Monday, August 26, 2013

The Restoration of The Gospel of Jesus Christ and,Extra Prayers For The New Trainer!

Sooo.... TRANSFER NEWS!!! Are you ready?? Guess what.... I'M TRAINING! Crazy, huh??? I've been out 6 weeks, and now I am training a newbie! Hermana Leon is being transferred to Citrus Heights. She will be back in the Visitoer’s Center  though, so I will get to see her lots still, because we teach there pretty often. I'm sad to see her go though! It’s so crazy that I am training. A lot of responsibility. I am super excited for it though, but a bit nervous. Hnas DeMille and Mayorca are both staying, so at least I will have them!  
Sis. Mayorca
Baking Cookies With Sis. Jenkins and Sis. Leon
We are all like a little family and have lots of fun together. I'm just scared she, (the new missionary she will be training who will be her new companion), won't speak Spanish very well and I won't have any help understanding people. This area needs so much help, and it’s crazy to think that it’s really, really in my hands now. I am really excited for this new opportunity to start making some changes and get working even harder. I have a good feeling about this transfer! I just hope to set a really good example and show her   the ropes.  I want her to feel welcomed, loved, and confident. So transfers are on Wednesday morning. One more day with Hna Leon :( 
We got a car! I hope they don't take our car away with the transfer... but I think they probably will.

Partying in the car wash! 
I am super happy to be staying in this area. I love it so much. The people here are great. The branch just really needs so much help. There are 40 priesthood holders, and 60 potential priesthood holders, just for an idea of how many less actives there are here. I really want to make the less actives our focus this transfer. I want to see this branch get strong, and I know that to do that, we need to start with those who are already members. I have a feeling that as we focus on the less actives, we will be able to find people through them that are interested in learning the gospel. (People here always seem to have random people living in their homes, so hopefully we will find some prepared people!) Prayers this week would be much appreciated. I have a big job ahead of me! I just am so grateful for this opportunity that Heavenly Father has given me to learn and grow closer to Him. I know I will need to rely on Him so much, and that I will need to grow stronger faith. I want to be more guided by the Holy Ghost so we can really do this work the way God has planned for us. I know that this experience is going to teach me so much. I know it will be hard, but it will be good for me.

Last district meeting.
The Restoration has been the focus of the week. I can't tell you how much my testimony has grown on the Restoration! We have such a great knowledge, and so many people have no idea what they are missing. I have just been realizing how important it is that we teach that to people right away, so they realize how important this journey is, and so they can see how this church and this gospel can really change their lives completely. Every time you testify about Joseph Smith, the Spirit is there no matter what. The coolest thing to me is after you have talked about the Restoration, and explain dispensations, apostasies, and everything starts coming together and making sense, it’s like people's eyes just open. And you ask them, "what would this mean to you if this was really true?", they tell you, looking full of hope, that this would change everything for them. And it will. Because it is true. It’s what gives us hope. It’s how we can be happy. It changes lives for eternity.
Hna. Leon and me outside the temple.
Manuel didn't get baptized this week, but that was for the better. Hna Demille and Mayorca have started teaching his wife, and she seems really receptive They all went to a baptism on Saturday night, and Manuel is so excited to get baptized. On Sunday he woke up really early, so that he would be able to go to all 3 hours of church. He is making great changes.  We really want to make sure he is ready and strong in his testimony.

We also have been teaching  Karen  and her husband, John,  who is less active. It's been going great. Karen said that she has just really been looking for the truth, and that she feels something different about this. She is reading the Book of Mormon, and loves it. We asked her if she would be baptized when she knows it is true for herself, and she said yes! John is very supportive too, and is very open to sharing his testimony. I'm a little confused though because they seemed excited to go to church, but they didn't come yesterday. Karen's dad, is awesome. He's this cute, little older man who loves to be outside. He isn't very open to the gospel, but he read a chapter of the Book of Mormon with us. He likes talking to us a lot too, so maybe if we work slowly with him, he will start to be more receptive.

