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,




 TRANSFERS! Tuesday morning I got a call that I was to be transferred to the Aurora North area. And now I am here. My companion is Hermana Maughan from Arizona, and she seems pretty cool. Her first area was actually Rockford as well, which is awesome, we at least have something in common to talk about. This area should be pretty different, its a huge area and I'm going to be serving in a ward, not a branch. Coming into the area, there are already 4 investigators with baptismal dates.  I was spoiled with the apartment though in Rockford. Here we have one bathroom, and have to pay for laundry. Its still a nice apartment, but just nothing compared to Rockford. Hopefully I can adjust. :P

So thats my biggest news. Last week was pretty good. I was really nervous all week because I could just feel that I was being transferred, and to be honest I really didn't want to be. I love love love Rockford and all of the people there. I love Hermana Summers, and we got along super well with the Elders in our district, and the members were awesome, especially our friend Miel. When I called to let her know I was being transferred we both cried- and I don't cry very often, so thats saying something. I'm also going to miss the investigators a ton. When I told Rosario y Agustin that I might be leaving, they both cried, hard. And they have been being taught by missionaries for 10 years, so it made me feel loved.  But everyone only has good things to say about this area. I'm sure I'll come to love it too.

We had one really sweet thing happen last week. We were knocking doors, and not having a ton of success, but we knocked one door and the girl opened the door in tears, and Hermana Summers just said, "We can see that you are having a little bit of a difficult day, so we don't want to take too much of your time, but we are missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and I can promise you that the message we have will help you, in whatever struggles you are going through."  And this girl just opened up, and told us she was having troubles with her boyfriend, and all of her friend and been telling her she needed to find Jesus and she asked us if she could make an appointment with us to come back. So we went back the next day, and had an AWESOME lesson. Her name is Krystal, and she has lived here in Illinois since she was 9 months old, but when she was 18 she was deported. So she basically got dropped off in a country she had never really lived in, and she said she barely even spoke Spanish. She met her boyfriend there, and they recently made it back. She is only 22 now.  She just opened up to us about a ton of problems she'd been having, that she wasn't happy and she thinks its because she isn't doing what God wants her to do. When we asked her what kind of relationship she wanted with God, she said she wants him to be her best friend, and she is willing to do anything she has to for that to happen. She said she's always been a hardworker, and if she can set her mind to working hard at a crappy job, why can't she set her mind to having an hour day devoted to God, to pray and read the scriptures. She is so awesome and so ready, we asked her if she would be baptized and she said yes. I am pretty bummed that I won't be there to watch her progress. We usually  meet with people once a week, but she asked us if we could even come twice a week. So awesome.

I love you all, thanks for your emails and letters. I hope everything continues to go well.

Les querio muchisimo,


Sunday, October 9, 2011

"I appear to be quickly accumulating a list of mission injuries"



Another Wednesday. Not really sure what to write about, as missionary work is pretty much the same everyday.
Last week we had exchanges with the Hermanas in Woodstock. I stayed here in Rockford, and Hermana West came here. Overall it was pretty stressful because I had to be in charge of the area, and when we went into appointments I had to make the small talk and everything which was just painful. The exchange was Thursday to Friday, and Friday we couldn't even do anything we originally had planned because the car wouldn't start. The battery had a ton of corrosion, so I had to call a member to come jump start us. When the member got there, I was putting the cables on her battery, so my head was under the hood and the prop that holds the hood up fell. So the hood hit my right on the bridge of my nose. It may have cracked my nose, its swelled up quite a bit, it's still pretty painful, and I've got a nice bump on the bridge of my nose now. I appear to be quickly accumulating a list of mission injuries. So after we got the car jumped, we spent the whole day driving around Rockford trying to get it fixed. We went to the auto place that the mission vehicle coordinator suggested, and they told us (rudely) they were too busy, so we tried somewhere else that was also too busy, and then we called the first place to see if we could make an appointment, and they told us to just bring it in, they had plenty of time! So that was frustrating.
Monday was mission council and training, which is a meeting all of the zone leaders and district leaders go to like once a month, and they invite a couple of sisters to go every time, and this time we got invited, so we drove down to Naperville and spent the whole day there getting taught by the Assistants, and President and Sister Doll. Afterward we got a BRAND NEW CAR! We are now driving a 2010 chevy malibu. It is pretty sweet. I am just glad I'm not the one actually driving, I think it would give me a lot of anxiety.
Our baptism for the Saturday isn't going to happen afterall. For one thing, someone else booked the church before us, so we couldn't do it even if Aldo was ready, but also his friend's wife just died unexpectedly so he is spending all of his limited spare time in Chicago, so we haven't been able to meet with him like we've wanted to. But, I'm not too worried about him, I was hoping he would be baptized before transfers so I could be here in case I get moved, but I have no doubt that he will be baptized by the end of the month. Last week we taught him the Word of Wisdom, which I was a little worried about because he drinks a huge thing of coffee in the morning to get him through his ridiculous work day, but when we met with him a week after that, he told us since the lesson he hadn't had any coffee! It was super exciting. He really is great. Its just too bad that he is so busy, and that outside forces are causing things to be delayed.
So thats pretty much anything even remotely exciting thats happened this week. Besides General Conference, which was excellent. I hope you all loved it. It definitely made me think of you, and how much I wished I was in my pajamas on a couch rather than in a skirt, nylons, and a jacket on a hard church pew. But, it was still amazing.
I'm glad that it sounds like things are going well for all of you. I'm sorry to hear you're sick Mom, I hope you get feeling better!
Congrats, LuLu on winning your first powder puff game! Kick those other girls butts! YEAHHH BUDDYYY!!!
I got the letters yesterday about the sealing on Friday, thanks for telling me about it! It sounds like a little bit of an adventure with all of those boys, but I'm glad it went well.
Also, thanks for the pictures from Charley's wedding, Mom. I hope you weren't pestering her for them. . .
Do you have a fall break or anything coming up? Have anything fun planned? How is the weather out there? It was a little cooler last week, but so far this week its been really nice here. Today its supposed to be close to 80. We are planning on going to a nice apple orchard here today and getting some treats, and then we're having a zone activity and celebrating Elder John's birthday with a pinata and a bunch of tacos from Taco Bell. Should be exciting. . .

