Monday, February 29, 2016

Letter #73 02/29/2016







Oh, Jo and Es.. Throughout my entire mission, I have yet to
meet anyone else who gets pummeled so hard by the adversary every time
they take a step forward to make a good decision. This week was filled
with activities to help prepare them for their baptism. We had some
really sweet lessons with them and we could just tell they were ready.
They were excited. Nervous, sure, but their time had definitely come.
THEN as we're eating dinner with the Perla-Alvarez family, we get a
call from Jo.. He just barely got a new job, right? After
struggling through unemployment, getting married in faith- of course,
blessings come and he found work. Cool, okay. He called to tell us
that his boss told him he had to work Saturday night (planned
baptismal evening) and that he wouldn't get off until like 9:00...
What? My heart sunk as we talked it out with him. We finally came to a
conclusion that we would pray extra extra hard and that he would call
his boss and explain the situation. We prayed and prayed and called
our ward mission leaders and prayed some more. At the end of the
night, we received a text from Jo, saying.. "We are going to do it
tomorrow, see you at 5:30".

And they did. They were baptized and confirmed and it was the neatest
experience! We visited them yesterday and there is just SUCH a
different atmosphere in their home and in their little family. And
it's not like it was bad before, the spirit is just tangible. They
truly trust in The Lord now. We asked him how he was able to do it..
How he got out of working. He was like, well.. I went into work early
Saturday morning.. And my boss was just like, 'all of the appointments
cancelled.. So, uh, yeah..'

HEAVENLY FATHER LITERALLY CHANGES THINGS. He has the power to direct
the universe, and He cares enough to direct our lives for good. I love
Him. We have seen so many miracles lately like that.. We literally do
nothing, but Heavenly Father makes things happen. Our worries are real
and important to Him, because He loves us tons. But He doesn't worry.
He's got it. I'm grateful for that knowledge and a mission that has
taught me to rely on Him. Jorge bore the sweetest testimony at the
baptism and I was just so emotional.. Months of worry and tears and
prayers and love for this sweet little family made their baptism and
confirmation and their new goals for an eternal family just so so
sweet.

Sorry this email is not what it should be. I don't have the words or
the time or the strength in my little typing hands to go through all
of the miracles we have seen in just this past week. I am grateful for
everything. I'm grateful for my companion and for everything we've
been able to experience together. I'm grateful for this last week I
have here in Hispanic Heaven. I am so grateful for one more week of
Virginia air and for one more week to help this sweet humans as a full
time representative of Jesus Christ.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Letter #72 02/22/16

THIS WEEK, though. I know I say this all the time, but wow. It's just
that our weeks as of late are absolutely insane, meaning that they
pass in the blink of an eye and also feel like three years long. I am
grateful and grateful and happy and so grateful. Heavenly Father has
just made my mission so wonderful. I found myself just a little bit
overwhelmed and anxious and worried after sacrament meeting yesterday,
not really sure why. Sometimes it's really easy to feel like things
are all you. Like there's this stress of the salvation of every human
in the area resting on your shoulders that just makes things hard when
they don't come to church or when they're not recognizing an answer or
the need for an answer. So we got to Gospel Principles class and I was
feeling it. We talked about prayer and watched this video with one of
the classic stories about a lady in New York that prayed for
missionaries and then they knocked on her door. The spirit was strong
as I remembered all of the miracles I have been blessed to see on my
mission. Afterwards, cute Hermana Perla shared her testimony of our
miracle and.. I was done for. I am so grateful.