Yesterday we had an awesome opportunity to give talks in Sacrament meeting! Haha I was surprisingly super excited about it, because it was such a great opportunity to talk to the entire branch about something I am so passionate about - missionary work! Hna Leon's topic was how she chose to go on a mission, and mine was the blessings I have seen from my mission (what a great topic right?? I could talk for hours on that!) We really tried to get the members excited about missionary work, and help them see the importance of it and the blessings that would come in their lives. I hope that some people were inspired from what we said! We could use all the member help we could get!
Giant service project laying grass outside the Visitor's Center.
I can't really think of anything else big that we've done this week... Just always keeping busy! The people here are so great. I love them so much. I love you all so much too! I'm glad everything is going well with you too! Don't ever forget how blessed we are to have this gospel, and how much every person needs it in their lives. Don't pass up an opportunity to share it with people, but always share it out of love. I miss you all tons! It’s so nice to know that I have all of your love, support, and prayers to keep me going every day. 
Beautiful sunset,
Con amor,
Hermana Haynes
P.S.get me one of these for Christmas please!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Gift of the Holy Ghost

Mission conference was sooo great! I wish I could explain everything that we talked about, but I can't. Pres Jenkins started off by talking about what it really means to be children of God. How we have been preparing since the beginning of time for this. How we have divine potential.

Elder Cardon then talked a lot about the Holy Ghost. He explained something I never realized before - you know when Peter denied Christ 3 times? It was because He didn't have the Holy Ghost with him then. (The Holy Ghost wasn't on the earth when Christ was alive). He had never had a testimony of Christ from the Spirit, and so when Christ wasn't with him, it was much easier for him to doubt that. But after Christ was resurrected and he received the Gift of the Holy Ghost, he gave a strong, powerful testimony to those same people about the divinity of Christ. That just shows me how truly powerful the testimony of Christ that the Spirit gives us is. It helps me understand how important it is that my investigators understand the role of the Holy Ghost in their conversion. We talked about a lot of other things, but its too much to write! He gave me sooo many good ideas and helped me understand the gospel better. It was such a blessing and a privilege to learn from him!
(8-13-13 Email)

Baptism Plus More Small Miracles

This has been the fastest week of my life. Okay fastest month of my life. I can't believe we only have one week more in the transfer! We will find out on Saturday if/where we go. We are hoping to both stay here together, but we know that whatever the Lord has planned for us will be great! :) But I really do love it here so much. The people are so great. I really do love them! And my companion is the best! Like my best friend! Haha I'm scared to have another one.... We have lots of fun together!
I love my companion!

Silly faces!
Manuel... He is sooo great! Seriously my absolute favorite! We have been making so much progress with him. We taught the commandments to him this week, and he took it so well! We taught them all at once, (not as we planned, and not a good idea, too much at once) and he got a little overwhelmed. He said that he knew it was right and that it was what he should do, but that he was just hard to think about changing so much about his life. But he took it so faithfully! We told him to pray to Heavenly Father to get a testimony from him that these are the things that he wants him to do. He seems really committed to keep them! He even told us that he was thinking about getting another job so that they would still have enough money to pay their tithing. (I told him that the Lord would provide if he paid his tithing, but if he felt that that was what he needed to do, then he should.) He is the best though! Always bringing us food, and calls us every day to see how we are doing and to thank us for all that we do. He loves the gospel and is so grateful to have it in his life! He brought us homemade tamales the other day. SO GOOD. Haha the day after we taught the Word of Wisdom, he brought us green tea and iced tea... Awkward. But so funny. Luckily the next day at church, the lesson was on the Word of Wisdom and we made it very clear what types of tea we can't have :) And he got the message haha. 

Speaking of church, there was a miracle that happened! He was super excited to see this miracle in his life! He was only going to be able to go to Sacrament Meeting because he had work, but the fish he was supposed to be cutting, never showed up on the airplane, so he was able to stay for all 3 hours! He told us that it was a miracle, and we said we had been praying every day for his schedule to change so he could come to church, and we helped him realize how much God wanted him to be there. The members were so great with him too. Everyone was going up to him and talking to him and welcoming him. It was a little surprising actually, but so good. He said a lot of changes are happening in his work too, so that he thinks he might be able to get Sundays off! (please pray for that :) ). He is super outgoing and friendly, so that helps a lot too. 

