Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Email, April 27, 2015

Email, April 27, 2015


This week went by fast!  I can't believe it’s almost May.  Thanks so much for the package!  When I got it, I opened it and smelled it in hopes that it would remind me of home -- and it did!   I have a hard time getting up in the mornings.  I firmly believe that alarm clocks and jogging are of the devil!  And both of them together make for a very grumpy Hermana Moss in the morning!!

This week we visited a lot of people.  Quick update on Patricia -- she is progressing well.  We don't know if she lives with her boyfriend and we are worried that she won’t be able to get baptized unless she addresses her living arrangements.  But other than that she is doing well and we have adjusted her baptismal date to the 16th in order to have more time to teach her and her boyfriend.  They are on different levels of comprehension so that's why we have to take it a little slower for us to teach both of them at the same time.  She and her boyfriend came to church yesterday!

We have another Investigator named Maria, but we call her Chayo.  She is our golden investigator.  Turns out her boyfriend has gone back home for a year.  Seems like the Lord is directing things to make sure she is ready and worthy to receive our lessons.  In our last discussion with her, she opened up about everything that was on her mind.  We love her so much!  She is so humble and this church would help her in so many ways!  She came to church and brought her little boys too!!  Others of our recent converts and less actives came to church as well.  Things are progressing and it’s so exciting!!

This week also made me realize how blessed I am to have been raised by parents who taught me the gospel.  I say this because in most homes we visit, people don't have the same experience that I had and it is so depressing to find out that they were mistreated, some even abused verbally, physically, sexually, and mentally.  This sort of wickedness in our day and age was foretold by our prophets new and old.  As I listen to all these sad stories, I feel it must bring God himself to tears to watch.  It makes me so sad at night when I pray for our investigators.  Please pray for these people; if we don't, nobody else will, and they need all the help they can get.

This past Friday we had zone meeting.  This is different from Zone Conference.  It was great!  All of our district leaders participated in the training and it was so great!  I was so edified and I was given many things to ponder as a new missionary.  BTW, I am still considered a Greenie until my next transfer.  Ha-ha.

We are fed by members and investigators alike!  God BLESS the families that feed the missionaries all around the world!!  I encourage everyone back home to take a turn feeding the missionaries -- it benefits everyone and we love getting to know all the members individually!!  If we don't have a dinner appointment, we have to go out and scavenge/hunt for our food (chiste [joking])!  But yes, feed the missionaries!

This week I was also really strengthened from my study of El Libro de Mormon.  It takes me a long time to make sure I understand everything I read and also to ponder the deeper meaning.  I have been pondering particularly in the first book of Nephi, starting in chapter 8, where it talks about Lehi's vision of the Tree of Life.  I have learned that people don't just lose their grip of the iron rod, they want to let go of it!  Just like when people leave the church, they want to leave the church and it’s not because they simply forget!  Not only this, investigators won’t taste of the fruit of the tree until they hold onto the iron rod and follow the path!  This made me think of another one of our investigators.  She has felt the power of the gospel from our testimonies and STILL refuses to make an appropriate effort to come to Christ, and yet she wonders why she hasn't tasted the fruit of the Tree?!?!  It’s sad and baffling, really.  Anyway, I am always excited to learn what the Spirit will teach me in my studies next!

Have a good week everyone!!  I love and miss y'all bunches!!!

Hermana Moss :)


Friday, April 24, 2015

Email, April 20, 2015

Email, April 20, 2015

Whoa!  This first week was crazy.  So much has happened.  How do I even start to explain?  Our days are so busy and there are SO many people to visit and talk to.  It seems like there is never enough time and the days always escape us before we get enough done!

During my first day we had so much to do.  By the end of it I was dead tired!  And since we live in the attic above a chiropractic office and the owner/Dr. is a member, I got my back adjusted!  Dad, the whole time I was hoping he wouldn't take a running start and jump on me like that chiropractor did to you years ago!   Thank goodness he didn't, and the adjustment was helpful and quite needed!  (Side note: our apartment is so small I like to pretend that we live in a closet just like Harry Potter, so y'all could say that we live in the Cupboard Under the Stairs at 4 Privet Drive -- ha-ha!)

So, I serve in Ontario, Oregon, but we live in Fruitland, Idaho.  We call it the O-Zone!  We are living on the edge of town and its complicated sometimes when we ask where an investigator lives.  Sister Gutierrez (one of my companions) has told me that our area can be dangerous, but I always feel safe no matter where we are.  And, contrary to popular belief, I'm not that naive, so I make sure we are careful at night.

