Tuesday, September 29, 2015

"THIS IS THE LAST ONE!"
(TRANSFER DAY)

video

How is September almost over?! The weeks are just getting faster and faster. It's madness. First off I have to apologize about the quote I sent last week because for some reason I didn't finish it..and it’s bothered me all week. Sorry about that. 

Transfers- Yep we survived another :) During transfers President came up to us and said "This is the LAST ONE!" The AP's let it slip that originally they had me training in Memphis but made the switch back =) #blessed. We have a new Elder in Russellville now, Elder Hughes from Vernal.  We got 2 new baby Hermanas in the mish!  One went to Memphis and the other is in a trio in Danville! Super excited to have more! There are 11 of us now! And also this transfer President called "impact Elders." Two of the best Elders in the mission basically live out of the car and travel around to companionships who are struggling with the work. We have some high goals for the month of October and November so hopefully the impact Elders can get our butts into gear. 

We had a leadership meeting on Wednesday in Little Rock. Something I have definitely learned on my mission is being able to come to meetings or church or whatever it is ready to learn and willing to change. Letting the spirit rebuke me on things I've been doing wrong and then applying what I'm learning and change it. We've been bad at correcting disobedience, it’s everywhere, and President kind of threw down on not fearing man and doing our job as leaders. We are trying to figure out that balance on how to correct things without coming off like jerks. It’s been a challenge. We discussed being all on the same page as leaders, and aligning our "vision." Increased vision brings increased motivation. 

Proverbs29:18, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”  

Hermana Lewis and I took a bagillion notes and took rebuke after rebuke haha. There are so many changes to be made, and we are currently compiling a good list of everything we need to do better in exchanges and what not. My mission has made me more teachable. 
My favorite part:  President Wakolo loves using the line "sweet is the work" especially when things go bad. So he said- There will be missionaries who just don't like you, and will treat you poorly and I would advise you to walk up to them and give them a big hug...and whisper into their ear, "sweet is the work." hahahaha

I've learned that even for little things, little setbacks, things I'm doing wrong, or things I could be doing better all I have to do is repent and then start over and everything is fine! I wish I understood this better before my mission. Change. 
"Be willing to Put on new", Ephesians 4:22-24
"Put on Christ", Galatians 3:27
"Feel the change", Alma 5:26 


So in the middle of this meeting, we all were eating lunch and President comes up to us and tells us that we need to come to the same meeting the next day in Memphis. We didn't want to go all the way back to Russellville to pack, and we didn't have rides to do so, so we left with Sister Arce and Zent, and they took us to the grocery store to buy toothbrushes and deodorant and we got dropped off at the Little Rock Hermana’s apartment for the night. (I've become an absolute pro at sleeping on the floor) Hermana Lewis and I ended up just switching outfits and got up at 5:00 the next morning and we rode over to Memphis with the APs. We were greasy and stinky but it worked out. Crazy couple days! But #blessed because there is a Panda Express in Tennessee. haha (or as Dad calls it "dog food express") haha

Oh yea we finally saw Chase this week- did I mention he slammed the door in our face last week? -_- he was having a rough day and after 3 weeks of not seeing him it completely broke our heart but he is better now! He finished the Book of Mormon! And said it helped him a lot.  But he refuses to pray about it because he wants to "leave it as a mystery" -_- Yea trust me I know, it’s just how Chase works. He has a friend in France and plans to move to France within the next couple weeks so we will see what can be done in the short time we got. He just likes to be difficult. 
 (CHASE!  AND GRACE CAME TEACHING WITH US AGAIN!)

Women’s Broadcast! I could go on forever about this! First off President Uchdorf was brilliant! He taught like the scriptures! Everyone listened to the same talk, but walked away with something a little bit different. I loved how he said "God didn't design us to be sad." This week Denver and Lauren were teaching their dad the Plan of Salvation and when we got to the earth picture they said "Oh this is the time to learn to be happy!" God just wants us to be happy! That’s why he's given us the Gospel. If I take advantage of what He has given me there is no way I can be sad. Everyone says "my mission was the hardest 18 months/2 years of my life, and obviously there are plenty of reasons missions are hard, but now I'm fully living the gospel of Jesus Christ and I'm so unbelievably happy.
 (WOMEN'S BROADCAST DINNER WITH THE WARD)
video
(I WAS TRYING TO BE SNEAKY AND GET A VIDEO OF DENVER AND LAUREN. THIS WAS THE BEST I GOT. HAHA) 

Mosiah 2:41 “And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God.”

