Monday, November 28, 2016

Fighting Perfectionism

Three Generations!

Hello Everyone! This week flew right by! And it was a full week!

Monday was P-day as usual. We had some fun and I worked on my family history book for a while.

Tuesday we had an awesome lesson with Alex! he's doing really well still and has some awesome questions. Sometimes they're kind of hard though! Or just something that we're like, well we know the answer, but we don't know how to answer it. I don’t know if that makes any sense.  It's really too bad, because we have a recent convert in our group named Gerardo who's really smart, went to college, has a nursing degree, and is right at Alex's same age! He would be the perfect fellowshipper and friend to Alex, except that he's totally inactive and avoiding everyone from church! We can't find him and don't know what's wrong, so if ya’ll could just pray for him...

After Alex's lesson, we did some service for an old lady named Grace. It was actually so sad, because her house was nasty. She is basically bed ridden and can't do much and as we were leaving her granddaughter came and we were like, why doesn't she help her grandma clean? We were so grateful we could go and help and talk to her for a while, she seemed so lonely. 

We also spent some time Tuesday exploring a big trailer park on the outskirts of Kittitas that we just recently discovered. We knocked a few doors and met some really awesome people. The holidays really help soften people's hearts a lot. 

We had dinner that night with the Cardmans. They are awesome. They have seven grown children (youngest is a senior in high school) and five of them are married. They were all home for the holidays, and we had a HUGE family dinner it was so cool and makes me excited for the future. 

That night we had a really spiritually powerful lesson with Fernando and Sister Dillon from the ward. He's struggling SO bad with perfectionism right now! We ended up just spending all our time talking about and pointing out stuff that he's already doing really well, and ways that he has inspired and helped all of us. We also talked a lot about how the spirit talks to us. 

Wednesday was ZONE CONFERENCE. Woo hoo! To be honest, the last month or so, I've been struggling a lot with perfectionism, too which is why Fernando's struggles are so real to me. I found a lot of hope and healing in the training we received at Zone Conference. President and the missionaries who shared were definitely inspired. Especially one of Hermana Hull's comments really helped me a lot. She is so amazing! It was so fun to see her and Hermana Luevano and Hermana Shewell. I miss them all! SO glad I only have to wait another week to see them again at the mission Christmas gathering.  My baby is getting so grown up! She just hit her six month mark the other day, I can't believe it! her Spanish is getting SO good, and she's loving more and more aspects of missionary life and work. She even loves knocking now! I of course had to pull her over during one of the breaks and get all her wisdom. Teach me everything you know! She's such a great missionary. I'm so lucky I got to be comps with her.

 Hermanas Goodrich, Knight, and Shewell

 Hermanas Hull and Knight

 Family Resemblance!

 My mom and me. 
Isn't she so cute with her new haircut?!

 Hermanas Luevano and Pons

 Hermanas Shewell and Knight

 Me and my Ellensburg girls! Sister Atkinson
 and I have missed our roommates!

White Salmon sisters!

Hermana Luevano seems so grown up now, too! She's almost 21! I was so glad to see her looking so happy and confident. Hermana Shewell is loving Hood River! The tri-pan life is so fun. She can go anywhere and do anything! She was pretty nervous going into transfers because her other two comps are mom and daughter and have already been together for two transfers. But they are doing awesome! They have great tri-pan unity. I also got to catch up with a few people about all my recent converts! Romero is doing better, Tyler's actually struggling quite a bit right now Please pray for him! Everyone else is doing great as usual. 

Something SUPER SUPER SUPER EXCITING that we learned about is the new #lighttheworld Christmas initiative that just came out! If you haven't seen it yet, you need to!! We've already seen so much success with it! Usually it's just a video or two they put out for Christmas and Easter, but this time it's like a worldwide movement that we all get to participate in! It's all based on the life of Jesus Christ, and how He is the light of the world and we can light the world too by serving each other like He did. There’s a little video for each day of December leading up to Christmas with a theme of some way we can serve like Jesus did. For example, one of my favorites is "Jesus helped others to see and so can you." The suggestions are like, donate some old glasses, teach someone to read, or point out a good quality in someone that they don't recognize on their own. It's SO GREAT! It was also funny, because a Spanish elder, Elder Cannon, pointed out this is going to be really great for Spanish missionaries because most Hispanics are Catholic and the pass along cards have the Virgin Mary holding baby Jesus on them!

