Monday, November 29, 2010

Week 55

Hola Mis Seres Amados

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Here in the West Green ward we celebrated with tons and tons and tons and tons of food. My companion and I and the Elders that also serve in our ward went to 5 homes on thursday to eat. I know, right? Bah, I felt so sick after the second one I don't really know how I survived. This was our schedule:
9:00 am-11:00 Taxi-ed the Elders over to a nearby middle school to play football with the English congregation, Katy 1st Ward. Hermana Martinez and I just watched and were halfway entertained.

1:00 pm Dinner #1 at the Relief Society President's home. Traditional Turkey and all the sides, lots of food

3:00 pm Dinner #2 at the Acosta family's home. What a blessing that their turkey wasn't done yet! We ate some homemade fudge, which was delicious, and nachos. After eating some we played the Elders a round of foosball, they won the first match 10-9, BUT we dominated them the second round 10-5, woot woot. Girl Power.

5:00 pm Dinner #3 at the deAlmeida family home. SO CUTE. The two little girls were all dressed up and they had this long table all decorated. It was the fanciest Thanksgiving dinner I have ever seen, and probably the most delicious. We had a traditional turkey meal again, it was way good, but the mom made homemade pineapple and apple empanadas with ice cream. Oh man they were so goooooood.

7:00 pm Dinner #4 at the Flores family home. We promised them that we would just stop by on the way home to say hi but they tried REALLY hard to make us eat again. We each drank a soda and then denied food about 80 times. Eventually Hermano Flores said, "Just eat ONE green bean that is all I ask." Haha So we each ate one green bean. Rule #1 Hispanics really don't like it when you don't eat their food. We took a bunch of food to go and it made a delicious lunch on Saturday.

8:00 pm Dinner #5 at the Lopez family home. Another family whom we promised to "just stop by". They didn't force us to eat but packaged up some traditional sandwiches from El Salvador, and they were super good as well.

Friday was District meeting and after all of our meetings we had a big zone pot luck and it was super fun! Elder Lang cooked a turkey, I don't know how he did it but it was the most delicious turkey I have ever eaten, and it was made by an Elder during my mission, weird. Elder Lemley, my district leader, MADE a pinata that looked like Mater from the movie Cars, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching my companion beat the trash out of it.

Saturday, we had a soccer game that was supposed to be the West Green ward versus the Bear Creek ward, BUT only like 3 people showed up from Bear Creek so we did all the members versus all of the missionaries instead. So, it was like all these youth from my ward versus 8 missionaries, and those kids actually know how to play soccer. I am still sore all over haha. I had so much fun playing soccer, and the best part was that after we played this guy go out of his car, came over to my companion and I and tried to draft us to a women's soccer league for the city. HAHA. I could not believe it, I don't know how to play soccer! I just run around like a crazy and try and get the ball! But, apparently I have a natural skill and he said with a little trainer, "no one would be able to get past me while I am on defense!" Haha. He gave us the coach's phone number and I taped into my journal, just because it was so unbelieveable.

Well, that ladies and gentlemen, is how Thanksgiving is celebrated in the the West Green Spanish ward. I had a great time, even though I almost died from overeating, and am grateful for the kindness of all the members in taking us into their homes for the holiday. I love you all and hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Here comes Christmas! Crazy!

Con Amor y Paz
Hermana Taets

Week 54

Mis Seres Queridos,

Feliz Dia de Accion de Gracias! That means "Happy Thanksgiving" for all you Bolillos ;) Haha. I am super excited to experience a Hispanic Thanksgiving, even though I have a feeling a lot of them will just make turkey like Americans do. As of now we have 4 dinner appointments scheduled for Thursday, all with families we are pretty close to, so it will be a really nice, chill day. We aren't allowed to knock doors on Thanksgiving and I don't think our investigators will be busy, so we will be spending the whole day with families in our ward. I have so much to be grateful for...I think this is a prime opportunity to start a list...

1.My amazing family. I love them so much. They have been so supportive of me during my mission and that means so much more to me than I think they understand. I know it must have been difficult to understand why I chose to serve a mission, or even what serving a mission even meant, but they have supported me while I have been here and that means the world to me. They are also ridiculously cool. One thing I am looking forward to as the end of my mission draws near is being able to just hang out with my Mom and my sister all of the time. Before my mission I definitely put too much on my plate and didn't spend much time with them, but I know that after my mission things will be different and I plan on strengthening the relationships I have, not only with Mom and Alli but with my Grandparents, uncles aunts, cousins. Something I have realized on the mission is that no matter what your family will always be there for you. I love them all so much for their love and support and hope one day I will be able to repay them for all they have done for me.
My testimony of Jesus Christ and His gospel. In the last few years I have really come to know who He is, what He did while He was in the Earth, and who He is to me personally. I cannot fully express the gratitude I have for my Savior Jesus Christ. In the Book of Mormon, in the book of Alma, Chapter 7, verses 11-12, it reads, "And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people. 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." I know without a doubt that this prophecy found in the Book of Mormon was fulfilled by the Savior in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross. When my dad passed away and no one could have said a single word to bring me the comfort I need, I found peace in knowing that the Savior experienced exactly what I was going through. He did that because He loved me and wanted to know how to help me overcome that experience. The reality of my dad's death is still something I struggle with but I have found peace and comfort that could only come through the power of Christ's atonement, power to lift up my head and "press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a love for God and all men."
The opportunity that I have had to serve a mission. As I have said countless times before, my mission means everything to me. I have experience and learned things on my mission that could not have been learned under any other circumstance. During zone conference this last week I notice something as we listened to the testimonies of those missionaries who have recently arrived and those who will be returning home before the next zone conference in March. Those missionaries who have recently arrived seemed so excited for the journey that lies ahead of them, yet nervous and unsure, but those departing missionaries had a certain glow about then. You can see that they have experienced a mighty change during the course of their missions. I not only realized that I would be one of those missionaries giving their "dying testimony" during March zone conference, but that I have experienced that mighty change on my mission. I have thought about who I was before my mission and who the Lord has helped me to become and the difference to me is huge. No one will ever be able to fully understand or comprehend what my mission has meant to me personally. Yes, those who have served missions have had their own experience and testimony of the miracle of the mission, but no one's could possibly compare to what mine means to me. I am so grateful for the privilege I have to be a full-time servant of the Lord and dedicate my time to teaching, serving, and loving His children here in Houston/Katy Texas.
For lack of time I continue without explanation, because the other 3 missionaries are waiting on me so we can go grocery shopping and then go play Socccccccerrr woot woot.
3.Our investigators
4.My present, past, and future companions
5.President Hansen and his wife
6.All of the missionaries I serve with and all they have taught me
7.The car and not having to bike around like the Elders
8.Support and love of Ward members
9.Our nice apartment with a gym
10.SPANISH oh I love spanish so much!
and 100 more things that I don't have time to mention, bah
I love you all and hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Pray for Jose and Elizabeth, they are doing amazing but need help getting work off on sundays.

Hermana Taets

Week 53

Mis Seres Queridos

We had an extremely busy week, met lots of great people who we will begin teaching this week, set baptismal dates with Jose and Elizabeth for the 5th of December and they are doing AMAZING.

I am not going to send my usual update today but will leave you with a scripture that really impacted me this morning during personal study that is found in the Book of Mormon in Moroni Chapter 8, last sentence in verse 16, "Perfect love casteth out all fear."

Hermana Taets

Week 52

Mis Seres Queridos

I didn't write this e-mail first, again. So, I am only going to share two really sweet stories from the past week, even though this week was way epic and we were ridiculously busy.

Jose y Elizabeth
We received a referral through the phone this week for a man named Jose who had received a card from the english-speaking missionaries to receive a free copy of the Book of Mormon in spanish. He called the number and we received his information via text. We visited him and his wife on friday night and it was one of the best first lessons I have ever taught. They are just amazing! We taught them about who Heavenly Father is, the importance of ancient and modern prophets, the church that Christ established and eventually about the restoration of the church through Joseph Smith and knowing if it is true through pray and study of the Book of Mormon. My companion and I bore powerful testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the story of Joseph Smith and then asked Jose and Elizabeth what they thought and how they felt. Jose said, "I don't doubt it at all, I could feel that it is true and really want to read the Book of Mormon." Then the icing on top of the cake was when he said, "Are they people that you share this with who really don't believe that it's true?" My companion and I just looked at each other and almost laughed. My reply was that I sure didn't believe it right away and took several months reading the Book of Mormon and praying about it before I received an answer from the Lord. Jose's response was, "so..we are more advanced than you were when you learned, aren't we?" Haha They are definitely more advanced than I was when I first sat down with the missionaries, I was a stubborn brat who just wanted to find a way to prove them wrong, if I remember correctly. Elizabeth said she definitely had felt something in her heart during the lesson and was really excited to read the Book of Mormon. We returned on Saturday and read the introduction with Elizabeth, Jose was working, and she was just so excited to get reading. They are so amazing and I am so excited to see them again on Tuesday night!

