Monday, April 28, 2014

Becoming NEW Again

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY. This week was incredible. My heart is still racing from how amazing it has been. It has been one of the most fulfilling, busiest, best weeks of the mission by FAR. Time is ZOOMING by and I can't seem to slow it down. Miracles are happening right and left and CHANGE is happening all over the place. It is incredible to see. One thing I am really learning on my mission is the power of forgiveness and repentance. How we, as imperfect people and sinners, can constantly be CHANGING and becoming a little better. Repentance is a change of perspective about ourselves, the world around us and God--as our LOVING Heavenly Father. Changes have been happening like crazy, and we are so excited for all the next miracles God has in store.
DANA GOT BAPTIZED AND CONFIRMED! SHE IS NOW A MEMBER OF THE CHURCH! WHAT AN INCREDIBLE BAPTISM!!! She was so excited this entire week! She was counting down the days, the hours and the minutes! The day of her baptism she invited us to come with her to invite all of her family and friends! WHAT A MIRACLE! We met a ton of new potential investigators through cute little Dana! She would just walk with us around the apartment complex and run up to a door and say, "This is my friends house...their whole family should come!" Then we would knock and she would cheerful invite them to come see her get baptized. It was the cutest thing I have ever seen. Her baptism was unreal. Dana's spirit was lifting the spirit of EVERYONE that came. there was a HUGE turn out at her baptism. Her family, who didn't come to her sister Nancy's baptism, came to see Dana get baptized! The Spirit in the room was SO thick. Many of her friends and family were there! We watched the restoration and her mom cried. Pati--her neighbor cried. Then we sang. Then Dana bore the most powerful testimony I have ever heard. She never cries, but she bawled. She said, "I am so grateful for my family. That they are here supporting me. I am so grateful and happy I got baptized, because now I can be everything I was meant to be." She continued to tell her story of how she always saw the missionaries coming to talk to Nancy, her sister, and always wanted to learn more and go out and preach with us. She said that from the moment we started teaching her, her life has completely changed. What a miracle! Dana is going to do incredible things. Her mom and her entire family were all crying---they felt the spirit SO STRONG! Dana's mom said that she is going to be baptized soon. WHAT!?!??! SO SO SO EXCITING! That entire family is going to be baptized! Miracles are happening. The children are being the examples to the parents, and it is quite amazing. In her confirmation, she was promised to be a full-time missionary and that ALL of her family would be baptized! WOAH!
Byron Leonardo and his soon-to-be-wife Olga Portillo came with us to the temple this week! It was incredible! Byron felt the Spirit so strong and we were even able to take him INSIDE the temple lobby. He said he had never felt so at peace and happy before in his life. After the tour of the visitor center and a powerful lesson on loving God, Byron said that he felt like he had become a NEW person. Wow. I believe it. It was powerful. The temple was beautiful, as usual, but there was something so sweet about Byron and Olga staring at the house of the Lord with awe. They made a goal to enter and be sealed in the temple May 10th of next year, which is exactly one year after Byron's baptism!! We ARE SOOOOOO EXCITED FOR THEM!
Ana Orellana's baptism was supposed to be this past Saturday. She came to see Dana get baptized, and she wants to do it too, but she is nervous about making such a strong commitment with God. She has been investigating the church for 3 years now, but is still terrified of being baptized. We had the most POWERFUL lesson ever with her on fear of man versus the fear of God. She has some things to work out before she gets baptized! But she is well on her way! :)
This week has been a week of music! Hermana Woodbury is a genius on the guitar and so we have been asked to sing and perform all over the ward for different events and such. It has opened up a TON of doors and a LOT of people are listening to the Gospel now because they first listened to the music. Amazing, right? Dana requested that we sang at her baptism--we sang "when I am baptized" in Spanish, we sang for a fireside for the entire Spanish program with some elders, and we have been singing to the investigators a lot. Hispanics LOVE music and it has been a BLAST being able to use music as a teaching tool. Also, I got to see a ton of my family from Old Town (my last area) and it was a joyful reunion to see all of them! Especially the recent converts still active and progressing in the Gospel. THIS IS THE BEST WORK EVER! I love them all! They are like family!!!! :) :)
Byron Castillo's birthday was this week, and they invited us to the "fiesta" with ALL of his non-member family! We met and taught a ton of people who are really curious and wanting to know more about the church! It was amazing! Byron is now 15 and hopefully going to get baptized this year! Miracles are happening in that home! The two daughters who were inactive are now reactivating and Hermana Castillo's sisters are starting to receive the missionary lessons! Couldn't be happier for their family! Byron is growing in the gospel, even if he is a little too "cool" for us. We are so happy to be teaching him and seeing the little improvements that he is making.
I think what made this week so incredible was the fact that everything we did was guided by the Spirit. The timing of everything was perfect. We have been going on a LOT of exchanges with the hermanas to help them in their areas and to help them accomplish all of their goals. It has been incredible to see that the Lord times things PERFECT. Just when someone was having a breakdown, or felt lonely, or was in distress, we were sent to comfort and help that person. The Spirit taught through us. God guided our EVERY MOVE. OVER and OVER again. It was incredible. I wish I could tell you all the things that happened this week because we acted on a prompting we were led to someone who was in desperate need. It was an out-of-body experience, and so powerful. But it is amazing to me that every single person that we were talking to, that the conversation always led to RELYING ON THE ATONEMENT. That is truly how I am getting to know my Savior Jesus Christ, through relying on His atonement and through giving all of my weakness to Him. And seeing all these people turning to Christ and seeing how happy they are when they do so, is the most fulfilling thing EVER.
Thanks for all you do for me. I don't know if thanks will ever be enough. But I am so grateful for your influences and your love and support in my life. You are always in my prayers and in my heart. Rely on the atonement daily and that will help you to....
Hermana Weenig

Spring Time!  Beautiful!!
 Bringing souls unto Christ. Best work ever.

Temple trip with Byron Leonardo and Olga Portillo. They loved it! They set a goal to get married in the temple a year from May 10th (Byron's baptism)

The beautiful temple. Ah, its gorgeous. Can't wait to see this family get sealed someday!

Dana's baptism! Her family came to support her! It was amazing! The first time they have ever set foot in the church!! :) They are all going to get baptized soon! Dana's neighbor, another investigator, Pati, came too!

 Nancy, Dana and I! We were SO excited for her.

I love Dana Pineda!

 Dana and Hermano Delafuente, our ward mission leader.

 Rebecca and I. She is the cutest little Mexican girl in our ward. She was so excited for Dana. She promised us missionaries she would never miss a day of church. Precious.
Byron Castillo's birthday was this week! He is one of our awesome investigators! We sang a birthday song to him, he loved it. Happy birthday Byroncito!
Lucy Santa Cruz, one of our investigators from Mexico, with her YuGiOh card collection. Awesome, right? 

Last preparation day on the banks of the Potomac River. :) beauty.


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