Monday, August 24, 2015

Debbie got baptized yesterday! Yay! She also got married this week, so big week for Debbie. haha It all happened super fast, as far as teaching the lessons and everything but she was so cute and so super excited to be baptized! She was another miracle for us. Looking back, every baptism we have had have been complete miracles.

Fun Things:
-The video of Lewis and 4 cupcakes has gone viral. It’s been air dropped to practically the whole mission. haha
-Monday night we came home to a GINORMOUS spider on our front porch. We trapped it under a tupperware bowl to take care of it in the morning, and the next morning it was gone. =/ 
-Elizabeth turned 3! 

-Katie got her patriarchal blessing!
-Lewis's brother proposed this week! We had been awaiting the pictures for weeks now. Besides preaching the gospel the other thing we do is wait for all of our friends and family send us things about weddings. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH haha just kidding ;) but really everyone is getting married. 

This week Lewis and I have been studying and really focusing on memorizing scriptures for each doctrinal point. We have post it notes all over our study room working on memorizing. Once we have them down we will really be closer to being those "Master Teachers" that the mission is working on right now. 

Wanna be a successful in your career? ---> Book of Mormon 
Wanna know how to raise your kids?---> Book of Mormon
Need help in school?---> Book of Mormon 
Wanna be a great missionary?---> Book of Mormon
Everything that we could ever possibly need is in the Book of Mormon. EVERYTHING!

We had a Zone Conference this week in Little Rock. President Wakolo instructed and gave us bible scriptures on how to back up that the Father, and the Son and the Holy Ghost are separate beings. He broke it down, and explained how each plays a different role but with the same purpose. Crazy to think that so many churches read from the same bible but just like this scripture says "behold, I say unto you, he that denieth these things knoweth not the gospel of Christ; yea, he has not read the scriptures; if so, he does not understand them." Mormon 9:8    

We continue to work with part member families much better and this week we had more member present lessons than we did "other lessons" so that’s pretty cool. 

We also were able to set a date with Chase this week! 2 months later! Woohoo! He started the Book of Mormon this week and is already half way through it, the kid is a genius. He started from no belief in God whatsoever, and now prays with us, is reading, and set a baptism date! AHH! We've never had an investigator who picks up on the doctrine the way Chase does. It's real cool because we get to teach quickly and a lot more and dive a little deeper and he still follows real well. He really is liking the stories in the Book of Mormon and admits that there are verses in there that he feels were written for him. Watching these changes in him have been amazing. 

The main lesson I want to report on this week is this great family. The Father was converted as a youth; he decided to be baptized after going to Trek. He was active, went through the temple, received a mission call but because of a car accident was unable to go, and instead found a girlfriend, converted her and then married her. They have 5 kids, both are teachers, and now both are completely atheist. It all started with an experience when his son was in the hospital. He never prayed once, and since his son came out of his sickness completely healthy, he realized that he didn't need God, and that began his disbelief in a God altogether. (Helaman 7:20) He said that those feelings he felt at trek, the temple, church, reading the Book of Mormon were all just feelings of respect for the people and not the spirit testifying of anything.   Alma46:8

We sat down with the both of them and got their stories, we began to teach. They backed up their beliefs with everything science. He told us that he didn't want to tell us everything he knows to avoid "breaking down our faith." It was a little terrifying at first, because their science stuff did make logical sense, but scriptures kept coming to mind and we were able to testify and teach with power. They love the people of the Mormon church, and said if they ever were to attend a church again it'd be this one, but it won't be any time soon because they don't believe in any of it. 

Holding his 6 month old baby in his lap, he told us as much as he wished there was life after death with our families, science can't prove it, so he can't believe it. He believes that there are no more miracles today (2 Nephi 28:5-6)  He also felt like if God really did love him then God would make it plainly known and that miracles would still be happening. We shared numerous examples and scripture of god’s love and miracles, the spirit was strong and we were just praying he felt it. 

