Saturday, December 31, 2011

I hope that everyone has a great New Year!


Well. I don't really know what to write today, since I just talked to the majority of those who read this on Christmas. Which was awesome by the way, loved talking to all of you.

So I guess for those that I didn't talk to,  I'll give a quick update.

Luis was baptized!!! It was super super awesome. A few days before we were texting him to see how he was, and he told us he was a little nervous, but we told him to just have faith and keep reading and praying and everything would be fine. and this is what his response was: "Yea I know and my faith has been getting stronger every time i read and pray. cant wait for Saturday." That was the coolest text I have ever gotten in my life. And then on Saturday for his baptism, EVERYTHING WENT SMOOTHLY!! It was truly a miracle. It even only started 10 minutes late. The only thing that happened was that Luis forgot his towel and Elder Allen who baptized him forgot EVERYTHING, but in the long run everything went well. And all of Luis' family came, and if any of them are members, none of them are active, so that was really really cool too.  And then on Sunday Luis got confirmed and the blessing was awesome. Like the most beautiful blessing I have ever heard. It talked about how Luis would be an example to his family and have a desire to share the gospel and would prepare for and serve a full time mission. Oh my gosh, I wanted to cry listening to that blessing. It was so special.

Christmas was good. For Christmas Eve we opened presents with the Elders in the morning and then we went over to a member from the English ward's house and ate dinner with them and a few other families. Then they gave us presents! and we read Luke 2 and watched the Forgotten Carols. On Christmas we only had an hour of church, and it was just a special program where every different group sang a musical number, which meant lots of piano playing for me. After church we went to the Bishop's house with another family and the Elders and ate lunch, had a testimony meeting, and played taboo. Then for the night we went to Sotero's house and ate dinner with Silvia, Nolberto, and their brother Roberto. It was very drama free which was a nice change from their house lately.

Umm. Other than that nothing new. Doesn't look like Rosa will be baptized this Saturday because we haven't been able to meet with her so far this week, and we were hoping to have her interview yesterday but she had doctor appointments and other things come up. But I'm sure everything will be fine and she'll be baptized soon.

Transfers are next week. I really have no idea whats going to happen. I REALLY don't want to get moved yet, which probably means I will. yuck. I guess I'll let you know next week what happened!

Well. I think thats about it. I hope everyone had a merry Christmas! And that everyone has a great New Year!

Les Quiero,


1.       Christmas Eve!

2.       Christmas Uno!

3.       Jesus Loves You!

4.       Luis Crisanto fue bautizado el 24 de Dic.

5.       Christmas PJs

6.       Attempting to put together the puzzle you sent me

7.       The whole crew at the Bishop's house!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Miracle number one. Miracle number two.


Feliz Navidad this week! I hope that everyone has a good one! I'm glad Gramma and Grampa are coming up, that should be fun for you all. It should be a good Christmas for me, we are going over to a member in the English ward's house for Christmas Eve after our baptism, and then Sunday after church we are going to the Bishop's and we have another appointment that night with Sotero and his family to eat. So I think it should be a pretty good Christmas.

I've had a pretty good week. It did feel really really really long though. Not sure why. The drama with Sotero's family I think has died down a little bit, on Thursday we were on exchanges, and I got a greenie for the day, and we went over to Sotero's house with the Bishop to try to figure out what was going on, why Silvia and Nolberto don't want to be in our ward anymore and what was going to happen to Sotero if they don't come. It was pretty dramatic. The bishop just laid it down for them really boldy, and it was kind of intense. But he was really clear on why they needed to continue coming to the Aurora ward and why Sotero needed their support. But after he left, and I was still there Silvia basically told me that she didn't care and she was still going to go to the Bloomingdale ward. oh man, it was frustrating. But I don't know what  happened, they showed up for sacrament meeting with Sotero on Sunday, and then went up to Bloomingdale. After church Silvia called us and told us she was going to stay in Aurora after all. So yeah. Hopefully everything will remain drama free with them for a while.

Everything with Luis so far is going awesome. If everything goes according to plan he should be baptized on Christmas Eve!!!

We had a couple of cool miracles this week too. The first one started a few weeks ago. Hermana Maughan has started doing something new when she prays, and she prays with a pen and paper and really specific questions and then after she asks the questions she waits a few seconds and writes down whatever answer she thinks she's getting. So a few weeks ago she prayed and asked where we needed to go to find someone that was waiting for the gospel, and she got the impression we needed to go to these certain apartments. And then she asked if we needed to look for anyone in particular, and she could like see a mom. and then she got the impression that we needed to be there by three o clock in the afternoon. So that day, we working as normal, and it hit about 2:30 and we hadn't eaten lunch yet and were starving, and Hermana Maughan all of a sudden says to me, "I think we need to go to the Burr Oak apartments." She hadn't told me anything about her prayer or anything yet, so I was just kind of like, okay whatever I'm starving why do we need to go there. . .  But she explained it to me a little bit at a time, she was kind of embarrassed to tell me. But I was down with it, so we went to the apartments and just kind of started walking around in the parking lot. At about 10 minutes to 3 this REALLY pregnant lady walks out of one of the buildings, and we started talking to her. and it was really just kind of natural, and chill. Her name is Maria and turns out she hasn't been able to work for a while because of the pregnancy, and she doesn't have a husband or boyfriend or anything and she is living with her brother, and its just really hard. and she said she'd really like it if we came back. So that was a cool conversation, and we made a return appointment. We went  back for the appointment and it was awesome. Maria is just this super down to earth woman and we get along super well. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and then made a return appointment for the next week. When we went back, she wasn't there. We tried calling and nobody answered, and we kept trying back for a couple of weeks and couldn't find her. But then, on Friday when I was still on exchanges, we stopped by to see if we could find her again. and she was there!!! Turns out the reason she wasn't there for our appointment was that she was having her baby! We just spent like 20 minutes with her that day talking about how everything was and her new little girl and all of that, and then I made a return appointment for us to come back on Sunday so that Hermana Maughan could meet her baby and all that. So we came back on Sunday, and had a really good lesson about the Plan of Salvation, and invited Maria to be baptized, and she said yes! But she said she wanted to wait until summer so she could work and get enough money to pay us to be baptized. When we explained that she didn't have to pay, she was pretty stoked, and she is on date to be baptized the 21st of January. Miracle number one.

