Monday, February 22, 2010

Week 15

Hola Chamacos (learned that word yesterday, haha)
About a million and one things happened this week!

1. Milagro!!!! That means miracle :) So, Jaime and is baby mama, Maribela, want to get married and get baptized, but are having issues because Jaime needs to divorce his wife, and then she is waiting for her citizenship, which she has already waited 10 years for, but if she gets married she has to start the process over. Anyways, we have been praying for the Lord to provide the way for them to be baptized and this week Jaime for out looking for his wife, visiting her family and friends and trying to locate her, and while he was out searching, the wife showed up at his apartment looking for him! Maribela said his wife came over looking for Jaime because she wants a divorce! They hadn't seen or heard from his wife in years yet she randomly showed up at their door! So on Friday Jaime and his wife went to see a lawyer, who just so happens to be the temple president and speaks spanish, and he is helping them file divorce and is providing his services free of charge! The divorce is still going to be around $1000 but that's with court fees and other stuff yada yada yada. So our next miracle we are hoping to see is that Maribela gets her papers and then they can get married and baptized!! I love teaching them, they read the Book of Mormon together and pray every night and Maribela is trying to get a new job so she can be at church with Jaime on sundays. They are such a beautiful family, with their two beautiful daughters, and I hope one day I will be able to witness them be sealed together as a family inside the temple.

2. On Wednesday we had our Zone meeting with the reporter and it went really way, she was very nice andsaid she hoped her article would help us have a better face in the community and help our work. So, I went to the zone meeting with the specific game plan that I would not speak a word, unless prompted by the Spirit to do so, to prevent myself from saying something that could be distorted and give the church a bad name. Can you guess what happened? I felt very strongly to make a specific comment and so of course I followed the prompting and said it. After the meeting she came up to me and asked me how old I am and where I am from....baaahhh I hope this doesn't mean she is going to quote me in her article. She had asked about miracles we had seen in the mission or good experiences and I talked about how I saw miracles outside of the mission, concerning my family, because of my sacrifice as a missionary. I said that when I was first baptized it was without a lot of support from my family, and that when I chose to serve a mission there wasn't a lot of support in the beginning either, but that now my family fully supports what I am doing and I know that they are being greatly blessed for my sacrifices in the mission. I don't think she could turn my comment against me in anyway, so hopefully I am safe.

3. In gospel principles class on sunday, the hermano teaching the class called my companion "Hermana White". It was beyond hilarious because her name is Blanco, which does mean white in spanish, so I think they might have assumed that she translated her name on her name tag, which is not the case. At one of our dinner appointments this week she got called Hermana White again, so I think it's spreading around the ward and I love it, I laugh so hard everytime they say it.

4. Alysa was baptized yesterday!!! I loved teaching Alysa, she is 11 and the granddaughter of a couple in the ward. Her baptism was so great, the feeling in the room during the baptism was so strong you could probably reach out and grab it. I had a received a tender mercy from the Lord during the baptism. Alysa's cousin, who is also like 11 or so, had planned on singing a musical number during the baptism program and she was very nervous, so I ended up singing it with her. We sang a primary song "A Child's Prayer", which we also sang at MY baptism. The same emotions I felt at my own baptism seemed to flood back into my heart and I had to hold back tears as I sang this beautiful song at the baptism of someone I taught and prepared. I am so happy for Alysa, we took some pictures so I will send those home when I can.

5. Four of our investigators were at church on sunday! Usually only Jaime and Alysa are there but yesterday we had three new investigators at church! I think it is because we had a District fast yesterday for the people in our areas to be prepared to receive the gospel. Woot Woot.

6. Someone told me Erica got a mission call?!!!!??!?!? to the very same state that I so happen to be serving in?!!?!?!? Oh man, Erica if you are reading this you owe me a letter like yesterday. I didn't even know she was planning on serving a mission! Congratulations Erica! Texas is awesome, the spanish people are amazing, I already love the culture and the people so much, I think I will tell people I am from Mexico once I get home and continue speaking spanish and shop at food city, hahahahaha.

Well there's your novel of the happenings within my life this week. I love and miss you all. I love being a missionary! I have never felt so happy!