The mother was more receptive, she at least has a desire to know and accepted the invitation to read the Book of Mormon. The father felt like his patriarchal blessing was too general and so we invited him to read it one more time, starting with a prayer, and that God will show him at least one line that is specific to him, and will show that God is mindful of him and loves him.

I needed this lesson. I walked out of there with more faith than what I had going in. I had a sincere desire for them to know the truth and it broke my heart that they had lost their knowledge of eternal families. I felt power behind me as I defended God and His plan. I walked out of their feeling that personal love God has for me, which is something I really needed this week. And the spirit testified to me all over again that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is true. The Plan of Salvation God has prepared for me makes complete logical sense to me. He has testified too many times for me to deny that He is real and that his plan is perfect.

Romans 8 - this scripture sums up this week. 
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are MORE THAN CONQUERORS through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the LOVE OF GOD which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Les quiero 






Monday, August 17, 2015

This week's highlights:

President invited us to come to Little Rock and help invite in the new missionaries! We had around 28 come in and only 7 left, so we opened up new areas and our mission is the biggest it’s been for a while! Exciting! We got to do a little "ice breaker" activity with them, do role plays, and help with the orientation. That night we all went to the mission home and got to eat a mission home meal #blessed! President instructed and we all bore testimonies and the AC went out so 40 people in one living room with no AC was real sweaty. The next morning we were up early, helped sister Wakolo cook breakfast and got everyone ready for transfers! Lots of changes made! A new Hermana area opened up in Monticello! All the Hermanas were switched around, only Lewis and I stayed together #soblessed.  They white washed Russellville Spanish elders so we have some new faces! It's a good thing I'm still here, I was not ready to say goodbye. And now I'll be here for my birthday and for Amber’s wedding!!
Our ward missionary in the English ward is remodeling her rental home so we've been over a few times this week to help out. I'm proud to report that I now know how to hang doors and change out door handles.=) the power drill ain't got nothin on me! 

So y’all know Si Robertson from Duck Dynasty? Well he has a twin named Robert Ashely and he lives in Russellville Arkansas and I had dinner with him this week. haha I've talked about him before, but this week I have a picture to prove it! He is Si's twin! He talks and acts the exact same too, it blows my mind! Sister Ashely makes some of the best food, it’s always a treat to be over with this fam. I can't say it enough; this ward takes such good care of us. 
We are working with part member families real well right now, the only bummer is it takes time to see the fruits of our labors with this. We are still gathering information and trying to track down more part member families and information on them, and then trying to get a hold of them has been time consuming. It requires a lot of effective planning which has been good for us. Right now we have no dates set and it has me on edge. haha its been a while since we've had 0 dates set. We are trying to set a few with gators right now, but they aren't keeping commitments so it’s been a process. 

We were celebrating Katie's one year baptism date with cupcakes, one thing lead to another and then all of a sudden Lewis was being peer pressured into shoveling 4 cupcakes in her mouth at once..and she totally did it. hahaha Mom is the real MVP. I have a video of it too..enjoy. 

We held a first ever Spanish Missionaries conference call. Lewis and I instructed on diligence. It's a little odd to be instructing over the phone, but it was cool to unite as Spanish missionaries. We are the "hunters" of the mish. (Jeremiah 16:16) There are a little over 20 Spanish missionaries in ALRM right now. Proud to be a part of them =)
Okay so the main thing I wanted to write about this week was President Wakolo. Friday we had a leadership conference with President. I wish there were words to explain how great of a man he is but I want to share a few cool things about president with y’all.

