Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Man, this has been such a good week.


Man, this has been such a good week. I don't even know exactly why, but I love it. Just the difference of how I felt in my last area and how I feel here is amazing. I think I was in a definite rut, and the change of a new area and a new companion really helped me. Hermana Carlson is awesome. She has a ton of faith, is a hard worker, but also way way fun. We are always laughing. I am so grateful that her visa didn't come through so she could come here for now! I just don't want her to leave! In my interview with President yesterday (last one before we get the new pres) I told him if I could, and she didn't get her visa, I wanted to keep her another transfer. But then Pres told me that wherever she is next transfer will be a trio. .  and I DO NOT want a trio. . . So we'll see what happens.

Anyway, I don't have much time today to write because we are going to a CUBS GAME!!! YEAH! I am so stoked. Basically the whole mission is going, its going to be fetchin legit.  But I'll give you some quick highlights from the week. . .

LIZ: Still amazing, still awesome. We taught her the last things we needed to last week, and she completely accepted everything. She has an awesome testimony. I told her about the bap interview, and she got really nervous, but we went over the questions for it and I can't even tell you how prepared she is. Really, it was a you had to have been there moment, but I can just tell you that she is the most prepared person I have taught my whole mission. She knows, understands, believes. I can't explain it. But in church on Sunday the teacher asked her to give the closing prayer, and she did, and in it she gave thanks that she has the opportunity to be baptized and she just broke down in tears. After she finished praying she sat down next to me, I gave her a hug and asked her, "Hermana, estas feliz, o triste?" Are you happy, or sad? And she told me, "Estoy contenta. Bien contenta." I'm content, i'm really content. The spirit was so strong. Oh my gosh I love her.

MODESTA y FAM: CAME TO CHURCH!!! This is the first time this family has come to church in YEARS! I was honestly really suprised to see them there. But to back up, we had an appointment with them on Saturday, and we watched the restoration movie with them, and the 9 year old, Dana, was like super intently watching it, it was so funny. And they had all sorts of good questions after, and we were able to explaine about prophets and the restored gospel. And then Sunday, Hna Carlson and I pull up to the chapel, and she asks me, "do you see Modesta's car?" And I didn't, but I told her, don't worry its only 9 am, she probably won't even show up until 9:30.  Then we walk into Relief Society, and who is there? Right on time? MODESTA! YAYYY!!! Then we sat with her and the girls in Sacrament Meeting, and I got to help the girls figure out the hymns, and help them understand the sacrament, and then during the talks they drew us a ton of pictures on sticky notes that were super adorable. They drew picturs of us, and did hangman with the phrase, "Mrs. brown and Mrs. Carlson are pretty." haha I love those girls. Then yesterday we had another appointment with them. We started teaching them the 10 commandments, and then we got to a point that Modesta started telling me about the situation with her ex husband, so I left Hna Carlson to teach the girls, and kind of went to the side and talked to Modesta. Turns out that they are in a huge custody battle right now. Apparently he is a return missionary, and they married in the temple, but then some stuff went down and she left him. He hasn't had any contact with his daughters for five years. He hasn't called on their birthdays, nothing. Not even any effort. And now, all of a sudden he has a girlfriend who can't have kids, and he wants the girls. He hired all of these lawyers and investigators, and is trying to prove that Modesta can't take care of the girls cos she doesn't have enough money. Well I will tell you, those girls are some of the most loved children in the world. They don't have much, no, but they have food, clothes, a place to sleep, and a mom that loves them.  Please pray for this family, that they won't be torn apart. I promised Modesta that if she continued to do what was right, to return to church, keep the commandments and teach her girls the gospel, that they would remain together- but she needs your prayers. And mayber her name in the temple?  Modesta Rivera.

IMELDA: wasn't able to have a cita with us, but came to church. Still doing good!

Found a new family, Luz and Hugo- Luz is a less active and Hugo not a member. Gonna start teaching them!

Okay, seriously running out of time. Love you all! Hope everything is going awesome for you! Pictures next week, I promise. Lots.

Les quiero,

Monday, May 21, 2012

Friday was my year mark! What?! So bizarre.


Wow, this week sure has been busy. Whitewashing is kicking my butt, but its also really awesome. We still don't have a huge teaching pool, but those we are teaching are so legit.

Firstly, Liz is still doing awesome. She is still coming to church regularly, keeping commitments, reading, praying, etc. She is the definition of a golden investigator. Last time we were over there her husband, Marco, told me that her new homepage is lds.org. And he wasn't kidding, she pulled it up and told me how she spends all of her spare time reading conference talks, watching videos, and listening to music. I just couldn't help but have this crazy grin on my face the whole time she was telling me this. She will totallybe ready for her baptism date in June. We are also now trying to work with her husband and the bishop to see if he can baptize her!