Hermana Taets

Week 14

Hola familia y amigos
Another transfer has begun! Craziness! This week was really busy, not many weird stories to tell this week, just the usual...knocking on trailer doors in the rain, getting chased by a big dog named "Nacho", still struggling to communicate...not just spanish but english as well. I think my brain just is on overload and turns on sometimes.
Last P-day we went to Five Guys for lunch, which is claimed to be better than In-N-Out....WRONG. It was no where near as good. 1. The bun was too big, the ratio of bread to burger was too high, 2. The grilled onions were way underdone and too big, 3. the burger tasted like something I could have made on a crappy grill in my backyard, 4. way overpriced, a cheeseburger and a drink over 5 bucks, didn't even get a fry, pshhhhh, 5. No spread, spread is what makes In-N-Out beat ever other burger place out there, ketchup just doesn't cut it. In-N-Out will always reign supreme. I shared my critique with the others missionaries at lunch and they think I am a complete weirdo and very biased.
On wednesday we had a zone meeting with President Hansen and with a public relations representative from the church because a reporter from the major newspaper in Texas is writing an article on spanish speaking LDS missionaries and will be attending our next zone meeting next wednesday and will also be asking us some questions. This is really exciting because if the reporter writes an honest article about our work as missionaries it could spark interest in the community and move along the work. But, it is also very scary, because if something we say is taken out of context or distorted then the entire church could receive a bad reputation. I am planning on keeping my mouth shut unless prompted by the Holy Ghost to share some insight. The reporter came to church with us on sunday and she seems very nice, but I still have my guard up of course.
On Friday we had an appointment with Jaime, and usually we teach him at his mom's house because she is a previous investigator and sits in on the lessons and also because we were previously teaching his sister and her husband as well, but on friday he wanted us to teach him at his house. He said it was close by, so we met him in a nearby parking lot and then followed him onto the freeway. As we were driving we watched several exits pass by until eventually we had driven right outside of the mission. I felt a little panicky but we decided to keep going and teach the lesson. We got to his home and met his baby-mama, who he lives with, and she sat in on the lesson. We taught the first lesson again, on the Restoration of the church, for Maribela's sake, and it went so well! We committed her to be baptized with then and there and she said yes! She said she knew what we taught was true and wanted to be baptized with Jaime. I was so happy! As soon as Jaime finalizes his divorce and marrys Maribela, we will be able to see both of them baptized and prepare to attend the temple to be sealed as a family. There is no greater joy then to witness a family come unto a knowledge of the gospel and witness the increased measure of love and joy the family receives through the gospel. I am so excited for them! We talked to President Hansen the next day to ask for the South mission's phone number since the missionaries that cover Jaime's neighborhood would have to be the ones to continue teaching them, but President said he wanted us to keep teaching them and talk to our Bishop to see if they can continue to attend and be baptized in our ward. I am so excited!!! Now we are just praying for a miracle for Jaime and Maribela, that he can get divorced and they can be married by Bishop in the chapel.
I love being a missionary, there is no greater joy nor greater thing I could be doing with my life in this moment. I love all you back home and am grateful for your prayers and support.

Hermana Taets

Week 13

Hola Amigos

Wow time just flies, I cannot believe I have already completed my first transfer in the mission field! Only like...10 more of these and I will be coming home! I cannot even imagine what that will be like! My official go home date is the 18 of May 2011, which sounds soooo far away, but when I think of it in transfers it seems like no time at all because this transfer went by so fast, and apparently they keep going faster! We really got the work going in our area and finally have some solid investigators, 3 baptismal dates for this month, woot woot, and I just love being in this area. Transfer calls came on saturday, and the whole week everyone has been trying to guess who will get transferred and where everyone is going, it was really fun to witness. I had no clue where people are going since I am still a greenie and don't know anyone or the areas or nada. Everyone in my district said that I would be getting transferred because I don't need my trainer anymore...psh who knows where they got that idea, I still have a long way to go in the language! BUT, thank goodness, I get to stay! Hermana Blanco and I both are staying in the Fairbanks area, and since she only has two transfers left in the mission, it has been speculated that we will both stay here the next two transfers and I will be her last companion (in the mission the term is that I am going to "kill" her, since I will be her last companion in the mission). There is lots of funny terminology in the mission, for example, your trainer is called your "mom", so for funsies I always call Hermana Blanco "mom", the Elders think it's pretty funny. I am really hoping that I will get to "kill" Hermana Blanco and then stay in Fairbanks and train. I am pretty sure my spanish will be good enough by then, and the other stuff is easy-peasy, so hopefully I will get an "hija" (daughter) after I "kill" Hermana Blanco, haha.

