Tuesday, January 31, 2012

He asked us if he could be baptized! It was kind of shocking, but super sweet.


Hola hola! Glad to hear that things are going well there. Sounds like the girls are having a blast with all of their activities. Things are going well here. Not too frozen, and lucky for you all I actually have a few good stories to tell this week!

Firstly, I forgot to tell you the BEST part of last week! Last Sunday Luis blessed the Sacrament! It was awesome. And this Sunday the Bishop asked all of the men preparing to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood to stand up, and it was so cool to see Hugo, Sotero, and Luis stand up. Just the best. Sotero just received the Aaronic Priesthood yesterday, and Hugo and Maria got called as ward missionaries! Maria is super stoked to go with us to citas. :) and Luis has been going out with the Elders and loves it, he is going to be a bomb missionary.

On Thursday we went over to the Sarmiento's (Sotero, Silvia, y Nolberto) and their brother Roberto was there. We have talked to Roberto a couple of times, and he always has a lot of questions, but they generally seem kind of antagonistic. But he's a cool guy, just never seemed to have much desire to know if this is the church of Jesus Christ, but Thursday when we went over, he asked us if he could be baptized! It was kind of shocking, but super sweet. He said he wants to, he just doesn't know if he can come to church because of work. So it is still going to be slow going for him, he has to make a lot of changes and his faith has to grow a lot, but as for right now he is on date to be baptized the 22nd of March!

Remember Cruz? The investigator that took us to the city, and to sushi, and is generally the best person ever? Well, the last month or so we haven't seen her. Her phone has been acting up, and then she has also been avoiding us. We weren't really sure why, and it was super sad. We really missed her. But we have kept visiting her mom, who is less active, and we finally caught Cruz one day and set up a time that we could come visit with her on her day off. We really needed to know what the heck was going on, because she had kind of just dropped off the face of the earth. We went from seeing her like everyday, and if she didn't hear from us she was upset, to her disappearing, so we needed to find out what happened. We went over there on Saturday and it was kind of awkward at first. Like when you see someone for the first time after breaking up with them. But then it got more comfortable and finally she told us what was going on. Turns out that she felt like a hypocrite meeting with us and reading the Book of Mormon, because she was still going out and partying and doing things she knows God doesn't want her to do. The thing is, we NEVER taught her the Word of Wisdom or the Law of Chastity, she just could feel that those things weren't right after she started reading the Book of Mormon. And because she is scared to change, or something, she ran away from the happiness she was experiencing, and from what she was telling us it sounded to me like she has been super depressed lately. Also, she didn't want to get too attached to us because she knows the Hermana Maughan is leaving in March and that I could leave basically whenever, so she told us she was trying to do a "pre-separation" thing. Which is sad. But, she said we could start coming over again, and she told us when her days off are. So we're going to start slow, not just jump right back in, but she said she will read this week, and is still praying. So hopefully everything will get better. She will totes still be baptized, just not as fast as we were thinking before.

And then yesterday we had a straight up miracle. For sure. So before I got here, Hermana Maughan and Hermana Noyes found a guy named Alejandro who has a ton of potential, really wants to learn, but is just a workaholic and lives in like the very corner of our area they were never able to really teach him. They gave him a Book of Mormon, and we have stopped by his work and his home many many times trying to find him, but have never been able to catch him. Well yesterday, we got out of an appointment a little earlier than planned and were in like the farthest edge of our area with about an hour to kill. And I just kept thinking we needed to go see if we could find him again. Which was weird, because I have only met him once, briefly in the restaurant he works at. I told Hermana Maughan that, and then asked her if we should go to his work or his home. She didn't say anything and just asked me what I thought. Logically we should have gone to his work because that is where he ALWAYS is, especially around dinner time, and it was about 7:30- dinner time. But I felt like we needed to go to his house, and when I told Hermana Maughan that she said she was thinking the exact same thing. So off we went to Alejandro's house. and guess what!! He was there! He opened the door and asked us to come in, and we were both like, "oh man. . . now we found him, but we can't even go in because there isn't a woman at home. . ." But we asked anyway, "hay una mujer aqui?" and he said yes! Turns out the reason he that he was home, and not at work is because he left work early to go to the airport to pick up his esposa who just flew in from Texas. THAT DAY! Like 4 hours before we went over. And she wants to learn more! I can't even explain in email how awesome it was, because it just FELT so cool.  And Alejandro told us this crazy story about how he used to be in this gang in the city, the Kings, and he got a girl pregnant and then she kicked him out and he ended up living on the streets for like a year. In Chicago, in the winter, he was on the street. And SOMEHOW he got out of that and the Kings alive and miraculously met this guy that taught him how to cook, and liked how he cooked so he hired him at his restaurant. So now he has a job, and a tiny apartment, and a super super sweet esposa, and he knows that God exists and he really wants a better relationship with Him after all of this. He has even been reading the Book of Mormon! He takes it to work with him to read, and he has talked to his coworkers about us, and he told us one of his coworkers wants to learn more and gave us a referral! We left that appointment on a definite spiritual high. The spirit was just so strong in their apartment. It was legit.