Quick neat miracle, last night we were just driving through the dark,
foggy Mancha. It was pouring rain, and we're both pretty sick so as we
park we were just like- Satan, stop! Haha, we were going to leave when
we felt like we should pay a visit to a random investigator that we
hadn't seen for a long time. As we parked, we were just like, with the
way we feel right now.. obviously something neat is about to happen
because Satan is working, haha. We get out of the car and start
walking up to the apartment complex when we see this guy talking on
the phone. We go and talk to him and.. It was just the strangest
experience. He was surrounded by this incredible spirit and had such a
light in his eyes. He was so receptive and we set up a return
appointment for today. We were like, do you know you're the miracle we
were expecting to see? And he was like, yeah.. I was in that noisy
place (huge party going on in the apartment next door) but came out to
take the call. No coincidences, obviously. After our little lesson
with him, we went to knock on the door of the investigator upstairs
and.. Nothing. We walked back to the car, and it was just the
strangest feeling.. I felt like there was literally an outside force,
the hand of the Lord, that had placed us there and was walking us back
to the car.

God is SO good. He is our master. It's the neatest thing to be serving
Him. I'm excited to do it forever!

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Letter #71 02/18/16

So there was a glitch with my ldsmail.net aka I sent all these emails the other day.. president gave us permission to email again! Loves all around.


Best Valentine's present ever!  President Wilson called us to ask if he could meet us at the church yesterday
which isn't the most abnormal thing because we visit lots but....then out popped Sister Johns and
Sister Seegmiller from his car and I couldn't handle!  Love them so so so mucho!


I've only ever met sweet Hermana Stapley through members who loved her and
old teaching records that she wrote, but it was friendship at first sight!



Okay, this week as absolutely nuts. Like an emotional roller coaster of the highest highs and some pretty low lows. I realize that I'm turning into an old lady missionary, because the things that are really exciting like weddings and baptisms (eek! ) are so exciting until the next day when I'm literally so sore and dead tired. Hahah, we are absolutely so blessed though. We felt like secret agents of the Lord Jesus Christ as we were working and praying and hoping around the clock for a miracle with Le- that he would have the desire to be baptized with his future wife. He was just so so close and has changed and progressed SO much whoa. Anyways, we had a Noche de Hogar with El and Le in the home of the Ramos Family. They are basically just the most rockin' members the world has ever known. They call people to repentance like nobody's business and are REALLY bold. Like, really. And I love them so much and the whole night was PERFECT for them. We talked a lot about the temple and they have such a desire to be a forever family. The spirit was really neat. 

The next day, we talked about his desires, how he feels about everything. 
And the words from his mouth were, 

"I'm not the same person I was before.. I know I can do it." 

And I cried and it was the neat neatest thing! The Romero's are a complete miracle family. The week progressed and things got CRAZY because- wedding planning, am I right? I never knew.. Haha. And things went wrong and really loco and Hermana Draper and I would just look at each other and be like, 'were two random girls, all the way across the country, planning a wedding and we have no clue what we're doing and- this is the weirdest thing ever'. One of those moments where you realize how absolutely bizarre the missionary life really is. Anyways, the craziness continued all the way up until they said "I do", so the stars just didn't align for Le to truly be prepared for baptism. It was still such a magical experience, though, to see them marry, and to see him watch her be baptized. It was such a sweet night, even though we were up to our ears in the stresses, we couldn't help but feel so so so blessed. And the entire environment of their home has changed- El is a completely different mother, daughter, person. Ah, I love them!

Next up we have Jo and Es. Oh baby, I love them so much and my heart has just been wrenched in a million different ways seeing them struggle and waver in their faith. It really has been such a unique experience to feel a little tiny portion of the way that Heavenly Father feels when we go through difficult things, when we lose faith and trust in Him. I didn't lose faith in them, in their desire to follow the example of Jesus Christ, and I surely didn't lose faith in my Heavenly Father and His ability to change hearts and lives and help things to happen. But looking into their ojos desanimados, testifying with every fiber of my being, I couldn't help but feel like we had tried our best and that maybe we would just have to let go for now. 