 Light the World!

Thursday-Thanksgiving! It was awesome. We had dinner with the Jewels and it was so delicious! He's the institute director here for CWU so we had a few stray YSA's there too, it was so fun. We introduced #lighttheworld to them and they loved it, too!
We also met Mindy Gledhill's (popular Mormon singer-songwriter) sister! Turns out she's in 3rd ward and we went to their house. We got to talking about Emma Smith, and Sister Buss mentioned that song called "Emma" from the Joseph Nashville Tribute Band CD, and they were like "Oh yeah, our aunt wrote that!" It was so cool! 

 Thanksgiving Dinner YUM

Us and the Jewels after dinner 

We are excited for leftovers!

Friday EVERYTHING ended up getting cancelled on us, it was crazy. But I had a really great study. Lately I've decided to up my studying game and start doing all my studying in Puro Espanol (only spanish), not just my language study hour. It's a little tricky sometimes, especially because scripture language is so fancy, but I know it will help me a lot! 

Saturday we met Elendra and Blanca, two awesome new potential investigators! It was actually a total miracle that we even got in Blanca's house. She said she usually never lets people in, especially people from other religions but that she felt something different when we talked to her, she didn’t' know why. Then she invited us to come back and she's going to teach us how to make posole! (delicious Mexican soup!!!) 

We had a really cool experience with the Reina family on Saturday night, too. They had family in town for Thanksgiving who are all not members of the Church, so they invited us over. We started having a really cool conversation about the gospel. It all started with #iluminaelmundo (light the world initiative) and went from there! They ended up accepting a copy of the Libro de Mormon, and we got their address in Yakima. Now Hermanas Luevano and Pons are going to start teaching them! Woo hoo! Hermana Reina is a really powerful teacher! She did so amazing. 

Sunday was so great. Nearly everyone came to church! Except Fernando!!! It was so sad, it's making me really worried to be honest. I hope everything is okay, because he's not answering his phone either. Sunday School was cool, because one of our investigators, Lamencia, actually has to return to Mexico for about a month to take care of some business. She was super, super nervous because Mexico is so dangerous right now. She expressed that to us at the end of class and asked us to pray for her, and then we talked about the priesthood. Brother Clarkson and Brother Reina gave her a blessing! She said she felt better afterward. It was so cool! 

After church we met Carlos and Elisabet, two other new potential investigators. Hopefully this goes well! They also loved #iluminaelmundo. Then we had dinner with the Grobecks, some of my favorite members ever! 

It was a great week. I love and miss all of you!! 

First snow of the season!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Bonbones Mormones

Hermanas Knight and Buss

This has been a roller coaster week of ups and downs for sure, but lots of exciting things to look forward to! We have Zone Conference this Wednesday!  I get to see Hermana Luevano, Hermana Hull, and Hermana Shewell! I miss them all so much.

Then we have THANKSGIVING! Woo hoo! We are going to eat with the Jewels, and it's going to be wonderful. Some awesome lessons have been planned and we got 2 new investigators this week, so woo hoo to that, too! 

So a quick run-down of the week:

Monday we had P-day here in Ellensburg with our district. We were playing basketball (which I 100% love, but I kind of got a little crazy. Haha. I was literally screaming at this one elder at one point, "GIVE ME THE BALL!!!!!!!" Haha so I had to sit out for a little while and calm down, I never knew I was so aggressive till I came on my mission and started playing sports. After P-day was over we went to Rosa's and had a lesson with her. She has been like a different person lately, it's amazing! I think she's finally getting through the grief of losing her father a few months ago. 

Tuesday we had some fun raking leaves for the Reina's! It was awesome. I actually love raking leaves, it's good exercise and it's productive at the same time. We also had a fun member dinner with the Richlands. Sister Richland is SO funny. She was cracking up so hard every time I said ya’ll and she would try to say ya’ll and couldn't. Haha! She was a little ditsy and SO cute!  I love them. 

 Raking Leaves

Wednesday night our member dinner was awesome, too. We ate with Hermana Martinez and got her really excited about Family History work! We helped her start her "My Family" book (ya’ll should do it too, it's really fun!) and we started her free account.

