Monday, January 25, 2016

All In!

Hola Todos!

This week was so great! For starters, David got baptized and confirmed! He is so happy, and feels so much peace about his decision. 

Saturday was a crazy day, but so great. Sister Whitman's daughter was baptized before David, and so the members of our branch were there for both baptism services. Everything worked out so well, and flowed so smoothly. David was so happy. He chose who he wanted to speak at his baptism, and they did such a wonderful job. Brother Simmons spoke of how the gate to return back to our Heavenly Father is repentance and baptism. He compared it to his brother's land. If you want to get onto his property, you have to go through the gate. If you want to go see the cows, you need to go through that gate. Same with the horses or goats. If we want to get back to our Heavenly Father, we must go through the gate he has shown. 
Ruby, one of our awesome members who has been helping us teach David since the beginning, spoke about how the Holy Ghost will help him in his life. She talked about the comfort and love she has felt through Him. She bore the sweetest testimony of how happy the gospel makes her. (She is preparing to serve a mission, and is already such a powerful missionary)

The rest of this week was so wonderful.
I have seen, so many times over my mission, the hand of the Lord guiding us as we do His work. I know I have been sent by Him to teach repentance and to baptize converts. This is why I am here! I know I have been called of God through prophecy and revelation. There is nothing I would rather be doing right now in my life. I cannot imagine what my future, the future of my family would have been like if I had not chosen to serve a mission. I don't think it would have been a horrible life. But my life has been changed so much from the things I have learned, the people I have met, and the experiences I have had. I love this gospel so much, and I am so grateful for this time I have to be completely devoted to the Lord and His work. 

I love you all! 

All in!

Here's David with Brother Briggs and Brother Gutierrez, who baptized him.
These are the clothes Sister Kimble made for him. 
The pants were a little long, but it worked, and he likes them. 
He says they'll keep his feet warm. He's so great!

Monday, January 18, 2016

2 Timothy 4:6-7

Hola Todos!

My goodness. This week has been so wonderful! Sister Gibson and I have seen so many miracles here in the Lockhart branch. 

David will be getting baptized this Saturday! He is so excited. A little nervous, he says, but confident in what he has chosen to do. He has seen a change in his life from following the commandments and doing what is right. It has been amazing to see this change in him. He is more confident, he feels more of the love of the Lord, and he knows what he should do. 

Tracy committed to be baptized on the 13th of February. We are so excited for her! She is such a sweetheart. She recognizes all the blessings she has received from coming to church and learning more. 

A couple of weeks ago, we met with Juliana and her husband Richard. (She is a member, he is not... not yet anyway). We read in the Book of Mormon with them, and invited them to read the next chapter. This past Friday, we got a call from Juliana, and she told us she and Richard have been reading every night together, and that he wants to learn more! They are the sweetest couple.

This Church is true, my friends! I know it with all my heart. It is Christ's church. He guides us through living Prophets and Apostles. Our Heavenly Father loves us so much, and wants all of us, His children, to return to Him. We all have to make the decision to follow His counsel. It is our choice. I have made my choice, and I shall never look back. I am here on God's side. I will fight to the end. 

A short while ago, I read a scripture that describes how I feel: 2 Timothy 4:6-7

"6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.
 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:"

I still have the rest of my life ahead of me, but I will stay converted. I will not be shaken.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Miracles All Around!

Hola Todos!

This week has been so amazing! We have met so many wonderful people, and so many investigators are progressing! What a week!

First off, David is getting baptized on the 23rd!!! We are so excited for him. He is super excited too. Last night during our lesson, he told us that he had called his siblings and told them he was going to get baptized, and they said if he did, they wouldn't have anything to do with him. 
As he told us, he was tearing up, and said he didn't know what to do. He said he didn't want to disappoint us, we told him that wasn't what was important-that it is a decision between him and God. 
Hermana Ramirez was with us, and she bore a powerful testimony of the importance of baptism. David told us he knows it is all true-the Book of Mormon, the Church, that he should be baptized.. he just didn't want to lose his family. He isn't dependent on them financially or anything, but that is still a hard decision.
Hermana Ramirez talked about how it is his decision and no one else's. He recognizes all the love and fellowship the branch gives him, and knows he has lots of friends who love him. He ended up deciding to still be baptized. We are so proud of him. That would be such a hard decision to make! But he knows what is true, and wants to follow the Lord. So. He will be baptized on the 23rd! We are so excited for him. 