I am still adjusting to the hispanic food. This week we ate at a members house and they served us "mole" (it is pronounced mo-lay). Hermana Blanco said it is chicken covered in a spicy chocolate sauce and when I heard that I imagined eating a chicken drumstick that was dipped in chocolate, yuck. But, once they brought it out it looked like normal chicken and it actually wasn't bad at all! I won't say I would choose to eat it again but it didn't really taste chocolatey and wasn't too bad. It was much better than the pupusas we had the other week, blah. I am starting to really enjoy tamales, weird haha.

This saturday we worked the Pulga again, but this time I loved it! I got to speak so much spanish and talk to people all day long! After being there for about 4 hours, we were able to get 37 referrals! Meaning, we were able to talk to 37 people who wanted to learn more and wrote down their addresses and phone numbers so that the missionaries could come teach them. It was awesome. The first person I talked to yelled at me and said some bad stuf about Joseph Smith so I just said..."um...tenga un buen dia!" haha. Angry people don't really bother me, if there wasn't any opposition to our message I would be more concerned. In the Bible it says a lot about the members of the true church being persecuted, so when it happens to me I just smile and am grateful to be in the true church haha. I had a really great experience at the Pulga! I was at the table helping someone fill our their information when this older man came up the me and said, "hay una luz en sus ojos," there is a light in my eyes, and he said he needed to know what it is we are selling. I told him what we offer is free and explained to him about the restoration of the true church through a prophet and he got so excited! He said that sounded beautiful and then I wrote down his info so the missionaries could go teach him. He thanked me several times and said he was excited to learn more about this beautiful message. I really had to hold back the tears at this point, I felt so touched to have met someone so prepared to learn and accept the gospel! I also felt so grateful that I all the work I am putting in to be a faithful servant of the Lord is paying off. It says in the Book of Mormon that we should have the light of the Savior in our countenance, and I am so grateful that that light is shining in my eyes as I share the exciting news of the restoration of Christ's church.

Spanish is going good, most of the time. I have been analyzing lately and have come to realize that my spanish is really good when I am talking to investigators or people on the street or whatever, but when I try to speak spanish with other missionaries or the members, I sound pretty stupid and it's as if a spanish switch has been flipped and I no longer have the ability to speak. When I was set apart as a missionary I was blessed with the gift of tongues in my ability to speak and understand the spanish language. I am starting to think that the gift of tongues only applies when it is absolutely necessary that I speak, like when I am teaching. I have been frustrated with this "spanish switch" but now I realize I should be so grateful that I have been blessed so much with the ability to speak spanish when it is necessary and when it is the Lord's will. I love spanish and am pretty sure that once I am fluent I will just never speak english again haha, ingles es muy feo!

Jaime is doing really well in preparing for his baptism. We wanted to do it this upcoming sunday BUT he needs to get married first to the woman he lives with and has two children with, in order to be keeping the law of chastity. He said that they would get married, but he has to get a divorce from his previous spouse first. This is the hard part because he doesn't know where she is exactly, so we are going to try and find some help for him, the houston temple president is a lawyer so we are going to call him and see what we should do. Jaime is so excited to be baptized, he loved church yesterday and asks questions and makes comments in all of the classes. We go to his house and teach him every night at 8 and I feel like he teaches the lessons more than we do! He knows so much! He loves to read and study, so he reads a lot in the Book of Mormon everyday and then all sorts of others books. I really want to be able to give him some more materials to study, but I am poor haha. This is where y'all come in. I am requesting that all who read my e-mails, if you ever come across a Jesus the Christ, Mormon Doctrine, or Triple combination with the Pearl of Great Price and Doctrine and Covenants, IN SPANISH, please send it to me and I will pay you back. I can't afford a bunch of new books so don't go to Deseret and buy new books, BUT if you are at DI or come across some used church books in spanish it would be greatly greatly appreciated! Jaime will love you forever and so will I, haha.

Well, gotta run! I love you all and am so grateful for all your love and support!

