Monday, March 28, 2016

Y'ALL PUMPED FOR CONFERENCE OR WHAT?? Put it in your plans folks.
We set some dates this week! The Martinez family is still the best! 
We also were contacting an old investigator, turned out to be the elder's recent converts. We were teaching her and her granddaughters joined in and in the middle of 3 Nephi 18 we invited them to be baptized and they accepted! We knocked on another guy's door. He showed a lot of interest and has been searching for a church. Door step dates are so cool! We reached standard of excellence this week "otra vez"! The work is going really good here in Memphis. God is magnifying our efforts. 

So recall back to last summer when Sister Lewis and I pulled a prank on elder Contreras and Elder Dyorich and gave them a referral to a tombstone? Good times right?:) Well Elder Contreras is in my district again...he and Elder Peterson gave us a referral. We thought nothing of it, they told us this guy was super cool and that there was a lot of potential, so after church we went out to go find this "Carlos Rodriguez" who is "super elect". We realized that he lived in the same apartment complex as the other set of elders. So we called them to open the gate for us. They played it off like nothing and we start searching for the apartment. Funny thing is we couldn't find it and ended up knocking a few different doors and left cards.  We went back to the car and started driving away when finally we found the right address....And it was the elder’s apartment -_- haha Chamacos. 

Culture fun-
The Hispanic culture is so giving and kind. Most always they won't let us leave without offering us food, water, and fruit. They all have fruit baskets. I don't know where this comes from, but even with investigators, after knowing them for 5 minutes they offer us their fruit. Haha I love it. They always, always, always want to feed us. Always. They also will tell us that they want us to get fatter.  90% of the meals they feed us are tortillas, beans, rice with some sort of meat, usually chicken. Wednesday our dinner canceled and my body was having withdrawals. I was craving tortillas so bad. I love Mexican food. 

Always they are always, always, always late. Always. If the activity is supposed to start at 5:30 it will start around 6:30-7:00. We caught a ride to the Easter activity with members. We were supposed to leave at 9:30 so we met them at their house at 9:25.  Their door was open so we walked in and they all still were asleep... Haha Hermana Moore still loves being on time though, that hasn't changed. They can make me fatter but they will not change my mind about that one. They will talk and talk and talk and talk some more. And they love talking about Jesus. Which is awesome. 

We went to the store with the Tirados before the Easter activity and we taught Kelly how to give out cards to people. Haha it was so cute. She was so nervous so we role played and I had her say a prayer in her heart. We saw a family walking towards us and I pushed her towards them and she did it! Kelly is my little bud. She and her family came teaching with us Sunday too. Awesome fam. 

We had women's conference! The Campos came! MIRACLES!! The branch took them in like champs. We ate dinner at the church and watched the conference. The part that has stuck with me the most was removing the mirror in front of us and replacing it with a window. It is impossible to follow the example of Jesus Christ when I am too worried about myself. 

During a blitz at specialized I met a guy who played football for Air Force. He had played with some Mormons and remembers playing BYU. He wouldn't accept our card at first. He had been at the BOM play last week and didn't accept one then either. By the end of our long conversation about football he had a lot of good things to say about his Mormon friends, and accepted our card and wanted to watch the link to the Easter video. 

My favorite "Easter" scripture is Alma 7:11-13
12. And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.

Elder Holland defines succor as "to run to." I know that I have felt in my hardest days Him "run to me." I know the Atonement is real. I have felt and continue to feel the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ every day. I've seen it change lives, including my own. The bible and the Book of Mormon combined are powerful testimonies of what the Atonement means and how we can access it. I'm grateful for the gospel, I know it's true.
#blessed because missionary life is the best life :)

Love y'all
Les quiero 

P.S. Mom!! I found a BOM that had your testimony in it!! Miracles!!


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

 "Hey y'all! Would you like a card about Jesus Christ?"  "Sir, would you like a card about Easter? There is a link to a video about Jesus Christ!" "Would you like a copy of a REAL Book of Mormon?" "Now that you've seen the play, read the book!" "Here is a free copy of the Book of Mormon! It testifies of Jesus Christ!" <----this was me all week. 