We visited Liana this week on Wednesday and it was probably the best lesson we have had with her so far. We brought Elders Esplin and Griffiths with us because they are really funny and we thought they would make Liana smile, but there definitely was a greater purpose in them coming that we weren't aware of. Once we got there we started with the normal routine of brushing her teeth, washing her face and then feeding her dinner and shortly after we got there two of her guy friends showed up. They were nice to us but you could tell they felt pretty awkward around a bunch of missionaries, and as they spoke with Liana they used a lot of foul language. I hadn't heard words like that in so long, well at least in english, and I was shocked at how sensitive I was to them and how they made me feel. After a few minutes, Elder Esplin (a sweet country boy from Colorado) said to the two young men, "Now there are two ladies in this room, that kind of language needs to stop." He was so bold, and the two guys stops swearing! It was so neat! I was so impressed by Elder Esplin's respect for us that he felt the need to approach the situation so boldly. What a blessing it is to serve with such gentlemen. Now, after the two guys left we taught a lesson to Liana about Lehi's vision of the tree of life and about God's love for us being manifest through the sacrifice of His Son. The Spirit in the room was SO strong, especially in contrast to the feeling that was in the room while her friends were there. At the end of the lesson she reminded us that she was an atheist not too long ago and that we would need to be patient with her because she will be slow to change. I told her that we were patient and that Heavenly Father is even "patienter", oh boy, my english is getting so bad. I just love Liana so much and have seen so much change in her that it seems anything but slow. I know she is gaining a personal relationship with Heavenly Father as she prays and knows that He loves her. There is no greater joy than the joy I feel as a missionary.

We baptized Helen this weekend, she is the sweetest little 10 year old I have ever met. Her family had stopped going to church and hadn't been in a long time, but when Hermana Hastings and Hermana Martinez started visiting them last transfer they quickly regained a testimony of the gospel and prepared their daughter Helen to be baptized. In the pictures I sent Helen is the one who is smaller with the short, dark hair. The Elders also had a baptism at the same time of a young girl who also came from a family who had not been to church in years. What a miracle it is to see families return to the fold and become more unified in the goal of having an eternal family.

Hermana Taets

Week 51

Hola Mis Seres Queridos

Today I am going to utilize this e-mail to tell you the story of a young girl that we are teaching named Liana, who I LOVE so much, I think I will be best friends with her forever.

Liana is 20 years old, way funny, and doesn't know who or what God is. She said she doesn't know if it's Jesus, Buddha, Zeus, but that she wants to find out. Liana is also paralyzed from the neck down. This past May she had an ear infection, was taking antibiotics, but one day felt really sick and then blacked out and can't remember the two weeks that followed that day. What had happened was that her infection turned into meningitis and to make a long story short she is now a 20 year girl trapped in a body that doesn't function inside a Rehab Center. Despite all of this she is still relatively positive, we laugh all throughout our visits with her. On one of our visits with her last week we talked with her about who our Heavenly Father is, and how much He loves us, and her response just broke my heart. She explained to us that before she got sick she was just a normal girl, going to school and working so that she could make a life for herself and so that she could, "earn enough money so that she could buy her mother a house," not doing anything that deserved punishment from God, and for this reason she has a hard time believing that He loves us. I didn't know what to say to her, but talked about how sometimes our trials are really the best thing for us and allow us to learn and grow. She said that made sense, especially since before she got sick she didn't even believed in a God, nor that she needed to rely on anyone besides her family to accomplish her life's dreams. What a way to learn to depend on others! When we visited her last week I brushed her teeth for her and fed her her dinner, scratched her nose for her when it itched. I think her circumstance will definitely draw her close to her Father in Heaven, we encouraged her to try praying and on Friday she said she had prayed and it made her feel really calm. I know that she will find what she is looking for and I know that Heavenly Father will reach out to her and show her that He is there and loves her more than can be described. I am learning so much from Liana and am so grateful for this opportunity to know her and feel that love that Heavenly Father has for her. Keep her in your prayers.

Now, I am out of time already. Next week I will try and write this email FIRST since this one always ends up being so short! I love you all, I love this great work I have been called to do!
Hermana Taets

P.S. I hit my year mark as a missionary last week....WEIRD I can't believe it, something must be wrong with the calendar.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Week 50

Mis Seres Queridos

Katy is so much different than Houston! Wow. As usual I don't have much time so I am going to make a list of things I enjoy about Katy thus far:

1. My new apartment. We have a washer and dryer! I really despised going to the laundry place in our complex and having to pay to do laundry in my last area. The apartment is also very new and clean AND there is a gym in the complex! So, this week I was able to get up a little earlier with my companion and go to the gym. Hopefully I will be able to lose my mission weight haha.
2. My car. In Fairbanks the car stereo didn't work so it is so great to have a car stereo that works!
3. The Guerrero family lives in Katy! I started teaching them in Fairbanks because they were a referral from a members up there but we recently had found out that they lived in Katy. We went over and taught the 18 year old daughter this week and she is amazing!!! She still wants to be baptized and is so excited. We taught her the law of chastity and committed her to keep it and her reply was, "I am so excited! I can't wait to tell my boyfriend!" I have never had someone respond that way to the law of chastity and really hope her boyfriend is supportive and as enthusiastic as she is haha.
4. West Green Ward. The ward seems amazing! When we went to Ward Correlation meeting yesterday I was just so impressed by how involved the ward is in missionary work. I am really excited to get to know this ward and work with them.
5. The english-speaking Elders who live by us leave all their voicemails for us in rap form haha. I have never served around english missionaries before but the ones who live by us are really nice and hard working, so I am excited to get to know some of the english missionaries out here in Katy.
6. My companion. I love Hermana Martinez! She is so much fun and we get along so well! This is her second transfer in the mission, but she already knew spanish because her Dad is from Venezuela. So, her spanish is really good and I am excited to learn from her. I was rather surprised when I got the this area and realized that my companion didn't really know how to do things, like nightly and weekly planning, and came to find out that I had been put in Katy because her trainer was not training her and was being rather disobedient. I am excited to work with Hermana Martinez, she has a lot of potential and is a great missionary. Poor thing was really struggling last transfer with challenges with her trainer, so I am going to do my best to teach her and help her to grow and reach her potential.

Well no time, as usual, and I have a cold and need to go blow my nose, so until next week!
Hermana Taets

Week 49

Hola Mis Seres Amados

The Transfer bunny came this last saturday with a big basket of change. Drumroll please.......I am getting transferred out of Fairbanks! AH I can't believe it! I half thought that I would serve my entire mission in this area, since that would only mean 4 more transfers here, but I am leaving tomorrow to go serve in the West Green Ward out in Katy, Texas. I will be serving with Hermana Martinez, which is a huge surprise because this will be her second transfer in the mission, meaning she was only with her trainer for 1 transfer. She must be way good because I was with my trainer for 3 transfers haha. I am way excited to be companions with her because she is a native spanish speaker so I know that through her guidance and correction I will be able to speak the language much much better. One thing I have not liked about this change is the whole packing situation. I haven't moved once throughout my whole mission, and I have served with two sisters who were going home, so needless to say I have aquired a lot of clothes and things from other missionaries. Packing has been a huge pain in the rear but I am still sooooo excited to go to West Green! I feel like I am about to embark on an adventure...a whole new set of streets to walk, a new area book to study, a new ward to meet, a new companion, and a whole new set of challenges and experiences that the Lord has prepared for me that I may grow.
My last sunday in Houston 10 was a day full of miracles. SO many people were at church! Almost all of my recent converts were there, the less active families I have been teaching were there, one of my recent converts passed the sacrament to me. Another interesting occurance was that Elder Porter (went home in June) was visiting with his family and I had to translate the sunday school class into english for his dad. That was an interesting experience, I have never had to translate before and was surprised that it really wasn't hard at all. I will say that the class was much more interesting in spanish than my boring english version haha. After church Elder Porter baptized a woman who he had taught in our ward during his mission, named Juana. When they first starting teaching Juana and her children, Karla, Juanito and Blanca, Elder Porter and his companion had asked me to go with them to teach them so I could share my conversion story. The children had struggled because their dad was unsupportive of their decision to be baptized, so they wanted me to talk about how I overcame a similar obstacle in being baptized alone and with little support. It was a lesson I will never forget, and although this was at the beginning of the my mission and my spanish was awful they somehow understood me and the Elders set baptismal dates with the kids after my story. It was such a miracle to me to be able to witness Juana's baptism on my last sunday and am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord.
I have like zero time and the Elders are complaining that they are hungry and want to go eat lunch, so I had better get going. Until next week! I love you all very very much!
Hermana Taets

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Week 48

Hola Mis Seres Amados

We worked so hard this week, I am feeling so exhausted. I didn't even want to write an e-mail, but I will try and throw something together. I am going to have to use bullets, sorry.

