Thursday, June 25, 2015

Week 16 - June 22, 2015

Hola familia!

This week seemed to go by really fast. And I am so grateful for those weeks, rare as they may be. Every transfer we have to go on exchanges with the sister training leaders. As we were each pondering who should go and who should stay with us, Sister Hawn and I prayerfully decided that Sister Guti should exchange with Sister Mackelprang. So on Tuesday, Hawn and I were Guti-less. Translation: it was either sink or swim because Mackelprang is English-speaking. It was so terrifying! Every person we planned to visit, we had to put on our spanish thinking-sombreros and pray for the gift of tongues. It turned out alright and we made it through the day. 

Thursday we got a call from Cristina telling us that she wants to start taking the missionary lessons again!!!! (side note: we used to visit Cristina pretty regularly, but we had to drop her because she wasn’t progressing and we needed to focus on our other investigators. This call came out of nowhere and took us completely by surprise! So Friday we booked it over to her apartment as soon as we finished our studies to witness this miracle for ourselves. When we asked her what had changed her mind, she said that the other night she opened up the bible with her kids to a random chapter and read it. She interpreted it to say that she, as a mom, is responsible for teaching her kids and whatever they do according to their ignorance she will answer to God for it. Y'all know where she read it?... ISAIAH!.. I am certain that this was nothing less than divine inspiration working in her. The heavens opened up to her and gave her an answer to her prayers.  Before we left, we scheduled a return appointment and we walked away in awe. I can't wait to teach her and see the miracles we will come from her willingness to come unto Christ!!!

Friday night we helped the branch celebrate a baby shower for one of the new converts who will be having her 4th boy! It was pretty fun, but most of the girls there spoke only spanish. I don’t know what it was about Friday, but my spanish left me and I was hopelessly unable to communicate with anyone. So during the party, I felt like crawling under a table because these relief society women asked me all sorts of questions and I couldn’t answer them. Ugh! When we went home I didn’t write in my journal or brush my teeth, I just went straight to bed after planning and cried myself to sleep. Feeling sad for myself for not being able to speak spanish and on top of that, I felt really homesick. Friday was not one of my finest days on my mission.

One of our investigators, Eva, had a planned baptism for this weekend, but because of some issues with the father of her baby, we had to consult our Zone leaders about her situation and the procedures to follow. So Friday, right after district meeting, we asked them and they told us that with her situation some conditions are allowed.  Eva would be able to be baptized only a few days after the baptism was originally scheduled. The next evening, we went over to tell her the good news. Instead of an atmosphere of joy for the good news, we were met instead with many Bible-bashing sort of questions from Gilberto. They seemed never ending and it was not conducive to the Spirit. We explained what needed to change with their situation so that Eva can be baptized.  It seemed like a long time had passed when we realized that we had to bear our testimonies and leave.

This week in my personal study of el Libro de Mormon was really productive! I finished 1 Nephi. In the 3rd chapter of 2 Nephi, Nephi calls himself "wretched" and explains how he struggles inside himself to recognize the blessings of the Lord and is constantly frustrated with his brothers, Laman and Lemuel. But Nephi has every reason to be angry at them!! Then, he goes on to give himself a pep talk and reminds himself that if he puts his trust and faith in the Savior that he will no more have place for the enemy of his soul. How awesome is that?!  He dispelled satan and willed himself to follow the divine counsel from ministering angels. Amazing as this is, this doesn’t exempt Nephi from the temptations of the devil or from making mistakes because he is human. This is applicable to everyone, especially as members of the true church of God. Endowed with knowledge and armed with righteousness, we have greater knowledge and when we make the same mistakes that everyone else does in the world, we will suffer as D&C 82:3 tells us, “greater consequences”. 

Welp, family, I hope y'all are safe and sound.

I love y'all!

Hermana Moss

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

June 15, 2015 Week 15

Hola Familia!