Miracle number two. Friday, when I was on exchanges, the bishop's wife called me and asked if we could come over, she had a favor to ask of us because they are in Utah this week and needed our help with something. So of course we did, I mean she's the bishop's wife. So we went over there and she told us that they were leaving the Bishop's 80 something year old mom to watch the house, and she was wondering if we could come over every morning and every night to check on her. I didn't know how I felt about Grandma sitting, considering it would be hard on our miles and schedule, but I didn't really know how to say, "you know, its just better if you have your neighbor come to do it." And I am SO glad I said yes. Sunday night we were over there and we told her about Maria, and how she was a referral from God. And the hermana asked us, "Well, do you want another referral?" and we were just like, "umm. yeah, of course." And she told us that her granddaughter, Rosa, had just gotten there that day to stay with her for the week, and that she had talked to missionaries before, but now she wants to be baptized, and could we do it on the 25th? HOLY COW! WHAT? We were kind of shocked, but we told her yes, we'd love to talk to Rosa in the morning when we came back. So the next morning we met Rosa, and unfortunately we had to explain to her that we've been asked not to baptize on Christmas, but she still wants to do it as soon as possible, so she is on date to be baptized the 31st of December. :) and we are meeting with her at least once a day all week! Its awesome awesome awesome. Like so so crazy. People are literally coming to us and asking to be baptized!

I think thats about all I can think of to tell you for now. I hope everything is going well for you! Love you all tons!

Les quiero muchisimo,

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My birthday was really really good.


Hey all! Well, its been a pretty eventful week. I'm not really sure where to start, especially because I know that once I write it all down it really will not actually seem that eventful.

I guess firstly, Sotero was baptized on Friday. And oh my goodness, it was the most stressful thing ever. Firstly, he wanted Hna Maughan to give one of the talks at his baptism. But, the Bishop told us he doesn't want us to talk, he wants members to have the opportunity to do it. So we called Sotero, and told him that and he said that was fine. BUT when we went over to their house on Thursday for dinner he told us he didn't know if he wanted to get baptized if Hna Maughan wasn't going to speak. Oh man, and he was being so stubborn and his MEMBER kids were not being any help either because they really wanted her to speak too. I was SO frustrated. I basically laid it down really blunt and told him that this was his salvation and it didn't freaking matter who talked in his baptism, the only thing that mattered was if he had a testimony and knew he needed to get baptized, which he does, and then doing it. So FINALLY we compromised that Hna Maughan and I would sing a song, and she wouldn't talk, and he would still get baptized. Okay- next stressful thing that happened with this baptism. Last Sunday Sotero told us he didn't have a ride to the baptism, and he lives like 30 minutes away from the church. Luckily when we brought up the problem in ward council, someone said they could pick Sotero and his son up. They even called us Friday at 5 oclock and told us that everything was still okay, and they were still planning on bringing Sotero for his baptism at 7. So Hna Maughan and I are getting the baptism all set up, and then it hits 6:30 when Sotero is supposed to be there and he's not there. We wait a little longer, and 6:45 rolls around and still nothing. So we call him, and what does he tell us? That nobody has come to pick him up!! We called the family that was supposed to pick them up about 100 times and they didn't answer. While this is going on the Bishop's wife shows up and tells us, oh, Bishop is picking them up. Apparently the family that was supposed to pick Sotero up ended up not being able to, and instead of letting us know, called the Bishop.  So we call Bishop, and tells us he has been lost for like the last half hour, but rather than calling anyone to get help he just kept trying to find it himself.  FINALLY at about 7:00 he finds their apartment, and we call Sotero to let him know Bishop is outside. and what does Sotero tell us? Its too late, that he can't get baptized because he is late. So after some very firm talking to, he was finally in the car and on the way to the church. He arrived and the baptism only started 30 minutes late. Smooth sailing from there, right? Wrong. The talks all go fine, Hna Maughan and I succesfully butcher a primary song, and then its time for the ordinance. Sotero's son Nolberto was baptizing him, and Nolberto has only been a member for a couple of months, so he was really nervous. So he had to do the pray about three times before getting it right, and then he goes to lower Sotero into the water and Sotero gets nervous or something and completely stiffens up and won't let him put him all the way under. So we have to try it again, a few more prayers and another try to put him under the water. AGAIN he got nervous and wouldn't relax enough to go all the way under. Once again we go through the prayer, and Nolberto trys to immerse him in the water, and Sotero still is being stiff, but everyone just started yelling, "All the way! Just push him all the way down! Just do it!!" So Nolberto just shoved Sotero into the water. And FINALLY Sotero was baptized. But does this end the stressful, dramatic story? No, no it does not. That night it continued to be a disaster with the movie we had planned to show while they got dressed, we couldn't get it to work until they were already back anyway, so that didn't happen. And then Sotero was late to church on Sunday and everyone was getting nervous that he wasn't going to show up for his confirmation, but he walked in JUST in time.  So Sotero is now a baptized and confirmed member of the church, but after Sacrament meeting he was out of that building so fast he didn't even have time to congratulate him. We saw Nolberto and asked him where his dad was, and he said he was waiting in the car. So we go out to talk to him, and it turns out that Nolberto and Silvia, Sotero's daughter, decided they want to change to the singles ward, so they won't be coming back to our ward anymore. Unfortunately that means that Sotero doesn't have a ride to church. They said they had to go for something and we could talk about it later. So now we have an appointment on Thursday to go over to their house and try to figure out how Sotero is going to be able to be an active member of the church. Oh man. This family is so dramatic, like I can't even describe it.  But, I do have something cool to add to this story. A few weeks ago we sent the missionaries down to Mexico to Sotero's wife and his other kids, and two Sundays ago his wife and one of his daughters were baptized!! And we sent the missionaries to the wife of another of our recent convert's and she was baptized yesterday! Phew. so thats the end of that story. for now.