1. First off, every time he speaks with us at any sort of meeting he starts with "Elders and Sisters, I rejoice with you in the gospel of Jesus Christ, we thank you for what you do but mostly we thank you for who you are." (in deep Fijian accent) 
2. Every time he bares his testimony he thanks and expresses his love for sister Wakolo and cries. Every time without fail. This past week he said "first, I publicly declare my love and appreciation for my Savior Jesus Christ, and right behind him I publicly declare my love and appreciation for my wife, Sister Wakolo. He loves her so much and it’s such an example for all of us missionaries. 
3. In my eyes he has every reason in the world to be prideful, yet he is the most humble man I have ever met. God, Jesus Christ, and his wife get all the glory. 
4. Something I know for certain, President Wakolo does not fear man, he only fears God. He does everything the way God wants them done. This sounds so much better with his accent but this week he also said "If God needs me to do something and I do it, and that person doesn't like me, I think that’s just great!" He truly does not care what man thinks, it is clear that he only reports to his Heavenly Father and he lives accordingly. He said "Fear of God is my priority!" 
5. Being able to be in the mission home lately we have seen sightings of him, thinking no one is watching, telling his daughter Jasmine how much he loves her. He is true in the darkness, and humble in the spotlight.  
7. Because of the Fijian culture and before he was baptized he had a tribal tattoo on his hand. When he found out as members of the church we weren't suppose to have tattoos he literally cut his tattoo out by himself. And there is a sweet scar to prove it! 
8. Within the first year of his membership in the church he was called as a branch president. 
9. At this leadership meeting he shared some pieces of his patriarchal blessing with us, and it was some of the most powerful minutes of my mission. 
10. He truly loves all 200 of his kids out here and it is so evident. 

 Wakolo Wise Words
-"As leaders do not let them see fear in you, only faith."

- "When I am on the Lords side, I will always be victorious." 

-"Get rid of the barnacles now, they are slowing you down. "

-"It is a great thing to be rebuked! I think that’s just great!" 

-"Satan was successful because Eve was alone. NEVER BE ALONE." #compunity

-"The unseen things that I do, tells me who I am."


-"Find, Teach, Baptize, Retain, Reactivate, EVERYDAY EVERYDAY EVERYDAY"

I'll be sending a vid of cute president’s voice, so y’all can picture him a little better. 

We were hoping that it'd start cooling down since fall is right around the corner, turns out that doesn't happen until October. Darn :( 

Oh also a miracle at church yesterday- a brother in the Ward introduced us to his fiancĂ© and she wants to be baptized! He wants us to teach her the lessons this week! It was her first time at church and she really liked it! The only bummer is right now she currently lives in Fort Smith which isn't in our mission. So the missionaries there may be teaching her but we have an appointment this week with her so hopefully all goes well! We've been frustrated because we haven't been able to set dates and see a ton of progression with gators lately. It was a cool reminder that as long as we continue to work hard and be obedient God will bring those miracles to us. The mish life is the good life. :) 

All is well and life is good

Love y’all! 

Les quiero muchĂ­simo






Monday, August 10, 2015

Hola! Buenas dias!