I'm sorry in advance for not having very much to write this time. It’s been a long week here in Ontario, but full of miracles! We set 3 baptism dates with 3 different people! I am bursting with joy for our investigators who have chosen to change their lives for the better! I personally fast and pray for each of our investigators every day, and it's such a tender mercy for me to see how the Lord answers our prayers and works by small and simple things... Small and simple things meaning me, haha! 

Sister Guti tutors a girl named Julia and we normally meet at the institute building since it’s close to the local community college where Julia attends school. A couple of weeks ago, we happened to run into the teacher, who BTW is super cool. We were talking about how he likes his job teaching institute. Somehow, the subject came up about him needing someone to teach for him on Tuesday on Moses 3.  Sister Hawn was standing next to me and “accidentally” misheard the conversation and roped us into teaching institute on what she thought would be on Mosiah 3...So on Tuesday, we taught institute on Moses 3. It was about the creation and the chapter itself was very small. So being the innovative sisters that we are, we tied the lesson into Eternal Marriage!  It was a bit awkward, since we are 3 single hermanas teaching mostly high school graduates and return missionaries. But we got through it and I can now check that off of my bucket list for life. Check!

This week we had dinner at a china buffet with Daniel! It was adorable and we had a great time! He pretended that we were his granddaughters. When it was time to leave, I opened my fortune cookie to read my fortune inside, it read: your dearest wish will come true within the month! We went home and I spent a good while pondering what my dearest wish was. I realized that I didn't want anything for myself, but that my dearest wish was for all my investigators to have what they needed-- which is the gospel that changes lives. My mission is changing me from the inside out. I came here thinking that I was going to help people and not focus on what I needed, because I wanted to be as selfless as I could. What I didn't know was that my mission is changing me along with my investigators. Each time I meet someone new, their name is etched in my heart, and my love for them grows 3 times larger than it was before- like the Grinch on Christmas day haha! 

Needless to say, going on a mission was the greatest decision I could have made. I look forward to the rest of it and count my blessings that I have come to know my Savior from a more in depth perspective.  I love Him!

Have a blessed week y'all!!
Hermana Moss :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June 8th, 2015 Week 13

Hola Familia,

This week went by really fast.  Miracles were abundant and testimony building! Thank you so much for your prayers for the Wallace family, it means a lot to me that it doesn't matter who needs prayers, but as members of the church we don't need to know them to pray for them! How wonderful is that?  I haven't eaten any weird foods this week, but I'm sure they are a'comin'! 

These past several days were also very stressful, primarily over Veronica De La Rosa . She has been MIA because she got evicted from her home and she doesn't have anywhere to stay. When we went by to visit and figure out where she was going to go, her neighbors told us that she left just 2 days earlier to Parma. This was so frustrating because she doesn't have a cellphone, so she can't call us. But out of nowhere, that same day, she called us from a different number to tell us that she was coming back and still does not have anywhere to stay. So we dropped everything and went to help her. Somehow, by some small miracle, we were able to call the branch relief society president and house her and her 4 sweet boys for the night. We were also able to put her in a motel for the next few days on the condition that they come to church on Sunday.  I don't want to share too many details for the sake of confidentiality, but I will say that those boys deserve so much more than the cards they were dealt in this life. 

On Thursday we had Zone Conference! This is where all the areas of Ontario and Le Grande get together so President Cannon could address us. This meeting was focused on The Sacrament. In our weekly letters from President Cannon, he asked us to write a talk about the Sacrament.  He said he would randomly ask 3 people to give their talks at zone conference. Guess who got asked to speak?  It came as no surprise to me because I just knew that I was going to be picked.  Call it divine revelation haha :) I was also asked in advance to sing a duet with our DL, Elder Homer, to 'As Now We Take The Sacrament'.  There were approximately 50 missionaries present. They came from Le Grande and Ontario. The trainings and lectures from President Cannon and Sister Cannon were also very good! But the best part of the whole 6 1/2 hour meeting was actually taking the Sacrament!!!!!  President had to get special permission from the First Presidency to conduct this sacred Sacrament experience for us. This was certainly something I will never forget. 