Fun stuff-
-We had a Sunday BBQ (carne asada) with Spanish branch!
-We've already burned through our entire fall candle we bought for my birthday  our house smells like pumpkin cheesecake 
-WE DONT HAVE ANYTHING TO DO TODAY SO WE ARE GOING TO SLEEP ALL DAY LONG
-No one came to church again this week #sofun
-My new favorite food is pumpkin frozen yogurt and cottage cheese with Apple sauce 
-We found some solid new Spanish gators this week #bendiciones 
-At the leadership meeting we were taught etiquette and how to cut our food and how to eat slow so that "our souls can connect with their souls" hahahaha
-The families we are working with are still doing so well! They just need to find time to come to church :/ something last minute always pops up. But we are hoping to spend a session of conference with each of them this weekend for conference! 

Enjoy conference this week Y’all! 

Love y’all
Les quiero 

(SYDNEE CAME BACK FROM BYU FOR THE WEEKNED! THIS IS PAM AND SYDNEE STOKES; BISHOP'S FAMILY)

 (SOME BIRTHDAY PICS THAT I FORGOT TO SEND)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Y’all do yourself, God, and all the missionaries in the world a favor and use your agency wisely and GO TO CHURCH NEXT WEEK. And invite a friend to go with you. :)  

No transfer call yet! However the ZLs are punks and could be messing with us so we could get a last minute phone call but from what I know right now We have another one together!!!!:) :) :) but I'm trying to not get my hopes too high just in case they end up calling... Ya tengo 20 anos!
DISTRICT MEETING
  video
Monday night we all were at the Barrera's celebrating Kat's birthday and Hermana Barrera made cow tongue. Lewis has been wanting to try it, and I made it very clear that I was not going to taste it. But by the end of the night after everyone else had ate it I was being convinced that it was my "last crazy teenager thing to do." So I tried it, and after one bite I spit it right back out. I have a fun little video to show y’all. It tasted...exactly like cow tongue. The texture was absolutely horrific. So there's my final crazy thing I did as a teenager haha 
video

I had a great Birthday! Sister Wakolo and Jasmin called and sung to me that morning! I got plenty of texts and calls from members and missionaries, and THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to all of you for sending cards and packages. I wish I had the time to individually say thank you, I truly do appreciate it!! 
 THANK YOU ZOLEI FOR THE BIRTHDAY PICTURE!

CARD FROM ARIA!
Veronica took us to get papusas for lunch, and we finally got to see Katie after her Utah trip! We ate sushi and ice cream for dinner! And on Thursday Veronica made me Choco Flan and she and her family sang to me. It was a great 20th! Thanks again for all the love from home! =) (And shout out to Liv for sending me an autographed picture of herself, hahaha she said she wish she could give me $1000 dollars, but told me that one day that picture would be worth $1000 so it’s basically the same haha) 
 BIRTHDAY LUNCH WITH VERO!
 SUSHI WITH KATIE!
LIV'S SIGNATURE BIRTHDAY PRESENT!
I don't feel worthy of the amazing things that happened this week. 
-We got a call out of the blue from a member giving us a referral of someone who wants to be baptized, they just need the lessons! 
-Also this week we were at sonic waiting for our powerade slushes (the best) and I had a Book of Mormon on my lap and our waiter guy told us that some people had taught him about that book before! Turns out he was meeting with missionaries in Searcy just a couple months ago! Our slushie run was totally inspired. ;)
-We had been meaning to go visit a less active family for about a month now. They live in a farther town, and usually we don't have miles to go out there but we happened to be in the area and decided we should go stop by. Turns out her granddaughter Breece has been telling her that she wants to be baptized! We went by the next day and set a date for October! This family has been less active for some time but they are on fire right now and have all started coming back! 
-We had Monticello exchanges this week-they were amazing! We had a blast with the Hermanas and at the end of the day we had set 3 dates! One of them was for Sunday! I taught with Hermana Hernandez, she is from Mexico but is an English missionary. We clicked instantly I would love to serve with her one day!