We live right next to farms and it always smells like onions!  Of course I totally expected this because I serve in IDAHO.  We just have to plug our noses when we leave the house sometimes because it’s really strong.  I have gotten used to the smell, and it doesn’t bother me anymore.

Many of our investigators work on the farms during the day and about 60 percent of them are without visas.  They are such humble people and live in such harsh conditions.  Since they don’t make much and aren’t eligible for other work, most live in trailers or small apartments.  The conditions are often rough, not always tidy.

So we get fed pretty much every day.  One of the first meals I went to was at the Mills’ house.  Brother Mills is a fountain of spiritual knowledge as well as secular education.  He received 2 PhD's in physics when he was very young.  Long story but he’s also had a rough life.  Anyways, he always interjects some science into his gospel lessons and I have resorted to taking copious notes during these classes because it’s all gold!!  Brother Morton would have a heyday with him.  Seriously, they would get along so well together!

On a completely different note, I met a woman who is a recent convert who, on my second day mind y'all, was already trying to set me up with her 27-year-old son!  During our entire visit she was figuring out the logistics of our "impending marriage" and where we will apparently be living in the future after I finish my mission!  Yikes!

Like I said, we’re blessed to have a lot of recent converts and investigators.  This week we visited a 17-year-old girl named Patricia.  She lives in a trailer with her two-year-old son and her older boyfriend.  She has had a hard life and has made some mistakes.  When we got to our appointment, we had prepared for and taught the third lesson on the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I was really worried beforehand because I can’t yet speak good Spanish and I thought she might not be able to understand me.  But, thank goodness, the discussion was in English and I was able to teach my assigned part about baptism and the Holy Ghost.  The night before in our daily planning session, Sister Guti had asked me to extend the baptismal invite to Patricia.  Fast forward to the next day, once we finished teaching the lesson, Guti looked at me as if to say, “go ahead!”  So I began by sharing my testimony and telling her that God loves her and wants the best for her.  I can’t remember everything that I said, but whatever it was connected with Patricia and brought her to tears!  I looked over at Hermana Hawn and she was crying too!  Then came the baptismal invitation, and SHE ACCEPTED!!  Oh, the Spirit was so strong and I knew that the Lord is going to carry me through my mission.  It was the most exciting moment thus far in my whole mission.  There are truly no words to describe the experience and my feelings -- sorry for my lack of effectiveness in telling y'all about it.

This week I have eaten many strange things.  One of the best things I've eaten so far were homemade pupusas at a Relief Society activity.  And after Stake Conference this past Sunday, we had a dinner appointment with the Sanchez family.  Hermana Sanchez raises and kills her own chickens for her family meals and she had prepared sopa ranchera . . . I thought it was amazing!  But, little to my knowing, Hermana Guti told me later that she saw chicken FEET inside the pot!  AAHH!!!  I think the only preparation she did to the chicken before she put it in the pot was kill it, gut it and pluck the feathers off.  I still can't believe I ate chicken feet (and maybe more?), but it was tasty and I shouldn’t be surprised!  Laugh out loud!

Oh my goodness, so much more happened but I’m running out of time – more next week.  I love y'all and miss you bunches!

Hermana Moss :)


Friday, April 17, 2015

Email from Mission President, 4-17-2015

Dear Missionary Parents,

How thrilled Sister Cannon and I were to greet your daughter and to welcome her as a full-time missionary in the Idaho Nampa Mission.  What a blessing it will be to our mission to have her serving here at the assigned field of labor.

After arriving at the mission office and conducting a brief orientation of the mission, I had the opportunity of interviewing your daughter in an effort to become better acquainted with her and to feel of her spirit.  As a result of this interview, I felt impressed to assign your daughter, as a third companion, to the most obedient, most skilled, and hardest working missionary companionship in the mission.  You can be assured that this companionship is one of our mission’s very best.

We are confident that your daughter will have a very positive experience while serving in the Idaho Nampa Mission.  We know she will strengthen her skills, increase her knowledge and testimony of the gospel, and establish an increased measure of love for all of our Heavenly Father’s children she will assist in teaching.

We have attached a picture of your missionary with Sister Cannon and myself.

May the Lord’s choicest blessings be with you as you sustain your daughter and pray for her continued welfare.

Faithfully yours,

President Stuart B. Cannon
Idaho Nampa Mission

Email, April 15, 2015

Hola familia!

WOW!  So much has happened to me these past couple days . . . where do I even begin?