But then, yesterday, a few of the brothers from the ward went over to talk with them and to give little Ad, their son, a blessing. (He had to go to the hospital because of this crazy virus that he's been batting the past week..) We knew they were heading over and were praying that Jo and Es would feel the spirit and- afterwards, we got a text from Hermano Molina that the wedding was officially on for this weekend and that everything was good! What?! It was so so incredible. We went over pretty soon after for a lesson and brought El as a member present. She shared her whole experience of struggling hardcore before it all went through and just how she felt after she was baptized. It changed their world and the spirit was so strong. 

One thing she said really touched me. She said that, as she was baptized, she felt as if Christ was telling her that everything was going to be okay.. That he was going to help her to carry her burdens. And the Savior's voice from Matthew 11:28-30 came to my mind:

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light."

And that's exactly what happens as we come unto Him. Yoked to him, we still have burdens, but he helps us to carry them. He carries us. I am so grateful for a Savior. This past little bit of my mission, I have felt more strongly than ever before my need for Him and His strength. We can do little on our own, but we can do all things through Him. I am so grateful to be a missionary. The Lord's hand is so evident in all of the beautiful things that happen each day. I know that prayer is real. That God is always listening and he works miracles through monster faith. Even when our faith doesn't feel too monstrous, he works miracles in our lives because of His love for us. 


Monday, February 8, 2016

Letter #70 02/08/16

Family Home Evenings + maple soda + cupcakes=the happiest night probably of my life.
This sweet family is the Ramirez family-they're in one of the English wards that meets in our
building, but they used to attend the Spanish Ward.  Their Bishop asked if we could visit them
and we were best friends at first sight. Haha, I love loving people!


She's working on her drawings and I'm headed straight for a nose job. Jaja #compies
I've said it before and I'll say it again, Heavenly Father is just
amazing. He is blessing us so abundantly. On Wednesday, Hermana Draper
and I were feeling just a little bit down. Not sure why, but there was
just that vibe in the air. We were driving through La Mancha, turned
into a random parking lot and just stopped. We looked at each other
like, "what are we supposed to do right now?" We prayed for guidance
and felt like we just needed to tract, to show God that we were
willing. In that moment, we saw out of the car window a cute young mom
walking her three girls home from the bus. We immediately felt we
needed to talk to her, so we quickly prayed and bolted out, just as
she turned the corner to her complex. We were pretty sure we saw which
door she turned into, but when we knocked.. The people within did not
answer. We were sad, pero bueno. We knocked a few doors, met some need
people and set up some appointments. NEXT DAY we come back for the
appointments and.. Neither of them are home. We decide to knock all
the rest of the doors, knowing that God sent us to this particular
building for a reason. The first door we knock opens and.. The LADY
greets us. Matilde is her name, and she lets us right in. We're just
awestruck as she listens intently and finally out of nowhere is just
like, yeah, I'm really struggling right now. And I've been praying a
lot to God for help and I want to come to your church. Okay, thank you
Heavenly Father. He leads us to those prepared to receive His gospel
message!

And again with the leading and guiding.. Wow! We were headed to an
appointment with an awesome member, when we stopped at the bottom of
the staircase to pray. Right as we were about to pray, this lady comes
down the stairs from a second floor apartment. We start to talk with
her and she basically just goes ham on us. She used to be a
Pentecostal pastor in Honduras, so.. Yeah. Haha, we're used to talking
with people that just want to teach us, so the member was like, "hey,
how about we set up an appointment, we'd love to teach you more
another time" but she just kept on talking.. And told us her super
heartbreaking life story. We had no clue why, but we just listened..
And loved her.. And hugged her. We invited her to be baptized, then we
prayed. After the prayer she was like, "hey, if someone comes for me,
I'll come to church tomorrow!" And we were like.. Okay! So we had her
neighbor, an investigator, bring her to church. She also brought her
two little granddaughters who are our new best friends and.. It was
the coolest thing ever! The testimony meeting was SO spiritual and
afterwards, she basically told us that she felt the spirit so so
strong, wants to study the Book of Mormon and basically wants to join
our church. It was such a miracle!