Funny Stuff:
-While in Monticello we went to a bible study class and we're talking about Genesis 1 and the creation. All of a sudden an older woman raises her hand and tells us she knows she shouldn't say this out loud but she has to. And then goes on to say that she has had 5 lives… At first she was an ant... And then a toddler... And the story went on and on as she described all the lives she has had and then finished by saying she is now in her 5th life. Lewis literally had to get up and leave the room because she was about to lose it in laughter haha the room was just dead silent as this story is being told. And the teachers face was absolutely priceless. Hahaha it was one of the strangest things that's happened for a good while. Hahaha
-Also in Monticello we went teaching a new Hispanic investigator, she opened the door as she was breastfeeding her baby. No shame. No blanket. No nothing. Apparently this is pretty common with the culture but we've never taught an entire lesson like this and it was extremely odd. 
-Cupcakes. So mom (my real mom) sent cupcake stuff for my birthday! So for lunch on Saturday we made them. One thing led to another and we decided that we should spike 4 cupcakes and then deliver them to the elders. One had hummus in the middle, one had hot sauce, one was filled with nasty jelly beans, and the last one had an oreo on top filled with toothpaste in the middle. hahaha So we put on our poker faces and went and delivered the cupcakes like nice little Hermanas. That night we had sports night and asked them all about how the cupcakes were. Farnsworth, with the most straight face ever, tells us that it was their investigators birthday today and so they gave the cupcakes to them. Immediately we went sick. We told them we spiked them, and they acted super mad and stormed off to get their phone to call their investigator about it. We felt so bad, then all of a sudden Farnsworth comes storming back and says "THATS WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO EAT AN OREO FILLED WITH TOOTHPASTE!" HAHAHA. He thought it was mint flavored filling so he ate the entire thing. hahahhahah Ahh gosh missions are fun. 
THE 4 ON THE SIDE ARE THE SPIKED ONES :)
-Saturday night we went to the fair. We handed out some cards and had like 5 investigators run up to us and gave us a hug and said hi! We also ran into some members too! It was so fun! Russellville is home. 
RUSSELLVILLE FAIR
-I think I forgot to mention this before, but a few weeks ago we were visiting a less active. He was showing us around his study room, and on his wall there is a poster of the Lord of The Rings with EVERYONES SIGNATURE. Carson that’s sweet huh??
  
Top Lessons of the Week:
Denver (11) and Lauren (9). They are the younger boys. We taught them the plan of salvation. Afterwards we asked them to teach it back to us. It makes complete sense why God wants us to be like little children, because they taught it back to us better than we taught them. It was the coolest thing! We left them the little cut outs for them to teach their dad! And afterwards we asked them each to pray. In both their prayers they said "thanks God for sending the church sisters to us" Melts my heart. I love these boys.

We had an incredible lesson with a sister in Monticello. She is too scared to commit because there are too many "false churches" in the world. Ironic eh? Any who this lesson went on for a while and we taught the Restoration. It was just one of those lessons where I didn't really know exactly what I was saying. The words just flowed. We had answers to overcome all of her concerns. The entire lesson was completely spirit driven. And by the end she told us that she loves the power that is within us. What’s cool is that other people get to see God’s power through us. It is also cool how God fights for his lost children through his missionaries.   Side note: I had a dream that all of a sudden I was home. And Liv and I were having a big homecoming party together. And I was absolutely beside myself because I had only served 6 months and that I needed to go back and finish! But everyone kept telling me that I was done! It was terrifying. I was incredibly happy to be waking up at 6:30 as a missionary again. haha

So y’all know I like to be in control of everything. And out here if I'm learning anything it’s that I don't have control. I watch people poorly use their agency over and over again and spend their Sundays IN EVERY PLACE POSSIBLE EXCEPT AT CHURCH. And it breaks my heart and is extremely frustrating. Farnsworth is about to start his last transfer and I asked him if they had anyone coming to church today and he said they all called and canceled last minute and then followed by saying.."yea I’m completely numb to it now." haha I haven't hit that point yet. It still is disappointing every time. I can't even begin to comprehend how God has the patience to watch his children poorly use their/my agency every day. 