When Manuel (the investigator) calls!
We were a bit confused about what we should do about his baptism date, if we should move it since he hasn't been able to go to church very much. But he is just really prepared though, and the devil is already starting to put obstacles in his way for baptism. So we prayed about it, and we were feeling good about the 24th, but decided we needed to talk to him about it. When asked him how he felt about the 24th, he was like yes if I am allowed to! When we told him that we could, it was just the happiest moment of my life! Seriously Hna Leon and I could not wipe the smiles off our faces. The Spirit was just so strong saying that he was ready and that this was the next step he needed to take. MANUEL IS GETTING BAPTIZED ON SATURDAY!!!! Ahhhh I cannot wait! He is so ready and excited to start this new life! He has just been so prepared since the beginning! When we met him, I had no doubts he would get baptized! It is just so cool to me that we met him on my very first night here, and that he is getting baptized the last time he could before the transfer ends. It just shows me that Hna Leon and I were really meant to be the ones to teach him. I think we all are learning so much from each other.

We got a car on Saturday! Yayyyy! It is actually really weird to not ride bikes. It feels like we are so lazy haha, but we are really able to get much more done. It’s super nice, but hopefully we don't get fat now! Haha we made a health & fitness plan to help with that. But we have random meetings like every day, so we hardly ever get our exercise time. (And Mom, they let me drive! haha you always said that they wouldn't! (Only because of your two accidents Honey - Mom) Hna Leon doesn't have her license though so it had to be me...) We named our car Bolt. We love him. He is a 2013 Chevy Cruze I think... It’s just always really hot in the car... This week has been sooo hot! Like almost 120* it’s crazy. It’s not that bad as a missionary, but I don't think I would live in it by choice haha. I'm really used to it though, but that doesn't mean it’s enjoyable either.
One of the members made us this for dinner, and it was sooooo good! We died. So the next day, we wanted it so bad, so we called up at lunch time to see if we could have the leftovers ) We felt a little rude
Maria has been doing really well. Staying very faithful. She is just waiting for a few things to happen in her life so she will be able to be baptized.She has no idea when they will happen. Things will work out. Heavenly Father is watching out for them. 

Oh and you should ask Alycia about the letter I sent about the Arnufo! By a miracle, we found Arturo! (Mentioned in the post on 8-22-13) Super easily actually! We went to the rode we thought he might live on, and we just knocked on a house and asked if they knew him. And they did! And they just showed us where they live. Anyways he doesn't understand anything we say and we don't understand anything he says, but that's okay. The other day we stopped by and he and all his buddies were out drinking, and we just taught them all the Restoration haha. It went pretty well though! I don't know how interested they are, but we will see! I feel like at least one of them is. We also got a referral from the elders for a lady named Nancy. Her husband is inactive and right now her sons are homeless and drug addicts and she is so desperate for some hope. She seems really interested, but we have only been able to talk to her once so far. I think that she is really prepared though! I have a lot of hope for her!
Everyone has little animals.  This kitten is one week old.

We had a little scripture study for children this week! Manuel brought his son, and Rene brought his 3 nieces and nephews! It was so fun! It went really well! None of them were members, but they all seemed pretty interested and excited about it! We are going to do that every Tuesday night. Monday nights we have FHEs, and Wednesday nights we have scripture studies for adults. We also got a ward mission leader this week! Yayyy! We are so excited! I think he will help us a lot and hopefully we can start becoming more involved with the members.
Ashley with kitten

A new member with her son, baby an niece.
Well, I think that's all I have this week. I am so, so happy to be here. I love it so much. There are miracles everyday and I just feel so blessed. I just want you all to know that Heavenly Father is watching over you. He has a specific plan for each one of you. He wants to help you have the most happiness you can have, and he wants to help you become the best version of yourself you can be. We just have to ask for the help we need, and be willing to act on the direction that He gives us. But if there's one thing that I know, it’s that He really, really loves each and every one of us individually, even though we are so far from being perfect. He loves us and wants to help us, we just have to let Him. Read Mosiah 2: 22-24. Its so good and so true!