My birthday was really really good. After the baptism on Friday we went over with the Spanish elders from our ward, the English elders that cover our area, and Sotero and Nolberto to a members house and they had a joint birthday/baptism party. We had pizza and I got sung to in Spanish. :) On Saturday the English elders gave me a present which is a giant anatomy book for kids that they filled with sticky notes with ridiculous comments on them. its a pretty sweet present, I just wish it wasn't SO giant so I could send it home and keep it. Then on my birthday I woke up to our apartment decorated by Hermana Maughan. She hung balloons from the ceiling in our living room and in 22 of them she put little notes with reasons why she loves me. She also hid that happy birthday confetti you sent me EVERYWHERE. I found it in my boots, in my scriptures, in all of my other books, in my wallet, in my camera case, in my planner, in my juice, in my pockets, in my altoids case, in my retainer case, on my toothpaste, EVERYWHERE. I also opened my presents from you. :) THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING! I was not disappointed. Then before district meeting we went over the Bishop's house and his wife gave us breakfast. At district meeting we put candles in those giant reese's you sent me and they sung happy birthday to me and I opened a present from Hna Maughan. Now I don't know if you know this, but I HATE eyeballs. Like they sick me out pretty bad. They are the one thing that get me kind of queasy. Somehow Hermana Maughan found this out, so after spending 10 minutes unwrapping her well taped present, I found 4 plastic eyeballs. YUCK. :) but it was fun. And then as a district we went to Panera Bread for lunch. Yesterday Cruz and her boyfriend Mario took us to sushi for my birthday and used Mario's poker money to pay. :)  So all in all it was a super awesome birthday.

Other interesting stuff that happened this week. . .  Well, Hermana Maughan has been waking up with with eyelids crazy crazy swollen, like if you've seen the movie Hitch, she looked like him after he had his shellfish allergic reaction. We finally went to the doctor and it turns out she has eczema on her EYELIDS! and it was turning into a staph infection. Luckily they got her on some antibiotics and steroid cream, and her eyes are looking much much better.

Things are going really really well with Luis, who is still planning on being baptized on the 24th. Like he is the coolest investigator ever. We taught him about the restoration on Sunday, and we asked him how he felt about what we were teaching him, and he said, "I don't really know how to describe it. Its just like this big feeling. Its really big, but its good." He told us how he wants to go on a mission, and he is hoping he can be a good example to his little brothers and his mom. Oh man, he is so so awesome.

I'm sorry to hear Dad is sick. Especially with bronchitis! Yuck that is a huge bummer. I just hope he doesn't go through 2 bottles of nyquil, a bottle of mucinex, and half a bottle of tylenol cold and flu like I did. :) I hope you get feeling better soon Dad!!!

I hope everything is going well for you! I'm glad to hear that Christmas preparations are getting all wrapped up! I am hoping to get my Christmas package out to the family today, but I'm not sure. I hope you like it, I had fun putting it together. :) I'm not going to individually wrap presents though, so you'll have to wait til Christmas to actually open it. If its gets there by Christmas that is. . .

Well, I think thats about all I got for now. I hope you all have a good week!

Les quiero muchisimo,



1. Sotero Sarmiento, fue bautizado el 9 de Diciembre, 2011

2-4. what I woke up to on Dec. 12

5-6. district meeting birthday party. Giant Reese's peanut butter cups were my cake

7. Elder Jones with the eyeballs Hna Maughan gave me. Disgusting

Friday, December 9, 2011

I sure hope to get some mail for my birthday. . . especially from some of my friends who I haven't heard from in a while (or at all. . . .) BIG HINT, GUYS, I mean really.


Buenas tardes! I'm emailing a little bit later today because we finally got to go to the temple! Bishop's wife took us at 9 this morning. It was awesome. A lot smaller than the Utah temples I'm used to, but very beautiful.

Its been a pretty good week here. We too are getting ready for Christmas, and are planning on a white one! We have a baptism planned for the 24th. :)  Last week was pretty sweet as far as it goes for missionary work. The whole week we had 7 new investigators, and 4 of those were just on Saturday morning before 12:30. We also one of those investigators on date for Christmas Eve, and he is so so so excited. His name is Luis, and he is the 19 year old son of a less active. He has been coming to church for a while, so we thought he was already a member, but nope he's not. He's the one that came up to us on Thanksgiving and asked us what he needs to do to be baptized. And our baptism that we have scheduled for this Friday still seems to be on track. Its been a stressful one because Sotero is so ridiculous, and wants everything perfect. But he wants to be baptized, so right now our only worry is that the building is being used because the Bishop forgot to check. And if it is. . . too bad, we're having a baptism.

The whole month of November was awesome for us. We were going through our numbers this past week, to see how we did on our goals, and we taught 114 lessons. So we've been working hard. And I love it. Even with me being sick last week, we got a lot of good work done.

As for this week, we have zone conference coming up tomorrow. So I had to write a talk for that, just in case I get surprise called on, and then the Bishop on Monday asked us if we could talk on Sunday, so I stressed out pretty hardcore about that one, but then he told us yesterday we don't have to do it afterall. This is the second time Obispo has asked us to do an assignment that we didn't really want to do and then recalled it. I think he just likes to see if we'll say yes. The first time he asked ME, just me, not Hna Maughan, if I would talk to an hermana in the ward and tell her that her gossiping and comments she makes to people are offensive and that she needs to stop because people are going inactive because of her. OH MY. I did NOT want to do that. But I said I would. And he called a few days later and told me he was kidding. Oh obispo. . .