On Wednesday night we met with the family that was a referral from ward members and set a baptismal date with them for the 7th of November. They were so excited and so were we, I just love that family so much and am so excited that they will be preparing as a family to be baptized. Unfortunately, the kids don't know spanish so we are going to turn the teaching over to the english Elders and they will be attending the english ward. Although it was a sad decision to pass them to the Elders I know it is what is best for them in the long run and feel so blessed that I even had the opportunity to meet and teach this family, even for a short time, because I learned so much from them about faith and trust in Heavenly Father.
Saturday we had a tri-mission conference (my mission the Texas Houston Mission, Texas Hosuton South Mission, and Texas Houston East Mission) and Elder Claudio R.M. Costa of the Seventy spoke to us. I really enjoyed this and am grateful for the cousel we received from the mouth of an apostle. I definitely learned a few things that I want to improve on within our companionship so we may be better servants of the Lord and more powerful teachers.
We worked so hard this week, making sure we do an hour of finding everyday, talking to everyone we see, teaching less active members and recent converts, yet we are not having much success. We have a grand total of 0 people that we are teaching consistently. We are not giving up though, I know that the "field is white already to harvest" and that there are people in this area who are prepared to receive the restored gospel. I pray this week we will have more success and be guided to those who are waiting for us.
I love this work. Although I feel more drained than I thought was humanly possible, I love this work. Giving up is not an option and I will keep working my hardest until I may receive the accolade from the Lord, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord".
Hermana Taets

weeks 45-47

Buenos Dias Mis Seres Queridos

This week we did a loooooot of knocking, but it was fun. A lot of Texans have dogs and Hermana Ang is terrifed of dogs. Several times this week people would open the door and a dog qould run out and Hermana Ang would just start screaming. Oh how I enjoyed that, it always made me laugh hysterically while I was trying to apologize to whoever opened the door. We also met some really cool people while knocking, such as my new favorite friend Angelica. Angelica is probably around 50, really sweet woman, when she answered the door and Hermana Ang started speaking, struggling a little bit with her spanish, Angelica said, "I speak english too! It's okay, speak english" and just started laughing. Hermana Ang, being the champ that she is, said she needed to practice her spanish and kept talking in spanish until Angelica eventually let us in. We sat and talked to her for about an hour about her upbringing in Mexico, her family, her religious beliefs, etc. Eventually she mentioned that she tries to read the Bible but gets really confused sometimes because it seems like pieces are missing. So, we explained the Great Apostasy to her, and how sacred truths were taken from the scriptures by councils of men, but that we can still learn a great deal from the Bible as we study by the guidance of the Holy Ghost. Then we introduced her to the Book of Mormon and invited her to read 3 Nephi 11 before our return appointment the next day. We came back the next day and she had read her assignment in the Book of Mormon and said she really liked it, and that she felt good as she read it. Woohoo! We had planned on teaching her the Restoration, so she could know where the Book of Mormon comes from, but I felt like we needed to teach her about the Plan of Salvation. I am really glad we followed the guidance of the spirit and taught Angelica according to her needs. She has experienced a lot of death and had many questions about what comes after this life. She really loved the Plan of Salvation and agreed with everything we taught. She is just such a sweet, genuine woman and I am really excited to continue teaching her the gospel. She will be out of town this week but said she might be back in time for church on sunday.
Hermana Ang and I are still trying to work better with the ward members and utilized almost all of our weekly planning time to study chapter 13 of Preach My Gospel, on how to work with stake and ward leaders. We studied what role we need to play as missionaries in comparison to the role and responsibilities of the ward members and came up with some ideas and questions which we brought to the bishop the next day. He is such a great bishop and was so willing to talk with us about how we can all work better together. We also taught him about the changes being made in the mission, with the "fundamentals of Preach My Gospel" or simplified curriculum, and he was really excited about the changes. He gave us some good suggestions on things we can teach or share with members as we visit them during the week to try and encourage them to participate in missionary work and I am excited to implement those suggestions this week. We also met with the Relief Society President on Sunday night (Relief Society is the women's organization in the church) and discussed the possibility of us going on a weekly split with sisters from the ward, meaning one night a week a members from the ward goes out teaching with me and another goes out with Hermana Ang, so we can get more work done, and so the members are getting the opportunity to have missionary experiences. She was really excited about it and is going to make a sign up sheet for us and let us present the idea to the Relief Society on sunday in church. I am REALLY excited to get the ball rolling on this and know that we will be blessed as we work more effectively with the ward.
The ward had "international night" on saturday, basically everyone in the ward made and brought food that is traditional in their country. It was so much fun and the food was sooooo good. Mmmm I love hispanic food. There was Pozole verde and it was delicious as usual.
Life is great here in the mission, weather is finally starting to cool down, which makes knocking doors even more enjoyable. The holidays are quickly approaching and I am super excited to see how these holidays are celebrated in the hispanic culture. I couldn't be happier than I am here doing the Lord's work full-time. What a blessing it is to be a missionary.

Hermana Taets
Hola Mis Seres Queridos,
This week we have been so busy with conferences and meetings and blah blah blah I would rather be teaching, but I learned a lot this week so that was sweet. Now that we don't have zone conferences every transfer, President uses those 3 days to do any kind of specialized training that he thinks the missionaries need. Last week there was a Sisters Conference and it was really fun, but more spiritually uplifting, of course. So all of the sister missionaries in our mission (there are about 30 of the 160 missionaries total in my mission) met up around 10am at one of the church meetinghouses and when we first show up I was a tad overwhelmed because of all of the high pitched shrieking. It was ridiculous, that many girls should not be in a room at the same time haha. The Assistants were the only Elders there and they looked like they felt reallllly out of place and awkward haha. President first talked to us about our "Missionary journey" and what our missions have meant to us thus far. My mission means everything to me. There is no greater thing I could be doing with my life right now and nothing that could possibly bring about as much change, growth, and blessings as my mission has and will continue to bring the rest of my life. President talked a lot about how for most of us the mission has not been what we expected, it has been much harder, and then he proceeded to thoroughly embarrass me by using my mission as an example and talking about my conversion to the church and then the death of my father, and then talked about perseverance and other stuff. I just cringed my teeth the whole time because I really don't enjoy when he puts the spotlight on me like that, especially when I can think of other sister missionaries who have gone through huge trials in their missions as well. Although they may not seem as difficult as losing a father, I know there are some sisters who have struggled even more than I have during their missions, mainly because I have been abundantly blessed with comfort and an eternal perspective from the Lord. I know that the Lord blesses us with the trials and difficulties in our lives that will best help us to grow and transform into the kind of person He knows we have the potential to be. No ones trials are greater or smaller than everyone elses, they are just different, perfectly formatted to fit that persons needs.
Later in Sisters Conference we had a small meeting with President Hansen's wife and she shared with us some new dress code guidelines that have been issued from Salt Lake. No more nylons!!!!! WOOO HOOO! We now are not required to wear nylons anymore, which is probably the most fantastic news of my life haha. We also are allowed to wear shorter skirts as long as they cover our knees when we are standing and sitting, which is much easier to find than the previous requirement of mid-calf length. I wish I would have had these guidelines BEFORE I came out, then it would have been a million times easier to find clothes for teh mission haha.
Saturday was the General Relief Society Broadcast, which we went to go watch in the Stake Center. I am not quite sure what the speakers discussed, but I know what the Spirit was teaching me all throughout the conference. I LOVE General Conference time because it is the perfect time to write down questions and receive personal revelation and guidance from the Lord as you sit and listen to the prophet and apostles speak. I am so excited to see the rest of conference this weekend and to receive more guidance by the Holy Ghost. I hope everyone back home is preparing for General Conference and is excited to hear the words of the prophet! I am secretly hoping he announces that we are all going to go hide in the mountains of Utah and live off of our food storage hahahaha He won't say that, but it sure would be cool!
I pray y'all are well!
Hermana Taets
Buenos Dias Mis Seres Queridos

This week was crazy. First, my birthday was a crazy day, we had a lunch and dinner appointment, then in between we had some lessons and knocked doors for a few hours. I have come to really love knocking doors, we have the coolest experiences. We had several good door knocking experiences this week but I will share my favorite one. We walked up to a door and I said to Hermana Ang, "Oh man look at all the frog decorations they are definitely Hispanic! Woo!" but when the door opened it was an older Caucasian man. the conversation went as follows:

Ang: Hi, we are missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and have an important message about Jesus Christ, is it okay if we just have 2 minutes of your time?

Man: I feel so sorry for you

Ang: Why? (super confused face)

Man: Because you are Latter-Day Saints

Ang: It has been a blessing for me my whole life... (Still confused)

Man: I feel so bad for you

Ang: it okay if I give you a card?

Man: I am NOT paying for that!!!! (basically shouting)

Ang: It's's to receive a free movie in the mail about Jesus Christ..

Man: I don't want anything to do with it!

Ang: Ok..thank you for your time, have a great day!

Man: (creepy quite possibly drunken voice) y'all try and find some shade now...

Bahhahahaha, as soon as the door closed I was cracking up. Poor Hermana Ang didn't know what to think of it, I just enjoyed it. Oh, another choice experience, I knocked this one door and the screen door was closed and the real door was open, so I knocked on the screen door and someone yelled back, "I am half naked!!!! I don't want to put pants on!!!!!" I was going to just stick the card on her door really quick but she ended up coming over to the door in her underwear instead and I talked to her through the screen for a few short seconds and just left the card with her haha. Loooooove knocking doors.

General Conference was this weekend (two times a year the prohet and the 12 apostles speak in a conference in Utah that is broadcast all over the world by satellite) and I looooved it so much. I made a list of questions that I wanted help answering from the Lord and feel like those question were answered either directly by the talks given by church leaders or by the Holy Ghost and personal revelation. Although some of the answers I was not expected I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to learn and to hear the voice of a prophet of the Lord. My favorite talk was given during the Saturday Morning session by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf on slowing down and sticking to the simplicity of life (found here,5239,23-1-1298,00.html). I know this is something that I will need to remember when I return home from the mission so that I don't get too caught up in the fast-paced technological world. I want to have gratitude and appreciate the world around me and take time to just marvel at all that God has given me. And I don't want to be addicted to Facebook or texting haha. I also really enjoyed the talk by Elder Neil L. Andersen during the Saturday afternoon session about not being offended or ashamed. As I have been working more with less active members of the church I have found that most of them have fallen away from the church because they were offended by another church member. I loved Elder Andersen's talk because he was just so up front about it, Don't be offended! I felt the urge to cry out, "Hallelujah!" haha. We ended up watched that talk this weekend with a less active woman we are teaching and I pray that she will humble herself and learn to forgive the imperfect humans beings who had offended her.