I COULDN'T HAVE IMAGINED a more wonderful last transfer. The windows
of heaven are open wide and Hermana Draper and I are so happy. The
wedding this weekend is a go and El and Le are just as
sweet as ever. I learn so much from them every second. Le still
doesn't feel prepared to be baptized, but he loves church and just
gets the goofiest smile on his face when we talk about forever
families or how beautiful it will be when he can baptize cute C
at 8 and give blessings to his family. It was really so neat, he was
just telling us about his experience in meeting the missionaries back
in August. He said that he had never ever said yes to someone who
asked if he had time to learn about God. He wouldn't open the door or
his heart. But, when the missionaries approached him, he said yes for
the first time. We asked him what was different, and he didn't know..
But something had changed. It's just really neat to see and feel that
the spirit touched his heart in that moment because Heavenly Father
knew that they needed to start learning to get to where we are now. He
really does have a plan. (Also, we went wedding dress shopping with
El today.. And we found the perfect dress! Shopping for wedding
dresses is almost a spiritual experience. You go for so long and are
so stressed because nothing seems to work and then- bam! The stars
align, your bosom burns and the spirit just says- yup. It's the dress.
Haha. After this experience, however, I am not planning on marrying
any time soon- so much stress! )

Speaking of the windows of heaven, President Wilson took us to P F
Changs the other day for good food and deep talks and it was literally
the happiest thing of ever! As we were there, we were talking about
all the people we are working with who are struggling with money. It's
been heartbreaking to see their faith so shaky as the storms roll
around them. The conversation turned to tithing and the promise that
God will "open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing,
that there shall not be room enough to receive it". I thought back to
my cute mom and the little miracles we saw growing up as she paid her
tithing. Heavenly Father really does take care of us as we keep his
commandments. President then shared his view of the scripture. As we
pay our tithing, as we keep the commandments, we have the opportunity
to attend the temple- our little window to Heaven. And this is the
greatest blessing that God could give us. It really opened my eyes.
I'm so grateful for a loving Heavenly Father who wants us to be so so
happy. I am grateful!

As promised, here is the baptism story from the eyes of my dear companion:

Hermano J Gramajo got baptized on Saturday night! It was such a
wonderful experience. We felt so strongly that it was the Lords will
for him to be baptized because everything that went wrong was fixed so
that he could get baptized! For starters, the leadership of the ward
all went to the temple that day and we realized last minute that we
didn't think we had keys to the font but we had the idea to
try all the keys on our key ring and one of them worked!! So then we
turned on the water and even on the hottest setting, it still came out
cold!! We had to boil water on the stove and after doing three big
pots of boiling water, it was time to start the baptism! (Side note:
While we were figuring out the water, thirty minutes before he
baptism, the thought came to call the son of Hermano Gramajo and so we
did! His girlfriend told us they wanted to come and we're ready but
they didn't have a ride and were too shy to call us! Some great
members were willing to go pick them up and they came and had a great
experience. They are on date to be married and baptized on February
20th!) last but not least, we go to open the curtains of the baptismal
font and a different key was needed than what we had. None of the
bishopric was there (who would have had the key) because of the temple
trip. So we gave an Hermano the job of figuring out a way to open the
curtain. We started the baptism in pure faith that he would figure it
out and everyone would be able to see the baptism. When the time came
for him to be baptized, we went into the room where the baptismal font
is and THE CURTAIN WAS OPEN. we looked a little closer and realized
that the Hermano had gotten his toolbox and unscrewed the nails that
attached the curtain to the wall and had pushed the whole curtain
over. I love being a Spanish missionary! I don't think anyone really
noticed the the difference. Haha! We were so grateful!! Also, he put
it back afterwards, don't worry. Hermano Gramajo shared his testimony
after his baptism and it was a very sweet moment.