It was a pretty unique experience being able to be downtown all week handing out Books of Mormon. The Theater is right off of Main and Beale Street, it's a party. I want to share a bunch of stories about that today. We all showed up around 5:00 and wrote our numbers on a billion pass along cards. By the end of the week we all knew what corners were the most exciting so we'd fight over corners and then get to work. Before the play we would hand out Book of Mormon cards and the Easter video cards. So there were missionaries everywhere, we'd pass them out to cars that were stopped at the stop light, go around the parking lots, President even got on the buses that were stopped and talked to the drivers, haha. We were out till around 11:00 each night giving out all the Books of Mormon we could. 
Some took the card, some stopped and talked and wanted to know more, some stopped and talked and wanted to let us know that they hate us, some pretended to be on the phone and stormed by us all, some turned us down, some wanted a picture with us because we are the "real deal." ;) Some thought we were part of the play.

During intermission we would stand across the street and sing hymns. One night while we were singing, a guy came across the street, stood in front of us with his arms out and started chanting "Hail Satan." So that was creepy. And then a cute lady walked across so she could hear us better and enjoy the music. One of the elders was able to talk with her afterward, come to find out she is atheist but she said hearing us sing was the best part of her night and accepted a copy of The Book of Mormon. 
The real party is afterward when they all come out. We all are posted up at our corners with boxes full of Books of Mormon. Floods of people come out at the same time and we start offering them Books of Mormon. They go like candy people!! Some want them for a "souvenir" from the play. Some are actually interested and ask us for one before we can offer it to them. Some said they'd take one because they just appreciate us being there after our religion got ridiculed so badly. For whatever reason, now they have the evidence of the Restored gospel. :) 

Our first night, Tuesday, we got there a little bit early. So we decided to walk down Beale Street for a minute. We hadn't been there for 3 minutes and we find 3 guys who spoke Spanish. So we started talking to them and gave them cards. One of them had a microphone in his hand and wanted to talk. When we told him we were missionaries he got right in my face. I've never had someone get up in my face like this. He started asking questions on the 2 baptisms and what they mean. Then we went on and on about the Holy Ghost is given to us so we can cast out spirits and still was right up to me nose to nose asking why I'm not casting out evil spirits out of people. -_- And then he said "y'all need to go cast out Devils of the Mormons up there at that play." We were like...uhh we are the Mormons. And then he goes off about how Mormons aren't Christian (my favorite line) and yada yada yada. All that good stuff. We answered his questions, invited him to read the Book of Mormon and left. Haha being in the city is so exciting. 
After the play on Tuesday I had a guy come up to me and started asking questions. His name was Jared, he is from Australia. He had passed through Utah and had already received a Book of Mormon and wanted to know more. He seemed pretty doubtful but was also incredibly respectful. We talked for a while and I answered his questions the best I could. I felt kind of frustrated because I felt like I couldn't answer his questions very well. There were a few I wanted to study a little more before I gave him an answer so I got his information and told him I would get back to him. The next morning after finding some answers I got back to him, bore my testimony, let him know that there were missionaries in Australia and invited him to read. He said he had a long plane ride home and definitely would get started. He appreciated what we were doing as missionaries and showed a lot of interest. He will be a great member one day. :)

We found a Hispanic who lives right next to our church building! He said we could come by and teach sometime so we got his info and are going to try that. We also ran into some girls from Columbia. They loved that my gringo self could speak espanol and wanted pictures. They may have been a bit drunk at the time, but when they sobered up they found a bunch of Jesus cards in their pockets  and pictures on their phone with my name tag "La Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de Los Ultimos Dias." :) 
There were a lot of good conversations struck up with people who just were curious what we were doing. They didn't necessarily show a ton of interest but would accept a Book and enjoyed talking about us. Sometimes it's nice for people to find out that we actually are quite normal. Haha

There were a couple corners we weren't allowed to go on. After the play President saw some people on those corners so he crossed anyway. President Floyd in the Presidency kept yelling from the other side "President get off that corner!" President gave no bothers. Haha He is an animal man, he gave out so many Books of Mormon. President fears no man. He sets a good example for us. However we didn't dare go on that corner..haha
Friday night we got jipped and we were on a sidewalk that was pretty empty. There were missionaries on either side of us on the corners so by the time they got to us they had already talked with missionaries. So we resorted to going up to cars that were at the stop light and handing cards out to them. One guy I gave a card to had some questions and we started talking. When a car pulled up behind him he had to leave. About 15 minutes later he came over to the sidewalk. He had parked and came back to get more answers. He was from..somewhere where they speak Arabic, I don't remember where he said, but he had no idea about God or anything. So we started at the basics and he wanted a copy of the Book of Mormon in Arabic. So we are ordering him one this week. We have his info to track him down and give it to him when it arrives. Our conversation was all over the place. He asked "who is Jesus Christ?" "Is there a heaven and hell?" "Why do we need scripture?" "Is God our father?" "How?" It was so cool to answer these basic questions. I'm excited for him to get his copy. 