In a conference talk by Randall L Ridd I really liked when he said 

"Ultimately, the choice is yours. You have agency. It is the power to not only act on your desires but also to refine, purify, and elevate your desires. Agency is your power to become. Each choice takes you closer to or further from what you are meant to become. Always ask yourself, “Where will this choice lead?” Develop the ability to see beyond the moment.  Satan wants to control your agency so he can control what you become. He knows that one of the best ways to do this is by trapping you with addictive behavior. Your choices determine."

So y’all do yourself, God, and all the missionaries in the world a favor and use your agency wisely and GO TO CHURCH NEXT WEEK. And invite a friend to go with you. :)  

Love y’all. 
Te quiero 

CAR RIDE TO THE TEMPLE
MEMPHIS TEMPLE
 BIRTHDAY TEMPLE TRIP!
 PUPPY!

BILLIE AND HER FRIENDS


BRAG FAMILY GOT A PET PIG
video
video
video

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

"IF YOU THINK THIS WORK I S ABOUT YOU, GET OUT OF THE WAY!!"
(ELDER BEDNAR)

Hello again! I'm almost 20 and I'm not hapy about it! That's too old! I want to be 19 forever. And I didn't even get to do anything super crazy and rebellios to say farewell to my teenage years. lame..

This week we attended 3 Specialized Trainings. They are meetings we have once a transfer. We receive instruction from President and the AP's and then sometimes someone else comes and talks. But this round was a little different. Each zone had their own Specialized. After we were instructed and taught the cool little pamphlet deal, we did a "break out" session, where we were assigned new companions, and all piled into cars and were dropped off in a random neighborhoods in the area. We were asked to put all that we learned that day into practice. Afterwards we all came back to the church and reported who we found and our experiences. All of the names we found were given to the Zone Leaders who were over the area for them to go back and follow up. We had some pretty cool experiences with this that I wanted to share. 
(HERMANA'S HUDSON, HERNANDEZ, BENNETT, TESTER)

First Specialized was in Memphis. We went over there to do exchanges and President asked us to attend specialized with the Hermanas. I was assigned with Sister Dudley, (she is from Morgan!) and during the hour we spent knocking doors we found 4 new investigators and one even committed to baptism! From this Specialized we had a total of 42 new investigators! And the next day we got a text from the Zone Leaders saying they went back to visit one of our new gators that sister Dudley and I had found and they were able to set a date with her for the first week of October! How cool is that?? 

(HERMANA REED ON EXCHANGES IN HORN LAKE)
Next Specialized was for my Zone, North Little Rock Zone in Conway. In total we found 46 new investigators. One man we taught was sitting in his van for his lunch break. He was from Palmyra so he knew plenty about Joseph Smith, but was not a fan of the Book of Mormon. We went through all of The Restoration with him, it was easily the most powerful lesson I've had all week. By the end...yea he still wasn't having any of it. Didn't want us to leave a card or anything but we knew he felt the spirit. He'll come around one day.  
(SISTER FARR, EVANS, LARSON, ELDER THOMAS)

Final Specialized was in Little Rock Zone. There are 2 sets of Hermanas in this zone. I went teaching with Hermana Hernandez, and Hermana Bennett. We only had 30 minutes and we were having no luck. We stopped and said a prayer asking to be able to find someone in this area, in the middle of our prayer the English elders on the other side of the street were calling after us, they had found a young mom, Maria, who only spoke Spanish so we went over and taught her The Restoration and committed her to baptism! She was golden. In total this zone found 50 new investigators

