Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Week 58 - Transfered

Hermana Phenix and I are now in Oaxtepec, Morelos. It is close to Cocoyoc. We are in President and Hermana Crickmore's ward and they are taking us out to eat on Friday. There is also a general authority in this ward, but we haven't met him yet. Our house is brand new and beautiful. My comp and I both cried when we saw the bathroom. We also were given a cell phone – it's a big touch screen smart phone. We are in one of the coolest areas in the mission because we have a town called Tlayacapan. They call it the “magic town” because it is very touristy and old fashioned. They have lots of shows/performances and sites to visit. There is an old Catholic church with mummies and other museums/shopping. The people here have more money, so their hearts are more closed to the gospel. When we got here, we didn't have any investigators. But, we found some this week. Martha is a mom of 3 and when we finished our 1st lesson with her and invited her to be baptized, she said yes! When we asked her why, she said that she felt really good and she felt that Christ was in the room with us. Also, a man named Pedro contacted us on the street. When we went to visit him, we found out that he is dating a girl that has three daughters who are members of the church. He and his girlfriend both said they wanted to make changes in their lives and want to start a new life with baptism. We have seen a lot of miracles this week as far as transportation/directions. God honestly sends angels to protect and help us. The other night we returned to the house after a meeting with our mission leader to find a group of guys outside our door, one of whom tried to hug me earlier that day. We decided to walk around the block and say a prayer. As we were walking, our mission leader appeared out of the middle of nowhere and said he felt he needed to come look for us. So he took a bus to our house and found us in the street. He walked us home and everything was fine.

P.S. Elder Clayton and Elder Pieper came to speak to us and they shook our hands. It was pretty intense.

P.S.S. It was so hard to say goodbye to Yautepec! But we get to go there every Monday for the district meeting so we are going with Hermano Baca today (our old mission leader) to go eat tacos.

Week - 56 Lessons Learned

Today I complete one year in the mission. It's interesting to think that I have lived in Mexico for one year! Everyday I discover new things about the gospel, myself, and my relationship with God. I am not a perfect missionary or a perfect person. But I think the Lord loves me enough to allow me to pass through this refining process, that will last the rest of my life. It is good we have the Atonement, so we can change, become new again, and know we are never alone in the process. I have been reflecting on the experiences I have had this past year. A few of the things I have learned:

The Book of Mormon answers the questions/doubts of the heart, God speaks to his children in dreams, love is a language, those that have the least give the most, little children pray for the weakness and sins of their parents, God is found in quiet places, the heavens cry with us, priesthood power is stronger than Satan's power, when we change our focus from worldly consequences to eternal consequences – God sends miracles, the traditions of our fathers should not always be trusted, someone on their phone during the sacrament does not understand Christ's Atonement, covenants change countenances, when it rains it pours, chosen leaders act on revelation-not convenience, obedience earns respect, the Lord knows what we can handle, goodbyes are hard-but we they are not forever, the blessings come after we endure hard things, the Lord prepares hearts, looks are deceiving, virtue loveth virtue and light cleaveth unto light, the Lord entrusts souls unto those he can trust, the amount of unity in a companionship, relationship or family determines the magnitude of the spirit in a companionship, relationship, or family, if you don't live the law of chastity your relationship will not function, gifts of the Spirit do exist, the mysteries of God are unfolded to those who ponder, in a progressing marriage – there must be found two principles - mercy and justice - and they must be governed equally, we have to fight for the things we love, the Lord hears the cries of his daughters, there are always signs, the temple can change the life of a family, counting our blessings leads to important understanding, Satan understands our weaknesses – and that is something we must always remember, priesthood blessings are words God has been waiting to tell you, heartfelt testimonies touch hearts and leave lasting impacts, forgiveness is difficult-but it's not a choice, in our preparation to be Gods & Goddesses we must learn self reliance.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 55 - One Year Anniversary!

We found so many new investigators this week, we had seven at church! We have had a ton of work and I really love the people and my companion. I can't believe it has been a year! I have learned so many things here. It will be hard to leave this country. The Lord loves me and he protects me! It is the best!!!

