Monday, April 30, 2012

We are still planning on a baptism this Saturday!


Sorry to say but the biggest news I have this week is that I've just been sick all week. Cold flu thing that has knocked me on my butt. So other than our appointments with members where they all tried their own home remedies on me, nothing much happened this week.  Except I ate a lot of limes.

But despite being out of commission, things are going well. We are still planning on a baptism this Saturday! Stephanie wasn't at church this last week because she was with her dad for the weekend, but we talked to her mom and Hna Alvarez (mom) is SO excited! She is also really nervous, but I'm not sure why, we're the ones that should be nervous- we're in charge of everything!  But its awesome to see how excited everyone is. The Alvarez family is a pretty huge family in the ward. There is Mama and Papa, and then all of their children who have married and now have children. Its the Alvarez clan and they run things around here. So it will be a PARTY baptism, I have no doubt.

Speaking of parties- went to another baby shower on Friday. And once again, I was amazed. We stayed for the whole thing this time and got to participate in the games. And it was crazy! Super competitive, those women. I sat with the Alvarez women for bingo, and I won- but of course there was other women who yelled bingo at the same time, I just said it first. REALLY. But there was lots of women yelling and saying they won and then the whole alvarez table was yelling and saying I won, and then we had to have a rematch. Over baby shower bingo. Its okay- I won the rematch. Because all I do is win win win. IT WAS CRAZY. The Alvarez's said if you fly them out for my wedding or if I have in Chicago they'll make sure its fun. So don't worry, family-  you cover the plane tickets, they cover everything else. :P

Next week is transfers! We really have no idea whats going to happen of course, but our prediction is that I'm staying here and Hermana Veliz is leaving. We'll know Saturday night, so I'll let you know next Monday whats going to happen. These last 6 weeks sure have gone by reallllllly fast though. Its super crazy how fast time is going by. Super terrifying also.

Love you all so much. I hope everything is going well. Summer is almost here! Are you excited? I'm not. .  ugh humidity. :P

Les Quiero,


Hanging out with Stephanie

baby shower craziness

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Now we just have one more reason to celebrate Cinco de Mayo!


Well, another week down. This last week I hit my 11 month mark. Can you believe I've almost been out a year? I can't. Its kind of blowing my mind.  And freaking me out hardcore.

As for the week. It was good. Weather was kind of yucky, you can tell we're starting to get into tornado season.

Umm. . . I'm trying to think of anything exciting that happened this week, and to to be honest I'm drawing a blank.  Umm. .

Well. We had a lot of lessons with members and less actives this week. Which was really good. I've been feeling like I don't know the ward really, so I've been wanting to meet more of them, get to know them better. Its just that everyone is so busy. But this week we had at least one member lesson a day, which was really really good. 

We helped Stephanie's (our 11 yr old investigator) mom get ready for a baby shower she was throwing for her sister. Oh man. I never thought baby showers were that intense, but I guess any excuse for a party with food and dancing, right? It.was.huge. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Firstly, as I am sure you all know, I am not an arts and crafts person. At all. So I was super nervous making all of these decorations. I was so scared I was going to ruin them. Everyone kept teasing me about how serious my face looked working on making these little decorations. Then while we were making them the hermana got a call that her sister had been arrested! Her sister had just been there like 5 minutes earlier! Apparently she got pulled over and when the cop found out she didn't have a license he cuffed her and asked her if she was ready to go back to Mexico. Ugh. So Hermana Alvarez (the mom) had to go pick up her son from the police station! So Hermana Veliz and I had to emergency babysit. Which is definitely not allowed, but what could we do? Luckily for Hermana Alvarez's sister, she just has to pay a fine, no deportation. Back to the baby shower story- Saturday morning we went over to help again, and lucky for me the decoration making was too intense and the baby was just messing it up so I got put on baby distracting duty. Which I am pro at. Not so much at the decorating making. . . We got to also be on the taste testing committee for all of the baby shower food. Which is the best job ever. When we went back to actually go to the baby shower. . . Wow. I was shocked. I have seen wedding receptions less fancy. I was telling Hermana Alvarez this and she just laughed and told me not to worry, that she and her family would come decorate my wedding so that it doesn't suck like most American parties. :)

As for news on Stephanie and her baptism. . . All systems go! Dad said yes! He just needs to sign a paper and we're good. We did have to move the date though, because she won't be here on the 28th, but thats okay- now we just have one more reason to celebrate cinco de mayo!