 My Family Book

Thursday we spent about four hours outside exploring Kittitas with Brian (Returned Missionary, who just came home from Mexico last month.) It was fun, and we met some interesting people but it was SO COLD. 

We also saw a house burn down!! It was crazy and we took a ton of pictures. Of course there were tons of college kids crowding around everywhere.

 Scary and crazy!

Friday we had an AWESOME lesson with a new investigator, Alex. It's funny because Hermana Shewell and I had seen some notes left about him from previous missionaries when she was here, and tried to contact him and see if he would like to learn again. (He's a college kid who went home for the summer but is super ready and interested.) and we texted him and he was like "Yeah... I'm Catholic." Then when Sister Buss got here she said Sister Hinkle (who served here like 6 months ago) told her to find this kid named Alex Lopez and teach him! So I was like, "Well he said he wasn't interested anymore, but we can try!" So we texted him again, and he said "Hi Hermanas, I would love to meet up. Can we have a lesson at the Institute Building on Friday at 12?" We were like, “UMMM yes!” That never happens! It was a really good lesson, too. He has perfect questions. 

Saturday was pretty busy. We had a fun member dinner with the Dorm's. Hermana Buss came up with this creative idea to play Scattergories with them. We picked a letter (D for Dorm) and then they all had to write a list of ways you can share the gospel that start with the letter D. They were really creative! They said "Donate time to serve others" or "Decorations in your house" "Drive the missionaries to appointments." It was so fun and then we challenged them to each do at least two of the ideas on their list. 

We had a cool experience Saturday night. We have this potential investigator named Ameila who Sister Shewell and I met like a month ago. She was a referral from the Calaways in our ward. She seemed to have a lot of potential, but we could never get in with her. Saturday night we went to contact a different referral, the Gomez (not really interested but still very nice, fortunately,) and then were going to try by Amelia again after that. For some reason felt like we shouldn’t right then. We said a little prayer and for some reason felt like we needed to try to contact another referral named Rosela who lives all the way out in Kittitas! SO we were like, "Well that's like 30 mins round trip but if it's where we're supposed to be..." So we drove to Kittitas to her house and nobody was home! We were so confused! We tried by a few other potentials in Kittitas as well and no one was home at their houses either. I was thinking... okay why did God tell us to come here if no one is even home? So we went back to Ellensburg, and the strongest feeling came over me that we needed to go to Amelias now. So we went and she was like, " Hey that's so cool! I was just thinking about you girls today and was going to call you, but I just barely got home from Yakima!" We then had an AMAZING lesson with her, and holy cow she is so ready for the gospel in her life! She asked all the perfect questions. We realized that the reason God had sent us to Kittitas for an hour was to stall us! He needed to send us somewhere else for a bit before Amelia's because if we had tried when we originally planned to, we would have gone and no one would have been there, and we probably would have given up on her.

Sunday was great! We had Stake Conference and we got a new stake presidency! It was so cool to see and the spirit was seriously SO strong. Two members of the Quorum of the Seventy came and spoke, as well as all three members of the old presidency and the new three members of the presidency, and the new and old president's wives. It was high spiritual impact! After church we had a Linger Longer for our Spanish group and had Abuelitas (Mexican hot chocolate) and Pan Dulce (Mexican donuts). It was awesome! One thing that was super funny was a couple of the members (I won't say who, but they were grown men with families!) Were putting marshmallows in their hot chocolate and started cracking up, referring to themselves as "bonbones Mormones" the word "bonbones" means marshmallows! They would hold their big bellies (both of them are overweight) say "Bonbones Mormones!!", laugh, and then pop a marshmallow in their mouth. It was so funny.

Then that evening we had a lesson with Fernando and Brian. We want them to be friends. :) Fernando opened up to us a lot about some trials and doubts he is struggling with. It was hard to see and really sad, but I'm so grateful he trusts us and feels like he can open up to us. I'm also really grateful Brian was there so Fernando can have a friend to turn to even when Hermana Buss and I aren't here anymore. 