So that was basically my week. It was sweet. I hope everything is going well for you! Keep up the good work team. Love you all!

Les Quiero,

Monday, January 23, 2012

Because of the snow and the cold I think everything has just kind of slowed down around here.


Once again another uneventful week. Sorry everyone. . .  Because of the snow and the cold I think everything has just kind of slowed down around here.

The most exciting thing that happened this week is that it snowed a ton on Friday, and as a result we had a not so awesome adventure. It was snowing pretty heavily, and we had an appointment about 30 minutes away from Geneva, so we left at 2:30 to make it for our 3:30 appointment, trying to give ourselves enough time to get there. By about four o clock we still weren't even half way, because the roads were so bad and traffic was just ridiculous. And then because of all of the ice, our windshield wiper broke. The one on the driver’s side. So I couldn't see a thing. We pulled off the road, and made it to a target and called and cancelled our appointment, and then called the mission office to tell them our windshield wiper was broken. They told us that we needed to go to a pep boys to get a new one. Pep boys was 3.7 miles away, BUT I couldn't see a thing! But we somehow made our way over to Pep boys. It took us 45 minutes to drive 3.7 miles. So the majority of that day was spent wasting miles driving around in the snow. We had 4 appointments cancel that day due to it, but luckily we were able to meet with Irma and Monico that night. They are doing great, but Irma still can't get work off on Sundays. Which is a huge bummer. We had to move her baptismal date to the 25th of February, hoping she will be able to come to church enough before then. Unfortunately that date is after transfers, so if I'm moved I won't be here for her baptism. :(  That night Hermana Maughan and I headed over to the church parking lot and Hermana Maughan got to be a student in the Hermana Brown's Snow Driving Academy. She passed, but still refuses to drive in the snow while I'm here.

Saturday was another day full of cancelled appointments. We were really kind of discouraged and didn't know what to do, so we called the Bishop to see if there was anyone he'd like us to visit. They invited us over for dinner, and we talked and he told us about some of their neighbors that had been taught by the missionaries about a year ago, and maybe they would be good to see. So before we left his house, he said a prayer that we would be able to find a family, and we went straight over to his neighbor's. They let us right in and now we are teaching a family of five! I don't really know how much interest they have, but they are friendly and we'll see how it goes. It was at least an appointment, right?

Things are going okay with our investigators. None of the ones that are on date to be baptized have been able to come to church, which is really slowing things down. They could definitely use your prayers. But it’s good, they are all really awesome people.

Well, I think that’s about all I've got this week. I hope everything is going well for you guys! I hope you are staying warm, just be grateful you aren't out knocking doors in 8 degree weather like I was this week! :)

Les Quiero,

We had 15 appointments cancel.


Okay, I guess I'll try to email you all today. The only problem is that I really don't have anything to say. This week has been completely uneventful. We had 15 appointments cancel, and thats about all that happened. It snowed for the first time. Which was pretty crazy, considering its the middle of January. Hermana Maughan was nervous for it because she has no idea how to drive in the snow, but luckily I'm a pro.

We had zone meeting yesterday, it was really good. We talked about setting goals and how when we set goals we are showing the Lord that we are willing to work for those goals, and showing faith that he will help us achieve them, which was awesome.