Investigator lessons were on the low side this week. Thank you disappearing investigators. But the trend shows we'll find them again this week. We didn't even get a chance to teach Marco. It seems like his phone is acting up, and we can't get ahold of him. :(

Oh- are you ready for this story? Its a good one. So we have a ward mission leader. Which I thought would be good, when we had one in Rockford he was a lot of help, and we didn't have one in Aurora. Well- I was wrong. Having this ward mission leader is the worst. HE IS CRAZY. So I generally get along with most people, even if I don't particularly like them, I can get along with them. But not this hermano. Something about him makes me go crazy and every time he says something I disagree with (which is often) I lose it and argue with him. Everyone else thinks its hilarious, but its a problem for me. So to let you know just how crazy he is, here is just a brief list of some of his ideas:

1. he made a ward mission plan. good, that should be a plan for what the ward will do to further mission work. not in our ward- its his plan for the missionaries. and his plan is that we have 50 baptisms this year. That would be SO awesome! But do you know how many this ward had last year? 10. 10 baptisms. And he wants us to have 50 this year? umm. . . when I tried to politely explain to him that goals, yes should stretch us, but also need to be realistic he told me I don't have faith.

2. He thinks the whole congregation should wear head to toe white for baptisms and confirmations. THE WHOLE CONGREGATION.

3. He wants me and Hermana Veliz to do a fireside next week on missionary work. Well thats cool, I'm down. Wait- he says how he wants it to apply to missionary work is by us telling everyone how they should and should not dress and then bring the senior sister missionaries in as examples?  Umm. . and this relates to mission work how? And then when the relief society president, young women's president, and bishop tell him that the missionaries should talk on something more. . . mission related, and let them handle modesty, he throws a huge fit. 

Just to top it off he regularly tells us we don't know what we're doing. He asked me to do a sample door approach, and I did, and he told me it was all wrong. And always asks us why we don't have 10 baptisms a week. So irritating.

So yeah. I basically can't control my temper around him. And everyone loves it because no one likes him. I think they only made him ward mission leader because they weren't worried about him making the missionaries go inactive.

Well. I think I've exhausted my supply of slightly interesting and not at all interesting updates. I hope you all have a fantastic week! I hope spring is treating you well!

Les quiero mucho,


Holy Cow! Look what I found!

wedding sized baby shower

I am still shocked at hispanic parties

baby shower cakes. who knew it could get so elaborate?

Monday, April 16, 2012

When we visited the Bishop's family it felt like going home.


I survived another week! Its been a pretty good one too. No, we didn't teach 40 lessons like Dad predicted, but we did teach 18, which is 10 more than our average lately. :)

So, yeah. Things are going pretty good. The weather has been slightly crazy the last couple of days. Lots of thunderstorms and wind. And I HATE Illinois thunderstorms, the other night it woke me up at 3 am because I swear it was in our freaking parking lot. I could feel the thunder. Hate it.

So to tell you about our week. First we'll start with Tuesday. Tuesday we went to the hospital to visit Ana Maria, but when we stopped to check in at the security desk, we were told she had been discharged! Which is good- means she has been moved to a rehab center in Indiana, but also sad for us. We are going to miss her. But then, we met Grace. Grace is like an 80 year old woman, who was trying to find the room for her son, who had been hit by a car. No one was really helping Grace at all, just pointing and then leaving- and she was hopelessly lost. So we took Grace up to see her son. We waited for her in the waiting room so we could help her find her way out. Once we made it to the parking garage is when the real fun started. Grace had NO idea where she had parked her car. And from the long walk around the hospital she was exhausted. So we helped her walk to our car, and then drove her around the parking garage until we found her car. We got her loaded safely in, and then I thought our good duty of the day was over. Wrong. As she was backing out she nearly hit our car, and then proceeded to try to leave through the employee exit, which she couldn't, holding up a few cars. A security guard helped her figure out that she needed to go to a different exit, so he told her to back up and follow him. As she was backing up, she nearly hit the car behind her. Oh man. And then she received a security guard and a missionary escort to the real exit. Where she spent like 20 minutes trying to figure out how to pay. And then we released Grace into the world. I wonder if we accidentally helped a patient escape. . . I do not think she should have been driving. . . I can't explain in an email how hilarious and terrifying this whole experience was. I wish you could have been there.