Imelda is also still doing awesome. I was a little worried because last week after church she booked it out of there before I got the chance to talk to her, and it was kind of an intense meeting- not much doctrine taught, just crazy members ranting. So I was scared that she might have gotten scared off. But no, I called her to confirm our appointment and she was all about us coming back. She told me she loved church because she loved how she felt. She told me she knew the Book of Mormon was true too because she could feel the Spirit when reading it. We taught her the restoration, and I asked her to pray to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet, and she said that she would, even though she already knew because she could feel it. Melrose Park = land of golden investigators.

Last week we also found this super ghetto part of our area, called la selva- which means the jungle. Its a couple of blocks in Franklin Park packed full of Mexicans. We were walking around it at 8pm on a Friday night, and it really just hit me as I watched the same cop car circle around for the 5th time, that before my mission there is NO way I would ever be near a place like that, and now its no big deal. In fact, its like a golden find because of all the hispanics! :) But, anyway, we were going through our records, looking for former investigators that live there, and we found a record for an inactive, single mom with some daughters that are of baptism age, but not baptized. Her name is Modesta, and her daughters are Evelyn, age 11, Danielle, age 9, and Madelyn, age 7. So we dropped by, she let us in, and told us the reason she hasn't been coming to church is because to get there she has to drive through this area called Stone Park, where the cops are super corrupt, and will pull anyone over if they look hispanic, and she is illegal, so she can't risk it. But she said she wanted to come back, so she'd see if she could find another way. We set a return appointment, and came back and met her inactive brother, who said he also wants to come back to church. We taught the Plan of Salvation and the gospel of Jesus Christ, and asked the girls if they wanted to be baptized. Modesta had already told us she wanted them to be. They said yes, and I tried to set them on date for like a month and a half from now, but Modesta wants to do it even sooner! So I told her we could, BUT they have to come to church every week for the next three weeks and we have to be able to visit 2x a week. She understood, and was all about that. So. . .  If all goes well, Evelyn and Danielle will be getting baptized the 16th of June!  Haha it was also funny because her brother had his son there, who will be turning 8 soon. And the brother kept asking the son, "Do you want to go to church? Do you want to be baptized? You have to tell your mom you are just coming to play with your cousins every sunday, you can't tell her you're going to church. its not really a lie, because you aren't doing anything bad. Are you doing anything bad? then its not a lie. Just don't tell your mom." Not that I'm advocating going behind parents backs for religous purposes, it was still hilarious.

Friday was my year mark! What?! So bizarre. We were going to celebrate, but instead I spent the morning puking my guts out. Maybe I was just remembering how I felt exactly a year ago. But Saturday we went to lunch at the place that Stephanie works with some of the elders. It was super fun. But I did have mini panic attacks all day thinking about how fast the time is going by. Ahhh. Its terrifying.

Umm. I think thats about all I've got this week. We are working hard though, meeting the members, getting some referrals. This area is awesome. And it doesn't help that I have the best comp ever. Can you say greenie fire?

So yeah. Overall. Awesome week. I hope you all had as good of week as I have, but maybe a little less exhausting. Dang I can barely keep my eyes open anymore. I am so tired. all the time. I know, its not really anything new, but still.

Les Quiero Mucho!


Elder Francis made it to Chicago!

Hna Carlson and I have to fit in as many touristy chicago things as possible before she gets her visa

Navy Pier

Happy Mission Birthday to me!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Transfers were Tuesday, and I picked up my foster baby, Hermana Carlson.


It was great seeing you all yesterday, even though skype only worked for like a second. It was fun talking to you though. Next time I'll be home! How weird is that?

Well, this week has been pretty good. Super ridiculously stressful, but over all it was okay. Transfers were Tuesday, and I picked up my foster baby, Hermana Carlson. She's from SLC and is waiting for her visa to go to Argentina. So I may have her for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. Just depends.

After I picked up the greenie we went to the new apartment to unpack and clean. the majority of the day was spent going back and forth between the new apartment and the old one to get stuff I forgot or to give Elder Allen stuff he forgot.

The rest of the week has been trying to figure out the area. We stopped by a bunch of former investigators and a couple of less active members, with no real success so far. But we did stop by a referral the elders got a couple weeks ago but just never checked up on. Her name is Imelda and she is the mother in law of one of the investigator's of the english sisters. We stopped by Thursday, but she told us she was busy and to come back the next day. So we did, had a really simple, but good lesson with her about the Book of Mormon and invited her to be baptized. She accepted, and said she thought she'd be ready in a year, I told her I think she'll be ready in a month, so we set the date for June 16. :) We also invited her to come to church, which is always the hardest thing to get people to do, and she came! It was pretty exciting.

We also were able to meet with one of the investigators that the elders had before, Liz, who is on date to be baptized the 2 of June. She is really awesome, her husband was an inactive member, but they decided their family needed a church because they have an autistic son and its been hard on them, so they want church. So they basically referred themselves. She is golden. Really.