I love you all so much! Thanks for all that you do for me! You are all in my prayers!

Con amor, Hermana Haynes
(8-19-13 email)

What Does It Mean To Be Consecrated?

This week I have really just been thinking about
what it means to be consecrated. I've been reading a talk called "The Fourth Missionary"* (which you should all read, even though you aren't missionaries). It's been helping me change my manner of thinking a lot. I think about the covenants I have made with my Heavenly Father, and the great amount of trust and responsibility I have been given with my calling. It's just hit me that I really want to give it my all. I need to give ALL OF WHO I AM to my God. Not only work my hardest, but give Him my heart. I can't just do all the things that He asks me to do, but I need to love doing the things He asks. I need to leave all behind for now, and just give this mission every ounce of me. I am a literal representative of the Lord Jesus Christ. I need to understand the significance of that calling, and I realize that the salvation of other people is partway in my hands. It is my responsibility now to bring people to the truth, and if I don't do all that I can to fulfill that calling, I will be held accountable for that.

Also, with becoming consecrated, I know that that will change my nature. I don't want my mission to just be a passive experience that I go through, and just look  back and say, "oh that was nice". But I want this to change who I am entirely. I want to become like my Savior, and I want to build firm roots in the gospel. This is the time to change my nature, and I will do that best by giving myself to the Lord. I will work with Him to shape me into the most effective tool that I can be :)

I keep thinking about that scripture that says more or less, whomsoever  shall keep his life shall lose it, and whomsoever shall lose it for my sake, shall find it. The Lord will bless me more than I can ever imagine too. I'm really excited! I'm learning more and more, and realizing that so much of what we do and feel begins in our heads. I am trying to change my manner of thinking and see things in the way that Jesus would. I don't know if any of this makes sense, but that's just kind of what I've been thinking about lately.

*Although I have been unable to locate the full text of this address, I have included an excerpt from this talk below.  If anyone is able to find the link to this talk, please let me know. I think it was by Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge (Cherie)

“So, do you see that the question is not only "are you obedient?" nor is it only, "are you worthy?" Rather, the central question, the critical question is "who are you, and who are you becoming?"

In the parable of the ten virgins five are prepared and enter the Lord's presence and five do not. Why does the Lord choose to use the metaphor of "virgins" in this particular parable? Why not ten maids, or ten servants? Why virgins? It is the only time that He employs the characterization of "virgins" in a parable. Is there a reason?

What does virginity imply? Purity. There were ten worthy, pure maidens and yet five did not enter His presence, despite their worthiness. Why not? He said to them: "Verily I say unto you, I know you not." (Matthew 25:12)

Do not misunderstand; obedience and worthiness are crucial, absolutely essential. Worthiness or purity is a quality of godliness, but it is only one quality of godliness. It is not the whole of it. The question may not be merely "are you worthy, pure and clean?" It may not be only "have you been forgiven of your sins?" It may not even be only "were you obedient?" The central question is more likely to be: "Who are you?" Who are you and who are you becoming?” 
Mesa Temple

(Email 8-13-13)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

I Want Him To Know How Much God Loves Him

Alycia just forwarded me a couple of excerpts from emails she has received from Natalie. 
I'm also adding a "Cute Baby Animal" picture from her last email too.  Getting to hold puppies and kittens seems to be one of the perks of serving in the Mesa AZ mission!

Here's the email:

I want to tell you this story! So this month the mission has a goal to find three new investigators a week. It was Sunday and Hna Leon and I only had two. We prayed that day to find one person, and I just had faith that we were able to. Anyways we went to a referral. We knocked, he looked through the window and just didn’t answer the door. Okay, thanks. We went to try and find a less active. Took forever to find Apt 207 in the complex but after we finally did, we realized two people were standing on the balcony in front of it. I kind of pointed towards them to show Hna Leon where it was but I guess they saw and went inside. Although we realized that the less active must have moved, we decided to know (hoping no one would steal our bikes because we left them where we couldn't see them and it was a little sketch…) But we knocked and no one answered, even though we just saw them go in. Haha its funny how people do that. I’m just a 19 year old girl, what do you think I’m going to do to you? Haha
Helmets! my comp is so skilled she can talk on the phone and ride a bike at the same time. I don't know how she does it
As we were leaving the complex, we were saying hi to everyone we passed, and as we said hi, one man kind of came towards us so we stopped. I would tell you his name, but neither of us could understand it haha. Arfando? Alfondo? Arturo? Who knows… Poor man. He only has one leg and doesn't know how to read or write. I gave him a BOM, but he was like, " I don’t know how to read though." We told him a little bit about the Restoration, and he seemed interested. Maybe more like he could tell we loved him and I think he doesn't have anyone that loves him. But we found a new investigator! Yay! He really wants us to come back and kept asking when we would. The only problem is he doesn't know where he lives… Kept listing off street names, 6th Ave, 7th Ave, Marilyn. And that he lives next to something white? Haha no idea. Poor man though- one leg. Poor, poor, poor, can’t read or write. Doesn't even know how to describe where he lives. I really hope we can find him. I just want him to have the hope and happiness of the gospel in his life. I just want him to know how much God loves him. 

Natalie & Hna. Leon with One Week Old Puppies
My heart just breaks for so many of these people. Their lives are so hard. Yes many make very bad decisions, but honestly they have never been taught any better. They don’t have the gift of the Holy Ghost so they can’t have that constant guidance in their lives. I just feel so blessed that I have a year and a half of my life where I can focus ENTIRELY on sharing the most precious thing with those who truly need it. I just wish people would understand because I really just want them to be happy. But so many just don't get it and its hard to figure out how to help them understand it. I seriously love my mission sooo much. I don’t want it to end. Its SO sad that I've already finished more than two months. How did it slip by so fast?

Love, Hna Haynes

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Small Miracle

I really, really love it here. Everyday I am learning more and more. I realize how truly important the gospel is in our lives. It is EVERYTHING. When people reject us, it just makes me sad because I know what these people are missing. I know the happiness that they are denying themselves, and they just don't understand. I want everyone to have what I have. I want everyone to feel this love and joy. I just wish people would understand. I love the people here so much. They are so great! It is weird how comfortable I feel talking to people that I never really was with before in my life. But I just see them as the Children of God that they are. I try to always see who they can become, not who they are now.

Cute kids in a pool
We found out that Manuel actually isn't in our area... They just switched the boundaries a little bit, but since he is in the same branch still and has a baptismal date, Pres. Jenkins said we could still work with him! Yay! We are going to have to move his date though, so he might switch to the other Sisters, but I'm not sure. We met his wife this week! We ate dinner at his house. His wife is really nice, and I think she is probably interested. We taught a little lesson to her, but the other Hnas. are going to start working with her. They both came to stake conference on Saturday night! That was really good. Oh I have a cool miracle about that by the way! While we were waiting for them to show up, we got some translation headphones to be ready for them. We turned them on to make sure they worked, and seriously not a single one did. They were so fuzzy and you could barely hear a trace of a voice, but mostly just fuzz. I was really worried that at their first time at church, they wouldn't be able to understand anything, and it would be a bad experience for them. I thought to pray to have the headphones start working. Hna Leon said a prayer, and we exercised our faith in the Lord. Right after we said the prayer, they started working. It was truly a miracle. It's just so cool see that God really does care about even the littlest things that goes on in His children's lives. He really is in all of the details. On Sunday, Manuel couldn't get work off, so he wasn't able to come to church. We had a lesson with him about keeping the Sabbath day holy. We read Exodus 20 in the 10 commandments, how God has asked us to not work on Sundays. It is really the hardest thing for me to tell this people to not work on Sundays. Because really, they are so lucky to even have a job. It is so hard for people to get a job, and they can barely provide for their families as it is. But I realized that it takes faith for me to ask them to do that. And I have faith. I know that God gives us commandments for our benefit, and we will always be blessed to keep them. God always prepares a way for us to fulfill them also. So we talked to him about that, and I think we scared him a little bit. I don't know. I just hope he starts to understand.