We had a meeting with a family we are teaching, and the bishop came and we ended up being there for 2.5 hours because the Dad would NOT stop talking. I thought we were never going to get out of there. I was resigned to the fact that I was just going to have to stay there forever. I don't even know how we got out, but it was a miracle.

So yeah. Thats honestly about all I have right now. The majority of this week has been going from one cancelled appointment to another. And one of our investigators in the hospital, so we've been spending a lot of time over there with her.  Hopefully next week will be better.

I'm glad everything is going well there. I love you all, even though this email is the shortest ever. I'll try harder this week to have something cool happen.

Les quiero muchisimo,

Monday, January 9, 2012

Man, these kind of experiences keep happening to us and I just can't believe it. They are the kind of stuff you read about or watch on those stupid Mormon movies- I never thought they'd actually happen to us.


Welp. Another week. Not really sure what to write about. AGAIN.  Its been a pretty normal week. Or half of a week, since I just wrote you on Wednesday. But whatever. So this week's email might be a little shorter than most. . . .

Umm. We had a really cool lesson with Miriam, Irma's daughter, the other day. We asked her if she read the chapter in the Book of Mormon we left her and she said she did. Multiple times. She said she loved how she felt so much while she read it that she had to keep reading it over and over again. We invited her to be baptized and she accepted for the first week of February. Man, these kind of experiences keep happening to us and I just can't believe it. They are the kind of stuff you read about or watch on those stupid Mormon movies- I never thought they'd actually happen to us.

OH! And Monico- who we were helping study for his citizenship test, PASSED! He is now a citizen of the United States of America, and that means that three of his kids in Mexico can now come here! It was truly a miracle. We were helping him study, but he would just get so so stressed that he couldn't remember anything, and would make himself sick. And it really was just not productive at all. And Irma kept getting frustrated at him for not studying, and it just made things worse. So we gave them a quick rundown of the priesthood and asked them if they would both like a blessing. They accepted, and the Elders came over and gave both of them really awesome blessings. In Monico's he was told that if he would be able to study, and if he did he would pass his test. Before that blessing Monico knew maybe 10 out of the 100 questions that he had to know for the test. When we came back a few days later to help study again, he knew 80! And he PASSED!!!! Man, it was such a happy moment when Irma called us to tell us. We went over to celebrate after with pan dulce and abuelita hot chocolate. :) And can I just tell you how much I love Irma? More than I can express. She is so good to us too- she always feeds us, or gives us medicine if we aren't feeling good, she sewed a button onto my coat, and she just loves us. She takes care of us. And she is so sincere. And I really can't express in words in an email how much I love that woman. She fell of date for the end of January because she wasn't able to come to church yesterday, but she will still be getting baptized. She told us on Saturday that she works every Sunday, but before we even said anything she told us that she was going to ask her boss for Sundays off, because she has worked every Sunday for the past two years, and now she knows she needs to go to church. SHE IS AMAZING!  So she asked yesterday, and we don't know the verdict yet, but keep her in your prayers and she will get Sundays free.

Scary story. The Velasquez family from our ward went to Mexico for the holidays. and oh man scariest thing ever happened to them. They were driving south, and were just 10 minutes away from the border when a little car pulled in front of them and slowed down until they were stopped. And these guys jumped out of the car and were pointing guns at them and yelling at them to open the door. And when they did, they saw Josue, the Velasquez's son with down syndrome and Josue was SCREAMING at them, and then they started yelling about how it was a family and they got in their car and drove away. So yeah. Josue saved the day. Moral of the story- don't drive to Mexico.

I think thats about all I've got for you so far this week. It sounds like things are going good there. Crazy busy as always, right? Going to Hollywood, and Mexico, and all sorts of crazy adventures. Not even fair. Keep up the good work, team. Get good grades and all that stuff I didn't do. Love you all!

Les quiero,

fotos are of me in the sweet hats the Velasquez family brought back from Mexico

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I am super excited for this family to get baptized, they are THE BEST.


Well. Its been another week. Not really sure what to write, once again.

Transfers this week. No changes here. Still chillin' in the Aurora Ward with Hermana Maughan. I'm pretty happy about that. Definitely hate the uncertainty of transfers, and hate the changes.

Other news is that this is my last pday on Wednesday. Next one will be this coming Monday.