Saturday night we went to a ward Mother's Day party. It was a blast. Delicious food and great music. And Hermana Carlson got to meet a lot of the members. I am so grateful that even though I am whitewashing an area, I still know a lot of the members. Oh man, it would be so hard doing this without member support. I kind of hope I finish my mission up in this ward. Its a possibility.

Anyway, I think thats all I've got for you. Especially after just talking to you yesterday.

Les Quiero!


me and Stephanie, who was baptized last week

goodbye Hna Veliz :(

Hello Hna Carlson!

Hermanas Creson, me, Carlson, Gonzalz, Stassford, Veliz

Hna Creson, Me and Elder Hall

We love Fiestas!

The Westchester 2nd missionaries! Elders Allen and Lucero and Hermanas Brown and Carlson

Monday, May 7, 2012

Two of the biggest events in a missionaries life- baptism and transfers, back to back. SO STRESSFUL


Well its been an eventful week! Stephanie got baptized, and we got transfer calls! Two of the biggest events in a missionaries life- baptism and transfers, back to back. SO STRESSFUL.

Okay- so first, the transfer. In missionary lingo, I am being whitewashed into an area. That means that the missionaries that are currently there are both being taken out and I and my new comp are starting fresh there, with neither of us knowing the area. My new companion is a visa waiting greenie. She's been out of the MTC for a week, and is waiting to go to Argentina. Her name is Hermana Carlson. But I guess I'm not REALLY whitewashing, cos the area is still in my same ward, so I already know the members, which will be a huge help. So I'm going to Melrose Park, which is the north half of our ward. Elders are being whitewashed into my current area, Cicero- because they are making it a bike area. Its pretty crazy all in all. So I have to move myself into the Elders current apartment before transfers tomorrow, and Elder Allen, who is currently there, but being moved to Cicero has to move all his stuff into ours. And then I go pick up the baby missionary. Ay, I am pretty overwhelmed.

Okay. The Baptism! Due to lots of stressful and ridiculous scheduling conflicts we moved the baptism up to Friday. So this whole last week has completely been about getting ready for the baptism. Stephanie was super super nervous for the interview so we spent the days before trying to get her comfortable with the questions. She knows the answers, she just got so so nervous and worried she had to say exactly the right thing. Which of course she doesn't, just has to tell us what she knows and believes. Thursday she had her interview, and we went over there with the District Leader for it, and she was too nervous to go by herself with the DL, so I got to go into the interview with her. She was so scared, and kept looking at me for like approval of her answers and for translation- even though she knows English perfectly. But of course she passed. Then Friday we had a baptism! But no, of course it didn't go off without a hitch, they never do. Firstly, the hot water heater gave out. So in order to have warm water in the font Hermana Veliz and I boiled pots and pots and pots of water in the kitchen and then had to haul them all the way to the other side of the church to pour them in the font. The baptism was supposed to start at 6pm and 5:50 rolled around and the only people that had shown up were President and Sister Doll. Okay, not too unusual. Then its 6 pm and no one is there. . . 6:10, an hermana and her family show up. Still no Stephanie. 6:15, the Bishop shows up, still no Stephanie. 6:20, Stephanie's grandparents. . .and finally at 6:30 Stephanie and her family arrive! Hooray! But her stepdad who was doing the baptizing forgot his white temple pants, so we had to find him a jumper last minute, and that was hard to find one to fit. Then we tried to take pictures, and my camera died- so I have no pictures. :( Sister Doll said she'd email me the ones she took though.

Then we start the baptism! YAY! Except our crazy ward mission leader is all in white even though he's not baptizing, which even President admitted was weird. And then he gave this long weird unplanned talk and everyone was annoyed.

And when Stephanie and her step dad were both in the font about to perform the baptism, one of the kids chucked a big old beach ball in the font. It was so funny and ridiculous. BUT- The good news is- Stephanie is now baptized and confirmed!!! and she told us afterward that she felt so good and happy and warm. It was such a difference to see that happy, grinning girl come out of the water instead of the nervous, shy one going in.

Then of course, we had a fiesta.

Also, do you all know what Saturday was?! IT WAS CINCO DE MAYO!

All of our appointments cancelled, because I'm pretty sure nearly every Mexican in Chicago started drinking at 10 am. So we went to a tunnel in our area with tons of religious graffiti and took pictures, and then we went to 26th street- or Little Village, and wandered around, talking to people and celebrating. It was pretty fun.

Well, I hope everything is going well for you all! I'll tell you all about the transfer and the new comp and area next week.

Les Quiero,


37-53 The Jesus Tunnel

65-80 Little Village and Cinco de Mayo celebration

92- Abelina, Hermana Veliz, and I