Letter #69 02/01/16


One of the best pics we got after the baptism.  Haha
Isn't he the cutest 73 year old man you've ever seen?

This past preparation day was a tough one. I dunno, something about
being forced to think about college and life when all I really want to
do is be a missionary was rough. As I was wigging out about various
things, we called the Pe-Al clan and heard that La Hermana
wasn't doing too well health wise. Our FHE was cancelled, but we still
ended up going over. She may have been feeling sicker, but there was
such a beautiful light in her eyes. She told us about some dreams that
she's been having (God speaks to Hispanics in dreams- it's crazy cool
and totally unfair, haha) that have brought her a ton of peace.
Whenever I'm having a bad day, just going over to their humble little
apartment and listening to their testimonies is enough to turn it all
around. When they're feeling down, they listen to Doctrine and
Covenants.. Who does that? So neat. My testimony of Heavenly Father,
of His promises to answer our prayers no matter how long it takes, and
the simple peace that the spirit brings was strengthened. We left to
go to various appointments we had planned that night, but La Mancha
still hadn't been cleared of snow, which means even if we wanted to
make our appointments, we couldn't find parking that would allow us to
leave at the end of the night. So we just spent the rest of the night
stopping and pushing people out of their stuck-in-the-snow state. It
was such a crazy adventure, haha, we felt like super heroes, or at
least the three (two) Nephites just popping up out of nowhere to help
all the travelers. The least crazy thing of it all is that, by the end
of a night of service, I mostly just felt like flying. So happy and
just grateful to be a human and to be of simple to service to someone
in need.

And it's really silly because I wrote this on Monday and if i knew and
felt then what I know and feel now, I probably wouldn't have written
it haha.

Oh my heavens, the windows of Heaven are open wide and our loving
Heavenly Father truly is pouring out His blessings. 

Mostly every night we pillow talk about how in the world we are seeing
so many miracles when we don't feel like we do anything to be worthy
of all the beauty. It's so incredibly conforming that Heavenly Father
is at the helm. He just expects us to be here, to give it our all, to
love and serve and thrust in our sickle and- He provides. He's given
me the beautiful blessing to stay here yet another transfer and to see
changes I never thought I'd live here in the mission to see.

Miracle number one, El and Le. THEY ARE SO NEAT. Okay, so
we've talked a little about how they wanted to wait to get married and
baptized until her mom could be here, right? So, we were a little
bummed just because waiting for things is never a good idea and we
really felt strongly that it was God's will that they just act in
faith but.. It totally wasn't. Gods timing is perfect and, yesterday,
Le and El came to church. The two of them, sitting together
with their niƱos and I couldn't handle. It was beautiful! And then we
got to go visit them for our monthly ward 'reach out night' after
church and it was the neatest thing. The elders quorum president and a
recent convert that just got sealed in the temple on Saturday came. We
sang families can be together forever and he shared his testimony and
LESTIN, the guy who didn't even want to greet us, let alone talk to
us, was like, "It really is a beautiful idea. To be together with the
family.." And they were there, together, El just glowing and
Le with the newfound gleam in his eye that comes as the innate
light of Christ emerges from its hiding place.
We set their official wedding and El's baptism date for the
12th of this month and invited Le to be baptized too. He told us
some of his concerns, mostly just not wanting to fall away after
taking such an important step. I had the opportunity to bear my
testimony of the atonement, of God's desire to help us change, and
that was so neat because that's something I've really been struggling
with as of late. I know that Heavenly Father sometimes gives us the
opportunity to testify, and in doing so, receive answers to our own
questions. No wonder He commands us to share the gospel!

I just felt so blessed in that moment, there with them engulfed in the
spirit. I felt like Ammon, in Alma 26, when he says..

"My brothers and my brethren, behold I say unto you, how great reason
have we to rejoice; for could we have supposed when we started from
the land of Zarahemla that God would have granted unto us such great
blessings?"