Sunday night was closing night. It was also freeeezing! We made sure we were on a better, more crowded sidewalk. We handed out so many Books of Mormon it was insane! After the crowd calmed down Sister Mathison (we were on "mini exchanges") had 4 Books of Mormon left total so we started walking down the street trying to hand them out. There were a line of taxis parked on the side of the road so we started bouncing down the line handing them out. I noticed a guy on the sidewalk standing alone. Turns out he only spoke Arabic. Which was embarrassing because I tried to speak to him in Spanish. Haha I tried giving him a card. I said "Jesus Christ" and "picture" and would point to the picture. He was repeating what I was saying. I was trying to do all sorts of hand signals to try to get him to understand my message- Jesus. Loves. You. And he would repeat "Jesus loves you." And I would say "no You!" And he would say "you!" Hahaha oh man I wish I could have just busted out a bunch of Arabic right then. He felt bad because he couldn't understand me, his friend who spoke more English came over and they both accepted the cards. Whew. 

And then as we were walking back to the car some crazy guy kept screaming at us "devil!" "Satan!" And doing all these weird hand signs. Creepy..Ahh man these stories could go on and on...lots of good, lots of rude, lots of fun:) 

Also quick update on the Martinez familly, they came to church and brought their niece we are teaching with them! Woohoo! They have a 3 year old Melanie, and she is just like Elizabeth! I am in love. The first night I met her I tried to get a hug from her before we left but she didn't want to. We were walking down the stairs away from their apartment and she comes barreling round the corner with tears in her eyes calling for the missionaries and gave us the biggest hugs. She is my new favorite thing about Memphis. I love the Martinez family so so much! 

I realized this week, more than ever, that the world wants us to feel small. Satan wants the world to look better and more powerful than the Gospel. The gospel has never been and never will be "popular," after all, his kingdom is not of this world, and it never will be. Prophets from the very beginning even down until today are persecuted and ridiculed for preaching the word of God, but that didn't and doesn't make their message any less true. The persecution that our Savior, even Jesus Christ experienced didn't make Him any less of our Savior or change the course of his divine mission. John 15 "if they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you." As missionaries and especially as disciples, we will be ridiculed and questioned for our beliefs. And often it's really hard. It's hard to feel like we stand alone. My favorite bible chapter Romans 8 gives a powerful response- "If God be for us, who can be against us?"
How grateful I am to represent Jesus Christ and bare witness of His name and His gospel and withstand the persecution for His names sake. I feel the Savior beside me as we suffer the persecution together. 
2 Corinthians 4
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
8 We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
9 Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;
10 Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body.
11 For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.
13 We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak;
16 For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.
17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;

Love y'all
Te quiero

Give someone a Book of Mormon this week ;)

Hermana Moore 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


 Hello from Memphis! I am not in Russellvlle anymore that's for sure. Memphis is fun! Our area is huge! I found a "weave" in my bathroom drawer (yuck), everything is a little more ghetto, my light skin and hair sticks out like a sore thumb, and my first meal with a family here they told me they are going to "Agordarme" AKA make me fat. Haha but I love it here! It has been such a good week!
Hermana Madsen is my new companion! By now all the Hermanas know each other and we have gone on exchanges before so we already had a good relationship. She is great! We work and teach really well together. Her Spanish is awesome too. She is from Herriman Utah and has been out almost a year. I'm excited to be with her!

The members are awesome. The branch is bigger that Russellville. We eat Mexican food EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. This area was just opened 3 transfers ago so there is lots of work here! It's nice to be speaking Spanish more! I already feel a difference in it. I really like being full Spanish finally.  It's a super huge area; we cover anyone Spanish who lives in Memphis or surrounding areas, which also covers Mississippi.

It rained all week. Literally all week. We also have had some tornado warnings. The sirens went off last night. Spring time is here!