I'm feeling a lot better, I still have a cough but its not nearly as bad, and it doesn't usually even start up until 8 pm. So yeah, no worries, I don't have pneumonia, Mom. :P

I got a package this week. . . No explanation in it. Just a bunch of wrapped presents and a card, but Hna Maughan and I made a deal that we wouldn't open any of our presents until Christmas. So I don't know what it is. And in your letter you said you hadn't sent my Christmas package yet, and that my birthday package isn't here yet. So what is the package???

I don't have anything super exciting planned for my birthday. Its on a Monday, so we'll have district meeting, so maybe I'll ask that for a birthday present that I don't have to roleplay. :) I HATE roleplays.  I sure hope to get some mail for my birthday. . . especially from some of my friends who I haven't heard from in a while (or at all. . . .) BIG HINT, GUYS, I mean really.

We did get to watch the Christmas devotional, we went over to a members house and ate arroz con leche and watched it. It was so good. I really liked the little video they showed, and I'm excited to watch them on

So yeah, I think thats about all I've got for you this week. Its good to hear that things are going well there. I'm glad everyone is getting excited for CHRISTMAS!! We have a tiny tiny tree set up on our coffee table with the presents we've gotten so far underneath it.

I loved all the letters I got from you this week! It was fun to read them, and Hermana de la Pena really appreciated the advice. We had a family home evening with them and made a family contract kind of a thing and wrote out the things they would do to try to have a happy, Christ centered family, it included things like family prayer and scripture study, family meals, noche de hogar, supporting each other, nice words etc, and they all signed it and hung it up on their wall. They said that they have really seen a difference. I hope everything works out for them, because I love that family.

I'm glad to hear the girls are doing well, I hope Hailey survives finals. Don't worry about that other drama stuff right now, just focus on school and it'll be okay. Everything will be back to normal after the break.

I hope Lulu has a good time at the DANCE!!!! Take pictures for me! She looks so pretty in her dress!

Okay, well I hope you all have an awesome week. Do something fun on the 12th, because I probably won't. :)

love love love you all,

les quiero,

Friday, December 2, 2011

Thanksgiving Miracle


Well, hey there. I'm glad to hear you had a good Thanksgiving. I haven't gotten any of those letters you said you sent telling me about it, but I'm excited to read them and hear a little bit more about how it went. El dia de accion de gracias was was good here, we went over to the de la Pena's house in the morning and helped them make tamales, and then went down to the stake center to play sports with some other missionaries. Later we went back to the de la Pena's for dinner, but first they wanted to have a family home evening, and then play a bunch of games. Which was all really nice, but long story short Hna Maughan and I didn't eat anything on Thanksgiving until 8:45 at night. But it was a really good day, and I really enjoyed myself.

Friday the ward had a big Thanksgiving party that we went to, and there we were able to have some good old turkey and potatoes. It was a fun party, but the best part was that while we were there a guy came up to us who we thought was already a member because he has been going to church and everything and he asked us what he needs to do to be baptized. Apparently he is the cousin of a family in our ward (we thought he was their brother) and met with the missionaries before, but never had support from his mom, so he just has been coming to church and stuff, and now that he is 18 he wants to be baptized. So, yeah- that was a pretty cool Thanksgiving miracle.

Sotero finally is back on date to be baptized. He was embarrassed about not going to church that one week, so it was hard to get him to talk to us for a week. But now its all good, and he is super stoked to be baptized on the 9th of December. He passed his interview last night, and we called him to congratulate him and he was just so ecstatic. He is really the most awesome guy ever. And his wife is listening to the missionaries down in Mexico, and he is already talking about how they can someday all be sealed together in the temple as an eternal family.

Yesterday we had an AWESOME day. We taught 8 lessons, found 3 new investigators, set someone on date to be baptized, and Sotero passed his interview. It was just one of those days that makes all of the other hard stuff totally worth it.

Only other news here is that I have bronchitis, and I can sure tell you it is interesting being sick as a missionary. I never thought I'd feel so guilty for being sick. But I'm doing okay, not too worry. Sis Doll sent me to the doctor last week and they got me on an inhaler, and I have gone through 2 bottles of nyquil in order to not keep Hna Maughan up at night with my coughing. :) Also- I had another exploding vein! In my hand!! Whats happening to me?!

Well. . . I don't really know what else to tell you all. So I guess I'll just leave at this. I hope everything is going well. Glad to here you had a great time in Chico. Hope to get some more mail soon. (Like seriously, everybody, my mailbox is so sad and lonely.)

Les quiero,

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgivng tomorrow!!! :)



Happy Thanksgiving tomorrow!!! :) I hope you are all having a wonderful holiday, and made it safely to California. Good news, we got a last minute eating appointment tomorrow, so we won't be going hungry on Thanksgiving afterall. We'll be getting tamales!

Well, I'm a little bit sick right now, so I took some cough syrup this morning. And por eso, I am feeling kind of foggy ahorita, so my apologies if my letter isn't as long or as coherent as usual.

It sounds like you all had a good week! I'm glad Morgan's musical went well, and that Mitch and Amanda were able to see it and you got to spend some time with them. Thanks for the pictures, Morgan looks adorable and so does Mitch and Amanda's cute little family, of course.

And the pictures of Eliza and her haircut!!! Oh my goodness, how has she grown up so fast in 6 months? STOP IT RIGHT NOW! Not allowed, its not even funny Lulu, you need to cut it out.

It is also super exciting that Ada and Luis are moving to Utah!! I look forward to being able to see them more often now that they are closer!

This week has been pretty good for me, nothing too out of the ordinary. I survived transfers unscathed, still in Aurora, still with Hermana Maughan. But we are the only companionship in our district that remained the same.