Okay so that’s enough Spanish for now. haha

ALSO GOOD NEWS LEWIS AND I ARE STAYING TOGETHER ANOTHER TRANSFER HERE IN RUSSELLVILLE!!!! #BLESSED.  We've been told plenty of times lately to "get out of your first area you greenies" hahah  Man we could stay here forever. We love it so much. We are so happy to be together for another. This morning was another typical transfer morning, phone calls and texts like crazy, everyone trying to figure out where everyone is going. Also #blessed that we don't have to pack because I would have had to leave half of my belongings behind. (Unless President decides last minute to switch us, which he definitely can do. Nothing is final until Wednesday, but as of right now this is what we know)
This week has been super different. On Tuesday night we went to Little Rock where we met up with Sister Wakolo and Jasmine (her daughter). They took us out to dinner and we stayed the night in the mission home. Jasmine had a sleepover with us! Normally, as missionaries, we only get to spend time in the mission home twice, once on our way in, and once on our way out. So it was pretty unique to get some more time with President and his family and get to stay there! (funny side note, I was in the kitchen the next morning writing in my journal, and President comes walking down the stairs in biker shorts. haha So awkward. He was a little surprised to see me in his kitchen. haha I love the "President behind the scenes" stuff. He also wore this wrap/skirt thing to workout in #Fijians)
Wednesday morning we took the "mommy car" AKA Sister Wakolo's van and made our way towards the Memphis side to see the Hermanas in Horn Lake, which is actually in Mississippi! It's an all Spanish area. We blitzed the area with Hermana Ponce, HUdson, and Madsen! We had a blast with them. The Hermanas in this mission rock. I love them all to death. Also we found out as STL's both of us can drive, we didn't get that memo, but Lewis was shocked because she is so sick of driving, so my first 5 minutes in the car I almost backed into a fire hydrant, IN THE MOMMY CAR. hahaha I stopped literally not even an inch before hitting it. Church is true.
How fun is it that I got to serve in Mississippi? We had a good first day. I walked around knocking on doors in the rain with Hermana Ponce and the rest of the Hermanas set a date for Saturday! (this baptism followed through, she is dunked!)
Some other randoms about blitz- that night Hermana Ponce and I went to visit a recent convert, we finished the lesson and we were waiting for the others to get out of their lesson so we started walking around visiting some gators. It was almost 9:00 at this point. Then Hermana Ponce starts telling me how this area is the sketchiest neighborhood in Horn Lake and they've had cops on 3 different occasions come tell them to not be in this neighborhood. I wish I had a picture of my face as I heard all of this. I'm from Russellville! I'm not used to sketchy! haha I was a little freaked out. God protects his missionaries though so don't worry I survived.
Thursday morning we left early to drive to Bartlett Tennessee to pick up some sisters who needed a ride to Arkansas for a doctor appointment. Since we had the mommy car we had to do all these errands. After dropping them off we went all the way back to Horn Lake, taught for a couple hours, and then turned around and went back to pick up the sisters back up in Arkansas, drop the, off in Bartlett and then back to Mississippi. WE DROVE SO MUCH THIS WEEK. I don't even want to admit how many times I took the wrong exits. How they trusted us to take the mission car and drive all over the mission is beyond me. We also took a little trip (aka we got lost) and saw downtown Memphis a little bit. We passed by Beale Street! Looked fun!

Friday we served in West Memphis, Arkansas with some English sisters that have been struggling. I served with Sister Brunt from Samoa! We knocked a lot of doors and got some solid new gators. We had a lesson with Montez, non member, first time meeting him and before we left he wanted all of us to pray. We both prayed and then he did, it was the most southern/baptist prayer I've ever heard. He just kept saying "Father God" and the deeper he got into the prayer the louder he got and more enthusiastic he got. It got all sorts of crazy real quick. haha the south is so great.
By Saturday we couldn't wait to get back home! We were exhausted and so tired of driving. We missed Russellville so much.  Saturday it was hard to get back into things. We had had so much distance from gators all week it was hard to get back into control. We tried seeing everyone and the only one we saw dropped us -_- This was also marked the hottest day of the summer. I couldn't tell you exactly how hot it was all I know is I was having a hard time breathing and it was miserable. So yea it was pretty hot and humid. Sunday we spent a lot of time with members. AMBER IS GETTING MARRIED IN 19 DAYS AND WE ARE GOING TO BE HERE FOR THE WEDDING. Amber is the biggest reason I wanted to stay in Russellville. I love her. Ans she just bought a new house so we went and saw it and helped her move some stuff around. It overlooks the lake here and it's up on a hill, it's gorgeous. She's perfect. She is like our big sister. If I did nothing more than bring the gospel to her life, than I've done enough. Y'all will have to meet her one day.
We also spent time at Bishop's house. We feel at home with Bishop's family, it's always a treat to be there. Have I mentioned that I love Russellville?