We taught the BEST lesson ever this last monday!!!!!! We went to a family home evening monday night with a family in our congregation and the wife invited her sister-in-law and her family. I love this family already! We taught the Plan of Salvation and by the end everyone was in teach and the Spirit was so strong you probably could have reached out and felt it. At the end of the lesson the oldest daughter who is 18 asked us how long she has to wait to be baptized, and I was just blown away. We taught them again yesterday and taught the message of the Restoration through the gospel through Joseph Smith and again they were all in tears. The mom said it made sense, and although it was really different and something new to her that it could be possible and that she wanted to know if it was true. When we asked the oldest daughter how she felt as we shared the testimony of Joseph Smith she answered with tears in her eyes that she had never felt this way before and already knew it was true and wanted to be baptized. I have never met a family so prepared to accept the restored gospel. I am so grateful to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with another transfer in Fairbanks and for the opportunity to get to know and teach this family who I already feel so much love for. I love this great work. There is no greater joy to be felt than that which is felt as we witness the miracle of conversion in the lives of our brothers and sisters. I feel like I could do this work forever, but unfortunately I only have another 6 months left to dedicate myself 100% to the Lord's work. I pray that I will be able to work my very hardest and give all that I have to the Lord during these last 6 months.

Hermana Taets

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week 44

Hola Mis Seres Queridos

Oh my craziness. Our ward is just full of missionaries now that there are 8 of us all serving in Houston 10. I am excited to see the ward get into gear and come out teaching with us more and be more involved in the work. We are really trying to work more with the members, we are going to talk to the Relief Society President this week to see if she will help us to organize a weekly split with us and the sisters in the Relief Society. I think this would really help the members get excited to share the gospel and be more willing to help us with the work. We shall see how it turns out!

We biked this week a little bit, the weather is slightly cooling down, but we still were sweaty and gross. Hermana Ang loves biking, probably because she has really long skirts and it's pretty easy for her to ride a bike. All of my skirts ride up while I pedal so I either have to hold it down with one hand or wear leggings underneath. I really don't like either of those options. Needless to say, I am not a very graceful bicyclist and would rather walk or use the car.

A few weeks ago Hermana Ang and I got out the map of our area and said a prayer that we would be guided to the streets that we needed to visit, ones where people are prepared to hear our message. We each wrote down 15 street names after we prayed and then quite some time later we put our lists together to see which ones matched up. There were only about 4 that matched up, but we were both super excited to find some success on those streets and trusted that Heavenly Father would guide us to those who need to hear our message. On Friday we went to go knock doors on one of those streets, Colleen Rd. (which is also the name of my wonderful mother), and as soon as we got there and look around we both realized that this was a very english speaking community. But, we decided to press on and do as the Lord as guided us to do and began knocking doors. One woman answered the door and was pretty defensive, asked us some questions about what we teach. After we answered her she said, "well y'all are the first Jehovah's Witnesses I have ever met that believe that!" So, I kindly replied that we actually aren't Jehovah's Witnesses and her reply was, "Oh, so you're Mormons!" Slam. Haha We kept on knocking and eventually spoke with this one man named Gene. He was soooo nice to us! He is a 2nd Baptist and taught us a little about his beliefs, family and background and we talked a little about what we do as missionaries and about the Book of Mormon. He said several times that he just loves our church and everything that we do and wishes there were more of us in their community, but at the end said he really struggles with the Book of Mormon. So, I asked him what he knew about the Book of Mormon and he said, "Well, I don't know much, but from what I understand it is a book that Joseph Smith wrote while he was walking around South America." This answer rather surprised me, I had never heard before that Joseph somehow got down to South America, haha, so I explained a little bit about what it REALLY is and he said the english missionaries were more than welcome to come by to talk more about it, but that they had to come soon because on Tuesday he leaves for a 3 month business trip to Singapore.

Last night we were on our way to go visit the Patinos went I felt like we should go drop by Gene's and make sure the Elders had brought him a copy of the Book of Mormon. We pulled up and I looked all over our car for an english copy of the Book of Mormon and just couldn't find one. I asked Hermana Ang if maybe we should drive home and get one real quick and come back and she said she wanted to look one more time in the trunk. The whole time she looked I was praying that there would be one, and what do you know she pulled one right out of our materials crate that is back there, haha. We knocked on his door and he answered and came out to speak with us, said he was so grateful he would have the opportunity to read it while he was on his long flight to China. Then he had his wife come out to meet us and can you believe this, she is from Nicaragua and speaks spanish!!!!! They invited us in and we learned that both of the parents speak spanish but the kids don't know much of it. They were such an amazing family! They said they loved what we do and have always been impressed with our church. We talked to them for like an hour, and we all just clicked immediately. We also learned that their oldest daughter plays soccer with a member of our ward and that Gene's wife, Alba, is the manager of that team. After talking some more and making an appointment to return tonight, I asked Gene if we could all kneel and if he would offer a prayer as head of the house, that his family may be blessed as he travels. They agreed and this was the craziest part, as Gene prayed he asked that Heavenly Father would bless us in our work, that we would have success and that we would be able to find more people to join our church. That has got to be the first and probably last time that a Baptist prays for us to find more people to join the Mormon church haha, but boy was I thrilled by their acceptance and support. I am SO excited to visit with them tonight. We are going to watch the finding faith in Christ video and begin teaching them about the apostasy of Christ's church after his death. I am sooooooo excited. Even if they don't accept our message tonight, even if they were to turn on us and throw us out of their house, I know we have been guided to them by the Lord. I know as we seek to do His will that He will bless us with all that we need accomplish His purposes.

Being a missionary is the best! There is no greater calling than that of a full-time servant of the Lord
Hermana Taets

Weeks 41, 42 and 43

Buenas Tardes Mis Seres Queridos

We had the baptism of Elva and Erick on Wednesday and it couldn't have gone any better. Elva had expressed to us that she was very nervous because she has a fear of having her head completely below water, so as she entered the baptismal font I was praying so hard that she would be comforted and be able to be baptized without that feeling of fear. As she was lowered into the water she was just a vision of peace and didn't struggle at all below the water. After the ordinance was performed we went into the relief society room to finish with the baptism program and hear a talk by Bishop, who is also Elva's nephew. He talked about the gift of the Holy Ghost and at one point he asked me what happened the first time Erick prayed with us and his mom. I responded that he had cried, and then Elva and Erick just held each other and cried as they remembered that sweet experience we had had months ago and the spirit that was felt so strongly. I am so happy for them! Yesterday Elva's husband was at church so hopefully we can start teaching him and preparing him for baptism as well.

This week we had Pulga duty on Saturday, which wasn't too bad. A sweet old man from one of the English wards in Melbourne bought Hermana Ang and I each a root beer because it was so hot outside. We were able to talk with a lot of people and testify boldness of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon and the Restoration of Christ's church once again upon the Earth. Towards the end I talked with this older man from Chile for like a half an hour. He had said they were lots of missionaries like us in Chile and lots of members of our church there. He is moving back to Chile next month so I hope he meets up with the missionaries down there. My favorite part of our conversation went like this, except it was in spanish, I will write it in english so all of you bolillos can understand :)

Chile: Where are you from?
Me: Where do you think I am from?
Chile: Hmmmm.. Argentina?
(Huge grin from me)
Me: NoOoOo
Chile: Venezuela?
Me: Nope
Chile: Uruguay! You're from Uruguay!
Me: Haha No I am from Arizona
Chile: Where is that?
Me: In the United States!
Chile: Oh! But your parents are from what country?
Me: The United States, I am an American! Haha
Chile: Well what country did you go visit or live in?
Man: I have never left the country before, I have always live in the United States.
Chile: How do you speak spanish so well?!

He was the cutest old man and it pretty made my life to hear that my spanish is sounding really good. I really try not to sound like a gringo haha. I explained to him that I started speaking/learning spanish 9 months ago when I got to Houston, and he was just floored, he couldn't believe it. He said he had live here in the States for years and worked with people who speak english and still can't figure it out. I explained to him that as missionaries we are blessed with the gift of tongues that we may speak the new language effectively so that we can teach and do the Lord's work effectively. He still couldn't grasp that I learned spanish in nine months. It was so precious and was a huge self confidence booster in the spanish department. I love spanish so much, Addie says my english is horrible now in the letters I write..oh well!

This week I have felt so exhausted. The mission is most definitely the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I just feel drained physically, emotionally and spiritually. It's hard but the reward is sweeter than I could possibly describe.We see families become strengthened and unified in the gospel, people growing closer to the Savior and they begin to study the scriptures and pray for the first time, miracles are occurring in this area. I feel as if the mission needs to be hard so that I can deserve all of the wonderful experiences I have had and all of the growth and change I have experienced personally. My mission means everything to me and I feel so blessed for this opportunity I have to give everything I have to Lord as I serve full time in this part of His vineyard.

I love you all and pray for you!
Hermana Taets

Hola Mis Seres Queridos

This week Hermana Ang and I witnessed a miracle. This is probably the most epic story thus far of my mission (besides maybe the one week exchange in Arizona, but this is a different kind of epic!). Here goes...

This past week we were blessed by a visit from Elder Kikuchi of the Quorum of the Seventy in our mission. We had a 7 hour zone conference/training with him and it was so great! I feel like I learned so much and am so excited to implement the things that he taught us! My favorite part was when he said, "the mission is not for romance! If you get caught in romance on your mission, President Hansen, your parents, and I will all come here and kick you!" Of course he was being silly, and we all laughed hysterically, but it's true, no romance! haha. Anyways, back to the epicness.