Then, Wednesday I got to go on exchanges to Aurora!!! YAYY!!!! It was a blast. When we visited the Bishop's family it felt like going home. Sorry guys, but it did. It was so nice to see them. And then Thursday I got to see Luis (our recent convert who got baptized on Christmas Eve.) We went to lunch with him, and everything is still going great with him. He's getting the Melchezidek Priesthood really soon, and he says he still wants to go on a mission as soon as he can. He says he can't wait for December to come so he can go through the temple. :)

While I was gone from Cicero Hermana Veliz and Hermana Rasmussen worked some magic, and found a ton of the people we've been looking for for ages. So I came back and we had a ton more appointments set up, and a new investigator! We met with Leo, the son of a less active, and our working with him again towards baptism, so hopefully he doesn't disappear again.

Things are still going well with Stephanie, the 11 year old who wants to be baptized. We set a date for the 28th of April. She is almost ready, just needs a quick review of some things, and to ask her dad's permission. She is pretty nervous about it, but her mom is confident that everything will be fine.

We had another lesson with Marco. No, he didn't come to church, but yes he did pray about the Book of Mormon. Sort of. He said he didn't kneel down or have a formal prayer or anything, he just said to God, "Okay God. Prove to me the Book of Mormon is true." Umm. . . well I thought we talked about humble prayers. . . but at least thats a start. He said he didn't feel anything, but he's willing to keep trying. He did admit that he is only sort of doing it cos he wants to know, but mostly because we want him to and to support his wife. But he wants us to keep coming over, so hopefully with time things will start to happen. He really is a great guy, with a lot of faith. Just a lot of doubts and skepticism as well. Probably what I'd be like in his same position.

We had an appointment with Beto and Yeni, but they didn't answer the phone and weren't there when we went by. :( They better not turn into disappearing investigators too, that would break my heart. And yes- Sonia did turn into a disappearing investigator. Stephanie, her friend that referred her to us told us that Sonia's boyfriend is a drugdealer, and she thinks thats why she might be hiding from us. .  Interesting.

But Stephanie is still AWESOME! She found us someone else to teach! She invited a friend of her's, Chris, to church and he came yesterday! We met him in the gospel principles class, which was unfortunately super confusing and all over the place and definitely not just gospel principles, but he had some good questions and demonstrated understanding. So we talked to him, got his info and set up an appointment. We were super stoked. Then, we go to the appointment and realize, he lives three blocks out of area. Three blocks out of the ward. Noooo. . .  But we went in, and taught him the restauracion anyway, to clear up questions about prophets and stuff. And it was great! He wants to read the Book of Mormon and he is willing to be baptized when he knows its true. He asked for a month to prepare. We told him no problem, and set a date for May 12. We were sure President would give us permission to teach him because he told us he doesn't want to go to the other ward, he wants to keep coming with Stephanie. But. . . we were wrong. I called President and he told us that we need to talk to him and Stephanie and convince them that he needs to go to the ward he lives in. Blah. I understand why, stewardship and all that. But still. Super disappointing. And I don't know how to convince him to go. I am going to try to get the Elders that cover where he lives to come with us to our next appointment and kind of do a hand off sort of a thing.

So yeah. Good week overall. Thanks for all of your prayers and support. I hope everyone is surviving upcoming finals and all that.

Les quiero mucho,

Monday, April 9, 2012

"Wait. You're saying you have a prophet today, that can talk to God? Thats increible!"


I hope you all had a wonderful Easter! I'm sad to admit that I almost forgot it was Easter until the Sacrament meeting talks yesterday. . .  Holidays don't really seem to mean anything on the mission, even super important religious ones like Easter.

It sounds like you all had a super exciting week with Spring Break and going to the Spanish ward. How different was that for you?

As for my week. . .

Well it was mostly spent in our apartment thanks to crazy and random health issues on mine and my companion's part. First of all, last Monday Hermana Veliz hurt her knee pretty bad. She has the same kind of bad knees that I do, where the kneecap dislocates, but on Monday she accidentally wacked it on a bar and forced the kneecap out. So we were in for the rest of the day and Tuesday too so she could recover.

Then comes my fun story. I have had SUPER dry lips for the last week, really really painful and chapped, but then Thursday morning I woke up with the most luscious lips you have ever seen. It looked like I'd gotten them injected with collagen. They were about three sizes too big. Unfortunately, they were also extremely painful. So that was a fun adventure. I have now probably tried every chapstick and cream sold at Walgreens. Yayyyy my body functions so well!

We did get a few lessons in this week. We said goodbye to the Ortiz couple, who moved here right when I came into the area, they decided its too hard here, so they are going back to Mexico. It was sad, because one of the reasons they want to go back is because they didn't feel any support from the ward.