On Friday, we visited another investigator named Eva. She has 5 kids and is a single mother (just like every other woman we visit, there is no father figure in the home). We came with the hope of having a family home evening and teaching her about the importance of family relationships, coming to church together, etc.. When we got there, the house was a mess and everything seemed in chaos!  We were able to control her kids so that we could talk to her alone. Since we spent so much time settling her kids, we didn't have much time left to teach her, so instead we reverted to our backup plan of showing her a movie clip about the Savior's resurrection.  It moved her to tears. Wanting to let the silence linger so the Holy Ghost could testify to her, we sat there for what seemed like 5 minutes before I spoke up and testified of how we believe in a living Christ in my broken Spanish. Oh it was amazing!  I even shed a tear or two. That was my miracle of the week. 

Sunday was a miracle in itself too.  Almost all of our progressing investigators attended church!! With all of the busy schedules and hectic lives these people lead, it brought a huge smile to my face seeing them come through the doors one by one. That evening was busy for us too. We were invited to 3 different birthday/graduation/baby shower celebrations.  Although we were only able to attend 2 of them, we were very grateful to spend time with our investigators and show them our love by our attendance.

When everyone reads this email, I would encourage y'all to explore the reason why we attend church and what the Sacrament really symbolizes. I promise that as y'all read from the scriptures and pray for inspiration- you won't be disappointed! The Savior lives!

Have a blessed week!

Hermana Moss :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

June 1, 2015

Hola Familia!!
This week was an emotional roller coaster, starting from the news I got last Monday from you, mom, about my friend Afton Wallace. After reading that email on Monday, I tried not to think about it too much for the rest of the day. But during my personal study on Tuesday, I just couldnt help it. I couldnt think of anything else, but Afton and her family. I started crying, and then my mind was directed to Alma 40 where it talks about the state of the soul after death. This gave me great comfort, especially knowing that Afton was righteous to the end and that she was always positive about what happened to her.  I wasted no time and recorded all of my thoughts into my study journal, as I was doing this, I stopped because I felt Afton put her hand on my shoulder and whisper to me and tell me that she could feel no pain and that she really was home. It was probably one of the most beautiful experiences I have had thus far on my mission. We are so blessed to have the knowledge of the Plan of Salvation. I just hope her family is doing okay and is coping with her death. Please pray for them!!
Last Monday was transfer day! We met with all the missionaries leaving and all the ones coming in! Lots of elders and not enough sisters!!! I think there are about 20 elders and 7 sisters total in the Ontario zone now.
On Wednesday, we tried to visit this investigator, named Josefina, whose daughter is a recent convert. Since we do not have a GPS, and do not know how to get to a town called Vale, we went to her daughter and asked her to draw a map. I might as well asked a stranger where it was because she didn't include street names! We did our best nave-guessing where it was for the next 3 HOURS! We tired everything: we tried calling and texting but we were out of cell range.  We followed the map's tiny pictures of trees and curvy lines, and houses that were labeled 'melon' colored, we practically explored every part of Vale, but could not for the life of us find where she lived! We eventually stopped and explored this little cave we found on the way, it was awesome! Maybe we will take our zone there sometime to spelunk.