Thursday night I received a phone call from my District Leader, Elder Inkley, saying that he had received a call that President Hansen and Elder Kikuchi had been discussing affairs of the mission and how we may have greater success and Elder Kikuchi issued a promised to everyone in the mission. He promised that if that night, Thursday night, all of the missionaries knelt and prayed to know of someone who they are teaching, who had already been going to church frequently, who could be baptized on saturday and confirmed on sunday, that 18 baptisms would come of it as we receive personal revelation from the Lord. When I first this I thought...No way..this isn't going to happen in our area, there isn't anyone who could possibly be baptized the day after tomorrow! But, we followed the counsel of an apostle of the Lord and knelt as a companionship and sought inspiration of the Lord. As we prayed with faith inspiration hit me like a brick, A name came to my mind and I knew in my heart without a doubt that this man would be baptized on saturday. Once amens were said, Hermana Ang and I both looked at each other and knew that we had both experienced the same thing, and we both knew that Hermano Arzate, whose wife and two children had been baptized a month ago, was the one who would be baptized. I was SO excited, Hermano Arzate has gone to church every sunday for months yet showed no interest in being baptized, we just didn't know what else to do other than continue teaching him and his family, hoping that one day he would decide to be baptized. This was exactly what we needed! a miracle! Before going to bed that night Hermana Ang and I began a fast, that Hermano Arzate's heart would be softened and that he would accept the challenge to be baptized on saturday.

The next day, Friday, at around 7:30 I called Hermana Arzate and told her that we needed to come over at 5 because we had received a message for her husband from the Lord and needed to tell him today, she was a little taken aback but said that was fine. We had a zone training in the morning and then as a zone we all went out to lunch, what temptation that was! Even though we all went out for wings, my favorite, Hermana Ang and I stayed strong and drew pictures in Elder Inkley's planner so we would be distracted from the food haha. After the training we went back to the apartment to prayerfully plan what in the world we were going to say to Hermano Arzate. Once we got home it came to us so easily, that we were to teach the importance of eternal families using the vision of the tree of life in 1 Nephi 8 and then challenge him to be baptized. The second we finished planning the lesson the phone rang and it was Hermana Arzate saying that her husband had to leave for a meeting for his work later and that we needed to come right now. So we pretty much ran out to the car and started driving over there, and I cannot even explain how nervous I felt! I knew what we had been asked to do by the Lord, and I knew He would prepare the way for us, but I was still nervous because I knew that once it came down to actually asking him to be baptized, that I would be the one doing, simply because Hermana Ang is still struggling with spanish. So, needless to say, I was REALLY nervous. We got to their apartment and Hermano Arzate answered the door before we had knocked, apparently his wife told him that we had a message from the Lord and was really surprised and interested to know what it could be. The younger daughter happened to be at a friend's house playing, so it was just Hermano, his wife and their 15 year old son, which made for a much for serious setting without the 10 year old girl. We started the lesson with the invitation to pay close attention to how he feels as we teach, and to listen for the promptings of the Holy Ghost, because we had a very important message that came from the Lord, not from Hermana Ang and I. We read about the tree of life and testified of the importance of eternal families, then had his wife and son talk about how they felt as they were baptized and bear their testimonies of the truthfulness of the gospel. Then we explained that his family had partaken of the fruit, just as Lehi had in the scriptures we had read, and that because they loved him so much they are calling out to him to partake as well of God's love and be baptized. We then said that his family is waiting for him to be baptized that they may prepare to enter the temple and be sealed for all eternity. During the whole lesson he seemed so deep in thought, he didn't really look at us much, but kept his gaze down as he thought. Then came my part, the part I had been soooo nervous about. I had explained to Hermano what Hermana Ang and I had experienced the night before, the phone call, the prayer, the answer we received, and told him that we knew that this message was specifically for him. Then I said to him that the Lord wanted him to be baptized tomorrow at 6:00pm and asked if he would do it. His response was a simple, "at 6? Yeah that sounds okay." I looked over at his wife and son and they both had tears in their eyes, although the son was trying to be a man and hide it, he had to wipe the tears from his face. I think I must have been a little tense from being so nervous, because when he accepted the commitment I yelled, "wooo hoooo" and about jumped out of my seat, and everyone else just smiled and laughed. I couldn't help it, I was so happy in that moment, I knew we had just witnessed a miracle from the Lord, that He was so aware of this family that he prepared a way for them to be an eternal family. We then made plans for the baptism, which required a lot of phone calls to President Hansen, Bishop and the Elders, since this weekend was stake conference we had to have the baptism in the Stake Center in between the priesthood and adult sessions, meaning a lot of running around getting things ready, finding rides to the stake center, etc.

Saturday. The baptism was perfect. It was so much more personal that usual, the Arzate family was there, President Call from the Stake Presidency, President and Sister Hansen, and around 5 members of the ward. Hermana Ang and President Hansen played the hymns together on the piano since each of them could only play with one hand, and the 10 year old daughter led the music in front, with me at her side helping her. Hermana Arzate gave the talk on baptism and did amazing! She used the gospel principles manual and the scriptures and did a beautiful job and was in tears by the end. Looking at this family after the baptism of the father, I could see such a change from when we first started teaching them in February. They are so much more unified and the love they have for each other is so obvious to those around them. I cannot describe how happy I felt after the baptism, I am so excited to watch them continue to grow and progress as they prepare to enter the temple in a year to be sealed together as a family.

I know that God is a God of miracles. That we can witness miracles like this so long as we have faith and it is the will of the Lord. This experience has changed my mission, and my life, I have gained such a stronger faith in the power of prayer and fasting and know that we can do great things with the help of the Lord. I know that God is so aware of each of His children, He knows exactly what they need to grow and progress and is right here with us, willing to help us along the way. I love my Heavenly Father and my Savior Jesus Christ. I have never felt so close to them as I have during these last few months of my mission. I hope that all who read this will know and feel the same, that they have a Heavenly Father who loves them and knows them personally and they they will seek to have a greater relationship with their Father in Heaven and His Son. I know this Church is true with all of my heart and couldn't possibly express gratitude sufficient for the guiding hand of my Father to this knowledge of the truth restored.

I love you all
Hermana Taets

Oh my lanta I have zero time because yesterday was P-day and the library was closed, and we have an appointment soon and we have to go pick up the member that is going with us, soooo I will be utilizing bullets again, sorry.

I am not getting transferred. Oh my surprise of the century, I have been in this area since I got to Houston (8 months) and will be staying here at least until October 17th. I love the area, love the ward, love Hermana Ang, so I am excited to be able to squeeze one more transfer out of Fairbanks.
The opened a new area in my ward this transfer, took a little part of our area and half of Hammerly's area and created the Longpoint elders bike area. This means that we now have 4 companionships of missionaries serving in my ward, isn't that crazy? We are the only ward in the whole mission with 8 missionaries serving in it, one other ward has 6, but that's it, so it's kind of a big deal. 2 companionships are on bike, which means a lot of driving them all around to church and to meetings by Hermana Ang and I and the Zone leaders. I am super excited to see all the success that will come as all 8 of us work as hard as we can to find and prepare those who are ready to be baptized.
Went to Zone Leader Council, again, this last week. I never thought I would have to go to that again since they only pick one or two companionships of Sisters to go each time and Hermana Ang and I went last month, but surprise surprise we went again. It was a 6 hour meetings...bah, but we learned alot and the lunch was super good ;) I feel very blessed that we have had the opportunity to go to ZLC twice and learn about how to be an effective leader in the mission.
Hermana Ang and I made honey face masks this week to celebrate the fact that we would be together a third transfer. It was ridiculous and we took really funny pictures because our faces looked like they were melting. Will send those later.
Set a baptism date with Manuel, have been teaching him since May, for Sept. 26th. He wanted to finish the Book of Mormon before he got baptized, hence why he has waited so long. This week we asked him if he had finished and he said no because he was getting confused by all of the numbers. I was so confused about what he was talking about with numbers so I just told him to keep reading. Later in the lesson I realized he had been talking about the index in the back of the Book of Mormon, I told him he didn't have to read that, only through the last chapter, but that we would teach him how to use the index in our next appointment. He is just a precious old man. So, he actually had finished it a long time ago, already prayed and knows that it's true, now we are just planning the baptism :)
Ok that's all for today, sorry! I love you all and will be better about next week's e-mail!
Hermana Taets

Week 38 39 and 40

Buenas Tardes Los Que Supuestamente Son Mis Amigos

Haha, if you understand that...HIGH FIVE. I must start this e-mail with a bit of a complaint, just to get it out of the way. This week Hermana Ang got a letter in the mail everyday, AND a big fatty package filled with love, food and a new pair of shoes on Saturday. Hermana Taets received one letter this week from her good friend Chase. And when I say my good friend Chase... I mean Chase Bank..with the current balance of my checking account. 'Cause people got me got me questionin'...where is the love? That is all.