When we began teaching sweet El, I never could have imagined
that God would grant us such great blessings in completely softening
Le's heart and bringing them together as a family.. But He did!
His timing is perfect, as is his love, and when it seems like
everything is going wrong- He knows what He's doing.

And that's such a beautiful truth, because J and Es are
struggling. They were (and still are-faith) trekking towards their Feb
20 baptismal date when J had to quit his job because of some
things that were going on in the company. That being said, Satan is
just working so so hard on them and they recognize it, but it's also
really getting them down. Pray for them, porfies. They are so sweet
and have been through so much throughout their conversion process.

Speaking of the Gramajo's.. J's el Papa was baptized and confirmed
this week! It was the craziest baptism experience I've ever been a
part of, so I'll leave a little cliff hanger for ya and write all the
details next week.. Let's just say that it consisted of dismantling
the curtains that lead to the font, boiling water on the stove to fill
the font, and mostly just not having keys. I was wigging out during
the whole process while Hermana Draper repeated, "this is SO fun!"
over and over. Life is crazy and good! Love you so so mucho!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Letter #68 01/25/16





The craziest week of our little lives.......
Monday night we had the weekly 'Noche de Hogar' with the
Pe-Al family. It's always a good time. We talked about the
temple, Hermano Mo brought pizza, we played Marco Polo. Haha, one
thing that was particularly beautiful- we were doing kind of a
question and answer session about the temple when someone asked about
how it is kept clean. I shared my experiences of having the
opportunity to clean the temple and Hermano Al asked, "Is there
any way to get involved with cleaning the church? I mean, it's our
church building and I just want to help. Tell me a day and I'll be
there." I don't know if it sounds as sweet on email as it was, but
these people! They are just so humble, so full of incredible desires
to do good. I want to be like them.

Tuesday. Im sort of starting this day by day thing because it's just
easier and that way I can actually remember specific things instead of
trying to cram 4,000 miracles into an email on Monday. Pero, Bueno. We
saw lots of beautiful things today. Highlights would be.. N AND
E. Okay, so I don't know if I've talked much about these two but
N's a member and E isn't and so ever since my first day here
in Chesterfield we've taught them off and on, nothing too substantial-
BUT then this past week they just waltz into church in the freezing
cold and  snowiness and it was the biggest surprise of EVER and now
they are just like- different. With this new desire to progress and
everything. They fed us fried chicken and spaghetti with crema y queso
#rockandroll and I feel that we're here to stay! We also had a word of
wisdom lesson with Jo and Jo and Es and it was so cute.
Jo el Papa was just like, okay. I'm done drinking coffee- just like
that. And it was incredible to see his monster faith and this new
light I'm His eyes. His countenance now matches that of his son and it
was just so clear to me in that moment that finding the truth, making
it an active part of our life, changes us! He continues to push
forward and he's just so prepared. He's planning on being baptized
this Friday the 29 of January, so pray for him!