Umm. I had a blast on New Year's. We were instructed to be in our houses by 8, and I was definitely fast asleep by 10:30. Pretty exciting night.

We can't find Rosa. We were meeting with her twice a day for a week, and then she dropped off the face of the earth. She won't answer her phone, and we can't just stop by her house all the time because its way too far away, and when we do drop by she isn't home. She's the bishop's niece, and he doesn't even know whats going on. So yeah. We have no idea. Last we talked to her she really wanted to get baptized, but from what I understand is that she doesn't have a lot of support in the house she's living in. Who knows what will happen, but I hope we find her soon.

Good news is that we had a pretty sweet week finding people. We found 8 new investigators. And our district set a goal that each companionship would try to invite at least one person a day to be baptized, so because of that we now have two new people on date. One is Irma. Irma's story is pretty sweet. The English elders knocked into her and her husband before I got here, and Hna Maughan and her previous companion taught them once, and then couldn't really get ahold of them again. Then, on Christmas Irma called us to see if we could come over and help her husband, Monico, study for the citizenship exam. So we set up an appointment to go over there in a couple of days. The day before we were supposed to go over there, we got a call from someone in the English ward, but who speaks Spanish, with a referral for us. She said that she works with a girl named Miriam who's parents we are teaching, and the missionaries stopped by and said a prayer for her little boy who was sick, and now she wanted us to come back and teach her. We were super confused, because A) we weren't teaching anyone with a daughter named Miriam who is in her 20's. B) We weren't the missionaries who prayed for her son. . .  But we started to look in our Area Book to see if she was on the list of potential investigators from when the other missionaries stopped by, and we found her but she didn't have a last name listed. AND THEN, Hermana Maughan thought about Irma and Monico- and wondered if she was there daughter. Yep. Yes she is. So within two days Irma calls us to come over, and we get Miriam as a referral.  Which was sweet. But- back to Irma, we started going over there everyday to help Monico study for his test, but he was just super stressed and couldn't study because he was making himself sick. So we just had a lesson with Irma, and taught her the Plan of Salvation, and invited her to be baptized on the 28th of January. And she REALLY wants to. She is the sweetest lady ever. And she keeps telling us how Monico needs to be baptized too, but he's too stubborn. She is the awesome. And we met with Miriam and she is legit too, def going to be baptized someday, just have to invite her!

Next person we set on date is Alejandra. She is the roommate of one of our recent converts. She is pregnant, and I believe a single mother, who is currently trying to find her one place to live. We went over to visit with the recent convert, and she decided to listen in, so we ended up changing the plans and teaching the Plan of Salvation. and oh man, the spirit was so strong it was tangible. We invited her to be baptized last week, and she said yes, but we didn't set a date. And then this past Monday we met with her again and talked about the Book of Mormon, and invited her to be baptized on the 11th of February. What is cool about that date, is that Hna Maughan and I didn't talk about setting a date for her before we went in. But once we were in there we were both feeling like we needed to, and Hermana Maughan was the one that asked if the 11th would be okay for her. When we got in the car Hermana turned to me and kind of apologized for setting her on date, like I would be mad or something. :P I just told her that I felt we needed to too, and that if she didn't I was going to and I really felt like it needed to be the weekend before Valentine's Day, which is what Hna Maughan did, even though she went in there planning on a different day, but felt like she needed to change it.

More baptisms that are in the works, are not anyone that I set on date to be baptized, nor will I be present, but I am super excited about them nonetheless. I found out today that the Hermana that is up in Rockford just set a whole family on date that Hermana Summers and I found knocking doors. They are from Panama and when Hermana Summers and I were teaching them, it was really slow going because it was just the 15 and 17 year old daughters who were interested and we could only go over every other week, but NOW the girls, their stepmom and their brother are all on date to be baptized!! I don't know what Hermana Noyes is doing up there in Rockford, but she is awesome. I am super excited for this family to get baptized, they are THE BEST.

So yeah. I think thats about it this time. Lucky for you all you get to hear from me in less than a week. I'm glad to hear everyone is doing well, and I hope everyone gets back into the swing of things after vacation. Don't worry about me, I think somehow I'll manage to get over the Holidays. They were just so relaxing, afterall. :P

I love you all. Hope everything is going well.

Les Quiero,