Welp, let’s start off with my last Sunday at the CCM.  It was bittersweet.  Lots of devotionals and inspiring words throughout the day, so that part was great.  We, as a district, got to take lots of pictures with our branch presidency, which I will send.  But the end of the day was rough!  The movie we watched was the Testaments, and it’s probably my favorite church movie, especially at the end where Christ visits the Americas.  I followed along with my scriptures in 3 Nephi and I just bawled.  Right after, we watched our farewell slideshow and it was so hard to watch.  To end that meeting we sang Para Siempre Dios Este Con Vos, and me and my companeras all held hands in the air for the last 10 seconds.  Shortly thereafter, all the districts that were leaving were asked to stay and have a short testimony meeting.  Of course I shared along with all of the other missionaries in my district -- all are so amazing.  By the time the testimony meeting ended it was 9:45 and time to get ready for bed, but our district went back to our classroom and our Elders gave all the Hermanas blessings.  I got mine from Elder Jordan and it was exactly what I needed to hear.  I was so impressed at how the Elders in our district exemplify someone who is worthy and who exercises the priesthood as they should.  That whole experience was the best I have had at the CCM.  It was so precious and the Spirit was so abundant.  It was extremely hard to say goodbye to all of them -- they are my family away from home.  I will miss them so much!

The next day was hard.  Most everyone had already left that morning around 4 am, all except for me and my companeras.  So we had to go through the daily schedule but were the only people in class.  It was a bit lonely and quite without the rest of our district.  UGHH! 

But the next day was eventful.  Primarily because we would finally be leaving the CCM and flying back to the USA.  I had to get up at 3:00 in the morning to finish packing and leave with all my stuff to catch the van that took us to the airport.  I had to say goodbye to my companions, Hermana Christensen and Hermana Nicholes, and it was really hard.  The whole time I was thinking of the song by Jason Aldean, "Just don't say goodbye, I hate the way it sounds...I’ll see you when I see you".  Come to think of it, I have never been good at goodbyes.  Do y'all remember when we used to live in California and whenever we would have to go back home after visiting Aunt Laura or Aunt Belinda I used to cry because I didn't want to leave?  Yep, I haven't changed a bit . . . I am the absolute worst at saying goodbye.  Change is not my forte.

It took 2 different flights from Mexico to Idaho.  The first was a 5-hour flight to San Francisco.  It was very turbulent.  Then I had a 4-hour layover, which was when I got to call home!  It took some serious courage to work up the nerve to ask a stranger to allow me to use their cell phone.  But it did it!  I’m glad I got to talk to you Mom and Dad!  Even though it was only a short conversation, hearing y'all's voice was music to my ears :).  Then, my flight to Boise was only an hour, which was great.  I got off the plane and went through to baggage claim and was met by President Cannon and Sister Cannon!  They are such amazing people and I love them so much already!  They remind me of beloved grandparents of mine.  I know I will just love them and look up to them and listen to all their advice.

Once I got my luggage, we went to a stake center building nearly 30 minutes away where I met . . . *pause for dramatic effect* . . . My companions (plural)!!!  That's right -- I am in another trio!  Who would've thunk!  Hermana Gutierrez, who is a native speaker, and Hermana Hawn, who is a recent convert herself.  We all fit together like peas and carrots, as Forrest Gump would say.  When I met them, I felt like Dug, the dog from the Disney movie “Up” -- "I have just met you, and I love you!" :)

I can't wait to get started with these wonderful sisters!  I know I am just going to love being a missionary and I am going to love those I serve!  God loves me because He blessed me with kind, obedient, and hard working companions.

Hope everyone had a good week!  Love,

Hermana Moss


Sunday, April 12, 2015

Email - April 11, 2015

Hey family!

So much is happening this week!  The last of everything at the CCM is taking place -- the last gym time, the last class, the last time we will have Tuesday devotionals.  Why does everything have to change so fast?!?!  On Friday we took a language assessment -- it was awful!  I mostly had to answer questions with only about 15 seconds to think of a response and then record it on the computer.  I am not the best at impromptu speaking (although I like to think that I am), so you can imagine that I absolutely failed – or at least it felt that way while under pressure.  Our teachers have been warning us about this test for a long time.  In fact, they like to joke and say that if we don't pass then we will have to stay another 2 weeks here in the CCM.  Part of me wishes it were true, but I’m anxious to get to Nampa! 

