Monday, November 30, 2015

Miracles in Disguise

Hello everyone!!

okay so BIIIG news. I can hardly contain myself, I am SO excited. Recently, changes were made at the MTC's for those speaking their native language. They will now be there for 3 weeks instead of 2. This change affects the timing of when missionaries get released too! *drumroll* I get to have one more week in the mission than originally thought! I will fly home on the 23rd of March now, instead of the 16th. YAY!

This week has been full of miracles, some in disguise. 
Tuesday started out pretty normal. We went by some people in Lockhart, and then went to dinner with Sister Davis. After dinner, we went to Luling. On the ride there, I began to not feel very well. When we got there we went by some other people, and ended the night with a visit to the "B" family. They were so great! We talked about the Plan of Salvation, and had a "puzzle" with it, so they could visualize it all. The lesson went great. Afterwards, I still didn't feel too great. It was time to start driving home, so we could be there before 9. We get maybe 5 minutes outside Luling, and I couldn't hold it any longer. We pulled over, and I threw up everything I had eaten that day. I felt a little better afterwards, and we went home. Before going to bed, I threw up 2 more times. During the night, 3 more times. I couldn't keep anything down, not even water. I felt so tired by 6:30 am. I knew I was going to need to stay home at least a couple hours. We called Sister Slaughter and everything, she said to have crackers and Gatorade when my stomach felt like it could handle food. That wasn't until about 6pm or so. We ended up staying home the entire day, which, at the end of the month was a blessing. We were getting low on miles, and we were going to spend the day in Dale, which takes a LOT of miles. So. Sometimes, it is a blessing to be sick. I am fine and dandy now. So that is good. 

Thanksgiving was really great. We had lunch with the Marshall family, which was super yummy. We went by a couple other people, and at the end of the night, went by Roberta. She is a very sweet lady who loves missionaries. We wanted to wish her and her family a happy Thanksgiving. She had a lot of family over, but let us in, and fed us some of what was left of their dinner. It was really yummy. Her family is really nice.

Yesterday, the Church's new video was released! "A Savior Is Born". I hope you have all had a chance to see it and to share it. If not, do it! You won't regret it. It is a beautiful video.

The other day, we were knocking a street in Luling. We met a sweet lady who was so excited to talk about Christ. She didn't have any intents of changing religions, but told us about all her neighbors, and pointed out some that she thought would be interested. We talked with her on her doorstep for a good half hour about her faith in Christ. We talked about the Book of Mormon, and the new Christmas video. She was really excited to watch the video. She said she would even show it to her pastor. 

Back to the "B" family for a bit. J & N are doing so great! N came up to us at church, and told us she and J had read 1 Nephi 1 and LOVED it. She said they were excited to read the next chapter together. We had another lesson with them last night, and read 1 Nephi 2 with them. They loved it too! Really, y'all should read 1 Nephi 1 and 2 again. They are so great, and if you know the stories in the Book of Mormon, it is really neat to read them with the stories in the back of your mind. There are a lot of really cool prophecies given. 

I love the Book of Mormon so much. I have tried to study out of it every day. By doing so, I have received a greater testimony of its truth and divinity. I know without a doubt that it was written by prophets of God. I know a prophet of God, even Joseph Smith, translated it by the power of God. I know the Book of Mormon will bless each of our lives as we search its pages for ways we can become better disciples of Jesus Christ. 

I love you all!
Until next week!

Monday, November 23, 2015

23 November 2015

Hello! This week has just been so great. I love every minute of my mission. I really do. 
This last week we had Zone Conference, baked cookies, had exchanges, amazing lessons, and it was all so great!

Sister McCombs came up with us on Friday, and spent the day in good ol' Lockhart--which was her first area. How cool is that? Sister McCombs is a powerhouse. I am so grateful for the chance we had to work with her, and to learn from her. 

During our exchange, we went to Gonzales, and had a lesson with the sweetest lady, Shirley. She lives in Hermana Hernandez's neighborhood, and just loves Hermana Hernandez. She wanted us to go over with her, and share some scriptures to help her feel better, because her health had been not so good lately. We went over, and Shirley had some family members over. They invited us in to share a quick scripture. We shared 3 Nephi 17:7,9. Shirley and her family loved it, and all talked about how grateful they are for the healing we receive through Christ. I know that healing is real--whether it is physical, spiritual or emotional healing, I know it is real, and comes through Christ.

We also made cookies for some investigators and members this week. We took some over to Ariana and Alex, and set up an appointment for Tuesday. They are so sweet, and seem prepared to act on the promptings of the Spirit.

I love y'all so much, and am grateful for your examples of Christlike love to everyone. 
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Exchanges! On a VERY windy day. (p.s. Buc-ee's is the biggest gas station I have ever seen in my life!)

Remember how I mentioned we live behind the high school? This should sum up what Friday nights have been like.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Did I Hear Someone Ask For A Miracle???! (Or two or three?)

Hola Todos!

This week has been so wonderful, and full of miracles. 

