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