Wow!! So to start off, I’m not in Ibarra anymore. FINALLY i got a change. Buuuut it is already really rough. ha. I am in Calderon, Quito and apparently the ward there is huuuge YES WARD, NOT BRANCH ANYMORE, and the members are super nice so i’m really excited for that! My companion is Hermana Palao from Honduras. I’m stokkkked!
Well. right now i am just in Quito by the offices right now because we just got here and are only emailing for a little bit and then we are going to go straight to our sector to teach. yey yey.
It was really sad saying goodbye. My first hija in the mission…we both cried…my first zone…first sector…first converts…first EVERYTHING. so it is rough to say the least. But i feel very blessed to be out of Ibarra. I learned what I needed to there. I am ready to move on and grow in other aspects of my being…because I already see some things that I will be tried with this change.
This week we had a service project for Vicente. We reconstructed his stairs made of mud no mas and fixed his leaking rough. Poor thing, his living circumstances are awful. He was going to get baptized this saturday! Buuuut he didnt come to church because…well…i was talking with him at the service project and i called him crazy jokingly…apparently that is a HUGE insult here and I am super naiive -__- Sooooo he told us he wouldn’t be at church this sunday because “he’s too crazy” and he needs time to relax…so that’s super sad. but if he wants to get baptized and still be loyal to God, he will. His faith is strong and hopefully one innocent insult won’t stop him.
this week we also were able to do something really great. the whole district invaded our sector. I assigned them parts of our sector, we split up, and we all contacted like crazy. we saw miracles.
One of the miracles is that we had an AMAZING sunday. Normally we have 70-80 people at church…there were 117!! absolutely insane. we also saw all of the less active families we’ve “rescued” and all the less active families we’re visiting.
Aside from miracles, we also had kind of an awful experience. So lately in the house we had been hearing noises in the kitchen at night, and things being moved or making noises around the house at night. I had seen shadows pass by the window like silhoettes of people, but no one was there because you can ALWAYS hear when people walk by. aaand the worst things are that hermana z had been waking up almost every night just CHOKING like crazy..on nothing! it was so scary. Saturday night we were in the house and hermana z was standing in the kitchen and felt like an energy brush over her head, she looked up and saw a dark shadow fly across the cieling and disappear..we tried to rationalize it but there was no way that it could be explained logically. so we booked it out of the house because we felt sick to our stomachs, called the zone leaders and they came over with the district leader and blessed our house. they got sick to their stomachs and had headaches when the entered our house so THAT’S awful….then we fell asleep to hymns so we could actually sleep. when we woke up everything felt lighter and happier and it was all grrrreat!
This week i also ate cow intestines. not a fan…not a fan.
So spiritually, I am doing great. I have been guided by the spirit soooo strongly lately. Our lessons are a lot more fluid and hermana z and i speak with the spirit so strongly now. we started praying to know where we need to go and the results have been crazy..when you truly are obedient and listen to the spirit, you see miracles.
Everyone should search “feed my sheep” by elder holland. it is the most pooowerful talk and brought me to tears. he gave it in the provo mtc.
I don’t have much more time to email so i cant say all i wanted to say…but i want everyone to know how crucial it is that we know our identity, purpose, and destiny. If we know these three things, we will be the happiest people in the world.
“This life is the time for men to prepare to meet God.”-Alma 34:32 What are you doing to prepare to meet God? Ask yourself that and see what you need to change about your life to feel more prepared.
To know your identity, go to Acts 17:29. we are literally offspring of God. we are His children.
Now what is our purpose? 2 nephi 2:25…to have joy. alma 34:32 NOW is the time to preapre to meet God. Genesis 17:1, Matt5:48-…be perfect. will God command us to do something that we can’t actually acheive?! NO. never. Ephesians 4:12…become perfect through learning how in church. John 17:22-23 we will be made perfect.
That leads us to our destiny, to be perfect, and as if that’s not enough, heavenly father promises us more! Romans 8:16-17 as long as we stay loyal to God, we can be heirs of all that God has. I have taught a lot of lessons outlined exactly like this and when the less actives or investigators truly understand this…they change.
No pictures this week, we’re super rushed sorry 😦 I hope you all have the chance to study those scriptures and realize how much potential you all have! I love you all and pray for you often. 🙂 love always,
So wow this week was overwhelming to say the least. I have never experienced so many extreme feelings at once! The mission really does give you all the extreme highs and lows in your life…that, i truly believe…
To start off, I’ll talk about some non spiritual stuff…
Hermana Zaragoza was sick for two days so we couldn’t do much…so that was kind of a bummer but no worries! Then one day we tried a new approach to contacting. Since Hermana Z was still pretty sick, she didn’t participate, but I sang hymns in a park while Hermana Z handed out cards with pictures of Jesus on them. It was a really moving experience for me. We didn’t have a ton of success though, so i wouldn’t recommend trying it.