Well, I love you all. I think thats about all I have for you this week. Next week I could be somewhere completely different! I could be on bikes in downtown Chicago! I'll keep you posted.

Les Quiero,

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I'm excited for General Conference this weekend



Hey all. I hope you're having a good week. Things are pretty good here. I'm sorry to say nothing to exciting has happened. We almost had an appointment with Elder Oaks daughter, who lives in our area, but then the person who we set the appointment with had to cancel. I also had a really weird allergic reaction and half of my face swelled up. It was pretty cool.

It sounds like life is busy as always there. I hope that everything is going well, and that its not too hectic. Thats cool that Eliza is doing powder puff. I never did any of that stuff, and I kind of regret it now.

We did get to watch the General Relief Society broadcast Saturday. We had a less active member there, so we went in with her to where it was being broadcast in Spanish. It was really good though. Sister Allred (I think thats her name) translated her own talk, which was awesome. I'm excited for General Conference this weekend, but its weird that this is the first time ever I won't be watching it in my pajamas on the couch. We will watch it in English unless we have any investigators or less active members there that we need to be with.

Aldo is doing well. He drinks a huge thing of coffee every morning, because he works like 20 hours a day, so I was a little nervous about teaching him the Word of Wisdom, but he accepted it pretty good. He asked us why we don't drink coffee, like he understands why no alcohol and tobacco and drugs, but not coffee. It was good for me to be able to explain to him that I had that exact same question, and I still don't understand completely, but that because I know that we have a living prophet who receives revelation directly from God, I know that it is a commandment that we need to keep.  He promised us that the next morning he would get a Mountain Dew instead. We haven't talked to him for a couple days, so I don't know how its going, but he is definitely a cold turkey kind of a guy. He told us he quit smoking by just waking up one morning and deciding he didn't want to do it anymore. The only thing that will keep him from getting baptized on the 8th is if we aren't able to finish teaching him everything on time. He is hard to make appointments with because he is so busy, and we have to have an hermana with us because he is a single man, so its always hard to find a woman in the branch that can help us.

I thought I'd add some pictures this week!

in order of how they are attached:

1. For Hermana Summers birthday we went over to a member's house to eat the couch cake, and give her a poster we all signed. Next to Hermana Summers is Elder McKamey and next to me is Elder John, they are the other Spanish missionaries in our area.

2. It started to sprinkle, but we decided to keep walking without our umbrella, because we didn't think it was going to get that bad. We got a block from the car and it started to downpour. It was ridiculous. This is us sopping wet.

3. Hermana Summers and I at the emergency preparedness expo the stake did. Its right after I passed out.

4. Our favorite investigators, Rosario y Agustin made Hermana Summers her favorite food for her birthday, and got her a cake and flowers. Its a super awkward side picture, and I pretty much hate it, but it had to go on here because that was an awesome day.

5. Rosario y Agustin, mis abuelitos mexicanos.

6. The Couch Cake Elders McKamey and John made us!

7. Hermana Summers, our friend Miel, and I cutting the couch cake!

I think thats all I got for you this week. Tomorrow we are doing exchanges. Hermana Summers is going to Woodstock, and I am staying here and being in charge of the area for 24 hours. I'm basically terrified. We'll see how it goes.

I love you all! I hope everything is going well! Give my love to the Browns when you see them on Friday.

Love love love,


We set a baptismal date for one of our investigators last week!



Hey there, family. Its been a long week here. I have been feeling a little bit sick the last couple days, so right now I am just exhausted. But its been a really good week.

I'm glad things are going well for you there. I hope everything is okay with you Mom, and your cough. How is volunteering at the ELC? Where is that? Is it just a program to help people learn English? Do they have something like that to help me learn Spanish?

I haven't gotten any letters from Morgan or Eliza yet, but we also haven't checked the mail yet today. I'm sure they'll be there. I loved the pictures of Morgan from Homecoming, I hope she had fun. I have heard from Hailey recently, she has started emailing me once a week, which is awesome.