The one thing that did kind of suck this week was that we had 16 investigator appointments cancel on us. Like it was ridiculous. For one we were super pumped that we had so many citas set up with investigators and possible new investigators, and then nearly all of them bailed. We somehow still managed to teach 22 lessons though, which was good.

Cool stuff that happened this week:

We sort of learned how to make conchas, which is a Mexican sweet bread kind of thing. We had to leave half way through unfortunately, so when I get home I'll be able to make you part of a concha. :P 

We helped paint our recent convert's house.

We went to lunch with a recent convert and a member and they are magic and talked to all sorts of people at subway about the gospel and were handing out pass along cards, and then the recent convert (who is super old) got put in the hospital and we were able to bring the zone leaders to his hospital room to give him a blessing, and it was really really nice. Like just super peaceful. And now he is out of the hospital!

We brought another pair of Elders with us to give one of our investigators a blessing who tore some ligaments in her foot, and just has a bunch of other health problems and she proceeded to tell them all sorts of crazy stories about how people are following her and taking pictures of her from the other building and that the doctors are out to get her and the cops are corrupted and wouldn't investigate the drug dealers living above her, and much much more- basically it boils down to that I am pretty sure we are teaching a paranoid schizophrenic. So that should be interesting.

I had an aneurysm. In my finger. I was driving, and Hermana Maughan was telling me about some cool stuff she read in the Doctrine and Covenants when all of a sudden my pointer finger started hurting REALLY BAD. Shooting pains between two of the joints. And I started freaking out, and shaking my hand (all while driving) and Hermana Maughan got really nervous cause she had no idea what to do, or what was going on. And then she yelled at me, "Look at your vein!" And because I was driving I couldn't exactly turn my finger in a position to be able to see where my vein was, but apparently Hermana Maughan watched a vein in my finger bulge, and get bigger and bigger and greener and greener and then explode.  So now I have a huge gross bruise on my finger, from a spontaneous finger aneurysm. You know it hasn't been that exciting of a week, when that is what Hermana Maughan and I have been telling people about the most.

So yep. Thats about it.


1.       Carlos teaching us how to make conchas

2.       We had a pretty crazy district these past 6 weeks


3.  Look what I found in the parking lot of one of our investigator's!!!

So that about covers it, it was good to hear about whats going on! Have an awesome awesome time in California, and give all of the California Browns a big hug for me!

Well, all, espero que sepan que les quiero. que tengan buen dia de accion de gracias!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"could you please come in, when can you come over again?"


So I really don't know what to write this week. Its been pretty normal, no super crazy anything going on. This week has been pretty average. We were supposed to have a baptism this Friday, but its been postponed, and its really kind of a funny story of why.  We are teaching this man named Sotero. He is the father of two recent converts, Silvia y Nolberto. And he is totally ready to be baptized, like the first time Hermana Maughan met him, they were there visiting with Silvia y Nolberto doing the recent convert lessons, and what they do is have the recent converts teach them the lessons. So Silvia y Nolberto were trying to teach the Plan of Salvation to the missionaries, but they kept messing up, and leaving holes. And this older guy with very little teeth was there (Sotero) and he kept correcting them, and answering the questions, and Hermana Maughan didn't even know who he was! He had only been taught the first lesson about the restoration by the missionaries that were here before Hermana Maughan. But he knew the whole Plan of Salvation! Turns out he has read the whole Gospel Principles book and everything, and knows everything. So he was supposed to be baptized this Friday. And last Friday we went over to their house and were setting up the program and everything, and he wants Nolberto to baptize him. Saturday night, Nolberto found out he has to work on Friday, so if he is going to be there and baptize Sotero, the baptism would have to be moved. Well, Sotero got SOOOO mad that he couldn't be baptized on THIS Friday, he didn't even come to church, and won't talk to Silvia y Nolberto. Because he is mad he can't get baptized this Friday. Friday's are USUALLY the days that everyone in their family has off work, so we were hoping to just do it next week, but we just found out there is the ward Thanksgiving party next Friday, so we don't know whats going to happen. And because Sotero is pouting, we haven't been able to talk to him to see if he can get work off for next Saturday. So thats the drama thats going on right now, its pretty ridiculous and actually a little bit comical.

The only other pretty cool thing that happened this week, was Saturday night we had a pretty free day, so we decided to stop by antiguos (former investigators) and see if we could start teaching any of them again. Now usually, the reason they are antiguos is pretty legitimate and they really don't have interest anymore. But here, it looks like the other Hermanas would just get bored with an investigator if they weren't learning fast enough and just stop coming by. Every single person we talked to on Saturday told us they didn't know why the Hermanas stopped coming by and "could you please come in, when can you come over again?" So we have like 12 lessons set up for this week with people we have never taught before. Its pretty legit.

Last week in the city was way fun. We went shopping and out to lunch, and then to a Mexican art museum. It was really cool. I'll have to send some pictures. It was a really fun trip, it was fun to just hang out with Cruz and her boyfriend, Mario to just kind of chill. 

I hope you all have fun in California! You'll have to give everybody a big hug from me! I hope you travel safely! I don't know what we're going to do for Thanksgiving, no one has invited us to eat with them, but Wednesday we have a half p-day to do shopping and emails and stuff and then Thursday we have another 1/2 p-day to play sports with the other missionaries. Which would be super awesome if my dumb ankle and knees would let me play sports. For morning exercise we've been going to the church and I've been kicking a soccer ball around, and even that kills my ankle. Ugh its so frustrating.

Is Morgan's musical this week? Break a leg! You'll do awesome!

Have a good week everyone! I LOVE YOU!

Les Quiero,


1.       a random fence in an alley of downtown geneve

2.       Karla y Carlos, baptized November 5, 2011 

3.       The Gomez Family- typical Mexican picture

4.       The Gomez Family how they usually are

5.       Ashley y yo

6. Ashley is going to be a hair stylist someday. Maybe. . .

 7.       a giant shrine, with la virgen maria the center of it all
8.       The Mexican experience in the US

9-11. La Virgen de Guadalupe

12. mesoamerica reaches Chicago

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

"It just felt like we already knew this family, like we'd been there before, and already knew and loved them."


