Saturday, December 31, 2016


No update today,  but so enjoyed SKYPEing with our favorite Elder!!  So good to hear his voice and see his smiling face!!  

Best Gift EVER!!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Feliz Navidad!!


I hope everyone is having an awesome holiday season!! It's definitely a little different being out here during Christmas time... It's just way different, I don''t know if I can put it into words, but, I hope you guys are enjoying the holiday spirit :)

Mom, thank you so much for the package!!! Oh man that was awesome to receive! :) Thank you!!!

Dad, I met a member that drinks mate!! I didn't have any because we visited in the afternoon, but how cool is that!?!

And I have my first Mexican recipe YOU MUST TRY - IT'S THE BEST!!  They call it platano con leche!!  It's sweet, creamy banana heaven!  Just take a banana, chop it up (like you're gonna put it in yogurt in a bowl), pour condensed milk on it (as much as you like) add a splash of milk, mix, refrigerate for 10 min, eat, cry, eat more!

It's a little strange, the holiday season is a great time to teach because so many people are focused on family this time of the year, but there aren't many people to talk to on the streets now. It's kinda crazy how few people there are walking around now compared to just a week or two ago.

This week I went on splits with another gringo missionary to go contacting for a little bit while our comps tried to find a house of an investigator, it's a little hard to explain but basically now I don't have any fear of contacting, or getting rejected, because on my own (and the help of Christ) I contacted 12 people in an hour, which is pretty good for my area!  Although I only got 3 addresses to visit, but even that's good for my area!

This week we heard a story from an investigator that really touched me. I understood most of it, but she talked fast so I hope I get everything.  Basically, her nephew was a young adult in the church, but started to fall away a little. He got married civilly and was just living life normally, but his Mom would always check in on him and make sure he's living in a somewhat righteous manner.  So, basically, his wife is about 6 months pregnant and he decided he wanted to get a tattoo, and his Mom found out and really really really really encouraged him not to.  So he didn't.

The amazing part of this story comes 4 months later, when his baby was born.  For whatever reason the baby needed an immediate blood transfusion, I wasn't sure about the details, but I know his wife couldn't donate blood because of the birth process or blood type (I'm not quite sure), but he was there, same blood type, and able to give blood, and save his child.  If he had gotten the tattoo, he wouldn't have been able to do it.  This new father went home, cried, called his Mother, and is now active in the church again.  The point of this story for me is there are blessings that we can not foresee that come from obeying the commandments and making good choices. God, the supreme being of the universe, knows what it takes for us to be happy. We need to trust him. Our bodies are temples, and He tells us we must respect them as such.

Oh, funny story (Mom, you don't need to include this, just thought the fam would get a kick out of it), but we had a Zone Meeting with Presidente Montoya.  To start, he asked how many of us woke up on time... a few of us raised our hands.  Then, he asked how many of us work out in the mornings?  There were still a few of us that kept our hands up.  Then he asked if we did pushups in the morning, and even fewer of us were left.  He asked how many push ups each of us did... a couple of guys said thirty cada mañana (every morning), and when he got to me, I was honest and said 100, and so he said 'Okay how many do you do before resting, and I told him I do 50 twice, and he asked if I thought I could do 55? or 60?  I said it was possible, so, he said "a ver" (lets see)!!

Sooooo yea, I dropped to give him 55 (at least that was my goal) and thanks to all the missionaries cheering - I did 60!!  But let me tell you that was the most stressful 60 push ups I've ever done - and never in my life have I prayed for help to work out, but lemme tell you, God even answered that prayer!  Haha!! :D  But, yea that was fun!  I've got so much to tell you guys this Sunday, just remind me if you wanna hear stories or a cosa como asi (things like this).

Any whooo, this week was good!  Lots of learning, as always. This week, more then learning, I got a whole lot of confirmations.  To start, during our Zone Meeting, Presidente stop by and gave us a little lesson.  And of all the great things he said, there were two things that really stuck out to me. 

1. Callings are hardly convenient, or include everything we want to do, and 
2. Goals in the mission are what we promise ourselves we'll achieve, if that makes sense.

For the first, he was addressing those missionaries that sleep in, someone said it was hard, and he said that we are often called to do hard things, and we aren't called to do things we necessarily like or feel comfortable about.  I agree, and if we obey with a positive attitude and have faith and stretch ourselves with the help of Christ, we can do absolutely anything that is required of us, and it won't be quite so hard.  