This sunday i gave a talk in church about rescuing people who are not coming to church or struggling in life. It went really well!
Welp, i guess everything else is actually spiritual… 😉
So this week I truly felt the spirit really work through me. I felt so much more guided because everything that we did seemed to be inspired. Remember a few weeks ago how I talked about David who went to church and loved it? Well he hadn’t been coming because his parents told him he can’t be mormon. I was really sad because I knew that he wanted to be baptized so badly because he had told us that….So the whole week i had been telling hermana Z that we needed to visit him. She did noooot want to because she was afraid of what the parents would say. One day I told her we had to go pass by his house and see when we could visit him. We did that and he was so excited. He told us to come back the next day at 7pm….when we looked in our agendas, we found his name at 7pm for that exact date. I don’t know when we planned to visit him that day, but we did…and it was truly inspired. We ended up visiting him with his family that day and it was such a great lesson. The only reason the dad had said no is because he heard lots of ridiculous rumors about “the mormons”. It was actually really hilarious hearing what he had come up with. But we taught about how the Church of Jesus Christ had been restored to the earth and they were amazed at how beautiful our message was. They said it all made sense and it was perfect. They also were convinced of the book of mormon (the dad still wants to feel a stronger feeling on convincement through prayer though) is true because it talks of how Jesus came to the Americas. That was the defining factor because they told us that Ecuadorians and Colombians and Guatemalans and Peruvians..and alllll of these meso and south american countries knew that story! They all talk about how a man (then they describe jesus) had come to the americas way before christopher colombus and how he preached about how to be more spiritual, how to be closer to God, and all kinds of stuff! They continued to tell us that it is taught in history books in school…it’s just like folklore or anything. It’s a known fact. So that backed my testimony up more too. It’s so true. I know that Christ came to the Americas. The fact there are so many testimonies of this happened, strengthens my testimony of what i already knew to be true. It’s really amazing.
Think the book of mormon is unnecessary because we already have the bible? Read 2 Nephi 29:6-10 (or 6-14 if you have more time) and then really meditate on what you read. It will make sense.
So there were a lot of other experiences this week where I truly felt the Holy Ghost giving me the words to say to people during the lessons. It is the most amazing feeling I have ever felt. I am achieving my goal of being bold. This week i really noticed a difference…the bolder we are, the more the people listen and the stronger the spirit is. This is salvation, people! This should not be treated lightly. This hope and joy of a gospel is so crucial to all of our lives.
Aside from all the amazing things that happened this week, something really tragic also happened. I don’t think it would be right to share what happened, but just know that satan is very, very real. Do not take that fact lightly, ever. EVER. satan is very real and truly brings great tragedies to pass through small things in the beginning….protect yourselves now. Do. Not. let satan have ANY place in your heart. If there is anything you do that you know God or Jesus Christ wouldn’t be proud of, then it is probably not something you should be doing. It only feeds more temptation and gives more space to the devil to work. Be purified in Christ and put on your armor now so satan doesn’t destroy you. He gets to even the strongest people. Don’t be a victim. Don’t give him any chance to tempt you more than you can be tempted. You let a little sin in, and then boom-you fall. It’s more true and real than you can imagine and you better protect yourself now.
I may be coming off as harsh, but I am very serious when I talk about this because I have seen him destroy lives. Absolutely to pieces.
There is a poem I really like that says,
“All the water in the world, however hard it trieds, can never sink the smallest ship unless it gets inside. And all the evil in the world, the blackest kind of sin, can never hurt you in the least unless you let it in.”
Don’t let satan slowly build up sin in you. You might not think it’s bad at first, but it can turn into something as big as a danger to your salvation. YOUR SALVATION. Do NOT put that on the line for something so temporal and unnecessary. Do at least an hour of something every day that lifts up your spirits so you can have the Holy Ghost with you the whole day. Be examples. Be different. Choose who you’re following today.
After this incident happened in the mission, we had our district meeting on thursday and it was soooo powerful. I really loved the message, so I’m going to share it with you all.
So they started by telling us the story about in the book of mormon how Corianton fell into breaking the law of chastity and his father, Alma, explained to him why he did it and how to overcome falling into any kind of temptation. Here were his explanations:
Alma 40:1–He didn’t understand the resurrection.
Alma 41:1–He didn’t understand the restoration. (Which, in this case, is after having sinned…how to be restored back to being without sin)
Alma 42:1–He didn’t understand the justice of God.