Yesterday the whole day was full of in-field orientation meetings.  It reminded me of our first day here, lots of info being relayed.  Even though it was a long day it went by fast.  Since I’ve been here the Lord has blessed me with increased patience, for which I’m grateful.

Thursday we had TRC (practice teaching session) with a woman who is a real investigator.  It started off really interesting.  (SIDE NOTE: normally if we have the opportunity to talk with real investigators, a CCM teacher usually sits in on the lesson so they can jump in if need be to explain or smooth things over.)  As soon as we sat down and started talking to this wonderful daughter of God, our teacher opened the door to look at her and ask her if she was a member of the church.  She said no, of course, and he took a few seconds to think about whether he should sit in on the lesson or not.  He eventually closed the door and left us alone with her.  It was funny because I could see his face through the little window in the door.  I giggled because he’s a little awkward and his facial expressions are hilarious!  But it was also a cool moment because we could tell that he decided to trust us to teach this non-member woman even though we are not experienced missionaries.  The lesson turned out great and she asked for official missionaries to come teach her in her home, which is super-duper-mega-bien!

The other day in my journal, I wrote down some important realizations.  "Well it's almost time for me to leave the CCM!  I have embarked on a journey that most teenagers wouldn't have the desire to do.  I don't believe any of my high school peers is doing anything like what I am blessed to be doing now.  Perhaps some are engaged in humanitarian work, but probably not under a specific missionary calling from the Lord.  I feel privileged and special to be engaged in this missionary endeavor.  All my life I've felt average because I don't have any special talent that really makes me stand out.  I wasn't that involved in taking difficult classes or sports, and didn't hold any prestigious leadership positions in any clubs.  I'm not the nicest person alive, I'm not the most popular person other people have met.  But I’m so grateful now for this opportunity to be offering sacrifice and service to the Lord.  It’s a bit scary to give up the comfort of home and family, music, movies, and time to complete a college education; to give up current pursuits to help others and to teach them the restored gospel.  Missionaries don't know who they'll meet; they don't know where they'll go.  A lot of times they don't know the language, they hardly have the capacity to teach people anything.  When you think about it, why would people listen to a couple of young women or men who lack worldly wisdom and knowledge -- what can we really do for them?  Notwithstanding all of this uncertainty, I still believe in my purpose and in my calling.  I know I can do this work and I know that I can help others along the way.  I know I'm not perfect, but I know God knows my heart and is going to help me in all that I do."

Gahh!  Tomorrow is my last Sunday.  So sad!  Since I recently spoke in Sacrament meeting, I will probably be asked to share my testimony instead.  I hope I don't look like a blubbering walrus up there.  Turns out one missionary stereotype is somewhat true -- we are ALL crybabies.  It's true.  This week me and my comps were asked to teach the class and share our thoughts about a chapter from the Book of Mormon and I couldn't get through it without bawling of course!  Do y'all remember my farewell talk?  I didn't even get through the first song before the tears welled up!  Plus, I was on the stage in front of the whole congregation -- so embarrassing!

We are passing down signs tonight.  I have given a lot of thought to who I will give mine to, and it will probably be one of the elders in our zone.  We have taken a little heat for spending some of our study time doing family home evening with our zone, so our meeting will have to be brief.  All the hermanas are all planning on having a sleepover tonight and tomorrow night.  It will be so fun!  I love sleepovers!  We probably won’t sleep at all.

I have to report to the reception desk at 4:30 in the morning to take the bus to the airport on Tuesday morning.  OHMYGOODNESS -- so early!  And then I have a forever long layover in SanFran airport, so maybe that is when I will try to call y'all.

Welp!  I think this is all I have time for.  I think from now on my letters won’t be quite as long since I will have less time to be in front of a computer.  Sad :(.

I love and miss y'all so much!  Hope everyone had a great week!

Hermana Moss

Email - April 7, 2015

Hola familia!

Wow what an eventful week this has been!  Raise your hand if you loved General Conference!  I know I did!  I have to say that I enjoyed every speaker and therefore don’t have a favorite -- they were all just so good!  I have pages worth of notes in my notebook and it seemed like I couldn't write my thoughts down fast enough!  This conference seemed much better than others have been, but maybe it's just that I am a missionary now and am spiritually hungry for knowledge!  I think a recurring theme of these sessions has been eternal marriage and families.  It reminded me of how I have a duty and responsibility to not only help my investigators come to Christ through baptism, but I should also be helping them to progress on their way to the temple.  How important my job is!  Never in the history of the church has the importance of families and temples been so emphasized!