This was my first week as senior companion and I am definitely feeling the burden of that responsibility. I am trying my best to be a good trainer for Hermana Ang, but she is already amazing so there isn't much for me to do. We work so well together! I feel like she is more like a best friend than a companion. This week we really have been trying to be purpose focused missionaries, rather than activity focused. That basically means that instead of focusing on filling up our day with activities we are focused on doing all that we can to accomplish our purpose as missionaries of "Inviting others to come unto Christ by helping them to receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, the receiving the Gift of the Holy Ghost and enduring to the end." We did some things this week that didn't count at all towards the numbers we report at the end of the week, yet we were helping people to come unto Christ, we were showing people that we love them and were demonstrating the love of the Savior. I want to be much less concerned about numbers and much more concerned about loving and helping people. For example, on Thursday we went to visit the Ulloa family and teach them a lesson but when we showed up Hermana Ulloa said she couldn't have the lesson because she just found out that her husband was bringing a bunch of old friends from Honduras over for dinner and she had a few hours to prepare food for all of them. So, instead of leaving to find someone to teach we stayed and helped her made enchiladas for few hours. It was so much fun and it really helped Hermana Ulloa to feel less stressed out. AND the best part is that once we were done she invited us to stay for dinner and we ended up teaching one of the people who came over for dinner :) Yay blessings! We also helped Juan Carlos paint his new apartment on Saturday and that was way fun. He went to his truck to go get some more brushes and while he was gone Hermana Ang and I painted faces on the wall and I wrote "Soy Mormon" which just means "I am Mormon". He though it was so funny, because it was so funny.

Now this is probably the best story I have told thus far. Get ready. We have been teaching a muchacho named Herby, from Haiti, who is also a missionary for the Seventh Day Adventist Church. On Tuesday when we went to the apartment where the 4 missionaries live, the boss lady of the missionaries happened to be there. She was way nice, cute little Filipino lady, who actually spoke some tagalog with Hermana Ang, which was neat to watch. Almost immediately she tried to convince us to sell magazines for their church so that we "can be rich." Haha. I explained to her that we aren't allowed to work while we are on our missions and also that our job as missionaries is to teach about Jesus Christ, and we don't charge for what we do. She insisted and handed me a magazine that said below the headline, "8 good reasons to become a vegetarian" and then she said, "See, GOOOD reasons, it's a good thing, buy them for your friends, because it's GOOD!" My response was that I enjoy hamburgers too much to give up meat. Then she moved on to her next sale and tried to convince us that we should marry her two sons.. She asked us if we were single, and then she said we need to marry her sons because they are smart and because there is one for each of us. I told her that we still have a lot of time left on our missions and we can't date or marry while we are missionaries, and her response was that they can wait for us and prepare to get married. I kept saying no no no no and finally she said, "It is much easier to say YES!" My response: "You know what? You're right! Why not?!" Hahaha, at this point everyone was just dying laughing, Herby, me, Ang, the member we had brought to teach with us. The only people not laughing were her sons, they hid in the back room the whole time and then at one point ran from the room to the front door and were gone for the remainder of the lesson. I had so much fun teaching Herby, even though he is pretty stubborn, he moved back to Mexico this weekend so we won't be seeing him anymore. He asked for our address and said he would write haha. I did leave with a consolation prize after our last visit: A picture I took while he was in the bathroom of a poster on the wall that says: "More soul, more sale." I am so glad that the message we have is free, and that we don't have to be motivated by money, but rather by our testimonies of the truth and by our love for the Savior.

I hope y'all have a great week and I hope that circumstances are different this week concerning our mailbox.
Hermana Taets


mi familia y mis amigos,

It has been an interesting week here in Fairbanks. This week we have been doing a lot of service, mainly for the Elders that live across the street. They had a bed bug attack last week, poor Elder Farnsworth, it is his first week in the mission and he is literally covered in bug bites. So, this week we have been cleaning and spraying and doing all that we can to get rid of the bugs, with the help of some of the women from the church. I hope that we have gotten rid of all of the bed bugs so the poor Elders can finally get some rest, I can't imagine biking around all day and then having to come home and sleep on the floor because they had to throw their beds away. Apparently, there is an outbreak in the whole complex, so I hope it doesn't get over to us! I already dealt with bed bugs my first transfer and I don't want to deal with it again haha.

This has been a difficult week for Hermana Ang and I, it seems like all of our investigators have just dropped off the face of the earth, so we are doing a lot of walking so we can find more people to teach. We are excited to work hard and find those who have been prepared to hear our message. We may be tired and sweaty at times, but we are not discouraged. I know that there are people in our area who are waiting for us to find them, they are waiting for the blessings that the gospel brings, so I am excited to be out looking for them, and talking to every person who crosses our path.

Now here is the story of the week, almost as good as last weeks maybe. So, after we had zone spanish study on tuesday, we were driving to our areas with the Hammerly Elders. I was driving down this road that is similar to a freeway, except without the higher speed limit. The problem with that is that I felt like I was on the freeway and may or may not have been speeding juuuuust a little bit without realizing it. As I was driving these two cops walked out of the forest and into the road and pulled me over and the car that was driving next to me. The police officer was very nice and patient as I tried to explain why my home address was in Arizona and not Texas and why it isn't even the correct address anymore haha he seemed very confused but let it go thank goodness. The guy in the car next to us was not a happy camper and was making all sorts of angry faces as we both sat and waited for our tickets. He was very entertaining to watch. The officer took a really long time, but once he got back he said, "well it is just your lucky day, my printer isn't working for some reason so I am gonna have to let you off with a warning, that guy next to you is still getting a ticket though because his printed out!" WOO HOOOO I don't know if I can say that that was a blessing, because I don't think Heavenly Father would bless me for being disobedient and speeding, but I thanked Him anyways for not getting a ticket. On the drive home I couldn't help but imagine that my Dad had somehow tampered with the printer since he always got me out of my speeding tickets before the mission, haha, I am sure he was just fuming when he saw me get pulled over.

Thank you for all of your love, support, and prayers. I feel abundantly blessed and am loving being a missionary.
Hermana Taets

Hola Mis Seres Queridos

Oh my crazy busy week! I feel like on Sunday I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off haha. Before church Elva and her son Erick had their baptism interview and so I was talking with them, getting their baptism record filled out, while making dinner appointments and planning family home evenings with the members. Sheesh, I was so exhausted by the end of the day. BUT, it is so worth it, Elva and Erick are getting baptized this wednesday! You may not remember the story of Elva and Erick because it began in January, but since then I have witnessed a miracle take place in their home and in their hearts. When I first met Elva she didn't want to listen to us because she was Catholic, but I invited her to pray to know if what we had taught was true and then we left, thinking we would never see her again. Then a few months later someone tapped on my shoulder in church and when I turned around it was Elva! She said to me, "Hermana, remember me? I did what you said, and I want you to come teach my family." Since that day we have been teaching them and working with them. They have come such a long way and climbed some mountains in the process. Elva had to quit smoking, which only took about a month! She had chain smoked basically her whole life and really struggled to quit, she was a little irritable at first and we felt the effects of that haha, but she finally did it, she said that whenever she wanted to smoke she would go out back and garden or she would start reading the scriptures. She is so amazing and her son Erick is an angel. He is thirteen and is a vision of love and obedience to his parents, he has been so great in supporting his mom and will make a great missionary one day. I am so excited for their baptism! They are so ready, they have known that the church is true since the very beginning but have been waiting to be baptized until Elva quit smoking and they could be at church consistenly. I will give all the details on the baptism next week :)

In the missionary handbook it says, "Do not keep pets of any kind," and Hermana Ang and I might be breaking this rule. His name is "Big foot" and lives in our kitchen. We bought him last week at the thrift store for $1.08 and it was definitely worth it. Still wondering what it is? Okay, when I say we have a pet...I mean we bought a chia pet. It is a dinosaur chia pet and it is sprouting like Cuhrazy! Haha, I will send pictures eventually, I lost my cord to plug the camera to the computer, but I will try and buy and new one today.

Not much else going on, went on exchanges last week with Hermana Christiensen in Bear Creek and had a lot of fun. We were walking through an apartment complex and this guy came up behind us and asked us what we were doing. I explained that we are missionaries and teach a special message about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He then told us that he is a single Dad and wants us to come over and teach him and his kids because he needs help and doesn't know how to help his kids get on the right path. The kids showed up shortly after and they are so sweet and excited to learn. I am so sad that I won't be able to teach them since the exchange was only for a day, but I will be so excited to hear from Hermana Christiensen and her companion Hermana Smart how that family is doing.

The work is great, we are doing a lot of finding, and setting a lot of appointments to begin teaching some new families. It was 115 degrees on Saturday and we walked around from 2:00p to 7:00p knocking doors and talking to people in the street. I am hoping that I sweat off a few pounds, haha, the mission is definitely not a place to lose weight. I was hot and sweaty, and I was exhausted by the end of the day, but I felt like I gave my all in doing the Lord's work. I know as we strive to do our best and forget our comfort, forget how hot it is, forget that we are rejected, and just go to work, that we will see more miracles like the ones I have witnessed with so many families already. I am willing to do whatever it is the Lord requires of me and am enjoying every moment of my mission.

I love and pray for you all :)
Hermana Taets

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WeEk 38

Hola Mis Seres Queridos

Transfer calls came last Saturday and I am staying in Fairbanks for my 6th transfer and I will be staying with Hermana Ang to continue training her. I am so excited to be staying here one more transfer, especially with Hermana Ang, we get along so well and have the same views and opinions about missionary work and obedience, so I feel like this transfer will be way powerful. I am a little nervous about being senior companion/trainer all by myself for the first time, but also excited to be able to take a little bit more control and start implementing the new changes in the mission.