When we truly understand our DESTINY and our PURPOSE, we will be much stronger, upright people. We won’t have the desire to do stupid little sins to sacrifice the blessings we have waiting for us.
Acts 17:29 says we are offspring of God. The following scriptures show that we are destined to be similar to God–to be perfect, and inherit His kingdom: Genesis 17:1, Matthew 5:48, Ephesians 4:12, John 17:22-23.
This is our purpose, and what we are destined to become: Romans 8:16-17, D&C 132:20, and Revelations 3:21 and 21:7.
We know we are here preparing to meet God again (alma 34:32-33) and if all of this is true, who wouldn’t do everything possible to live the commandments in this life? Once we truly understand and believe that our purpose here is to prepare to meet God and that our potential is to become like God, we will lose the desire to sin and break commandments. ..because they are only little things that are not worth doing when we have the kingdom of God awaiting us.
I really love the scripture Alma 13:28-29 because they show us the keys to overcoming temptation. It clearly says that we need to do these five things, and we won’t be tempted more than we are able to bear:
2-Be aware of your actions
4-Be led by the Holy Spirit (then it lists characteristics we will develop as we do so)
Do this, be different, set the higher standard for everyone else, and let the light of Christ shine brilliantly from you. Matthew 5:14-16.
That’s what I wanted to say about satan and how easily we can be lured into sin. Please please please protect yourselves now, because like i said, satan attacks even the strongest of people and can slowly drag them down to misery. Don’t give him that power. You’re stronger than that, and your God is stronger than that. Rely in the Creator who made you…since He made you, I’m pretty sure he knows what will make you happiest.
Now, talking about keeping the sabbath day holy–I learned something very interesting from Hermana Richardson (mission president’s wife) about this topic. She said that keeping the sabbath day holy is truly a sign for God. To make this easier to understand, she related it to Exodus 12:12,13,23. In this story, if the people put lamb’s blood over their doors, the destroying angel passed over them and they were kept safe. Keeping the sabbath day holy is as literal a sign as this is. When we keep the sabbath day holy, we truly receive more blessings and more protection. God sees how loyal we truly are to Him and He sees how much we truly love Him. If you love God, you will keep all His commandments. That’s what true love means. You wouldn’t purposely hurt someone you love, right? So why would we profane the sabbath day when it is a sacred day for God? Hermana Richardson’s opinion, which i echo, was that we have so many financial and political and family problems nowadays and she is convinced that it is because of us not keeping the sabbath day. I found the BEST example of this in Nehemiah 13:15-18. Its really worth reading.
My challenge for all of you reading this is that you can all keep the sabbath day holy to a tee. Go to church, don’t play sports, don’t go out and buy stuff, study your scriptures, pray…dedicate Sunday to your Heavenly Father. You will notice a difference and see miracles or changes in your life if you truly repent from not keeping the sabbath day holy, and you change that by taking action and obeying that commandment. I promise you that our Heavenly Father loves us and wants us to be happy. We have to do our part though. In order to receive blessings, we must obey His commandments. D&C82:10.
I love all of you and hope you have a really great week! ‘Til next time 🙂
p.s. “Help the missionaries!! They NEED it. Go visit those members during the week who aren’t coming to church, and bring them to church with you every sunday. make them feel welcome. make them WANT to come back.”
Hey there! Not much to report this week so I won’t be writing a novel like I usually do.
So to start this week off, we weren’t able to work much because Carnival was too crazy. The time we WERE out proselytizing, two women ended up cornering me and dumped two huge buckets of water on me…so that was….dank. (that’s not slang. dank means wet.)
Anyway! Some of the elders here are learning english and so far they are really good at yelling at me “take a shower” which is RIDICULOUS because I shower every day now…. -__- They also say “sit down” and “i’m hungry”…you know. Those are the most important things there are to say in English, right?
Later in the week…we were teaching Vicente, our investigator of twoooo months….and he was telling us how he had to go to the mountains to get this plant. He has diabetes and lots of other health issues, but he said this plant is great to lower the glucose level and he sells it to diabetics. He ripped off a tiiiiny piece, smaller than a fingernail, and told us to try it. Usually you put it in a pot and boil it with water but he wanted us to try it. I kept telling him we didn’t want to, but he was super persistent…sooooo i ate it. It tasted like a reeeal nasty pill and I spit it out ASAP. Hermana Zaragoza did not, however….then we went along our way! We ate lunch and by the time we got to our next appointment, we were EXHAUSTED. We could barely stay awake to talk to her so she gave us bread and juice…but dang. I don’t know if that’s what happens when your glucose level goes down, but i imagine it makes you tired and exhausted because our exhaustion came out of NOWHERE. Later that night, my comp had been throwing up all night. sooooooo i will not be accepting leaves of any kind from anyone anymore..sketchhhh. That was pretty bad on my part, i guess. 1. We are not diabetic. 2. It is a plant we have never heard of. 3. He has to go find this plant in the mountains and he sells it. 4. you normally boil it in water so it isn’t so strong.