And then with goals, it just really struck me because these past weeks I've been wondering how to be the best missionary I can be, and after much prayer and studying, it became apparent that it's goal setting.  So this past week I set personal weekly goals for myself for the first time, and the next day we're at this Zone Meeting and President talked about how important goals are, confirming my answer, and then our Zone Leader pretty much said that goals are how we progress, so, I felt really good about that and I'm gonna continue setting goals indefinitely. :)

Another big thing for me this week was a reunion we had as trainees. The AP (Assistant to the President) taught us a lot of things - but of all the things we learned what really stood out was what he added at the end.  "Sea un líder donde este" or be a leader where you are or wherever you are!  And that's a big deal to me. He said we shouldn't seek titles, or praise, or honor, or anything like that.  Especially because we already have the best title and honor in the world right now... "Elder" or "Sister".  We are officially called of the living Prophet to be the hand of the Lord and gather his sheep... I can't really think of anything better than that, right?

Well, that's my short summary of this week. :) I hope there was something in there that was good for you guys! :) I love you so much and I hope you all feel God's love for you, especially these days as we stop to remember our Savior, His Son, Jesus Christ.

I love you guys a bunch and I hope all is well :) See you Sunday!!


 Elder Lopez and I climbed this aquaduct for a picture :)

Monday, December 12, 2016


Well, we hit 2 months in the mission!! Only 22 more to go!

So yea, I have 2 months in, but I still tell people I only have a few weeks here in Chihuahua because the whole Spanish thing...  but the Spanish is getting better day by dia, and the comprehension keeps getting better tambien (too)!  One thing that's interesting to note is the dreaming -- most, if not everything, is in Spanish!  And apparently I talk in my sleep all the time now... and I guess that's all sorts of Spanglish.  Ha!

Well, this week was a really good one :)  It tends to be that way here in Chihuahua.  Our District played paintballl and that was wayyyy fun!!  I don't have pictures of it, but I should have some getting sent to me, so I'll send them next week, I pinky promise!!

Also this week, Oh my goodness, we were eating at a members house, right?... and Elder Lopez tells me to eat this baby pepper, I kid you not it's smaller than my pinky finger nail. I knew it was going to be hot, that's the reason Lopez told me to eat it.  But WOW!  I was not prepared for the onslaught of fire my tongue was about to receive from that little-baby-stinking-pepper!!   Tears, lots of tears! :P

But anyway :)  this week was full of heartbreak, suspense, and achievement. Basically this week was a rollercoaster of emotions and I could easily write a book about it all.

To start:
We have a couple progressing investigadores, one of which is a 17 year girl, with the baby, I think I've mentioned her last email.  She told us last week that she prayed about what she's reading and learning and felt "really good, it was indescribable"!  So naturally, we're super stoked to teach her again this week right??  She told us she'd come to church, and it seemed like her baptism was around the corner... Then when we saw her this week, she tells us she's moving!   Bummer.  But on the bright side she wants to keep learning and I'm like 90% sure that she's moving into Elder Templeton's area so I know she'll be in good hands! :)

THEN our other family that's doing well, the 23 year old couple with two ardorable 3 and 1 year old daughters, told us that they'd come to church this Sunday.  So, Sunday comes and Lopez y yo (and I) were super stoked!! All week long we were praying that they'd be able to make it and everyhting would be good.  Then comes Sunday...  And Sacrament Meeting started, and they weren't there.  Needless to say I was super bummed. I was praying basically the whole time during the Sacrament, hoping that they would show up... every time the door would open I'd glance over and check who it was... And then the last speaker started to talk and they still weren't there...


Like, honestly, that was one of the best feelings I've had yet Oh my goodness.  They stayed for all the rest of hours too, and I think they enjoyed it! (At least that's what they told us, and we'll be talking to them this week! :)

I guess this week I've learned a lot of different things, just like every other week, and every other day. :) The thing is, a lot of these learnings are small, and accumilate to bigger things as the days add up... so, I hope that I can share some of the little things that I've learned in manner that will make sense.

First of all, I keep learning about the power of prayer out here. It really is communication with our Heavenly Father and He really does answer every single prayer.  There's no other real way to describe it.  I'm constantly blown away at the love that I feel when I see a prayer become answered.  I'm also blown away by the prayers of others. Thank you for praying for me, because when you guys pray for me, I really do feel it.  It's the reason us missionaries out here can run and not be weary, as the scriptures tell us.  I really have come to have a testimony of prayer.

Another thing I continue to develop is my testimony of the Book of Mormon.  I recently finished it again, and man, it blows me away each time.  It was especially nice this time through because I really started to study and understand it, and I'd invite everyone an anyone to do the same.

And finally, I read the book "Our Search for Happiness" and oh my gosh that book is A1. Honestly, it made me so ecited for the rest of my mission and for the rest of my life!  I really don't think I could ever describe the excitement I have for these next 22 months, and for my future years as a member and trying my best to live the gospel principles.  Something that has blown me away is how true it is - as we come closer to Christ, and try to be more like him, we will lose the desire to do evil.  That is something I've already felt in my short 2 months out here, and it's something I hope to continue to develop, even though it is something I definitely already have a testimony of.  I don't know if I could describe this either, but the better you try to become, the easier it will be.
Hope that made any sense.