Another week! Its been pretty good. The highlight may have been the time change, because I got to sleep in an extra hour. :)  But really, we had some cool stuff happen this week. Karla and Carlos were baptized! And it all went fairly smoothly. The only hitch was that the person who was supposed to give the last talk thought it was at 6 instead of at 5, and missed everything except walked in right in time to give her talk. But compared to last week, it was pretty stress free. 

Maria y Hugo are doing awesome! Hugo got the priesthood, and this past Sunday Maria got a calling to be the secretary in the Relief Society! Members for life!

We found an a sweet family this past week, too. And the story is pretty cool.  A few weeks ago all of our plans had fallen through, and we weren't really sure what to do. For some reason though, both of us were feeling like we should try to find a former investigator, Jesus, who neither of us had met, but whose name is written on our white board as someone to keep trying for. Well, it didn't really make any sense to go find him then, because we were planning on spending the day in West Chicago, which is where we were, and he lives in St. Charles. But, because both of us were thinking of him, we decided to go and give it a try. So we drove to St. Charles, and found his house, and no one was there. So that was kind of a bummer, because now we were in St. Charles, and what were we going to do there? We decided to look through our area book and see if we could find some other antiguos (former investigators.) So I was reading some records and picked a few that I thought sounded promising. We put their addresses in the GPS and it turned out that all of them lived within a couple block radius of where Jesus lives. But, the first couple ones we tried weren't there either. So we were getting a little frustrated, and wondering why we were supposed to be over there, why we both felt like we needed to go find Jesus. But we tried the last person on my list, Epitacia, and she was home. She did tell us she was busy right then, but made an appointment for us to return. So, we were feeling pretty excited, like she must be the reason we were here and she must be awesome! But THEN she cancelled our appointment, and rescheduled it. And then did it again. And then we had something come up, so we had to call her and see if we could come by at a different time that day. We were thinking she must be bogus, and is just going to cancel again. But she didn't, and we went over to her house last Thursday. We were expecting it to be just here, but when we got there two of her kids were there too and sat in on the lesson. And it was so cool walking into that house. It just felt like we already knew this family, like we'd been there before, and already knew and loved them. They are just so sweet and friendly. But the even COOLER thing is, is that when we asked what they remembered from when the missionaries taught them before, which was about a year ago, the 9 year old daughter proceeded to tell us the WHOLE Plan of Salvation in detail. Like she included the three degrees of glory, and spirit prison and everything. SHE IS 9!! oh man. They are an awesome family, and they are ready to be taught again. The only reason the missionaries stopped coming by is because Epitacia's work got too busy, but it has just started to die down so she has time again, I'm pretty excited to see where things go with this family.

Other pretty cool thing that happened this week: We went on exchanges Monday and Tuesday, and I went over to Westchester. All of the appointments they had fell through so were just doing a lot of contacting. We contacted one man on his doorstep, and had a pretty good quality gospel conversation with him, talked about families and all that, nothing too special, but good. But then I got this overwhelming feeling that I needed to invite him to be baptized right there. And I was like, no way- he is just going to say he's already been baptized in the Catholic church, he won't even understand why he needs to be baptized again, we haven't talked to him about why our church is different, about the authority- nothing. But I just kept remembering something we talked about in a meeting about how the more invitations you give the more baptisms you'll receive, and I just felt like I needed to invited him. So, really nervously, I told him something like, well- what we do as missionaries is we help people return the their Heavenly Father so that they can live with their families forever. And we know that there are certain things we need to do to do that, like baptism. And I know that this is might be kind of weird and early to you, but would you like to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized by someone who has the authority of God? And I can just tell you I'm sure my Spanish got awful right there because I was so nervous. But he just looked at me, and said yes! Yes I would ! I turns out he actually was never baptized in the Catholic Church, and he really wants to be baptized and he really wants to be married in a church, because he couldn't get married in the Catholic church because he was never baptized, he just has a civil marriage. So yeah! He wants to be baptized, so he wants to learn about our church and how he can be baptized!

Okay. I think thats all I got for you today. We got to head out to THE CITY pretty soon! I'm glad everything is going well there! I love hearing from you, and I am excited to get some MAIL this week! My mailbox is sad and empty. I have some pictures to send from Karla y Carlos' baptism, but I forgot my camera today, so you'll get them next week.

Love you love you love you,
Les Quiero,

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

"It was so incredible. So yeah, thats our miracle."



This week has been crazy crazy. I have heard that the week before a baptism is always really stressful and that something always goes wrong, but up until Thursday night everything seemed to be going great getting ready for Maria y Hugo's baptism. They weren't changing their minds, they had their interview, and everyone in the whole ward was planning on coming. And then we got a call at 8:30 pm Thursday night that we couldn't use the building on Saturday afterall because there was a stake youth activity. Apparently the reservations had all been deleted off the computer so it looked like the building was free when it really wasn't. Hermana Maughan and I panicked. We started calling everyone. We called the people in charge of the activity to see if we could just use the half of the gym that the font is in for one hour, we tried to see if we could use the stake center but it was being used too, we called the Zone Leaders for advice, we called President Doll for advice. We DID NOT want to postpone this baptism because we were worried that if we did, it would never happen. We finally called Maria y Hugo and told them what was going on, and asked if we could do it Friday (the next day.) They said no, it wasn't enough time, they'd already told everyone Saturday, they just couldn't do it Friday. Oh man, worst feeling ever. We were calling the Bishop back and forth talking to him about options, and finally he called Maria y Hugo and somehow convinced them to be baptized on Friday. This all happened in one hour, and it was the most ridiculous hour ever.  So, Friday morning we had to call and cancel all 7 of our appointments, call EVERYONE in the ward, change the program, and set up the baptism. The baptism was supposed to start at 6 pm, and the Bishop was supposed to speak and conduct. We got a call at 5:45 from the Bishop that he had just left work. In the city. On a Friday night. So we were out our speaker and conductor. Luckily, President Doll walked in right then and was volunteered by Sister Doll to give the talk, and the Elders Quorum President was there to conduct. We still waited another 20 minutes, hoping Bishop could make it, because he really wanted to be there, but we started without him and he walked in after the baptism and three minutes after President Doll had started his talk. BUT the important part of this whole story is that Maria y Hugo are now baptized and confirmed members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and that after their baptism we went out to dinner with them and a few other families and they were already talking about how in one year they could go to the temple! They were so so happy. I have never seen them like that, and neither had Hermana Maughan. They were really glowing. It was so incredible. So yeah, thats our miracle. In five days they set a date to be baptized and were! We didn't even have time to count them as people with our baptism date in our numbers we report to President Doll!

