baptisms, reactivation and the like! Miracles are happening!! So happy for Bryan! :) I remember just three months ago, back in December when Bryan told us he'd never change. "Don't waste your time with me. I have had missionaries before and I am never going to change," he would say to us. But with time, and on the Lord's time, things happened in his life and the Spirit touched his life in such a way that he gradually changed. With patience and LOTS of love Bryan finally had the desire to be baptized! and now he is going to be one of the strongest members this ward has got! MIRACLE. One of the coolest and  most special conversions I have seen on my mission yet. He developed a desire to be TOTALLY clean before God and that motivation will carry him throughout the rest of his life. I sure have learned a TON from Bryan.

Brother Nelson, a man in our ward who has been clutch in Bryan's conversion, baptized Bryan. After the baptism, he came up to me and said, "Thank you." I said, it wasn't me, it was God. He said, "I remember when you told me that Bryan would get baptized. I didn't believe you and I remember laughing. But you guys never gave up, and I now believe in miracles. Who would have ever thought?" God would. God is the author of change...of miracles. It can happen in all of our lives.

Speaking of miracles that came from Bryan's baptism.....:) WOAH! Miracle after miracle has been happening these past couple of days. We have a few of our investigators that have been investigating the church for over a year. One of them in Ana Orellana. Ana is incredible. She comes to church all the time and has received the missionary lessons multiple times, but has never got baptized. Well, Saturday, my companion and I felt inspired to invited Hno.Ceberg to come out to a lesson with us, who is a friend of Ana's friends. Well, he pulled up---with ANA IN THE CAR!!! She came out and knocked doors with us and we taught some incredible lessons with them! Ana isn't even a member, yet she wanted to come out with the missionaries! As we were out walking around, we talked to her about why she hasn't been baptized. She expressed some serious doubts to us. The next day during our studies we studied those doubts. Ana came to church yesterday and she also came to the baptism!! While there I asked her if she wants to set goals to have each of her doubts resolved. She said yes. And then I told her it was possible and that we could be celebrating her baptism by the end of April. She said "Yes, I think it is time." WHAT!!!! She has never said that ! that is amazing! So we will be working a lot more with her and helping her to get baptized! :) What a miracle!

Speaking of another miracle that came from Bryan's baptism. Kelly. She too has been investigating the church for a while. She is 15 and she is wonderful. In the past she has always just said that, "Someday I'll be baptized." Well, after Bryan's baptism, she came running up to us and said, "Hermanas!!! It is the time!! I want to get baptized! I have been waiting for so long just like Bryan, and I want to do it now. I think now is the time." WOWWOWOWOOW! I almost fell over! Incredible! She is on date for April 12! Miracles are happening right and left! God is truly softening these people's hearts as they are turning to Him. It's incredible and inspiring to see all the change that is taking place!

This week we had transfers! Hermana Dopp headed back home, she is an incredible woman and missionary! I am so grateful for all that she taught me and wish her well back home. I now have another AMAZING companion! How do I get so  lucky with all these incredible people? Her name is Hermana Woodbury! I love her so much already! She is from Nevada. Her dad is from the states and her mom is from Thailand! Cool, right? She is such a powerful teacher and we are excited to see SOOOO many miracles this transfer. We have set some pretty high goals and are going to work extra hard this transfer because we know God has some many prepared people out there just waiting to be found! :) I am still serving here in the greatest ward ever--Little River ward here in Annandale, VA. I love them all so much, and I know that there is so much work to be done! It is an exciting start and can't wait to see all the incredible things that are going to take place! We are still serving as Sister Training Leaders, and I can't wait to learn more from the wonderful Hermanas in this mission. I love serving them and helping them become the best they can be!

Byron is working on his papers, so that he will be able to get married to Hna. Portillo in the next couple of weeks!!! MIRACLE! They should be married by mid-April and baptized by the end of April. :) I can't wait for that! Byron is incredible, and is changing so much.
Funny story about Byron: I had this weird growth/bug bite on my leg and he saw it on Thursday and was like "Hermana!! Let me get rid of that!" I should have been worried when he pulled out tequila, white gloves, some strange liquid and medicine. "Hermana, I SURVIVED THE JUNGLE of Ecuador, I can handle this!! I have seen this before! A bug stole some of your skin and we must save your leg!!" You should have seen my face....terrified.  Well, I said a prayer in my head and there he was....performing surgery on my leg. After a lot of pain and laughing the strange thing on my leg was gone. Byron has always got our back, and will be baptized soon.

One more miracle! There has just been so many! We are teaching this amazing family Angel and Delsa and Maria Osorio. Well, we went to teach them and a different man answered the door. We had never seen him before, and he was like, "MISSIONARIES!!! Where is the church?" We looked at him half way confused. His name was Juan, and he continued to tell us that he is a member of the church who had just recently moved from Honduras and had been searching for the church here, but could never find it. He had been praying that he would run into the missionaries and there we were! He was apparently about to go on a mission, when Honduras enlisted him in the military. But he wants to come out and work with us everyday! He lives in Commerce which is a place that we are in often! What a miracle! But what is even more is that HE IS RELATED TO THE FAMILY THAT WE ARE TEACHING!!! WHAT!? Miracles all over the place. We had a lesson with him there and the family was so touched. It was incredible to see how the Lord had all of our paths cross. I really do know that if we follow the Spirit, we will be exactly where we are supposed to be when we are supposed to be there.

Thanks for all your love, support, letters, and prayers. I love you all so much and you are always in my heart and prayers. This really is the DREAM LIFE. and I can't wait to see so many more miracles this week. I am learning more and more everyday of the importance of having the Spirit guide and be apart of our lives. I never ever want to live without His comfort and guide.

Hermana Weenig
Bryan's baptism! SO happy for this guy! He is going to do incredible things!

Bryan, Hermano Nelson and I! What a happy day it was to see Bryan FINALLY taking that step! :)

This was one of my most favorite districts that I have ever served with on my mission! They are all like family! :)
The ward had a good-bye for Hermana Dopp, and I took the Tres Leches cake and got her good....but then she came back with revenge! :)

Transfers! Bye Hermana Dopp...go tear it up at home! Love you!

My AMAZING new companion Hermana Woodbury! This transfer is going to be full of miracles!

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