We had a zone meeting this Friday with our new zone. It went really well. I took lots of notes. Our ZL's also gave a great training on goal making and focusing on obeying mission rules. During the training, I assessed myself on what I could be doing better, and as far as getting up by 6:30 that will probably be my biggest goal. I am proud to report that I have gotten up every day this week on time! Hooray (small victories are big things while youre on a mission, which makes miracles really special when they happen) The ZL's also reiterated the importance of the area book and making sure we are filling it out as best as we can, because every paper represents a person and if we dont fill it out- then we dont understand the Atonement.  One of them likened it unto the Book of Life. When we get to heaven and sitting before the judgement seat of God and if he asks me to see my area book, I wouldnt want to be embarrassed to let him see it- I want to be proud of the work I did as a missionary!! When the ZL finished comparing it to the Book of Life, one other elder spoke up and said 'I sure hope the angels up there are taking better notes than me!' Haha! T'was funny(:
Sunday night is normally when we call our district leader and tell him our numbers for the week. After we reported our numbers, Elder Homer (DL) asked for the phone to be passed to me. He then told me that he and his comp visited the sister of the Kimberly's mom and she told them that she was touched by what I told her when we were both at Kimberly's house this past week. She also said that she believes that I was sent from above to deliver her a message, and now she is taking the lessons and partially committed to baptism!!! This made me feel like I am fulfilling my purpose as a missionary by saying whatever the spirit directs me to say. This was definitely better than getting up on time this week!! I have always felt that I needed to go on a mission to teach specific people about the Gospel.
Spanish is coming along. On Sunday, I gave my first Sacrament talk about modern day revelation. I also translated it into English (since I wrote it in Spanish) because there were a couple people in the audience who didn't speak spanish. No big deal, but I still felt like a boss afterwards!
I didn't eat any weird stuff this week, so maybe next week someone will feed us something unusual to our palates and I will let you know how that goes.
Have a blessed week y'all! I love you!  Remember to pray for the Wallace family!
Hermana Moss

May 26th 2015

Hola Familia,

Last week was good, but long primarily because we didnt have very many lessons. Meaning that only a few things to write about. On Tuesday, we thinned peaches!  The previous week we went to the same fields and thinned apricots (which I cannot say in spanish for the life of me)

So we have this investigator who isn't actually interested in getting the lessons, but sister Guti likes to visit her and teach her english. She asked us this last week to come and bless her house because she believes there is a malicious spirit living there. She has told us that on two different occasions that she has seen him and he is angry that they are living in his house and that he will sometimes bang the door on the opposite side of the house. creepy huh? Anyway, we asked the elders to come and give the house a blessing to dispel whatever fantasma resided there. (The whole time it reminded me of when our family went to spain and me and mom stayed up for hours watching the ghost whisperer because that was the only show in english! haha!) 

Friday was Kimberly's baptism!!! The night before we were at her house so the spanish elders could give her her baptismal interview, and she passed with flying colors! (of course because she has amazing missionaries ;D ) Normally, we ask the investigator to pick who they want to give the prayers and the talks about baptism and the Holy Ghost. But since Kimberly is getting baptized in the same service as her aunt, she was only able to assign someone for the closing prayer and the talk about the Holy Ghost. Guess what? Kimberly asked ME to give the Holy Ghost talk!!!  I was honored, but scared silly at the same time.. I took 2 personal studies to prepare a talk and I had to make sure that she could understand it (Sister Guti tells me that sometimes I get carried away and explain too much and overwhelm people in our lessons, so I had to work extra hard to simplify). If it was in english it would've been much easier to prepare. But I ended up stressing about it and only giving myself a gigantic headache.. But come time of the baptism, it turned out really well. I got to stand near the mouth of the font where Kimberly went through and it was so cool to be behind the scenes! I cried when Kimberly came out of the water. I felt such great joy and I am so glad I was a part of it!! Oh my goodness, the day of the baptism was like preparing for the Mormon prom, sooo much to prepare! Everyone and their mother came (literally) and we had the biggest fiesta afterwards that I've ever seen! It was so much fun eating and socializing with other members and missionaries who attended. 
This past Saturday we got transfer calls. Apparently it is a big deal every 6 weeks. and now I know why- we spend so long getting to know people and getting closer to them, but as soon as it happens we find out that we have to leave and its awful.., People filter in and out all the time. I can only imagine what goes through President's mind every transfer.. pobrecito. The night before it gave me anxiety and a stomach ache. But since I'm still in training, it came as no surprise to find out that none of us were being transferred! Hooray! But our zone is a completely different story- President changed up everything and everyone! Lots of districts were whitewashed (meaning that both missionaries were switched for 2 new ones) and I think some missionaries were paired spanish and english- spanglish ehh? 
I just about had a breakdown when you told me about Afton. I was thinking about here lately and the news of her death just about broke me. She put up a good fight. EVERYONE! Please pray for the Wallace family. 

Alright fambam. Hope everyone had a good week with another on the horizon!
Hermana Moss out!