But we also talked to another investigator, this week and invited her to be baptized on Sept 7th! She was VERY reluctant at first, but we talked to her about the blessings of baptism and the huge blessings that come with having the gift of the Holy Ghost. We have all we could ever need if we have the Holy Ghost with us. She thought she wouldn't be ready for it by then, but we asked her to pray about it. Yesterday she said she prayed about it, and she felt really good about it! Yay! She just has to make sure that Pablo will be moving out of the house before then. I just feel so bad for her. She is in such a hard position. She is pretty much on her own with a daughter, and her pregnancy is being really hard on her. She doesn't have enough money to pay the bills without Pablo's help, but if she leaves it will drop her credit score a lot. I just really want to help her. She is really converted though and has so much trust in Heavenly Father. She loves her children so much, and is doing all that she can to do what's right for them. I just really know that the blessings of the Holy Ghost will be such a huge help for her. 

Sorry I didn't send anything yesterday, we had mission conference with Elder Cardon from the 70. It was soooo good! Holy cow. I will tell more about it later. But that means today is my P-Day instead.

Hna. Leon and me at the temple
Last Tuesday we got to go to the temple! We get to go once a transfer. (But we're going to go again today because today we have P-Day and its open on Tuesdays!) We had a bunch of meetings this week, so we didn't have a lot of time in the field. It threw us off a bit. On Tuesday we had a trainee/trainer meeting. I seriously have the greatest mission president & wife in the entire world. I am so blessed. He is really relaxed and trusts us a lot. Pretty much our only rules are what is in the white handbook. He's not one for giving a ton of pointless rules - thank goodness. (Some cool rules he has: on p-days we can go ANYWHERE in the mission, and for meals we can leave our area if we can get back within the hour). But yeah at that meeting Hna Leon raised her hand that I would be ready to train next transfer.... so its a possibility. I don't think it will happen, but I'm nervous! I think Hna Leon and I will probably stay together. (Transfers are 2 weeks away, I'm thinking kind of far ahead haha...) 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

"We Lived With God Before This Life"


What a great week! Wow the time just flies right by. Okay where to start? Some days here are so great and we do so much, and then some days nobody is home or nobody wants to talk to us. But really we are blessed because there is so much work to do here. I am basically living in Mexico. It is so cool. The only people I know that speak English are the other missionaries here. (well and the Spanish speaking people usually know some, so when we really can't understand each other we use spanlish :)). Everything is going really well though. I absolutely love my companion. We get along SOO well and we have lots and lots of fun together! We work well together too! 

 Okay... highlights of the week:

 MANUEL!!! Later that day after he texted that he didn't want to talk to us, we responded that night and just ignored what he said and reminded him about the lesson we had planned with him for the next day and he said sounds great! I guess he was just having a hard day and was starting to get discouraged, but he's still going strong. We taught him twice this week I think? But they always go sooo well! The Spirit is really strong and he has soo many questions. He also loves to talk. A lot. Sometimes too much, but its all good. Yesterday we just had to cut him off. When he talked too long, I would just put a scripture in front of him and make him read it.
Yesterday, we taught the plan of salvation (the first half), and it was seriously the greatest thing ever. EVER. I had never taught the plan of salvation to someone who had never heard about it before, and it really showed me how much I have taken my knowledge of the gospel for granted. When we told him that we lived with God before this life and that God has a plan for him, he was absolutely shocked. He was like "What?? I always thought we never existed before this life! How do you know all of this? Do you really think this is true?" He was shocked and amazed and so excited. It was so amazing. He was really intrigued by it all. You can just tell that he believes all that we say to him. He is really bad about following up on his commitments, but yesterday we explained the importance of reading the scriptures and how God will be able to answer his prayers through the scriptures, and I think he is pretty firm that he will actually read this time. He reallllllllyyyy wants to know about the after life (because death is one of his biggest fears) but we didn't have time to talk about it, so I told him to read Alma 40 and that it will answer some of his questions.