Wednesday was the day of all miracles!! In three short words..
EL'S GETTING BAPTIZEDDD!  The day at long long last has
arrived. It's crazy, because she's wanted to baptized basically ever
since I arrived here three months ago, but it just like didn't happen
for one reason or another. But, the Lord's timing is perfect. On
Sunday after church we filled out the papers online for her marriage
certificate, tried on the miracle wedding dress, her novio L even
came and it was beautiful! They were talking about maybe going to the
court to get the license on the 27th, three days before the wedding
and we were like eek that's really cutting it close to her January
29th date, but if that's the only day you can get off then, bueno. We
know it'll work out! So that's where we were when we went to have a
short lesson with her on Tuesday. She was like- "I totally forgot but
L got tomorrow off work for a doctors appointment, so we can just
go get the license after!" Uh, okay! When God wants you married and
baptized, He gets you married and baptized. The only problem was that
tomorrow, Wednesday, was the all mission conference broadcasted via
satellite to every single mission in the world.. Right at the time
they were to be able to go to court. We were trying to find a member
to translate for them, to help them be able to go themselves when
President Wilson came over. We chatted about it for a minute and he
said, "Just between us three, I think going to court's a lot more
important than watching live.." And that was exactly what our hearts
had been waiting to hear. So they called us when they were ready and
we up and left the broadcast and I felt so blessed to be able to truly
represent the Savior in that moment. After a few failed attempts at
finding the courthouse, we finally made it, they received their
license and I guess the rest will be history! We even had a lesson
with L a few nights later and it ruled! It's been incredible to
see how the spirit has softened his heart in preparation for their
spiritual journey together. We have no doubt that this really is just
the beginning. God is so so so good.
Also, a little bit of a twist to the story.. We got a call last night
from E and she's really concerned because she wants her mom to
be at her wedding, but she just thought about the possibility of her
coming like two days ago.. Not enough in advance to get work off to
come up. So now she wants to push back her wedding and baptism date..
The next available date is the end of February, which is in a really
long time. And she's already waited so long. We're seeing what can be
done, but just pray that everything can work out! Heavenly Father has
pulled so many beautiful strings to help her be able to make this
important covenant and it's been so beautiful to see his hand. We
still have lots of faith.

We also had a neat neat lesson with this beautiful member named
Hermana G. We just got her part of the area, so it was our first
time visiting her cute home. We were greeted by her little daughter
who, when we asked what she learned at school, gave us the most
hilarious Spanish rendition of the story of Martin Luther King's "I
had a dream" speech and we knew from that moment it was going to be a
good time. But only when the little girl started bearing us her
testimony did we realize just how spiritual it was going to be.
Hermana G was baptized just a few years ago, but is married to an
inactive life long member that doesn't really support her in going to
church. She told us just how hard it is to get the little kids ready
for church, that they're trouble makers, but that she wants so badly
to be active. She reminded me so much of my mom. We just testified of
the blessings of the temple and of Heavenly Father's understanding of
her and her needs. There was the sweetest moment where the spirit
prompted me to tell a little bit of my story, and it just hit me
really hard as I shared it- that the reason I could go to the temple,
the reason I am here on a mission is because of my sweet mother who
didn't give up. That even though it was hard, she took me to church
each week and taught me the gospel through the way that she lived. And
that is exactly what she can do for her girls. Tears abounded and
there was just such a tender spiritual connection. Lots of the things
that happen on the mission are basically indescribable, but yes. I am
grateful.

If y'all haven't been following the news as we most definitely
haven't, I'm sure you haven't heard of the monster snow storm that
took the state of Virginia by.. storm.. This weekend but, if you have,
the rumors are true. This Friday our life very quickly turned into a
SNOWY DREAM LAND and let me just tell you- so many adventures. Most
from the comfort of our own kitchen table, but, yes! Haha. It all
started out with a trip to the mission home! Y'all know the mission
home, aka the colonial house card in the game of LIFE but a real life
thing, aka Heaven on Earth. President and Sister Wilson invited us and
another companionship of sisters over to discuss some of the upcoming
meetings to be held and it was such a treat. We all grabbed our forks
and ate from a community bowl of fruit and then were visited at the
window bird feeder by cardinals. CARDINALS against the backdrop of
snow just beginning to fall and also chickadees and it was just one of
those moments when you just sit back and you're like wow life is so
beautiful and happy and Gods creations! Then as we drove home it got
CRAZY. And it didn't stop til yesterday. We had lots of adventures,
snow well above our knees, it was hard though because we live 15
minutes out of our proselyting area (driving on the freeway) so it was
impossible to get to our area to work. We put our thinking caps on and
came up with a beautiful idea.. Telephone lessons! And then, I thought
back to my group call days in elementary school and we figured out how
to do conference calls on our little dinosaur of a phone! That being
said, we invited members and we all got to learn and feel of the
spirit from the comfort of our own homes! Hahah. It was a really big
miracle to have been able to meet with all of our investigators even
with the snow and to help prepare them for their baptisms! Life is
really good here in Chesterfield. We evaded a transfer call, Hermana
Draper and I are serving another transfer together and I will die
here! Blessings for days. I'm so grateful to be a missionary. We have
a Heavenly Father who cares about us individually and knows us so
perfectly. We have a Savior who has paid the price for each of our
sins. My testimony of the atonement has definitely grown. I am so
grateful to be able to learn of Him and to testify of His love every
day.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Letter #67 01/18/16