It was Hermana Summers' birthday on Sunday, and one of our friends from the branch, Miel (said MEE-EL, it means honey), decided to do something for her everyday leading up to her birthday starting last Wednesday. So we had surprise cupcakes and balloons and the like. On her birthday I woke Hermana Summers up at one in the morning after waking myself up at midnight to make her banana pancakes. She had said she'd wished we could go to breakfast at Denny's in our pajamas in the middle of the night, so since we can't do that, I brought it to her. It was super fun. We were also super tired the next day. :)

We set a baptismal date for one of our investigators last week! His name is Aldo, and we set a date for October 8th. He has been being taught since like November, and his work schedule has made it hard, but he's awesome. He works in construction and often works like 20 hours a day, and then sleeps for a couple of days. But he has been able to come to church pretty consistently the last couple of weeks. He is a really intelligent guy, and really well read. He once told us that one of his vices is reading. He does ask questions though that everyone looks to me to answer, but I can't in my limited Spanish. He asked why the tribes of Israel were scattered, and why they circumcised babies, and if it was still a commandment. Its pretty interesting trying to stumble over those explanations. He also told us that he doesn't like to go to parties, because he doesn't drink, he'd much rather stay home and read. He is super solid. He isn't someone that is going to go inactive afterward because he doesn't feel support from the branch, he is getting baptized because he knows its what he is supposed to do, and nothing will change that. He even brought his kids to church last week. He told us that they didn't want to come, but until they are 18 they have to do what he says, and they compromised and just came to sacrament. But he is worried about them getting into bad stuff, and he and their mother are divorced, so this is the only way that he knows how to help them. We're hoping to be able to begin teaching them soon.

 We had zone conference yesterday. it was from 9 am to 3 pm. It was pretty cool. It was our zone, and the one that Hermana Creson (my MTC companion) is in, so I got to see her which was nice. We were all given a topic to prepare a five minute talk on, and then people were randomly called on to speak. Of course I was called on. The topic was loving and respecting your leaders, especially missionary leaders. The scripture they wanted us to use was D&C 90:5. Just look that up and tell me that doesn't confuse you. But yeah, I did it. It was okay.

Well, I think thats about all I've got today. I love you all! I really hope everything is going well for you.

Les Quiero,

Church Wide Day of Service



Its been a pretty uneventful week here. It was a busy week for our investigators, which means we were not able to meet with a lot of them.

This past Saturday we did do something pretty cool for the churchwide service day. Our stake did a emergency preparedness expo, with the Salvation Army, the police, the firefighters, and the mayor there. There was booths for how to make 72 hour kits, and a jaws of life and k9 demonstration. There was also a blood bank there taking donations. Hermana Summers and I donated, and I was pretty excited because it was her first time donating and she's really scared of needles. So I was ready with my camera for when she got sick. Unfortunately, she was fine. I'm the one that passed out. Yep, I have donated blood multiple times, and I passed out. It was after I had finished and I watched as they took the needle out. And then I woke up after they had layed my chair down and put a bunch of ice all over my body. It was super bizarre. It was definitely a "black out", my vision got spotty, and then it was like tunnel vision that just got smaller until I was out. Hermana Summers said my eyes were open and everything, I just wasn't conscious. She was pretty freaked out. But I'm fine. It was more embarrassing and comical than anything.

How are things with Sergio? same old same old. Wants to get baptized, but just isn't putting in the necessary effort. Isabel? Haven't seen her since I told you about her. We don't have enough time to work in Beloit as much as we need to. Hopefully we'll see her next week. Rocio? Rocio had a catholic baptism she had to go to the one day we were in Beloit last week. But we have another appointment set up with her for the week. The Branch? Okay, I think. We just recently completely separated from the English ward. Before the YM/YW was still combined. We also had branch council last week and it went well. I have to play the piano in Sacrament meeting this week, because the regular woman who plays is actually in the English ward and has a responsibility there. No one else can play. and when the hermanas heard I could play, I started getting all sorts of questions about piano lessons. Any word from Maria and Luis? Nope. We have a branch activity this Saturday, that we talked about inviting them to. We'll see. Any new investigators to tell us about? We did get a new investigator last week, her name is Maria Reina. We found her knocking, and it turns out that she is actually friends with one of the hermanas in the branch, which is awesome. She says she knows that there are a lot of problems in the Catholic church, and she wants to learn the truth. Whats really cool, is that this week Hermana Summers and I have been praying that we'll be able to teach more families, especially that we'd be able to teach the families of our investigators. And we went in to the last lesson with her with the objective of asking if her her family would be interested, and without us even asking she said she knew that her kids needed to learn what we were teaching her. It was so awesome. She seems to be progressing pretty well, she likes what we have taught her, but she hasn't prayed about it specifically to know if its true. We're hoping she'll be in church on Sunday. How is the weather there? Pretty nice. It had cooled off a little, and today its supposed to be in the sixties or something. How are things with you and Hermana Summers? Super well! I'll be sad when one of us leaves!!

Well, I hope everything is going well for you all this week. I hope the weather stays nice for a while!! Is everyone okay in Pennsylvania with the flooding?

I love you all! I hope you have an awesome week!

Les Quiero,