After our lesson was done we had a SUPER AWESOME member dinner with the Walkers. Fernando was invited too, so he followed us in his car. We ended up being like 15 minutes late because FERNANDO DRIVES SOOOO SLOOOOOOW? Haha we got up to the door and he was like, "Hermana Caballero! Why do you drive like a crazy person! Why do you go so fast?!?" Hahahahahahahaha! I was going like 3-5 under the speed limit the whole way! it cracked me up so hard. Then he cracked us all up again, because he asked what their names were again and Sister Walker said "Walker," and in a thick Mexican accent he responded, "we are all walkers in this journey of life!" Hahaha! Then he asked if "Runner" was a last name in English, too. He's so funny.

The Robins and LeBron were there, too! It was a fun dinner party. And it was cool to see Spanish and English coming together. We and the Robins are bilingual, and the Walkers only speak English, and Fernando and Lebron mostly just speak Spanish. But we had a really spiritual unofficial testimony meeting after we finished eating. I'd never heard Fernando speak English before! It was a little broken and pretty simple but the way he shared his feelings was so sincere. He said, " That the thing that originally attract me to the Mormon religion. Everyone is sincere, no judge, and you live what you preach." It was so sweet and so genuine. He said "I wish I could be like all of you," and then Sister Walker lovingly put her arm around him and said "You are like us, Fernando! We're not perfect, we just try to love people as best as we can. And you're really good at loving people." GAH it was so sweet and honestly I got chocked up a few times. It was a great night. 

I think that's it! I'll be sending lots of pictures! 

I love and miss you all. 

More pictures of our gorgeous area! 

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Hearts of the Nieces Shall Turn to their Uncles (Malachi 4:6)

Crazy week this week! 

Monday was our last P-day with the zone how it's been. Quite a few people got transferred, so although it's like a 40-45 minute drive, we decided to all meet down in Selah and have P-day together. It was super scary and also funny and also a miracle, because we had forgotten to get some gas that morning while we were running around for p-day stuff, and then we realized about halfway there that we were like 99% out of gas!! The car said we had a range of 7 miles left, and it was 15 miles to the next gas station! We were so grateful there was a lot of downhill so we could coast a lot, and Hermana Shewell and I were definitely praying, and we totally made it to the gas station!! It was a miracle for sure! There's not cell service in the canyon so idk what we would have done! 

It was a fun P-day. We played “Mafia,” which I haven’t' done since those game nights at the Dotson's such a long time ago! It was fun. Then after P-day we went around and said goodbye to a few members for Hermana Shewell. We also had an Family Home Evening with the Kirks all about Family History (a theme this week). At first when we got there, the kids were in a pretty bad mood and being kind of bratty, but then as we started talking about family history they started to calm down and we actually had a really cool conversation where the kids told us some stories that they've heard about their ancestors. It was so cool to see how Family History brought the Spirit!

Tuesday we participated in the Days for Girls project at the church. It was so fun! I love sewing. 

 Days for Girls

She doesn't like ironing. Ha ha!

We also met a lady named Sister Parker. It turns out she knows, Diane Rogers, one of my old piano teachers, and Hermana Hull's parents, and my mom's fiancĂ©’s family (the Marburgers!) She was in the same ward as the Hulls and the Rogers at one point, and also she was 2 of Bobby's older Sisters' Beehive advisors!  It was so cool. What in the world? #smallworld

Sister Parker and I

After the project we went to the Reinas so that Hermana Shewell could say goodbye. It was really sad! They are so close. Sister Reina is doing really well with her recovery, though! 

We had dinner with the Wylies that night. Their daughter and I had a funny time talking back and forth in "Miranda" voice! Ha ha it was great. 

Wednesday we had to wake up at 5AM because we had to have Sister Goodrich, Sister Shewell, and Sister Grigg at the transfer site down in Yakima by 7:45am, which meant leaving Ellensburg at like 6:15-6:30. it was crazy. It was so so so so soooooooo sad saying goodbye to Hermana Shewell. Tears were definitely shed! Then Sister Atkinson, Sister Carroll and I were a trio for the day while we all waited for our new companions to arrive. Sister Atkinson has been trying to understand and learn how to do family history for a while now because we're always talking about how much we love it and how it comes in handy for teaching and finding, so we took the opportunity while we were companions for me to teach her how to do it! It was so awesome, because we all three started finding some really cool stuff, like interesting records, etc., especially about our great-uncles, and uncles! It was so cute because Sister Atkinson was like, "I finally understand what the Spirit of Elijah feels like! It's not just looking up papers about dead people! It's actually fun!" I started finding a bunch of stuff on my great uncles on my Grandpa Knight's side, and my Great Grandpa Knight. Turns out he was a baker!