Hermana Taets

Monday, February 1, 2010

week 12

This week was absolute craziness, so much awesomeness to share with y'all!
1. We had exchanges on tuesday, which is where you trade companions for a day. I went to the Cross Timbers area with Hermana Dewey, who happens to be my "sister" because Hermana Blanco trained her as well. Man, I thought my area was on the sketchy side, but Cross Timbers was was more ghetto, it was awesome!!! The investigators there were so legit! I taught in some pretty nasty shacks, and a dog chased our car allllll the way to the freeway, intense, but I loved it! Oh man, remember how I got pooped on a few weeks ago? I am so glad that happened! I got to use it as a teaching tool haha. So, we were teaching this man who has a baptism date for the end of Febrero but he didn't go to church on sunday, so we asked what happened and he said before he left he spilled something all over his nice white shirt and figured it was a sign that he shouldn't go to church. So, I jumped right in and said, guess what happened to ME haha I told him how on our way to the car on the way to church a bird pooped on my head, and how I could have let that ruin my day and stayed home or just been mad, but instead I washed my hair and went on with the day and ended up having a GREAT day, it was seriously a great day, I felt so good. Then I told him that I was really grateful for that experience because when we receive trials we are given the opportunity to rise above them and prove that we are bigger and better than the bad experiences we have. So I asked him what was going to stop him from going to church this sunday and he said "nothing!" and then said he was going to drive there earlier in the week to make sure he knew how to get there on time on sunday, haha. Thank goodness for that stupid bird! I loved being on exchanges with Hermana Dewey, she was so much fun! There was something about her and the way we taught together that gave me so much more confidence in myself as a missionary and in spanish. Don't ask me how but I taught a recent covert how to do family history online, and then I taught someone else the story of how the Salt Lake Temple was built with elevator shafts before elevators were even invented, and I did it in spanish! Whhaaaattt? Haha so many words just came out that I didn't even espacios...haha it was awesome!
2. Last week we knocked on this man's door named Jaime who said he had met with missionaries a few years ago but it would be alright if we came and taught him. So, later in the week we went to teach Jaime and wow, we shared the story with the first vision and then he taught us like the rest of the Restoration, like about Joseph receiving the priesthood from Peter, James and John, and about translating the plates into the Book of Mormon, he knew more than me I think, it was crazy! So we asked him if he knew that Joseph Smith was a prophet and if the Book of Mormon was true and he said yes! So we asked him if he would be baptized on 14 Febrero and he said he was too scared to get baptized because he didn't think he could be perfect and never break any commandment after his baptism. So we taught him about repentance through the Atonement of Christ and asked him again if he would be baptized and he said YES. WOO HOOOOOO I was so happy I almost cried! He was so excited to, he went right to the calendar and started counting how many days until his baptism. This last month was so hard because we were teaching so many lessons every single day, but none of them were interested, no one we taught went to church, then lo and behold, Heavenly Father gives us this golden investigator, and I cannot even describe how happy I felt after meeting Jaime and seeing his excitement to be baptized. This is why I came on a mission. There is no greater joy then to see the light in someone's eye as they realize that God still loves His children and has restored His church once more. I am so excited for Jaime! We have lessons scheduled with him everyday at 8 to prepare him for his baptism, and it is going to be so much fun!
3. Last night we went to this young women (girls in the church ages 12-18) activity called "Nuevos Comienzos" (new beginnings) which is apparently something they do every new year and it was nice to go and support the young women as they work on their personal progress, which is this book of things they should do to progress in certain values (Faith, Virtue, good works, divine nature, integrity, etc.). So they do these things, like study certain scriptures, write things in a journal, and its a lot of work, but once they finish they get some kind of recognition, I don't know much about it since I was too old when I was baptized to do all that stuff, but it seems really fun! Anyways, after the program, some of the women in the ward came up to me and said that they had the atuff for me to do the personal progress too! They were so excited to give me the booklet and the journal and to help me earn my young woman personal progress, it was so sweet. I am pretty excited about it, I knew I would do it one day, I figured I would have to wait until I had a daughter in the Young Women program, but I guess I will be doing it during a portion of my personal studies in the morning. I started it this morning and am going to start by working on virtue. I almost finished the first task and learned a lot about what virtue is from the scriptures. I am really excited! I am really glad I will have the opportunity to do this before I have daughters so that I can set the example for them and encourage them to do it.
Transfers are next week, we get the call on Saturday if we are getting transferred. Pray that I get to stay here! I love my ward and all the people we are teaching, and I love my companion! I will let y'all know next week if I am getting transferred to a new area and companion. I love you all so much!
Hermana Taets