Okay the things I learned this week:
-“Wera Loca” means "crazy white girl" in Spanish -Little reassurances this week that reminded me that I'm where I need to be, I'm doing my job out here.
-The mission’s new focus for the next 2 months is "Master Teacher." We have been asked to make our studies more effective and truly understand the doctrine we are teaching. The more we know the less we will say. Simple and powerful is the best teaching method for sure. And we can teach simply the better we understand what we teach.
-small things bring about great things.
- Another testimony builder of the Holy Ghost. having to give advice to the hermanas and watching the spirit work through us is so so cool.
-The importance of sacrifice. Reminded that it’s not about me. Forget myself and get to work.

Oh I have to tell y’all about this. So on the mommy car the check oil light comes on, claro. So we call the office elders and asked them what to do and got it taken care of, but before we did this, Lewis AKA sister Einstein thinks that she knows how to check the oil. So here we are in a gas station in Horn Lake, and after a good couple minutes we figure out how to pop the lid. Then Lewis starts playing with things, I'm looking around to make sure no one is getting a good laugh out of 2 girls in skirts trying to fix the car. And finally after 5 minutes of this nonsense Lewis looks at me and says "yea I have no idea" so we put the hood back down and called the elders. haha Ahh she's a good mom, A for effort. hahaha

I hope y’all are still with me, I know this week is a long one.

So I had a cool experience in Horn Lake that I want to share. This time I was with Ponce and Hudson. We went to visit Rayna, who has been a gator for a little while but hasn't really been progressing. I really didn't know anything about her so I asked her if she had a Book of Mormon, she said she did. We asked her if she read it and she said no. We asked why and she gave me some random excuse. We committed her to read a chapter of the BOM this week and she said she doesn't have time to do that. The words just started coming to me. My testimony of the Book of Mormon has become so strong and I testified of the importance that this Book has and how it will change her life and why she needs to make time to read. It was like I was just pleading with her to read because I know how much power it brings, I know of its truthfulness and I want EVERYONE to know about it gosh dang it!

Finally before leaving we were able to commit her to 2 verses a day! Better than nada. I walked away just so happy. It was one of those moments where you don't even remember all that you said but I just had an overwhelming sense of joy that I was able to defend the Book of Mormon and this church. Alma 46:15 I will GLADLY fight for Christ's church. I'm reminded daily of how blessed I am to wear his name on my heart and go out and defend my Savior. Alma 46 is such a pump up chapter. Moroni is rallying his people together preparing them for battle. That's how it is out here. We really are just so pumped for this work. Some days are better than others obviously but now that we have a new transfer we are so excited to set new goals, have a fresh start and see more success in the ALRM mission. We already have some good ideas to make this next transfer the best one yet! Go. Fight. Win. =)

Welp for those of you who are still reading, thank you for enduring to the end.

Love Y’all



Monday, August 3, 2015

LONG WEEK. but it's AUGUST?! I can't believe it!