I did get my root canal taken care of. They did the first half on Friday and I'll go back in the next week to get the second half done. LAUGHING GAS!!:) I was in heaven. They were awesome, I think I ended up at a place that specializes in root canals and such. So it turned out good. I haven't had to stay in or not work at all which is also real good. They also docked me $100 because I'm Mormon :) haha just kidding. They did dock $100 but probably not because I'm Mormon :)
So now that I'm on this side I'm in on the secret. We get to go stand outside the Book of Mormon play (ya know, the not so nice one) in downtown Memphis and pass out Books of Mormon and teach them what the Book of Mormon is really about! We have three, 6 hour shifts this week that we get to go do this. How cool right?? From what I heard they'll either treat us like celebrities (they just watched a whole play on missionaries) or treat us like garbage. We get some training tomorrow during district meeting but it's gonna be a good time! I'm not sure if it'll be too late but if y'all can write your testimony of The Book of Mormon and the Restored gospel and email it to We will be passing out BOMs with those testimonies in them!

A quote in PMG by President Ezra Taft Benson says "I have often said one of the greatest secrets of missionary work is work!" I love this. This is my favorite answer to everything. Tired? Homesick? Stressed? Just get to work.
Our first day together we went to an area and tried to visit a less active. We walked in to Jehovah's Witnesses on the couch visiting with her so we left and started knocking the neighborhood. We quickly found out there were Jehovah’s Witnesses pamphlets on all the doors. So all the ones we knocked we took down their pamphlets and replaced with ours. Haha we found 2 new gators and set dates with both of them.

We had the most members present this area has seen so far this year! Which is awesome! There are so many good members to help so we hope to keep that up.

We are teaching a new family- they were a referral from the ZLs. They are from Alabama and had elders visiting them there. They hadn't made contact with missionaries in Memphis until they saw the elders at a restaurant and approached them. The elders were going by but got moved so now we are teaching them.  They have 2 kids who were baptized a while ago. And now have 10 year old who is just absolutely adorable and loves the Book of Mormon. They like the missionaries and the church but don't want to be baptized and don't feel like this branch is as welcoming at the one in Alabama... So we are working on that. We set a date with the ten year old though!

Saturday was insane. Elder Renlund was in Memphis all weekend.  We were allowed to attend the adult session if we brought a less active or investigator with us. We really wanted to go and we knew nothing would be more beneficial than for them to hear directly from an apostle. It was a crazy day finding rides but it all worked out. We had 2 investigators and 3 less actives there. MIRACLES. All the missionaries were all over trying to get people seated and passing out papers about the BOM testimonies for next week and I look up and see Elder Renlund right in front of me coming through the door. Y’ALL, I SHOOK HIS HAND. He asked me where I was from and then asked if I was a Lancer. Yep that was my 10 seconds of glory and it was awesome!

The Wakolos, Kopishkes and Renlunds spoke to us. Mostly they spoke about sustaining our prophet and apostles and not "casting rocks" of selection and picking and choosing the council that we follow. Elder Renlund spoke on keeping the bigger perspective. He and his wife mentioned a little bit about his setting apart. It would be the coolest thing in the world to see that happen. The Renlunds bring such a strong presence it's incredible.
In the bible dictionary under "faith" it says "our faith must be centered on Jesus Christ to produce salvation." Faith on anything else but Him will not provide the same security and peace. As awesome as we think we are sometimes, if we have more faith in ourselves, we always will face disappointment and become upset because our imperfect selves couldn't produce a perfect outcome (imagine that!). Christ was perfect and pure, and because of that we can fully place our confidence in Him and his example. Faith is also a principal of power and action. I have a hard time wrapping my mind around the whole "yes I have faith in Christ but I'm just gonna do whatever I want and sit back and then take my place in celectial glory." Noooo. Whenever President Wakolo addresses us or anyone in whatever setting or closes a phone call he says "Thank you for what you do but mostly thank you for who you are." I imagine the day standing with Christ we won't be looking at a white board full of tally marks of the good and bad we did during this life.  He will want to see who we have become. Our goal is to become like Him and we do that by living His doctrine. And the first step is to have faith in Him. His doctrine. His power. His way. Faith in His name. Any other doctrine, power, way or name is simply wrong. I'm continually trying to increase my faith in Him. It's been even more of a push lately because the bible dictionary also says that "faith is kindled by testimony of those who have faith." I hope those of you who have lost some of your faith in Him can be rekindled through my time here as a missionary.