This last week was pretty crazy. The coolest thing that happened it the story of Herby. We met Herby while tracting through the Spring Woods apartment complex. He was putting some air in his bike tire and we chatted with him a little bit about the Book of Mormon and gave him a pass a long card to call a receive one in the mail. The next day we received a media referral from Utah and the information was for Herby! We were so excited that he called the number and wanted us to come visited. So the next day, after getting our hands on the french Book of Mormon that he had requested, we visited Herby and he is SO cool. He is from Haiti and his native language is french, but he is going to college in Sonora, Mexico so he speaks spanish as well, and a little bit of english. Herby has been here in Texas over the summer as a missionary for the 7th Day Adventist church, which apparently isn't like what we do as missionary, they sell church materials in order to pay for their schooling. We taught him about who Heavenly Father is and he had never heard before that God has a body like we do, except perfect and glorified. As we taught him it looked as if a light bulb had turned on in his head. We have taught him several more times, even though he moves back to Mexico this week :(, and he is a little difficult to teach because he is just a sponge and wants to know everything all at once haha, but I have really loved the opportunity to teach Herby. He has such a hunger to learn and I hope he will continue meeting with the missionaries in Mexico.

Not much else going on, Hermana Ang and I are going to bike it up a ton this week because we don't have a lot of miles left on the car (We are given 1250 miles a month to use on the car and we only have 200 left until saturday, woops). Soccer last saturday was way fun, I scored like 3 goals because my team had me play forward this time, it was way sick. I love being a missionary and am having a blast. Every day I realize more and more how true the gospel is and feel like I am learning so much and drawing nearer unto the Savior. Everyone should serve a mission, haha. I can't believe I am halfway done! It's too soon! Ah!

Amor y Paz
Hermana Taets


Hey Y'all

I have like zero time again, sorrrrry. Hooray for bullet points.

1. Chchchchanges

Big changes happening in the mission and I am super excited! The brethren of the church are implementing changes in all of the missions across the world. First of all, we are only have zone conferences and interviews with President every 3 months instead of once a transfer. This will allow us to spend less time in meetings and more time outside teaching. There are also 8 focus points that we are supposed to study and..focus on, because that's what focus points are for :) I will say more about this later.

2. Arzate confirmation

Oh this was such a sweet experience for me. The 15 year old son came to church yesterday in white shirt and tie and was talking to us about being a full-time missionary one day. I can't express how happy I felt talking to one of my recent converts about the possibility of him serving a mission one day. The dad was in church as well and told us that he wants to be baptized still, but probably in like 2 weeks because he might have to work another sunday next week.

3. Robbed by a poor man

On saturday we worked the Pulga and while travelling from the car to the door of the Pulga we were stopped by a man who was "crying" and said he needed money to buy food for his son, who was also there and was cute and little. He told us a long story of how he lost his job and can't find work and blah blah sad sad story. I know I sound like a bitter angry human being, and thats only because he totally tricked me. I felt so bad for them that I gave them the only thing I had in my wallet, which happened to be a 20. I didn't feel bad giving them money, I wanted to help out and knew that I could spare it. BUT later that day I saw the same guy in the Pulga at the jewelary counter with a lady buying her some gold chain or something. He was not poor, he was a thief. I am rather cheerful about the situation though because I feel like maybe I really gave 20 bucks to Jesus since in the Bible it says inasmuch as you do it unto the least of my brethren, you have done it unto me. Let's stick with that so I don't get mad, haha.

ok, no time, time to go play soccer and score some goals, woot

Hermana Taets

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Week 36

Oh my crazy busy week! I only have approximately 14 minutes before our goal time to leave the library and go play soccer, sooo I will try and pack this e-mail with as much as I can by utilizing my favorite literary form: the list.

1. I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like... -Queen
Hermana Lillywhite went to serve in the Bear Creek area on Friday and Saturday so Hermana Ang and I were left in the great area of Fairbanks. We decided that we wanted to be able to contact more people, which is basically impossible when you are in a car, so we rode bikes on Friday and it was so fun! The Bear Creek Hermanas had two bikes and two helmets that they weren't using so we took them, got the tires blown up, cleaned them up a bit, destroyed the wasp nest that was under the bike seat, bought a lock, and then finally were able to bike around a bit. We didn't go very far because it was getting late, but we did it, and both of us loved it! So, we have decided that next transfer, assuming both of us are still here in this area together, we are going to bike a lot. The only downside (besides goofy helmet, drenched in sweat, almost getting hit by a car, and feeling very very uncoordinated) was that on Saturday I was ridiculously sore...let's just say that the bike seat is not comfortable. At all.

Saturday morning we had a ward activity, for members, missionaries, investigators, etc. We played a game of soccer for 2 hours and it was so much fun! None of our investigators could go because it was really short notice, but we are going to do it every saturday from now on and I think it will be a really great way for the people we are teaching to make friends in the ward. I didn't play very well, obviously, but I did score one goal and everyone was so shocked, woo hoo. I actually tried though, surprise surprise, and was running, and kicking, ya know, like actually playing. I even enjoyed playing soccer! We play a lot of soccer as missionaries, every P-day as a Zone, and every morning during exercise as a District, so I invested in some cleats so I stop slipping in the mud. They are so cute, they are silver Pumas with light blue on one side and a white cougar on the other. Besides the fact that they are ridiculously cute, they also help me to play better because I don't slip. What a choice investment.

3. Emotional Rollercoaster
Yesterday I went for a ride on an emotional rollercoaster, it was pretty intense, allow me to explain:
Sad: Yesterday was the day of the Arzate family's baptism, yet only the mom, son and daughter were at church. I went and sat with them as usual and asked where the dad was and they said he had to work today so he would not be getting baptized. I wonder if he really was working or if he just got scared, we will see this week when we go teach the family. I am not too worried about the dad because I know he will get baptized, he always tells us that he knows the Book of Mormon is true, and I know he knows that he needs to be baptized. My heart broke, however, for the rest of the family. I know what it feels like to not have your dad at your baptism, and it was one of the hardest things for me. The Arzate's are way strong though and I know they will be a great example to the dad and help him prepare for his own baptism.
Nervous: After church was over it was time for the Arzate baptism, and they had asked me to give a short talk on baptism, so I was very nervous to get up in front of everyone and give a talk in spanish again. My companions said I did well, but my face felt like it was on fire the whole time and I felt so silly.
Ridiculously Happy: I love baptisms, and seeing the three Arzates being baptized almost brought me to tears. I have been teaching this family since February and have grown so close to all of them and love them so much. I feel so blessed to have witnessed the change in each of them as they have grown closer to the Savior, and am excited to witness even more of the changes that will occur in the future as they continue to learn.

No more time, I am now 4 minutes late, eek

Love you all!
Hermana Taets

Monday, June 28, 2010

Week 34

Hola Mis Seres Queridos

Today is my 8 month birthday as a missionary! Wow! Can you believe how fast time flies? I only have a little over 10 months left on my mission. That is weird. It is going by way too fast, I do not like it. I have felt so grateful for this opportunity to train Hermana Ang and am learning so much from her! She definitely has "greenie fire" and has no fear whatsoever. This weekend we went to go teach an investigator about the Plan of Salvation and we just told Hermana Ang to use a visual of the Plan and teach as much as she could and that we would help her when she got stuck. Well, basically Hermana Lillywhite and I just bore testimony as she taught and she did the whole thing by herself, in spanish! Wow, I was so proud of her! I wish I was that good when I first got out here, I was such a brat when I was a new missionary haha. We are all working really hard to find new people to teach right now because are current investigators have either lost interest or are getting baptized, so we are in a bit of a finding mode. I love doing finding because we have so many interesting experiences and meet so many people. I just love talking to people!

Yesterday the Arzate family had their baptism interview and all four of them are ready to be baptized on the 11 of July. I am SO excited! It has been such a tremendous blessing to watch this family grow together and become more unified as they began to attend church, study the scriptures, and pray as a family. They are all so amazing! The son is 15 and is definitely a future missionary. When we first started teaching his family he was very stubborn, he reminded me so much of myself when I was meeting with the missionaries, and he constantly argued that we have just been tricked to believe these things, or even have tricked ourselves. But, we continually bore testimony to him of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon, and that once he is willing to do the will of the Lord, whatever it may be, that he must read the Book of Mormon and pray to know if it is true. Over the last few months we pretty much extended this same focus and promise to the entire family over and over and over again, and now they all have received that witness that the Book of Mormon is true. Yesterday in his interview, the Father said, "I have to tell you something, I am not for sure about Joseph Smith yet, or this Monson, but I WILL know before I am baptized." What an example of faith! He continually tells us that he knows the Book of Mormon is true, and that he knows that he will receive answer to his prayers concerning Joseph Smith before the day of his baptism. He believes it is true, but he wants to KNOW it is true. This family has truly been an amazing example to me of faith and trust in the Lord, and I am SO excited to witness their baptism on July 11th.

I love you all dearly and am grateful for your prayers
Hermana Taets

Week 33!!