I love you all, I'm so grateful for all of you, and I hope you guys can feel the love God and Jesus Christ have for you :)

Until next week,

Monday, December 5, 2016

Esta Semana!

Hello Fam!

Okay, first, Happy Birthday Aunt Jen!  I hope this year is awesome!!  

This week was pretty awesome here! We have some progressing investigadores (investigators), and they are doing really well :) First, a 17 year old married couple, with a one year old baby; and also a mid-twenties couple with two baby girls. Both families are awesome and I know they have felt the Spirit.  So, I'll be sure to keep you updated with how things go for them. :)

This week was just as crazy as any other week... I mean even to get here at the Cyber (internet café), Elder Lopez y yo (and I) took a bus (Similar to the buses in Paraguay, pero a little nicer) and it was crazy packed so I was riding like outside the door! It was way fun! :)

Every day is a little adventure! I hope I can recount it all.  Case in point, early this week an Elder I live with, Elder Arellano, and I got hit on by a guy... so that was super weird.  But also reallyyy funny, so it’s all good!  Hahaha!  I mean we got his address for the missionaries in his area.  So, maybe he'll take the lessons - who knows?! Hahahaha!  Let's hope so!  Ohhhh and it rained yesterday, pretty hard, and so we're walking back in the rain and we get offered a ride in the back of a member's pickup to our house, and oh-my-gosh that was soooo fun! Streets were flooded, we were getting pelted, (Dad that Costco jacket is waterproof and an absolute blanket) Anyway, at one point we had to pass under an overpass, and it had a drain just dumping water under the bridge, so we all hid under our umbrellas and, oh man, that was so much fun!

Okay, there were some spiritual things that happened this week too :) I've come to really feel, understand, and recognize all of the Lord's answers to my prayers. So often they come in a way I would not expect or at a time I wouldn't expect, but they always come and are so apparent. Like one night Elder Lopez y yo had a lesson run long and we were running late to the ward council meeting, and we were just sitting waiting for a bus. So, I prayed that a bus would come and pick us up soon. Like five minutes later, we talk with a lady right by the bus stop, and she offered us a ride to the capilla (chapel). Now, was it a bus? Nope, but was it an answer? Definitely. It reminds me of that song from Joseph and the Dream Coat? Or something like that? 'You know better than I'.  And that's way true. The Lord found it sufficient to get us to the capilla (chapel) faster, and for free. Quite simply, He knows better than us, and will answer us in ways that he sees fit. It's really humbling and an example of His love for us. It's like when Dad would ask me to do something on one of the cars, and I'd think of some way to do it, and he'd say 'well, you could do this, it might be easier' and boom there it is. It's the same with our Father in Heaven.

Jeez, I swear I'm missing stuff. I don't know how Lauren would do this! The weeks are so full and my mind is all over the place.  Okay another spiritual experience was with our young family. We asked the Mom (the Dad was at work so we didn't teach him) to pray that night, by herself and ask if the things we taught her were true. Long story short we stopped by the next day and we asked how the prayer went and she said she felt so good, that it was indescribable!  I kinda got super excited because this was the first time I've gone through this process with someone!!  But Oh my gosh, she felt the Holy Ghost and Wow! it was amazing!  I know that absolutely everyone who prays with real intent about this message will feel its truthfulness.

My minds still racing.  IT’S DECEMBER THOUGH so like in a couple weeks we can FaceTime!!!  And Dad, Lauren, Julz, and Abu - I'm gonna try my best to speak Spanish with you, but I'll only have 2 months out here so you'll have to speak kinda slow, lo siento... Also, I'm sure all your accents are wayyyy different that the latinos here!

Elder Lopez and I are awesome, He's absolutely hilarious and we get along awesome!! Like I've said he's 100% latino and can't speak English and so every day we get a little closer because every day we can communicate a little better! :)

Also I've been dreaming in Spanish!! And my companion said a few nights ago I was talking in Spanish in my sleep!  Que Chido!!!  Also I've been translating for my comp and Elder Josse a lot, which has been awesome practice!  Taking English to Spanish, and taking Spanish to English is getting easier and easier! :) It's actually really fun!

Okay there's not a whole lot left but yea, :) I hope you guys have an amazing Christmas time and take a moment to enjoy the presence of one another, not just the presents of one another :) quote by Elder Fardos :)

Okay well I guess that's kinda it this week :) I honestly love this work out here. I'm trying my hardest and although we may get rejected and what not, it really is satisfying and gratifying work. I'm beyond grateful for this opportunity. And when I get down, all I think about is the family back home and it picks me right back up! :)

Thanks everyone for the love and kindness and support and all that! :) It means the world to me.  Can't wait to hear from you guys in a week!

Till next week,