DUMB DECISION. Kids, don’t do drugs. Really though. That was really stupid and I won’t be doing that again.
English teachers here can start teaching english after they’ve studied for only two years. That must be the reason why learning English here is so hard.
This week I have been able to study a lot more because we haven’t been able to work very much. I realized how incredibly important it is to read modern day words from the Prophet and the 12 apostles and the 70. It is modern day revelation and we need to know what they are telling us. They are inspired of God and Thomas S. Monson can literally talk to Heavenly Father face to face…I think it’s pretty important what he has to say. Dedicate sundays to going to church, reading your scriptures, and read the Ensign. You will see a change in your happiness throughout the week, I promise you.
Here in Ibarra in my branch there are about 70 people at church each week. There are over 400 members. We are working really hard with bringing them back to church. We visit them and teach them all the missionary lessons and get them to start coming to church again and have an interview with the president (bishop for a branch), and they are considered “rescued”. Our mission president considers this just as important as a baptism. Aaaand…drumroll please….we were able to rescue 8 people this week! And we will rescue four more this week. But you know what brought these people back? Someone visiting them. Someone showing them that we care about them. Once they got to church, there were friends there to welcome them. That is what everyone needs so badly.
Think of a friend or family member you have that isn’t going to church anymore. Why did they leave? There are plenty of reasons…read Elder Uchtdorf’s talk “come, join with us” and you can pick and choose their reason. But regardless of what happened, if they have a friend, they will come back. Visit them. Let them know they are loved. Share scriptures or spiritual thoughts with them. Strengthen their testimonies. Pick them up and take them to church. Show them love. Be more Christlike. That is what they need. When people feel abandoned, alone, afflicted, hopeless, or unwanted…they need support. Take the initiative and help them NOW. It isn’t hard. Jesus Christ reached out to those who were in pain or rejected or sick or blind or broken or alone or whatever reason you can find under the sun for someone to be in a state of sadness…and He reached out and healed them. Not only did He at times heal them literally of their affliction, but He provided words of comfort and showed them His love for them. Sometimes that is all someone needs.
I challenge every one of you reading this right now to think of a friend or a family member or just a person you know of that is in a state of sadness, and go serve them. Give them your help, your time, your support, your advice, and most importantly your love. You will feel the love of Christ work through you and you will become happier and more humble in life. It’s a win win situation, so take advantage of it now. You want to see a world of peace? Act on it. You can’t just sit back and hope your whole life. Make a change in who you are and what you do and go lose yourself in service.
Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “Never permit yourself to become a weak link in the chain of your generations.”
We avoid becoming that weak link by serving others and losing ourselves in the love of the Lord. Losing ourselves means we become more meek and charitable and we are more concerned about the welfare of others. That is how we should be, and service is the medio por la cual cambiamos esta caracteristica en nuestras vidas. Queremos mas amor y mas ayuda en nuestras vidas…queremos mas apoyo y mas felicidad…sirva a los demas y les prometo que encontrara estas cosas. Pero hagalo con fe y desarrolle la humildad.
I get eggs and water balloons and flour thrown at me all day. Seriously, just put me in the oven and make me into a cake. I’m halfway there. It is so gross. the people here are CRAZY! there are NO limits. I am pretty bruised. hahaah but it’s all good!!
So today for pday OHMYGOSH we went to the chapel for a “bbq” and we ended up being greeted by buckets of water and soap. We were soaked. Then we played some soccer…and turns out the bbq was at our branch president’s house. So, we walked to his house and everyone was waiting at the door…little did I know they had been waiting to ambush us. They have a house of 3 levels, so there was a person on each level and as we walked through the door, BOOM. buckets of water rained down on us. hahahha we have been walking around with the stuff in our backpacks covered in plastic bags because it is seriously bad. everything gets wet. So we raced up to the second level and waited with buckets for the elders to show up. The members greeted all of them with buckets of water and soap and carioka (it is in a bottle like silly string but it is just straight up soap/foam). The elders walked in all wet, and BOOM. we hit them with more. that’s when war started. Seriously it was insaaaaaaaane. A little background so you all know, this house is pretty big and is basically like a courtyard with lots of rooms so a lot of families live there….it is like the parents live their and all their children and spouses also live there…anyway, it’s the Farinango family and they are my BEST FRIENDS. i love them. So. basically, the elders freaked out and ran upstairs screaming and i was scared for my life, so we ran into the kitchen and filled up more buckets and took it out on them and they came with bigger buckets and everyone in the house was screaming and throwing buckets of water and soap all over each other and slipping everywhere…seriously it was like a movie. i LOVED it. i was laughing so hard. Then we all calmed down, sweeped the water out of the rooms, and ate lunch. haha i can’t describe it well, but that was seriously the BEST pday activity i have ever had. hahah gosh. so fun.