Next milagro:
Thursday night, we met with the CUTEST family. Barbara, Xavier, and London. Rewind to Christmas night: we went caroling with the Branch, and went to the Hennans. They live across from Barbara. Xavier came out while we were singing to the Hennans, and called his grandma, Barbara out to hear us too. We sang for them, and after, Hna Gibson and I talked with her for a bit, and gave her a card with our number on it. 
We tried going by a few days later, and no one answered. A couple days later, no one answered. Then, we went by on Thursday night, and THEY WERE HOME!!! We sat down and began talking with Barbara, and before we even started talking about the Restoration, she said she wanted to come to church with us on Sunday! Then, as we were teaching them about the Restoration of the priesthood, we invited the three of them to be baptized on the 13th of February. They said yes, but then Xavier says: "But Grandma. We've already been baptized." (we hear this a lot. ... and we were a little nervous for the response)  Barbara said, "Well, yes, I know. But we need to be baptized by this power." ... uh. Yes! That's right! It was so wonderful. She understands the need to be baptized by this power. How awesome is that? At the end of the lesson, she said she was excited for church and for the 13th. (people hardly ever remember their baptismal dates..She is just so great!!). Barbara is the cutest lady ever. Xavier is her grandson, he is in High School. London is 8 and is the sweetest little girl ever. 
They didn't end up coming to church, but we think it was because Sunday was Barbara's birthday. But, we have an appointment with them tonight. They are such a wonderful family. Barbara knows what we share is true and good. She told us she would have a list of people for us to go by and share it with. Wow. They are so amazing!

This week, we also had exchanges. Sister Espinoza came with me to Lockhart (one of her previous areas) and Hermana Gibson went to Riverside (her very first area) with Hermana Collier. --Side note, we have the best Sister Training Leaders. They are such wonderful Sisters who know how to listen to and follow the promptings of the Holy Ghost. It truly is a blessing to have them as our leaders. 
Exchanges were amazing! I learned so much from Sister Espinoza. She is such an amazing leader, and has so much love for the Lord and His work. It was such a privilege to work with her.

This work truly is the Lord's work. He is at the helm and is guiding us to those whom He has prepared! I know this to be true with all my heart. I love being a missionary, and will forever be one!

I love you all!  ¡Que tengan una buena semana!

Hermana Dean

Exchanges with Sister Espinoza 
(Don't judge our squinty-eyed smiles.. The sun was in our eyes)

Black's BBQ!! Super yummy. 


Monday, January 4, 2016

New Purpose Statement

I can't believe I forgot to include this! 

In our mission, we have a purpose statement. Our old one went like this:
"I have been called of Jesus Christ, through inspiration, to serve in the Texas San Antonio Mission of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

I will boldly invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end.

I will stand for truth and return with honor.

'Behold, I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people that they might have eternal life.'

'He aquí, soy discípulo de Jesucristo, el Hijo de Dios. He sido llamado por él para declarar su palabra entre los de su pueblo, a fin de que alcancen la vida eterna.'

Every Sister, every Elder, every month"

President Slaughter sent the new one in his email today. It helps us see our purpose as missionaries even more clearly.

"I am a servant of the Lord Jesus Christ,
called of Him through prophecy and revelation,
and assigned to serve in the Texas San Antonio Mission.

I have been sent to teach repentance and baptize converts.

This is who I am and this is why I am here!

I invite others to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end.

My decision has been made. I've put my hand to the plough. I've crossed the line.

So as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Every Sister, every Elder, all in!"

This is who I am. I have been called and set apart to serve Him. I hope to be able to live up to this expectation and purpose, so there is no doubt in anyone's eyes that I know who I am and that I act accordingly.

A Brand New Year!

Wow. I cannot believe that it is already 2016. It feels so unreal almost. I hope you all had a safe and fun New Years. 

Our investigators are doing so well. David, Tracy, and Nikki all came to church. They are all doing so great! David is still planning to be baptized on the 23rd of this month. He is excited, and loves learning. He participates in class at church, and always has great questions.

Tracy is doing amazingly well! She loves coming to church, and feels a difference when she comes to ours, and has noticed things in her life going better. In our lesson with her last week, we talked about the Plan of Salvation, and she really liked that the Atonement of Jesus Christ is what helps us through life. She has so much faith in Jesus Christ, and wants to do what she needs to in order to follow Him. 

Nikki and John are fantastic! They are still waiting to hear back about some things, but are still working toward being ready for Nikki's baptism. She is so great, and has changed things in her life so she can follow the commandments and receive the blessings God has for her. 

I love this branch so much. The members here are all so sweet and loving, and want to do all they can to help strengthen new members and to share the gospel with all those around them.


This last week here in the mission, we have studied The Doctrine of Christ. President Slaughter encouraged us to study a couple conference talks as well as a few chapters in the Book of Mormon, in order to help us understand and be able to teach clearly The Doctrine of Christ. Well, what is the Doctrine of Christ? Primary age children learn and recite it when they learn the 4th Article of Faith: 

We believe that the first principles and ordinances of the Gospel are: first, Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ; second,Repentance; third, Baptism by immersion for the remission of sins; fourth, Laying on of hands for the gift of the Holy Ghost.

This is the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. It is simple, it is understandable. It is what will help us return to our Father in Heaven. I know this doctrine is pure. God is our loving Father in Heaven, and through His chosen servants, He has given us the knowledge we need in order to progress toward life eternal.

I love you all! Have a most amazing week!