Week 52-54 - Arcos Antiguos

 Hermana Phenix, Me, & President Crickmore

Road Trip - Hermana Blanco and I

This week, Courtney included journal entries with random thoughts from two separate days. Some of it is hard to understand and choppy but here we go ….

Day 1:

Today was awesome. First, we ate in Arcos Antiguos and it is so fresh.  Every little gated community has a pool. I want to buy a house there. We visited a family. They bought this chicken that had a sweet BBQ sauce that was so good that I ate the skin, which I never do in Mexico. Their kitchen is so pretty and their bathroom … I just sat in there for a minute and cried a little on the inside. After living here for almost a year, a nice modern house sounds so good. It would be a big blessing.

Second, we had a lesson with Pam Campos Mendoza and the spirit was so strong. We taught the restoration and shared our testimonies of Joseph Smith. The Hermana wanted us to sing by ourselves to end the lesson, so we sang “Be Still Thy Soul” in English. It was really cool.  When we ended, the spirit was like “boom” and the Hermana was like “great message, sisters.” Ernesto said he prayed to know if Joseph Smith was a true Prophet, and he was able to sleep that night, which he said never happens.

Third, we were outside of a door, waiting for a Hermana to come out and my companion just started hitting this random dog with her pen and saying, “apurate, apurate!”(get a move on) and I was like, “Hermana, what are you doing?” And she said, “This dog is walking so slow!” The dog later passed us in the street and she yelled, “Walk, walk” and hitting it with her pen again. A guy rode by on his bike and I could tell he was like “What is she doing?” It is such a comfort to know that we have the truth. (We have no idea what this means … we are just typing what she has written !!)

A scripture … Alma 18:35 - And a portion of that Spirit dwelleth in me, which giveth me knowledge, and also power according to my faith and desires which are in God.

Day 2:

Today was a cool day. Homero, Lupita, and Ernesto came to church. Homero taught the Sunday school class for jovenes (youth) and it was pretty good. He teaches like a good American teacher. I think he learned from his American companions. He will be a good dad. We talked about studying the scriptures. We did a role play and after he told the youth, “I know you're not reading your scriptures because your actions show it.” We read in 2 Ne 1:14-15 when Lehi is saying his final words. I like when he says, “I am encircled about eternally in the arms of his love.”

We helped the youth do missionary role plays and it was so fun. Homero asked the class, “Who here wants to serve a mission?” Two of the girls kinda raised their hand, and then ERNESTO RAISED HIS HAND!!! AHHH!! Homero saw him and it totally shocked. He was like, “Wow, that's news to me.” It was like a little moment !

Relief Society was good because Vania taught the class and it was great! After church, we played the piano and sang with Homero and Ernesto because the Bishop was in an interview.

Our recent division with the new sisters means that we get to keep our investigators! Yes!! We went to a NDH in Arcos Antiguos because all of our lessons canceled and it was good we went because it was the birthday of the hermana and only two other sisters showed up. Hermana Phenix wasn't feel well so she threw up. Now she feels better. Finally, we had a lesson with our other investigators, Melissa and Axel. I asked Axel if he wanted to be baptized and he was like, “I don't know, like I just don't know if I'm ready?” He's been attending church for months and knows a lot about the church. He will be baptized soon. Melissa wants to also, but has obstacles to overcome.

PS – Look up Arcos Antiguos, San Carlos, Morelos on the internet!

The following week:

This week was crazy. Our leaders called us this morning and said that we have to prepare ourselves because the volcano is going to explode!!! We found so many new people to teach this week who are honestly so prepared to accept this message. One guy told us he had never felt the love of God in his life and he accepted to be baptized. I think the hardest thing this week was that our mission leader has a family who are not members. We are teaching them. When he got home off his mission, his mom lost their house and he slept literally under the stars for months until he had enough money to put up four walls for his mom to have a house. He is 22!! He was like, “Hermanas, I need you guys to help my family!” Talk about stress!