Tuesday, we were able to have a lesson with David before he left with his family. We talked about prophets, and how they are called by God to lead and guide us. He feels blessed to live in a day when the Lord has called a prophet on the earth.

Earlier this week, we went to Luling to visit Sister B. She had been sick for a bit, and we wanted to go see her. We get there, and find out her son and his family have moved in with her! So cool. Her son, J, has been a member for a while, and hasn't been able to go to church for about 6 months. He told us there was no way he was missing it anymore and that they would be there on Sunday. His family came with him. N, I, and W. They are super cute. N is  not a member, but wants to be baptized. She has a couple things she is trying to work through so she can. We are so excited for her! 

A couple weeks ago, we knocked into Ariana. We told her who we are, and of the message we share. She told us she really needed it, that she had been feeling down and needed to feel happy. For whatever reason, we weren't able to have a lesson with her right then.. I think she was getting ready to leave, or something.. I'm not sure. But we left her with a card and our number, and she said she would call us. A couple days later, we go by, but she wasn't home. Her husband, Alex, answered and said she was at work, but said to come by again.  We went by on Friday, but no one answered. There was a man outside of the other side of the duplex, so we talked to him for a bit. He wasn't really interested, so we went on our way. 

Mind you , this was Friday the 13th. Lessons almost always fall through on Friday the 13th (or maybe it is just coincidence...;) )...This past Friday was no exception. So we didn't have any set lessons, and weren't really sure where to go. We thought about it for a bit, and left to go to a family that had previously investigated the church. We got about 5 minutes away, when we received a phone call. The number wasn't saved in our phone, but we answered anyway. It was Ariana! She said she was home, and that her uncle (the man outside) said we had come by. We asked if we could come over, she said if we weren't too busy... (nope!) We went over, and she talked to us, and opened up about a bad experience she had quite a while back in a different church. She said this experience made her nervous and even a little scared to go back to church. We talked a little about the healing power of the Savior's sacrifice, and how learning about His gospel will help her overcome this traumatic experience and find the peace she is searching for. We had an amazing lesson about the Restoration, and invited her to be baptized. Her response: "Yes. I really would like to be baptized by someone who has that authority." wow. She really wants to have the truth in her life, and her husband wants it too. We gave her copies of the Book of Mormon for her and her husband, and she said they would read it together and talk about coming to church (she wasn't sure about their work schedule). 

I know the Lord is preparing people-not only to hear His word, but to accept and live it as well. I feel so blessed to be here, serving Him, and being an instrument in His hands, as He accomplishes His great work. 

I love you all!

Oh! I almost forgot that this last Thursday was transfers. Well, Hermana McBride and I will both be staying here in Lockhart. :)


Monday, November 9, 2015

Ups and Downs and All Arounds!

Hi y'all!

This week has been the craziest week ever! So much happened.
So last Monday, we went over to David's, not quite sure what to expect. He had texted us that he didn't want to get baptized for a while, and wasn't going to come to church for a while either. But he still wanted us to come by. Hermana McBride and I didn't really know what to expect. We went by, and David told us about some family issues that had occurred, and how angry he was at one of his family members for doing what they did. He did not really know how to deal with it. He said he wanted to hold off on everything until it all figured itself out. We took Ruby with us. She is preparing to go on a mission soon, and is so great to take to lessons. David talked about how he wasn't going to go to church so he could figure stuff out. Ruby told him in the past when she has been stressed about situations and thinks not going to church will fix it all, she soon finds out that it does the opposite. We testified of the importance of going to church--of the support system it can be, but most importantly of the strength that comes from worthily partaking of the sacrament. David understood, and said he would think about it. He said he would still read the Book of Mormon, and still wanted us to come and teach him. *phew* we thought we had lost him. 

We also had great lesson with Bobby, one of our other investigators. It was kind of a funny situation. We called him earlier in the day to see when we could go over and teach him. He sounded confused, and asked if we had received his text. .. uh.. no, we had not. (Which wasn't a surprise. sometimes our phones don't want to work right) He said we could come over later that evening.

So we go over, and he again asks us if we got his message. Again, we said no. So he pulls out his phone and looks at it, and shows it to us. (it was at an angle where I couldn't see it very well, but Hermana McBride could)  He then realizes he hadn't pushed "send". (Sister McBride saw it, but I didn't. more on that in a minute)
Then, he said he had read "The Testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith", which is what we had assigned him. He said he read it a couple times, but did not understand it all, and asked if we could read it together. We did, and it was a great, spirit-filled lesson. He is more excited to continue reading in the Book of Mormon, and for us to continue coming over.

Fast-forward to that night. We are writing in our journals, and Hermana McBride asks me if I saw the text Bobby meant to send us. I told her I hadn't. She then tells me what it said, "Ms McBride, I read the chapter you assigned, and I don't think I can continue practicing the Mormon faith anymore...."  We had a good laugh about that. I guess something changed his mind during the lesson. 