Hola Mis Seres Queridos

Ok So I don't have much time so I will just take some time to talk about my super sweet Hija, Hermana Ang. I love her! We picked her up from the office on Thursday and did a temple session together and then came back to the area to get down to bidness. She is way cute and from Hawaii, but her family is from the Philippines, so she is going to make us some sweeeet Filippino food this week, chyeah. She is such an inspiration to me already and I am learning so much from her! We went tracting on Friday (knocking on doors) and I would just say, "Hey, go talk to that guy standing over there" and she would just go do it! Now, granted I had to take over rather quickly because she doesn't speak spanish all that well yet, but she is just so fearless! I want to be more fearless and bold, somehow I got a little more timid over the last few transfers and am hoping to stomp that out with the help of my Hija. I still can't believe I am training a brand new missionary, it is kind of scary! I got an e-mail this morning from President saying what a huge responsibility it is and I just hope my best is enough. I don't feel like an expert on missionary work yet, or spanish for that matter, but I trust that there is a reason that Hermana Ang and I needed to be placed together. I pray that the Lord will be able to use me as an instrument in molded Hermana Ang into a totally amazing, spanish-speaking sister missionary. Sorry this e-mail is so short, the Elders are complaining that they are starving and I drove the car, so I best be going. I love you all so much!
Hermana Taets

Monday, June 14, 2010

Week 32

Hola Mis Seres Queridos

I AM HAVING A BABY!!!!!! Translation from missionary-speak: I AM TRAINING!!!!! I got the call Saturday morning that Hermana Lillywhite and I are going to trio-train one of the two new spanish sister missionaries. I am so excited! I am also very grateful that for my first time training I won't be alone and will have the guidance of an older, experienced missionary. We talked a lot about fun things to do to her so that she realizes that you are allowed to have fun on your mission...because some missionaries think it is a sin to enjoy your life on your mission haha. Here are some ideas that we probably will never do because we are too nice and don't want to scare her: have everyone lift her up in a chair during district meeting and do a chant and dance around, Have Elder Kerr dress up like an Indian and run screaming into our apartment, Hna. Lillywhite and I creating completely new personalities that completely hate each other and get in a screaming match...Oh yes, training will be so fun. We pick her up on Thursday and get to do a temple session with her, have lunch with other trainers and their babies, and then head back to our area to get to work.

In other news, I got in a chalkboard-eraser fight saturday night with Elder McGary and it was super intense. Two of the Hammerly Elders' investigators got married saturday night and we went to the chapel early to set up chairs and such and then got a little distracted by possibility of a chalk fight. So, Elder McGary threw the chalk dust filled eraser at Elder Inkley and hit his sleeve, and then I, being the noble person that I am, decided to defend his honor and threw it back at McGary and hit him right in the rear end. It was ridiculously funny, until he filled the eraser with more chalk dust and then chased me throughout the chapel and then pegged me square in my rear with the eraser. All of the other missionaries were very entertained to say the least, while I was left tired and sweaty from running around and covered in chalk dust. I am so grateful that I serve with such choice missionaries, and that we can work hard yet still have fun when the time is appropriate.

Not much else is going on, The Arzate family is still way legit. They asked us for another copy of the Book of Mormon because the two kids were fighting over it. That was the coolest thing I have ever heard I think. So many people take the scriptures for granted, yet this family is reading them, studying them, and FIGHTING over them! Woooo Hoooo :) They are still all squared away to be baptized on the 11 of July, which will be a glorious, glorious day, after teaching this sweet family since my first transfer in the mission. I have witnessed just a beautiful change in them as a family as the gospel and changed and blessed them and am so grateful for the opportunity I have to be a full-time missionary. There is no greater calling than that of missionary.

Hermana Taets

Monday, June 7, 2010

Week 31

Buenos dias mi familia and mis amigos

I would like to start this e-mail with a funny that I experienced on Saturday. My companion and I were driving home to our apartment and were passing a car on the right side and saw something that I have never seen before in my life: A man driving and eating corn on the cob simultaneously. Who knew this was even possible! I was both shocked and amazing, and proceeded to life for several minutes and almost stopped breathing. This might be one of those, "You had to have been there," experiences, but I was grateful for the friendly reminder that I am back in Texas. Another interesting thing happened Saturday. So, the Elders love soccer, or futbol as we Hispanics call it, and we have started playing soccer every morning before studies. You all probably know that I am horrible at sports, but I play along and pretty much just laugh and be silly. All morning Elder Porter was urging me to "Go chase after the ball Hermana Taets," and "Try and get the ball from Elder so-and-so Hermana Taets," and so as soon as he got the ball I decided to play a little more aggressively. I ran over to him and may or may not have given him a little shove, because apparently that is how the game of soccer is played, and then we got in a tangle of feet as we fought for the ball. I cannot be sure of what happened but something definitely happened and my ankle got really mad at me and I went to go sit out. The Elders wouldn't let me sit down, but rather made me walk around on it so it wouldn't swell, which worked to my surprise. After that I thought I was fine but later in the day it hurt like nobody's business and I was limping around all day long. Once we got to our dinner appointment with the Patino family it was pretty bad, and they all noticed, so once again I was forced to endure Mexican VooDoo healing. This time wasn't nearly as bad but it sure hurt. Hermano Patino did some massage therapy on my foot, and I definitely shouted a couple times, poor Hermana Lillywhite felt so bad for me, but it really wasn't all that bad. I was skeptical at first, and really just wanted to tell Hermano to call it quits and let me be, but the next day I walked normal! My foot is still slightly tender but overall I almost feel back to normal. I guess in some circumstances the voodoo works in your favor.
Everything else is going so well and it feels so good to be back in Texas! This first week back was slightly awkward at times, just because a lot of the other missionaries didn't know how to deal with me and just were weird, but I think that is over with because they see that I am acting rather close to my normal self. I got a lot of pity, I mean sympathy cards this week from others missionaries, which was very sweet and thoughtful. Some of them truly testified to me of the awkwardness that is Elder. One of the comments from a missionary in my zone began, "bummer about your dad." I am glad to have learned that "bummer" has become a word that holds sympathetic meaning. Truth be told, all of the missionaries have been amazing to me and really have helped me to feel at home here in Texas. I have been telling them all of the crazy/funny stories about Dad and they usually respond that they have to meet him in the next life because he is probably one of the coolest people ever. Which is definitely true, my Papa Bear is one of the coolest, male version of me and Alli put together, that I know.
The work is going well, Elva told us this week that she finally quit smoking! Woo! I was so excited I pretty much jumped off of the couch and hugged her. She is so sweet! I asked her how she did it and she said, "Everytime I felt the need to smoke I would just go read the Book of Mormon!" Can you say amazing woman? I just love her and her family to bits and pieces and cannot wait for the day they are baptized! Her and her son may just get baptized first, because the husband works on sundays and they don't want to wait much longer, so we will see what happens. the Arzates are doing really well, while I was out of the mission the dad told my companion and the temporary sisters that he received an answer through prayer that the Book of Mormon is true, which was like the best news ever! They are also the cutest family ever and are still on track to be baptized the 11th of July. I love this work so much! I have never felt to strong in my faith and trust in my Heavenly Father, and know that he will continue to bless me with trials and struggles so that I may grow and become more like the Savior. I know that He is preparing me for the great challenge that lies before me, that I may find strength in Jesus Christ and His atonement.

Con Amor y Paz,
Hermana Taets

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Week 30

Hola Mis Seres Queridos,
This last week I went on a rather large exchange and was serving in the Arizona Phoenix Mission and also in the Illinois Mission. I was companions with Addison Ricks and various other family members during the week and have learned much this week, as with any other exchange I have been on. I am sure most of you have already heard all of this, but yes, I was home this last week because my Father had a stroke on friday the 21st and I was flown in to make some critical medical decisions for him because he could not speak, nor was he very alert during the times that I was with him. He passed away on sunday the 23rd around 8:30 in the morning. It was something I never expected to happen, but something that has strengthened my faith. I was able to attend the 3:00 session of the Gila Valley Temple dedication in my stake center and although I cried through the entire thing I am so grateful that I was able to focus on the beauty of the temple and the reality that families are meant to last even beyond the grave and that my Father will be waiting for me on the other side of the veil.
My aunt Liz, Aunt Cherie and Uncle Mike were in Arizona with me as well throughout the week and helped me do a lot of things I surely couldn't have done alone. Monday we picked out a casket (who would have believed that the "wooden box" is the most expensive casket!) and made arrangements for a visitation in Arizona and then a visitation and funeral in Geneseo, Illinois where my dad was raised and would be buried. Tuesday we meant with a lawyer and signed the appropriate documents in order to pass the authority to deal with all the matters concerning my dad's estate from me to my uncle Mike. I cannot possibly express how grateful I am to my uncle Mike and aunt Cherie for taking this burden from me, because I sure don't know how to sell a house or deal with creditors and things like that, and it also allowed me to return to the mission. Wednesday we had the visitation in AZ and it was very nice and a lot of my dad's friends and co workers were there. Wednesday night I also had the opportunity to attend a temple session in the Mesa Arizona temple with Brother and Sister Hofeling, which was an amazing experience for me and gave me an added measure of peace. Thursday morning we flew to Illinois, Friday was the visitation, and Saturday the funeral. By the time Saturday I was pretty exhausted emotionally, it was just not an easy thing to attend three open casket events, 2 visitations and a funeral. Sunday I flew back to Houston and now am back in the mission feeling ready to work as hard as I possibly can to bring souls unto Christ and to teach others of Heavenly Father's love for them and the power of repentance and the atonement of the Savior.
Although this last week has been a challenge, I feel strengthened and have grown in my faith and trust in my Heavenly Father. I know now, more than ever, that this gospel is true. I trust in the plan that God has for me and for my family and trust that all these things shall give me experience and help me to become more like the Savior. I know that the Plan of Salvation is real, and that I will see my dad again. Although I will miss him every single day, I have faith that I will see him again and that my family will be eternal. I love my Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ, and know that they love me, and that they love my dad and that his death was just a step in his growth and learning and was the best thing for him. I am also grateful for all of the love and support I have received this week from friends, family, and the members, missionaries and investigators that I serve with here in the Texas Houston Mission.

Con Amor y Paz
Hermana Taets