After that at around 1pm I met Sister Buss at the transfer site! She's really tall and really sweet! She's from Orem, Utah, and loves math! I can already tell we are going to learn and grow a lot this transfer. 

 I packed 10 suitcases, 4 big tote bins, and 3 bedding sets
all into a mini van. My mom would be proud.

 Saying goodbye

Hermana Buss and I

Thursday we raked a TON OF LEAVES. Holy cow. SO many leaves. We also had a meeting with our new Spanish group leader, Brother Robins, he is SO awesome! he's doing a really great job already of getting everyone pumped up. Also that night I got asked to play the piano for a baptism that upcoming Saturday for Kallie and her son, Derek. Sister Goodrich was going to play, but then she got transferred. I was a little nervous, because I hadn't played in like at least 6-7 weeks, but it turned out just fine! Fortunately, they chose a couple of really easy songs. " I am a Child of God" and "When I am Baptized" (The “I like to look for rainbows” song.) 

I'll just skip Saturday for time's sake.

Sunday was SO GOOD. As usual! I love our ward. The Spirit is always just so strong, and I always feel so happy when I go to church. 

Hermana Buss and Elder Vejnar both gave talks in Sacrament, being the newbies here, and nearly every member of our little Spanish group came to church... AGAIN. Last week we had 9/11 and this week we had 8/11. The only reason why it dropped down one is because Santos has the flu. It was pretty exciting to fill up two pews again. Rosa was so happy at church. It was the happiest I've ever seen her. 

We had a really great RS lesson, too! It was all about faith. Some of my favorite quotes were (by Howard W. Hunter):

"The supreme achievement of life is to find God and to know that He lives."

"The most powerful force in human nature is the spiritual power of faith.”

So I guess the theme this week was faith and family history! 

That's all!
I love and miss you all! 

 I decorated for Christmas!!!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Week 55--Clue, Mashed Potato Snowmen, and Transfer Calls!

This week was really good!

Monday we had a different P-day schedule because of Halloween. President didn't want us out in the evening, so instead of having prep from 10-6, we had 10-3, then 3-6 regular missionary stuff, and then 6-9 was prep again. I actually loved it that way and wish we could do that all the time. It was awesome. We had so much fun Monday night. We had to stay in our apartments, but there's four of us sisters who live together and Sis. Atkinson and Sis. Goodrich borrowed some games from the Weavers. We had a hilarious time with Clue, ha ha!

P-Day game night!

Lately we've been having a big focus in the mission about family history work. Yes! But sometimes that's really hard to teach people, especially members who are either Hispanic and it's hard to find their records, or white and have been members for generations and generations and all their research and work is done and it's really hard to find new people. So Hermana Shewell and I decided to think outside the box and realized Journaling /record keeping of our own lives is a huge part of family history, too! Even if we can't do much looking back, we can give the future generations a lot to go off of. So we created a list of 20 questions that they can start with to write their personal history! I love it I'll send a link if anyone would like to do it! Helaman 5: 6-7 is my motivation! I want my kids, grand kids, and great grand kids to be able to look back on what I've done and be motivated and inspired to be good.

Wednesday and Thursday we had exchanges with Sisters Goodrich and Atkinson! It was really fun, I got to work with Sister Goodrich in their area. I've only been doing purely Spanish work for a transfer, but it was already so hard adjusting to teaching in English for the day! It was great though. We met this funny lady named Cecily and also got a member, Brian to come out with us for a few hours! Returned Missionaries are the best! It was funny because he just got back from a mission in Mexico like a month ago, and he's still struggling so hard with English, especially praying in English! Cecily asked him if he would say it and he was struggling SO hard. There were so many Y's! I feel you buddy. There were so many funny moments, and Sister Goodrich is SO sweet. It was an awesome exchange. After I got back to my own area, we had a lesson with Fernando. He seemed really off, like something was really bothering him. Like he was really sad or overwhelmed or stressed about something. But the lesson still went really well. We just showed him a lot of love and encouragement and hoped for the best!