This week i also stepped in a huge mud puddle in the night and i had to go to an appointment after and tie my foot up in a bag. it was disgusting. and freezing. super funny though.
I also hit 6 months on the 28th…CRAZY STUFF. Time is seriously flying by and i have way too many mixed emotions…i dont want to leave 😦 THIS MISSION IS THE BEST THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED TO ME. I am learning soooooo much in all aspects of life. I am loooooving the people and the culture (except the always being late and not staying true to your word part….) And I am loving seeing the change this gospel makes in people’s lives. it is seriously incredible and i care about these people so much. I want to keep doing this FOREVER. soooooo good thing I still have a year!! haha.
Just a little FYI, changes are in three week and i CANNOT wait! I have been in the same sector and zone my whole mission…i am ready to go somewhere else. I might stay, but I highly doubt it. This is actually the hardest zone in the mission. President Richardson told us that he sends his best/hardest working missionaries here because he knows how hard it is. Also! This zone holds a record in the church. hahahha…..It is the only zone in the world, IN THE HISTORY OF THE CHURCH, that has stayed a district this long. It has not progressed or grown hardly at all….so that’s a fact for ya. Needless to say, we are working as hard as we possibly can!
OH. okay so there is this colombian man that i pass a lot because he is always on the street where we walk and he always talks super fast…like a salesman…and tells me how blonde and beautiful i am and to stop following him…AND IT IS SO GROSS AND ANNOYING. So this week he was doin his ish again and was saying “preciosa” and “mona” (which means blonde girl) and i was soooo annoeyed. I turned around and said “Deje, por faVOR.” Then he shut up. so maybe i need to be sassier with people like that…because i guess it works.
Sooooo! Every week we have a district meeting where we are given a training on how to be better missionaries and people and they’re always super great! The district leader and the zone leaders usually teach us….and guess who’s training the district this week?! THIS GIRL! I am suuuuper nervous, but super stoked!! I can’t wait. I feel like it is going to be a really good experience. I am trying to force myself more to do things that make me uncomfortable…because i know that’s the only way i am going to grow and be a better person, and the skills i am learning on the mission will help me afterwards for the rest of my life as well. I like accidentally volunteered to do it and then the zone leaders took me seriously…so yeah. that’s that.
OH! We had interviews with President this week. It was so great and I loved it 🙂 i looooove learning new things and finding out how i can be better…it is the greaaaatest. And at the end, he gave us pouch mail and one of the asistants, Elder Thomas, was all “don’t get too excited…it’s mostly for hermana dunne”….that’s the joke in the mission. i allllllways have pouch…packages and letters. So anyway, he wasn’t lying. I got FOUR packages and FOUR letters this week! you guys are SO GREAT. Shoutout to my family (LUH YOO), Jan (Christmas is still going on, wuddup), Nana and grandpa (i have all the candy and dog treats i could ever want), and wes (that confetti surprise is going to cost you). oh, and shoutout to chase madrigal. WUDDUP
Anyway! I am just super happy…and sorry this email is all unorganized again. i am relaly out of it. i am actually super paranoid because of carnaval…cut me some slack.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 is so awesome. When something is wrong with a temple of our church or when they do some renovations, the temple has to be rededicated, right? Well, it’s the same with us. The Holy Ghost cannot live inside an unclean person. We may have been worthy before, but if we change something and start doing things we shouldn’t–the Holy Ghost cannot live inside of us. We have to REPENT and REDEDICATE our lives. think about that.
So I don’t have much more to say. But to sum things up:
Heavenly Father loves you. He wants you to live up to your potential. Live in a way that you can feel His spirit. Make good choices, like seriously people just wake up and do what you know is right. Heavenly Father wants to bless you, so start keeping His commandments so he CAN bless you!!! I love you all and know that you can live up to your potential too. I am making goals to become a better person and live up to my potential more as a daughter of God…I encourage you all to do the same. Make goals, figure out how to be better, and act on that decision. God will bless you.
Have a water fight. I know it’s snowing, but it’s carnaval. you have to celebrate. don’t forget the rotton eggs and flour though.