After all of this I got thinking..and if there were tons more missionaries out on missions the work would move forward SO MUCH FASTER! To have 50 new investigators in one hour is just madness! Most of the time there are only 4-6 missionaries at most in each area. Imagine if even just a few more missionaries more in each area! THE LORDS WORK NEEDS MORE MISSIONARIES. Any of y'all who are even considering a mission, just go. The Lord needs you. 
https://ssl.gstatic.com/ui/v1/icons/mail/images/cleardot.gif
(KAT)
We've also been taught lately to introduce ourselves as "your missionaries" not "the missionaries". The reactions are priceless. Hahaha people are so confused but it works for the most part! Sometimes it makes them interested...or upset. Sweet is the work. Haha 

It has been insane coming back to Russellville after being gone all week and trying to pick things back up. Our biggest problem right now is that there aren't enough hours in the day. Once we were home we started making a "to-do" list and I wanted to cry. So much to do. Unfortunately we've lost contact with some investigators, we have around 15 referrals  that need to be contacted, a list of less actives to visit, members who need service done, more exchanges this week in Monticello, I'm falling behind on my journal, our apartment is a disaster, we still haven't had time to unpack, and I've lost my personal study journal during this weeks travels  =(, and OUR PETS HEADS ARE FALLING OFF (name that movie.) haha

But I can honestly say although things are crazy and stressful, I've never served and worked so selflessly in my life. This week I felt like I was truly losing myself in the work. And although its exhausting, I love it. There is a quote by Elder Bednar that President quoted once, it says 
"if you think this work is about you, get out of the way." 
I love this.

Also something that was discussed at specialized was tender mercies. We talked about looking for them throughout the work because the more we recognize them the more we are "boasting in our God." So don't mind my boasting ;) but I want to list some tender mercies from this week:
-We were on bike week this week so we had to find rides EVERYWHERE. To Little Rock, then to Memphis, Mississippi,  to Frasier, to Little Rock, then Conway, back to Russellville, and then Little Rock 3 more times for Stake Conference stuff. And each time we had a different member or missionary help us out. It was madness trying to find rides, but we received so much help with that this week, and it was such a blessing. 



-We ran into Chris (Paul and Dasha's brother). Last we had heard he was in jail. But we rode past him at his work and he flagged us down and let us know that he is getting his life back together and thanked us for everything. Truly a tender mercy that we crossed paths with him. 
-THE WEATHER IS PERFECT! It's not bloody hot anymore! It feels like fall! We even wore jackets this week a little bit! #SOBLESSED
-Chase is still gone, and we are super sad about it, but now we are teaching his cousin Jace! She is like Chase used to be and doesn't believe in God, but we've had some cool lessons with her and she agreed to start reading the Book of Mormon. 
- I was able to teach someone from the Virgin Islands this week! So I basically served in St Thomas for a good 10 minutes! haha
-And lastly the tender mercy of coming across these scriptures. They helped a lot. they are about war which is completely applicable because la Lucha es real. 

Alma 56: 16 depressed physically and emotionally (president says that even Ammon was depressed during missionary work (alma 26),so if we are depressed, good. that's normal. Hahah)  it'd been a long week and now we are trying to retain Russellville.
                    
Alma 58:9 grieved and filled with fear -SO MUCH TO DO. 
            :10 pray. Lots!  ask for strength and help to retain our area 
            :11 God gave us assurances/tender mercies. Gave us peace of mind that it'd all be ok. 
             :37 & 39 trust. that God will come and help us and give us support that we need. 
           :41 SUCCESS
   Then let's pretend that the next scripture is Mosiah 18:16: THEN THEY BAPTIZED 204 people.  ;)    That's the plan. 

Luckily we don't have to do it on a bike this week. And next time you get an email from me I'll be an old lady #20.  Everyone wave goodbye to my youth 

Love Y'all
Te quiero 
 BEFORE STAKE CONFERENCE
 AFTER STAKE CONFERENCE

 (KAT MADE US CREPES)

 (HERMANA SORTO TAUGHT US HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE TORTILLAS)

(LIP SINKING ON THE WAY TO ADULT SESSION OF STAKE CONFERENCE WITH KAT)

video
video
video