Last Wednesday night we were also able to set a date for two of a recent convert's kids to be baptized this Saturday, and so far nothing crazy has happened- but we'll see. They are a funny family. The dad, who is the recent convert is named Carlos. And the two we are baptizing are Karla and Carlos. Carlos Sr.'s nephew, Victor also lives with them and he also wants to be baptized! The only obstacle with him is that he works in the same place as Carlos Sr. and when Carlos isn't working Victor is, which means that Victor works every single Sunday.

Another down we had this week was that one of our investigators, Jorge, who had a date to be baptized the 12th of November, texted us on Monday to tell us that he would not be continuing listening to us because his wife doesn't want him to and he doesn't want her to be mad. Jorge lives in a part of our area that is pretty far away from where we normally work, but when we got his text we were actually in that area and were not really sure what we were going to do- we had nothing really planned for some reason. So we were able to go right over there to talk to him. We were hoping his wife was home so we could talk to her too, we've never met her, all we know is that she wants nothing to do with the church. But she wasn't, and we talked to Jorge. And we talked and talked and talked and cried and cried but he won't budge. We told him he needs to talk to her and tell her how important it is to him, and that it is something good, but he just is so anti confrontational he doesn't want to say anything to her. We tried to tell him that it was an act of faith and that when we act in faith miracles can happen, but we have to actually ACT we can't just sit on our couch and pray and pray and pray and hope that something happens. We have to pray and act and expect that something happens. But as for now, Jorge is no longer getting baptized. And he was the very last person I expected to drop us. He is so cool, coming to church every week, giving people rides- everything. and now. . . nothing.

But other than crazy crazy stuff. Everything is going okay. We are working hard, and always tired. And I am so so sick of my ugly missionary clothes and shoes. :P I'm trying to think if anything funny happened this week to share with you, but the only one I can think of is how ridiculous it is when we accidentally speak Spanish to people who obviously don't. The best one was we went to KFC to visit Cruz and Hermana Maughan asked the red head cashier, "Cruz esta?" meaning, is Cruz here? And he just stared at us so blankly. It was pretty good.


1.       BAPTISM Maria y Hugo, October 28, 2011


2.       Before

3.       AFTER

I'm glad everyone is doing good and keeping busy. Keep up the good work team. Eliza- Hermana Maughan LOVED your letter and all of the cool stickers you sent. She said she will write you back, but we're really busy right now, so I don't know how long it will take.

I love you all, I hope you have an excellent week. Next week we are going to Chicago with Cruz, so I'm not sure exactly when I will be emailing, but I promise you will get an email. :)

Les quiero muchisimo,


Sunday, October 30, 2011

"I want to be baptized."



Well. Its been a pretty good week here. We are working really hard and always have that feeling that we have so much to do and no time to do it. Its pretty exhausting. We are running from appointment to appointment to appointment, with no time in between at all. Its making it hard to find the balance because while its really good that we are teaching so many lessons we still need to find the time to talk to people and find new investigators. So we're working on figuring that out.

We did have a pretty cool miracle this week. There is a couple here, Maria y Hugo, who have been investigating the church for a long long time. They have been through 6 sets of missionaries, go to church every week, and go to the activities, they are basically more active members than the active members. But they just kept saying they weren't ready to be baptized and that they needed to learn more. They are really really stubborn. No matter what any one said about that they didn't need to know everything, that they already knew enough etc, that all that mattered is that they new that the church is true- which they do, they kept refusing to be baptized. The set of missionaries before Hna Maughan and her last companion actually ended up dropping them, or stopped visiting them, because they just weren't progressing anymore until they decided to be baptized. They just wanted the missionaries to come over to answer their questions from what they were reading in the Bible. About a week before I came, Hna Maughan and her other companion decided to stop by and visit them and tried to set a baptismal date with them for two weeks from that time. They said no, that it was too soon and they didn't want to be forced to be baptized. One of my first days I was here we visited them, and just talked about how if they know the Book of Mormon is true, that means that everything else is true, but again nothing came from it. So we decided to just visit them every other week, because, they still weren't progressing. Monday night we visited them and we talked to them about enduring to the end, because we really felt like they were afraid that they would fall after their baptism, and that by not being baptized they were keeping themselves innocent. It was a fine lesson, but really frustrating because it was the same old thing. They agreed with everything we said, but still wanted more time to learn more. We finished by having a kneeling prayer, and I offered it. I just prayed so so hard that they would be able to feel the spirit and recognize what it is that they need to do to follow Christ and which is the correct path. We finished and it was normal. Maria asked us when we could come back and we set up a return appointment and were hugging her goodbye and shaking Hugo's hand. When I hugged Maria she just said, "I want to be baptized." Hna Maughan and I were both like, "What?" "Really?" I didn't think I heard her right. But then she started crying and said, "I want to be baptized, I know I need to be baptized." Oh man, it was amazing. There was like a huge rush of the Spirit all of a sudden. We told her she could be baptized this Saturday, and she said yes, thats what she wanted. So we sat back down right there and started planning her program. Through all of this Hugo wasn't saying anything. Which is very very unlike Hugo. He was just sitting there with his arms folded not saying anything. We got through almost all of what she wanted for the program, and then we asked her who she wanted to say the opening prayer, and she said her husband. We asked him if that was okay, and he just says, "Well. I want to be baptized too, eh."  Oh man, it was awesome. We left that appointment and got out the door and freaked out. I don't think I have ever been more excited in my life. It was a crazy night calling people and trying to figure everything out. And we called the other missionaries who had worked with Maria y Hugo, to let them know and oh man I'm worried Hna Maughan had her hearing damaged from the amount of screaming on the other end. Its really incredible to be on this end of the process. I know it wasn't anything Hna Maughan and I did that helped Maria y Hugo get here, its all about timing. We were talking to one of the other missionaries who taught them and told them about the lesson and she said she taught that exact same lesson just a few months ago. And just a few weeks ago they said that two weeks was way too soon to be baptized, and now they are being baptized with less than a weeks notice. Whats also pretty cool, is that we had two baptisms that were scheduled for this Saturday that had to be postponed, and we were feeling pretty bummed about it. But it was because we needed this Saturday open for Maria y Hugo! The whole ward is so excited for them. Its going to be an awesome day on Saturday.