Tuesday: We were able to teach Amanda finally, she is Sister Carnathan’s friend. Super cute family. She had come and picked us up and on our way home after the lesson she wanted to show us how her little girl knew all the words to "Bad Blood" by Taylor Swift. Yes I was a total apostate because I didn't have it in me to tell her not to turn on music. So I TOTALLY GOT TO HAVE A 30 SECOND JAM SESH TO TAYLOR SWIFT. Instantly in the best mood ever. 
Tuesday night Katie drove us to Conway. We stayed the night with the STLs there. We love sleepovers =) 
Wednesday: Woke up at 4:30 to be ready and in Little Rock by 6:00. And from there we piled in the transfer van and the AP's drove us to Memphis. In the morning we had a leadership meeting and discussed some things for the mission and made new goals and such. Then we all got to do a temple session together! Felt so good to be back. I could have sat in the celestial room forever. It was good to have "me" time when I could just ask questions that I needed. I had a ton of questions and couldn't really think of everything in an organized way so I just asked that I could feel his love for me and man he delivered immediately. I instantly just felt so warm and at complete peace. It was a real good recharger for me. I know without a doubt that we have a Heavenly Father that loves us so much. That peace that he brings is just a prayer away always.  
Thursday: We had exchanges. I was in Danville with Sister Sipple. Danville is equivalent to Vernal. It’s real small, and for the first 3 hours we walked all over in the blazing sun. By the end of those 3 hours on foot we had seen every square inch of Danville pretty much. haha Katie has family in that area and that is where the missionaries found her, so Katie is there quite a bit and she came and took us to see her family. Long story short there is a little boy, Cayden, 8 years old, who is staying at Katie's grandparent’s house right now. He was just in a car accident with his dad, and his dad passed away. This was just like 2 weeks ago. Cayden is still recovering from his injuries and coping with the loss of his only parent. The first thing he told me when he met me was "my dad died" Broke my heart.  He is such a sweetheart and is trying to be so strong. We talked with him for a little while and said a prayer with him. The spirit that is in that home is so so strong it’s unbelievable. There are so many angels in there watching over that little boy, it had me in tears just talking to him. I gained a strong testimony that God does send his angels to administer to us and we are NEVER left alone. Also how blessed we are to know that because of Christ, there is no such thing as "the end." 
 Friday: After we exchanged back we had enough time to weekly plan then met up with Katie and the Danville Hermanas and all headed to Little Rock for the 40th Mission Reunion. We all crammed in Katie's car and had way too much energy. We aren't used to "going out" on Friday nights. haha I felt like I was in High School again for a night and I loved it! The Reunion was pretty boring honestly but it’s always fun to see everyone. It didn't end until 9:30, and afterwards we went and got food and didn't get home till a little after midnight. Lack of sleep this week for sure. 

Saturday: Finally back proselyting in my own area! I hadn't actually taught in Russellville since Tuesday! It was good to be home. Also Lewis sat in dog pee at one of our appointments. hahahaha she had to go home and change afterwards. hahaha 

Sunday: Before sacrament we went over to Rafael's to reinvite him to church. His kids didn't want to come and he didn't want to get them ready so after a lot trying to do all we can to get him there he still shut us down. We were heartbroken =( We didn't have any gators to church this week but our retention is still solid so that’s good. After we broke our fast we went over and raided Katie's kitchen. Poor Katie 
We are really working on finding part member families and working with them. We have been struggling lately because with exchanges and the temple trip and everything we aren't able to see our gators as much as we usually do. People are progressing slowly. And this week we will be blitzing Memphis area for a good 2 or 3 days so that’s more time out of Russellville :/ its hard but it'll work out. Also transfers are already coming up, gosh dang it I feel like we just dodged those. 

I've decided that if Lewis and I save MSF for a couple months we could purchase a Burley for our bikes and take turns pulling each other. hahaha remember those things?? Except now that it’s a new month our miles are renewed #blessed. 

This week we also found out that we were saying some things in our Spanish prayers wrong. NO ONE cared to inform us on this so now we are trying to retrain our brains and fix the grammar we have been doing wrong for months now!  How embarrassing. 

1. Taylor, my daughter, blessed are you because of your faith in my work. 
2. I will bless you and your family, yea, your little ones; and the day cometh that they will believe and know the truth and be one with you in my church. 
3. Lift up your heart and rejoice, for the hour of your mission is come; and you shall declare glad tidings of great joy unto this generation.
6. Behold, verily I say unto you, go from them (family) for a little time, and declare my word, and I will prepare a place for them. 
7. Yea, I will open the hearts of the people and they will receive you. And I will establish a church by your hand. 
8. And you shall strengthen them and prepare them against the time when they shall be gathered. 
9. Be patient in afflictions, revile not against those that revile. Govern your house in meekness, and in steadfast.
12 Pray always
13. Be faithful unto the end, and lo, I am with you. These words are not of man nor of men, but of me, even Jesus Christ, your Redeemer, by the will of the Father. Amen.

I'm just happy to be a missionary. 

Love Y’all