Monday, December 28, 2015

It's A Christmas Miracle!

Hello everyone! I hope y'all's Christmas was FANTASTIC! I just have to say. Christmases on the mission are my favorite. There are so many wonderful miracles that we get to witness or be apart of. I love this time of year! 

This last week, we have seen so many wonderful Christmas miracles.
So last week, we had our Branch Christmas Party. Sister Fernandez had invited one of her friends, Tracy, to come. Tracy also came to church the next day, and Christmas Eve, we stopped by her house to wish her a Merry Christmas, and she invited us in. We talked about how God is always there for us, and how He leads us to the people and things we need in order to feel His love and to be on the right path back to Him. She was so thankful that Sister Fernandez invited her to church, and loved it so much. Yesterday, she came again, and said she loved it, and that she wants to keep coming. We had dinner with Sister Fernandez and she had invited Tracy to come over too. We had a lesson about the Restoration of the Gospel, and Tracy completely understood that there was an Apostasy. She said she has felt that way too--searching high and low for the truth, but not being able to find it yet. She said she feels so good every time she meets with us and comes to the church. She told us she wants to learn more before she will be baptized, because she wants to be ready. We are so excited for her. She is so prepared, and wants to be a part of the truth.

Last night, we had a lesson with Nikki and John and their family. They are doing so great! We reviewed the Word of Wisdom with them, and Nikki told us she hadn't drunk coffee for 3 days! She wants to be baptized, and is doing everything in her power to prepare herself for it. We are so excited. She has seen a change in her life from living the commandments, and she is excited for baptism. 

Also, yesterday, we were going by some people we hadn't been able to contact for a while, Alta and Jorge. It had been about a month or so since we had been able to see them, but we had a feeling to go by yesterday, and they were both home! How wonderful! We shared the video "A Savior is Born" with them, and they loved it. They had missed us coming by, and wanted us to come by again. They even invited us over for dinner on Friday! 

David is doing great! We had a Family Home Evening with him and the Page family. It was great fun! We talked about baptism and confirmation, the promises we make,  and the blessings that come from keeping those promises. David was excited and really understood it. He is excited to get baptized coming up here soon. He loves the church and the gospel, and loves learning more and more. He is still reading in the Book of Mormon every day and loves it. 

Christmas night, we went caroling with some members of our branch. It was really special to see those we went to have their evenings brightened by Christmas Carols. This time of year is so wonderful. But the part I love most is that it doesn't have to only be during the month of December. We can have the Spirit of Christ with us throughout the year. We can spread the joy we feel from living the Restored Gospel with those around us during any other time. I think that has been something I have really learned from being a full-time missionary. As a missionary, all your thoughts, actions, words, and sometimes even dreams are focused on helping others come unto Christ through the principles and ordinances found in His Restored Gospel. It has helped me understand that you don't have to wait until a certain time of year to share the Gospel with those around you. When I return home from my full-time mission, I still plan to talk to all those around me, to declare the "good tidings of great joy"that have blessed my life so much. 
I love my Savior and my Father in Heaven. I trust them and their will. I am all-in in their work.

I love you all! Have a safe and Happy New Year!

Monday, December 21, 2015

¡Feliz Navidad!

Goodness. This week has been so wonderful! Every minute of my mission has been. This last week was transfers, and Sister McBride left Lockhart for the Border. I am still here in Lockhart, and Hermana Gibson is my new companion! I love her so much. She came into the mission just after me, and we have had many of the same companions. I have heard so much from her from so many people. 
Thursday was so wonderful! We had a lesson with Carol and Daniel, two people we met a couple weeks ago. We were a little late for the lesson, and Carol told us she thought we weren't going to come, but was so excited that we showed up. We talked with them about the Restoration, and they totally understood.  They understood that only God can give His power to people, and only through the power of God can we be baptized and receive other ordinances. Wow. It was such a powerful lesson. Hermana Gibson is such a powerful teacher, and she lives her testimony. We invited them to be baptized, and they both said yes. Daniel started tearing up, and said he felt warm and peaceful inside his heart. It was so sweet! We are so excited for them.

Other news, David is back in town! He was gone visiting some family for a while, and wasn't going to be back until January, but texted us on Saturday letting us know he was back in town. We had a lesson with him yesterday, and he told us he had been thinking. He said, "I still want to be baptized. I have some family stuff I need to deal with first, but I really do want to get baptized. I was thinking for a date, the 7th of February. It's right before my birthday. Can we do that?" ...uhh.. Yes! Yes we can! We talked about how we want to go through the lessons with him again, to help him more fully understand, which he is excited to do. He loves the Gospel so much, and wants to do what is right. It has been kind of hard for him to do both religion and deal with family problems, but we are trying to help him understand the relief and peace that comes from putting our life in line with the Savior's teachings.