We also had a good lesson with Marco. Tuesday when we were stuck inside I was studying for him, trying to figure out what we should read with him and got a pretty strong impression we should read Alma 7. I was kind of nervous about it, because while the first part is really good and talks about Christ and the atonement, the last part is super bold. But it went pretty well. Also brought out some more doubts Marco has, apparently he has a hard time that the Book of Mormon has such specific prophesies in it about Christ, like naming him and his mother 80 years before he was born. But there is also a part in that chapter that talks about being humble, submissive, and easily entreated, and we told him if he wanted to know he had to do that and ask God what the truth is. He had to be willing to lay his doubts aside and just ask, otherwise he would never have an answer. He promised me he'd do it, but then he didn't come to church like he promised.  . . So we'll see what the outcome was.

We had a really good lesson with Beto and Yeni as well. We talked about why it is that we ask them to read the Book of Mormon, and that reading it and praying is the only way they'll know if its true. And we talked about the importance of knowing if its true or not, what that would mean. Even though we talked about the restauracion and prophets before, Beto was kind of taken aback. He was like, "Wait. You're saying you have a prophet today, that can talk to God? Thats increible!" And we were just like. . ."Yeah. So thats why you need to pray about it. Cos its way too increible to just believe us because we say it." Yeni was really quiet the whole time, she is really worried about her dad who is sick. But I think it was a good lesson. Really addressed their questions and concerns. They said they'd come to church, but then something came up with Yeni's dad. . So hopefully next week. . .

So that was my week! This next week we are going to teach 40 lessons. Dad said we were in his email to me, and I'm going to take that as he had some kind of spiritual inspiration. So its going to happen. I hope.

I hope you all are doing well. I love you and miss you!

Les quiero,


Despedida a la familia Ortiz.

Companionship love

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Conference was AMAZING. Loved it.


Well, its been another week. Not too much exciting happened this one, but I'll see if I can come up with some stories for you.

First of all. Conference was AMAZING. Loved it. I can't believe I used to try to sit where Dad couldn't see me sleeping. :P I definitely got a lot out of it this time around. We watched it in the stake center on Saturday and in our building on Sunday. And something cool- in other church buildings the English broadcast is in the Chapel on a big old projector, and the Spanish broadcast on a tiny tv in some cramped room somewhere. Not in the Chicago stake center! Spanish was in the chapel, and all of us native English speaking missionaries were crammed into a tiny room to watch it in English. It was awesome to know that there are so many Spanish speaking members that they got priority. :)

Well, this week has been pretty slow as far as teaching goes. We did have a pretty neat experience earlier this past week. We are currently meeting regularly with the non member husband of one of the hermanas in the ward. His name is Marco, and he is an ex-Latin King who found God when he was younger. He married Alex, who is a member, and he comes to church most Sundays and has met with the missionaries tons, and almost got baptized. . . but he doesn't have a testimony, so he didn't pass the baptismal interview. The problem is that he has never read or prayed about the Book of Mormon. So he has doubts (very similar to those I have had) but those doubts can never be resolved unless he just reads and prays. But anyway, he and I get along really well, my just telling it like it is works well for him. He hadn't been taught for a little while by the missionaries because they got frustrated with him, but when I got here I sat down with him and was just like, "Okay Marco, you know why I'm here. I want you to get baptized. But I want you to get baptized because you believe it, not because Alex or I want you to. So what are your doubts, and what can we do to resolve them?" So we are now meeting with him once a week to read and talk about the Book of Mormon and give him the opportunity to pray about it. But the cool thing that happened this past week, is that we hadn't yet set up an appointment with him, and he called us to tell us he wanted us to come by that night. That he was worried about Alex, because of the friends she's hanging out with, and he was wondering if we could find some scriptures in the Book of Mormon to help her. I told him of course, but only if he looked in the Book of Mormon too. :) So we had an awesome lesson with them, directed toward Marco- but with the stuff Alex needed to hear to. We talked about the Liahona, and how it didn't work when Nefi's family wasn't doing the things they were supposed to. And then we related it to the Holy Ghost, and how not only does it not guide us when we aren't being obedient, but it also can't be with us in certain situations. So we need to always "stand in holy places and be not moved" so we can feel the influence of the Holy Ghost. Overall, it went really well.

We also realized that one of the daughters of one of the hermanas in our ward isn't baptized! She is 11, and her dad wouldn't give her permission before, but now he seems to be more open, so we are going to start working with her.

So that was my week. This next week will be FULL of miracles. I can't wait.

Hope your week is miracle filled as well. :P Oh man. . . I sound so sister missionary. Disgusting. :) 

Les Quiero,


Bowling! Oh yeah!

Last time with The Maughan in 8 months. Saddest night ever!