So, as I have mentioned before, we cover quite a large area that includes a bunch of little towns. One of them is Dale. This week, I FINALLY got to go there! Happy day! I have been here for about a month, and finally made it there. We had planned to go a couple times, but then the floods decided to come. (Dale is all dirt roads, so that was x-nayed.) and then, we had it planned again, and we had exchanges, where I left to work with Sister Leiter in Austin. But last night, we were able to go. I LOVE Dale. It is so awesome, and the people we met are really nice, and want us to come back. We contacted a referral we have had for a while, and she said she was busy at the moment, but said she wanted us to come back when her 16 year old pregnant daughter was home. You go lady!

Yesterday, we had a regional conference, and got to hear from Elder Lynn G. Robbins, Elder Lawrence E. Corbridge, Sister Linda S. Reeves, and Elder Dallin H. Oaks. Their talks were all so wonderful, and have inspired me to make some changes in my life--that will affect both now in the mission and when I return home.

My favorite was from Elder Corbridge. He quoted the scriptures when Christ, after some of his followers had left, asked his disciples, "will ye also go away?" Peter responded, "to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life".
He gave us 4 principle questions to help us avoid deception in life: 
1. Is there a God who is my Father?
2. Is Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Redeemer of the World?
3. Was Joseph Smith a prophet of God?
4. Is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints the Lord's Kingdom on the earth?

As we answer these questions, all other questions we have either become answered or become irrelevant. 

Like Nephi, I can say, "I know in whom I have trusted." I know there is a God who is my Father. I know He loves me, and sent His Son, Jesus Christ to the world to save me from my sins. Jesus Christ is my Redeemer. I know God and His Son appeared to Joseph Smith, showing to all that the Heavens are opened, and that God still speaks. I know He has called prophets since Joseph Smith, and that they will guide us back to Him. "Those who listen to and follow the counsel of living prophets and apostles will not go astray." (PMG)  I also know that this church, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is indeed the Lord's kingdom here on the earth. I know it. I will not go away from the truth that has so much blessed my life and the life of my family.  I also know that each of you, if you have not already, can receive this testimony for yourselves. Our great invitation as missionaries is for others to ask God, so as to receive an answer for yourself. 

I love you all so much.  I pray that you have a week full of miracles and experiences that will confirm these truths to you.


Monday, November 2, 2015

"For behold, it is easy to give heed to the word of Christ"

Howdy Y'all! 
Ay. This is what happens when you are in Texas for your mission. "y'all" become a part of your vocabulary! But that is okay. It is better than saying "you guys". That is always awkward. 

Anyway. This week has been so full. 
Wednesday, David had his baptism interview. He told the Elders that he doesn't feel ready to get baptized just yet. He wants to become more familiar with the church and with the Book of Mormon. He said he still wants to come to church and meet with us, but would like to postpone his baptism. Which is good that he wants to feel prepared. 

Friday, we had to drive to San Marcos. Sister McBride had a doctor's appointment. On the way there, it DOWNPOURED. So much rain! And lightning. It was really cool to watch, but a little scary to be out in. Anyway. Our GPS led us to the wrong address, so we had to turn around and go to the right one. We drove along the frontage road (which is one-way) for a bit, but then see that it has began to flood due to all the rain. We couldn't turn around, because it was one-way, so we sought shelter in the parking lot of a hotel, along with other drivers who didn't dare face the flooded road. We were stuck there for about 2 hours. But when it finally died down a bit, we were able to continue on our merry way.

Saturday was Halloween! We went by a couple of people, and then headed to our branch's Fall Festival. It was super cute! They had a Chili Cookoff, and us Hermanas were designated the "unofficial" judges, because if the Sisters judge your chili, you can't get mad at them, and even if you do, they won't be in the branch forever! Jaja. Man. Our branch knows how to cook Chili! They were all so good. It was a tough job to judge them. But it was a good party. David came, and had lots of fun. There were also quite a few members that came that we hadn't seen in a while. Food brings everyone together! 

Last night, we had a lesson with the Castillo family. We read 2 Nephi 2 with them, to help them get started on their reading and to help them know how to apply the scriptures to themselves. They are such a sweet family. I'm excited to continue meeting with them. 

This week, I have been ponderizing Alma 37:44
"For behold, it is easy to give heed to the word of Christ, which will point to you a straight course to eternal bliss, as it was for our fathers to give heed to this compass, which would point unto them a straight course to the promised land."
The main points in this verse: 
-The word of Christ will guide us to salvation
-It is easy to give heed to the word

One of the cross references took me to 1 Nephi 11:25--the iron rod is the word of God, which leads to the fountain of living waters or the tree of live, which are both representations of the love of God.

Another cross reference: Helaman 3:29-30--We can see that all who want to can hold to the word of God, which is powerful and quick, and it will guide men of Christ through the strait and narrow path, and take their soul to the right hand of God in the kingdom of Heaven.

If you think about it, it is easy to heed the word of Christ. If we want to, we can cling to the iron rod, which is the word of God, and it will guide us to salvation, so that we can dwell with God.

I love y'all so much. I hope your upcoming week is full of miracles and growing experiences.