One cool thing that happened to me this week was the workshop that we had just before the Saturday morning session of General Conference.  The teachers wrote some questions on the white board that our future investigators would have, like . . . . where did we come from?, does God love us?, etc.  They asked us to pick one question and study it for about 10 minutes, and I chose "does God establish absolute truth?"  I picked this one to challenge myself because I’m not as familiar with the scriptures that address this question.  After a lot of pondering and scripture searching, I was called up out of the audience to share my thoughts and write them on the board.  This kind of worried me because I felt like I could use a little more study time.  Nevertheless, I tried to be fearless!  I walked right up there and wrote down the following: “absolute truth resides in the hearts of men and women who abide in and obey the doctrine of Christ; and when we do this, we will have absolute truth (John 8: 31-32).

Once all those who wanted to share their input finished writing on the board, one of the teachers called me by name and told me that my thoughts were very insightful!  Booyah!   He even took a picture of the white board and posted it to his Facebook!  I am officially quoted!  I’m so grateful for the time we’ve had to study the scriptures here at the CCM and that the Lord has blessed our efforts with increased knowledge and testimony.

Do y'all remember how I said that I was going to study the Libro de Mormon in Spanish as counseled by David A Bednar?  Well, my study of the LDM has been absolutely great so far!!  I have been noticing a lot of translation differences and marking my copy up a bunch with my thoughts.  I have also been studying the Preach My Gospel manual more intensely and have been trying to apply the principles in all of our practice lessons with our role play investigators.  One quote that I remember from my study is, “Heaven is a continuation of an ideal home.”  As a missionary, we will be asking people to conduct Family Home Evening and participate as a family to strengthen themselves spiritually.  I was given a copy of “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” in Spanish and I am reading it during my morning studies.  I'm finding every day that there are so many great things to study, and not enough time to do it!

Every week we are assigned to teach our role play investigators (usually CCM teachers) at least twice a day.  But on Thursdays we have what is called TRC, which is a chance for outside volunteers to come and help the missionaries on a one-time teaching basis.  It’s so awesome!  And this week we met with a 15 year old recent convert girl named Gemela.  It went wonderfully, as we all shared our favorite scripture.  I felt bad afterwards because I was staring at her so intently the whole time!  I was just so excited and appreciative to be with a young woman who has the kindness to listen to a bunch of beginner missionaries who struggle with the language but who demonstrated love and patience with us anyways.  The light that shone out of her was so real and her faith was so palpable!!  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  I loved her, even though I barely even knew her, and she didn’t know me either, yet she loved me too!  She absolutely reminded me of all the young women back home in the Sienna Plantation ward!  I am so glad I had a truly wonderful and spiritually-strengthening experience in the Young Women program, and have a love for all of those young sisters individually.  My YW experience definitely helped me during TRC, and I know it will help me in the future.  Will someone please tell those SP young women that I am thinking of them, praying for them, and can’t wait to hug all of them when I return?  That would be great -- thanks!

Lots of funny moments this week, especially with the language.  I’m not going to lie and say that I haven’t learned some Spanish words the hard and embarrassing way, ha-ha!  I can’t wait to be that missionary when one day I discover I’m speaking fluently!  In fact, I hope it comes soon!  The gift of tongues is certainly the most sought after blessing in my prayers.  Do yall remember the movie “The Other Side of Heaven,” where Elder John Groberg had a rough experience as a new missionary speaking to the people of Tonga and embarrassed himself in front of the entire church congregation?  To solve this language barrier problem, Elder Groberg spent 3 days on a secluded island reading the Book of Mormon in the Tongan language right beside the English version?  Well, I’m hoping that my study of the LDM will have a similar impact and that I will have an Elder Groberg moment where a native speaker will come up to me and say, “Kolipoki!  You speak!”  Just kidding -- but I am anxiously awaiting the day when I will be able to speak Spanish and not even realize it.

Sunday was the end of daylight savings time and I feel cheated out of some study time!  But on the bright side, the Easter Bunny came in form of Hermana Christensen!  Her mom sent chocolate, as did other moms, and we had a great time eating and visiting!  This week is going to be a busy, yet sad too!   This last week at the CCM is completely packed and I still have so much to do, like pack and say goodbye to all of my close district friends.  I kind of don’t want to, but on the other hand I do because it means that I’ll finally be getting to my assigned mission field!  We had to take our district picture for our farewell slideshow that will be shown on Sunday night.  It was a very somber experience.

Hope yall also had a Great Easters!  (Nacho Libre reference).  Love yall bunches!

Hermana Moss