Other than that, things have been pretty normal here. Just super super busy.

Well, yeah. I don't know if I really have anything else this week. I got some warmer skirts and stuff from a member who we are helping dejunk her house which is pretty cool, and Cruz bought Hermana Maughan and I both new shoes because she said ours are so ugly. :) People here are pretty awesome.

Love you all. Hope to hear from you soon. Send me stuff, yeah? Halloween candy!!!

Les quiero muchisimo,


Aurora is awesome!



First, I am so sorry I forgot to tell you I wouldn't be emailing yesterday. I completely forgot until Monday, and by then it was too late to send you a note in the mail. But the reason that we are having p-day today, on Thursday, is because yesterday we had a huge zone conference. We had a member of the seventy there, Elder Ellis, and half of the mission. It was fun because I got to see everyone from Rockford again and Hermana Creson, my MTC companion.

Other news is just that Aurora is awesome! It is different than Rockford for sure, because for one it is just so much closer to the city. But also, the people here are just so prepared for the Gospel! As I think I mentioned before, when I came into this area they already had 4 people with a baptismal date, and on Thursday we set one more. Saturday we called someone that Hermana Maughan and her last companion had contacted a while back, and he asked us if we could meet with him right now and accepted the invitation to be baptized.

Something really awesome happened this week too. So there is a woman that we are teaching, Cruz, and she is the daughter of a recent convert. She has been to church and apparently they have been talking to her for a while, but never really gotten the opportunity to teach her until this past week. But, we taught her about repentance and gave her a chapter to read in the Book of Mormon and she seemed actually really excited to read it. Now, Cruz had a brother, Junior, who is a little bit of a partier, loves to smoke and loves his energy drinks. He doesn't live with them and doesn't ever spend the night, because they live in just a really tiny basement apartment.  But the night after we left Cruz the chapter to read in the Book of Mormon, she convinced Junior to spend the night, and for some reason he did.  Cruz fell asleep that night reading the chapter we left her, and at four o clock that morning she woke up because she could hear Junior grunting. He was having a seizure, and was biting his tongue really badly. Cruz said she freaked out, and was trying to figure out what to do, and she saw the Book of Mormon sitting on her bed, grabbed it, and shoved into Junior's mouth to keep him from biting his tongue off. Once the ambulance came and they new everything was going to be fine, Cruz said she just realized all of a sudden how much God loves her. She was telling us that she had never really thought about it before, but at that moment she realized that God loves her more than she can even imagine. She came into the house and gathered her kids and her mom and just told them that they needed to thank God, and she had them all pray together to thank him.  Hearing her tell this story was so so awesome. It was amazing. And we saw Junior later that day and he told us that he is going to get Sundays off from work so he can start coming to church, because Cruz told him God works in funny ways, and he knows he needs to come to church. Something else cool, is that Cruz's kids, who are 11, 9, and 8 next month have all been taught the lessons, and they want to be baptized. And they told us the other day that they want to be baptized together with their mom. We had never really talked about baptism before with Cruz, but we told her they said that and she didn't say no. She just said, "Wow, thats news to me." And she seemed completely fine with the idea of at least her kids being baptized. I am so excited to see how things go with her.

So thats about my week. Also, it is ridiculously cold. Like I was so unprepared for this, and its not even winter yet. I am probably going to die. So that is why I am writing home with a package request: Please please please send me as fast as you can: wool socks, long underwear, any warm cute sweaters that you can find, any cute scarves, basically just anything warm and cute, I don't care what it is, and I left my cute dressier coat there for some idiotic reason and if you can find that and send me it, that would be awesome.  Also, I left my moccasins there, I think I might have even given them to Morgan- and I would love it if you could send me those. The only run around p-day shoes I have are flip flops, and those are def not going to work.  So  yeah. Its freezing. Missionary clothes are not conducive to cold weather.  I am going to die when it is actually winter.


1. One of my favorite investigators ever in Rockford, Silvia. Don't worry, she was happy, for some reason Hispanics just don't seem to like to smile in pictures.

2. Hna Summers, a member- Josh, and I.

3. The Rockford "Clique"

4. once again

5. Yo, Maria Soledad Bueno, y su nieto Ernesto.  Maria was an inactive member we we reactivated, love her to death

6. Miel and I!

7. Hna Summers, Miel, Yo

8. Hna Brown, Sister Brown, Sister Brown

9. otra vez

Well, I think that should do it for this week. I look forward to getting some AWESOME letters in my mailbox! Because it is so so lonely.

Love you love you

les quiero,