I love this gospel. I know it's true.

And no I haven't seen Elvis yet. Soon though :)

Love y'all
Te quiero

Monday, March 7, 2016

 Goodbye Russellville round 2 

Well it's transfer time again and I'm going to MemphisI was kind of expecting it. A part of me thought I could have one more in Russellville but it would have been too good to be true. So I'm now I'm the Memphis south Spanish area with Hermana Madsen! It's an all Spanish area which will be real good for me! But also really different. I'm sad to leave Mac. We've had so much fun! 
The work was incredibly slow this week. Most of our week was centered around my tooth issue. Also this week highlighted how these members are absolute CHAMPS. 
My tooth wasn't bad Sunday and Monday. Then Tuesday night we went to sync our iPads and the pain fired up real bad. It actually was super inspired because we were on bikes and we both had the feeling to start heading closer to our apartment so we were close to home by the time it started hurting. Some members came by and dropped off some medicine but the pain was way too strong. I got a whopping total of an hour and a half of sleep. Every time I tried to lie down the pain would be worse. Most of the night I studied scriptures, read my journal and tried to find all sorts of crazy positions to sleep sitting or standing up. 

Wednesday we had zone meeting. I was finally able to get into the dentist that morning and I told them I need a root canal. (this is not my first rodeo) But they told me since I hadn't got my teeth cleaned since my mission that I just needed a cleaning for now -_-  so after zone meeting I went back to get my teeth cleaned. 
And believe it or not, it didn't fix the pain.  I had the same issue on and off all day and even more so that night. At this point I was already exhausted and the pain was so bad. This was easily one of the top worst nights of my life. But I had decided since I couldn't sit or lay down I would just find things to do. So I made brownies and showered and paced the halls in tears.  Now the pain was just as bad standing up so around 4 I woke Hermana Mac up to try to help me call someone. She said I looked way scary. My eyes were purple and my face was white and I was saying weird things and it was just bad bad bad. Did I mention I was in a lot of pain?? We tried calling and texting the mission nurse, Sister Wakolo and members for any advice or any sort of anything. But no one answered. A little later I wanted to try to fall asleep one more time. I think the exhaustion just took over completely and I was able to sleep until 7. When Mac walked in she said she felt angels around me. It was a miracle honestly. 
So long story short I went back into the dentist 2 more times. They gave me some good pain pills and told me I need a root canal. The pain pills worked nicely and I slept all day Thursday :) I'll have to find a dentist once I get to my area. 

I cannot say thank you enough to my Russellville family for taking such good care of me. 
They gave us tons of rides this week. Went on splits with Mac while I slept and went to my appointments. Sat with me during my appointments. Brought me medicine. Let me crash on their couch to sleep. Checked in on me. They are the best. 
So yea that was a huge chunk of the week. We did get some work done though!
We had a cool experience on Tuesday. Every Tuesday Veronica feeds us and then comes teaching with us afterwards. We usually set the plans but she said she felt inspired to visit a less active family and that we needed to change plans. This is a recent convert family from Utah. They are caring for a sick family member and haven't been able to make it to church much. We got in and talked with the mom of the family. Turns out she has been praying for extra support and love and even had a dream of the elders that baptized her and her family the night before. So when she saw the 2 black name tags at her door she knew her prayers had been answered. She was emotional and grateful for our visit. The plans are for her to be able to come to church every week and start her temple prep classes! Super inspired visit. 
Saturday we were out working all day and saw no one all day. Sunday I packed and said my goodbyes. Honestly it is so hard to go so long without teaching. I feel weird today. A little disconnected even, so hopefully this week will be full of work! 

So how do I feel about leaving Russellville? Sad. These people have been my world. My focus in studies, the majority of my prayers and fasting, my "temporary moms." But I'll be back :) I love them. I'm super attached and I already have plans with families to come back and visit soo....:) it's only a 24 hour drive mom! Road trips! I'm so grateful Heavenly Father gave me the opportunity to serve here for so long.

But I am excited for a new adventure too :) 

Moving forward things I want to work on in my new area:
-I want to have more confidence as I approach people. To be better at not fearing man. 
-I want to enjoy every second because time is just flying! 

Also if you want to get pumped about missionary work, go watch/listen to “Missionary Work and TheAtonement” by Jeffrey R Holland and President Eyring

Love y'all
Les quiero