On Tuesday, we talked to him about faith in Jesus Christ, and I invited him to be baptized. He said yes! Yayyyy! We don't have a date set yet, but the rule in our mission is that investigators have to go to church 3x in a row before they can be baptized. (This can be really hard though because EVERYONE works on Sundays, even members because they are really poor and need to work all that they can, and its hard for them to find jobs). He said he would try to change his schedule to come this week. He has so many questions and is really eager to learn. He is scared about all the rules we have though, but we are trying to teach him how the commandments are not restrictions, but really things that set us free.

Other investigators that we are working with are “Maria” and “Juan”. We really just want them to start being obedient and exercise their faith to prepare for their baptisms. We went to their house to teach them yesterday and Ana was preparing a huge dinner for us. (after we already ate a big dinner at a member’s house.... believe it or not FISH, and it really wasn't that bad! yes my mission is already changing me :) ). She always tells us that all of the other missionaries wouldn't eat her food so she thought her house was too ugly or her food wasn't good enough, so of course we had to eat it. And then she piled the rice on my plate. And then after Juan served her rice, she said it was too much for her to eat, so she put the extra on my plate... and then we ate super yummy taquitos and this steak-type stuff... and she told me to try it so I took a little piece, but she said that wasn't big enough so she gave me a huge one. hahahaha lets just say I almost exploded yesterday. It was really good though! They really are the sweetest, nicest people and I love them so much.

We have been trying to visit and work with all of the members lately, especially the less active members. They really need our help in this ward. The new branch presidency is really eager to strengthen this branch and they really want to work with us, so that is a huge blessing. There is just so much to do. We visited a few less actives members this week and invited them to come back to church. They are all the nicest people. One family, the Gastelums, the grandparents are active (when they don't have work). One grandchild Abril has been coming to all of the young women's activities and so I think we are going to start teaching her soon! And when we went to their house, we invited their 8 year old grandson to come to church, and he came yesterday! He is adorable. 

We had a few referrals from the visitor's center this week, but one is already hiding from us and the other we haven't been able to catch home. We found a potential though while trying to contact them, and he already is reading the book of Mormon. He doesn't have a permanent home or a phone, so it will be hard to find him again. 

We have been trying to organize activities to increase fellowshipping in the ward and to just help make the ward stronger, especially the recent converts. We are trying to have a family history night and a scripture study night one day a week. We tried the scripture study night, but not many people knew about it, but it went well. They announced both in church yesterday, so hopefully we get much more people! We just want to help people understand the importance of studying the scriptures and teach them effective study ways. It's also hard because many of the people here do not have much education and so they can't read very well. But we are hoping that this will help people! We are also putting together a member profile binder with pictures of the families, hobbies, availability times, etc so that we can get to know the members better and use them in our missionary work.  

Really I absolutely love my mission. I feel so blessed to be able to spend this time of my life serving the Lord. I know that this is His work and His gospel. As I study every day, I can just feel the truthfulness of it so strongly. As I teach people who have never heard of these things, I see more clearly how true it is and how blessed I am to know about it. The gospel truly is the answer to all of our questions or problems. We can always turn to God and Jesus Christ with whatever we are going through. The scriptures hold so many treasures in them and when we read with the Spirit, we can receive direct revelation for the things that we need. I love this gospel so much! Remember how blessed we are to have it, and be sure to do things to treasure it every single day :) Our lives are SO much better when we live by the gospel because Heavenly Father can help us so much more.  

Really I have already seen huge blessings in my life. Heavenly Father is protecting me so much. I haven't gotten sunburnt at all. I don't get hot (but I get really really sweaty... its gross). Members driving by give us water. My diabetes has been wonderful. Like hardly any problems at all (especially is a miracle because I never really know how much insulin to take because I never know what we will be eating for dinner, and usually they give us juice). I am always safe on my bike. Just things like that. God is really taking care of me.

The work is hard, but its worth it. Sometimes I can't understand what anybody is saying, but I am learning. It's really funny some people I can understand more or less perfectly, and some people I can't understand them at all. Ha ha I don't know why but I guess everyone speaks a little differently. I am learning more and more every day. I realized this week that when I don't understand them, I can just say that and usually they help me figure it out (instead of just pretending like I know what they are saying ha ha :) ).

Thanks so much for all the love and support.