This week started out with exchanges with the cute swiftcreek sisters.
It was an absolute treat. I went to swiftcreek with Sister Bray, the
worlds most interesting human aka she's from England and uses words
like "banter" and "biscuit tin" and basically within two seconds
you're speaking like a Brit and it's a real good time. We saw some
wonderful miracles and I was rudely awaken to the fact that I can no
longer teach the gospel in English..  I spent so much of my mission
life as an English human that I was ambidextrous, but now, being
immersed in and saturated with Spanish and passing time with Hispanics
nearly all the time I was awkward as can be. It was a neat thing, and
one of the first times I've felt like a true Hermana.  Hah.
On the exchange we had a lesson with one of the recent converts named
J. He is a really really great kid with so much potential. He got
baptized but his family is really against the church and so it's been
really hard for him. We were just talking with him about the struggles
that he's been going through and just how much he wants to be good,
when this really hard looking guy walks by in the park. He was walking
his pitbull, listening to music blaring from this radio he was
carrying around. I felt like we should talk to him, but I also kind of
had one of those moments where you semi judge someone in your mind
because of their appearance and think that they probably won't be
interested in the message.

As he walked back to the other way I just waved and said hey! He saw
us and came over. Turns out he and J are friends so he sat down
to talk. He told us that he moved here recently to Virginia to
straighten out his life and that he wants to build a better future. We
talked about heavenly father's plan and how there really are no
coincidences. It was super windy but my heart was warm. Have you seen
the picture of Jesus Christ sitting on a bench with a teenage boy
dressed all in black? I felt like I was there. In the picture sitting
with two really incredible sons of God that just don't know how much
he loves them. It's those moments that make missions worth it.

Okay, remember how J Gramajo el papa didn't come to church last
Sunday because he had to work last
minute? So we had a lesson with him during the week. We left
him to read 3 nefi 11 and he read it! He drew little stars in the
margins close to the verses he liked. Haha! It was so sweet. And when
we brought up his baptism to tell him that we needed to push it back a
week he interrupted us and said, "yes! I AM getting baptized on the
30th!" So we didn't argue. He came
to church on Sunday, even though it was really snowy and many members
didn't make it. It was a miracle in disguise though because the bishop
had more time on his hands and talked to him, found out about his
baptismal date, and later told us that the plan was that he would be
baptized on the 30th of January, receive the priesthood shortly after,
and baptize his daughter in law and son the 20 th of February after
they get married. Wow! And speaking of weddings, this super less
active lady randomly gave the other sisters in our ward two wedding
dresses the other day.. And they were like, well you can try them out,
because they knew we are planning like twelve weddings. And one dress
fit Es PERFECTLY and the other, El. WHAT IN THE WORLD?
It's so beautiful how Heavenly Father's plan is so much grander than
we think. Heavenly Father wanted The Pe-Al family back in
church so He worked through their sweet kids. Heavenly Father wants
Jo and Es and El and Le married, so he works
through this random less active lady to get the marriage ball rolling.
IM SO GRATEFUL to be working side by side with my Heavenly Father!

THIS WEEK was crazy. There's so many other miracles that took place.
Maybe I'll write them in a letter and mom can copy and paste them.
HEAVENLY FATHER blesses us. He loves us. He's here.