I know God love us so much. I know Jesus is the Christ, and that through Him, we are saved. Without Him, we are lost, fallen, and sinful. But through Him, we can overcome our sinful nature, and become the Sons and Daughters of God that we were meant to be. I love my Savior, and will forever be grateful for the wonderful blessings I have received in my life because of His life, His death, and His resurrection.

Merry Christmas!!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Merry Christmas!!

This week has been so wonderful! So full of miracles. We found 10 new investigators this week... which is a first for us! They are all pretty interested people, too. Not just "...yeah sure, come back" people,  but truly interested and searching for the truth. 

We have also invited more people to be baptized, and many have said yes! Nikki, one of our investigators whom with we have been meeting for a while, accepted to be baptized, as well as Lupe, and Charles--other people we met with this week. I am so excited for the work here in Lockhart! I love it. I know there are people prepared here. I know there are people searching for the truth, peace, and hope that the Restored Gospel brings.

We also had the opportunity to hear from Elder and Sister Pino. They taught us about humility and focusing on our purpose. Part of what I enjoyed most was that they talked in Spanish with English translation by some of the other missionaries. It was amazing to see them speak in their native language, their eyes bright with their testimonies of the gospel. 

I am so thankful for the gifts I have been given by my Father in Heaven--for my parents, for my family, for the experience it has been to be a missionary and to help others feel of the love He has for them. I am grateful for my weaknesses, for through them, I draw closer to the Lord, and He helps make them strengths. 

I feel so privileged to be a missionary and have all these opportunities to sit at the feet of the Lord's chosen servants. So far on my mission, I have had the opportunity to hear from the following: Elder Neil L. Andersen, Elder Piper, Elder Corbridge, (then Elder, now President) Russell M. Nelson, Elder Pino, and a couple others whose names I am forgetting.... But my goodness! I feel so blessed. I can feel their testimony so strongly just when they walk into the room. I KNOW they are men called of God. I KNOW they are called to be witnesses of Jesus Christ. I feel so privileged to have a mission president who loves the Lord and seeks to follow the will of the Lord. I KNOW he was called by God.  I know we are led by a  Prophet, a living, breathing Prophet, even Thomas S. Monson. He was called by the Lord. We can trust him; he will never lead us astray.

I love you all so much. I am grateful, most of all, for my Savior. I know without Him, I am nothing. He has provided us with an escape. Through Him, we can be reconciled with God, and will be able to return to live in His presence. I would hope we would each take a few moments this Christmas season to pause and remember Him even more. I love you! Merry Christmas!
Hermana Dean

The Hernandez Perez Family

Sisters Selfie with Hermanas Ali, Vorwaller, Bay, McBride, Gonzales, Boren, & Dean

Monday, December 7, 2015

A Savior Is Born

Hello all! 

This week has been so wonderful. I truly love every moment of my mission.

This week, we have the wonderful opportunity to attend a conference with Elder Pino of the 70. I am so excited for this spiritual feast.

Lockhart is such a wonderful area. We have so many wonderful people that we are teaching.
Rhonda came to church!!! It has been the hardest thing to get ahold of her for the last couple weeks. She is struggling right now because of some family issues she has to deal with, but she came to church yesterday, and loved it. It was super cute, because there were a lot of members that thought she was a member too. She just blended right in with everyone. Rhonda is doing great. We have an appointment with her on Tuesday, which will be great. I love her so much, and am excited to help her see and receive the relief that comes when we take Christ's yoke upon us.

Every year, on the first weekend of December, Lockhart has a festival put on by the library. They call it "A Dicken's Christmas in Lockhart" or "Dicken's on the Square". It is a HUGE festival with booths, crafts, you name it. And our branch, for the last couple years has done free crafts for the kids. Most other things at the festival cost money. But the crafts we do are free, and are super cute. They made angel ornaments, Christmas tree ornaments and reindeer necklaces. It was the cutest thing! I want to come back for next year so I can see the rest of the festival.

The branch here also purchased a set of bicycles for us to keep in Gonzales. We have our own bikes we use in Lockhart, and our bike rack is not very good, so we don't take them to other cities. And when we get rides from members, they usually don't have a way to transport our bikes either. So, the branch purchased some new bikes for us to keep in Gonzales for when we work out there. And they are great! We get to talk to so many more people than we would just walking around. I love this branch so much!

We have had many opportunities to share the new church video, "A Savior Is Born" with many people. They all love it, and it really brings the spirit. I hope you have all watched it, and have some people in mind with whom you will share it. 

Like I said in the beginning, I love every minute of my mission. It is the best! I would never trade these experiences for anything. I love you all! I hope you have a safe and wonderful Christmas season. As many of the Texans we meet on a daily basis say: "Y'all be blessed!"