Exchanges with Sister Goodrich

Friday we had Zone Training meeting. It was a super powerful meeting this month and packed with spirit, insights, and personal revelation! We actually have a new policy in the mission now that we have to go tracting one hour every day. A lot of people were really mad about it, but I'm actually weirdly happy. I don't like tracting and I don't really have a testimony of it because nothing good has ever come out of it in my personal mission experience, but I know a lot of missionaries who have had amazing experiences with it. And I know it's really good to do things you hate. I know this was inspired and hopefully it will help me get a testimony of knocking on doors! Even if I have to knock a thousand to find the one, I'll do it!
Later that afternoon we went to the Reina’s to do some service. They had to cook 100lbs of carne asada and make 500 fried tacos for an event they were helping out with, so we went over to help them. It was actually super fun. I love to cook! and we even got to mash potatoes with our hands. (And we made a mashed potato snow man!)

 Making Carne Asada

 Mashed Potato snowmen!

Saturday we did weekly awesomeness (we had to adjust some things because Zone Training Meeting went way over on time.) And it was awesome as usual!

Something cool on Saturday was that in the morning during my personal study I had a cool revelation of how to explain Grace vs. Works. This is something I've been working on and studying about for a long, long, long time…pretty much my entire mission so far, because so many people that I've come across think that Mormons think we earn heaven! And that's so not true. Okay so this is how I see it. (I'm going to give an analogy so get ready)

Say you get bitten by a rattle snake and are poisoned and dying. You, by yourself, cannot save yourself. No matter how hard you try, you won't be able without outside help. You need an antidote. So let's say there's this bottle of pills that you can take that will cancel out the poison and save you. So you can't do it on your own, but also just simply identifying the pills as the antidote they are, won't save you. You can't just say "I know that these pills can save me" and be cured. You have to actually take them, right? It might be really hard because you feel weak, but you have to take them for them to actually work in you.

This is just like the Savior and His role in our salvation. When we sin, it is like a spiritual poison, and Jesus' sacrifice, His Atonement (suffering and dying for us) is the antidote. but just identifying Him as the Savior and "accepting" Him as such alone, won't save you. you have to apply the atonement. Take the pills and let His Grace work in you. The way to do this is by repenting- giving up your sins, asking for forgiveness, and changing for the better, and by obedience to God's commandments. That's where our works come in. It's not that we're earning our salvation, because there's no way we'll ever, ever be able to do that. We're just applying His grace in our lives, which is what makes salvation possible. Even though it's hard because you feel weak, you have to do it. He can't save you unless you choose to be saved, choose to apply the atonement! Take the pills!

Saturday night we got transfer calls! Sister Goodrich will be moving to Yakima, and Hermana Shewell is going to Hood river! She'll be in a trio with Hermana Andrews and Young. I'm SO EXCITED for her! She's been wanting to serve down there ever since we went to Max's baptism and she saw how gorgeous it is. My new companion will be Hermana Buss. We have never served around each other but we have a lot of companions and areas in common! The biggest one is White Salmon. She was actually there with Hermana Marble, and then I took her place. She was one of the missionaries who first found and started teaching Tyler. So we already have a lot in common and I'm really excited! I'll still be senior comp, but she's actually been out for like 11 months, so I’m not senior by much! It will be so cool to be in a companionship of two oldies :) I bet her Spanish is really good. :) Also, we found out Elder Vejnar is coming here! I am SO excited! He was my district leader my last 2 transfers in White Salmon and he and Hermana Hull and I were like besties. I'm pretty excited to catch up with him. I also found out my friends, Elder Harman, got called to be a Zone leader, and Elder Buchanan to be a district leader! I am so excited for this transfer, even though I'm really sad to say goodbye to Hermana Shewell.

     Sunday was SO AMAZING. Every single one of the Spanish group members came except for one person!! THAT NEVER HAPPENS. Even an investigator was there. It was so cool! Also, we got a new Spanish group leader ( kind of like a Branch President), Brother Robins, and FERNANDO IS HIS ASSISTANT (kind of like a counselor). That's why he was so overwhelmed! The second two hours were super good, too! I was so happy.

Us with Fernando

Last night we started making some rounds saying goodbye to people for Hermana Shewell. It was sad but good.

I am so excited to see what this next transfer holds!

I love and miss you all.