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: Well...is it okay if I give you a card?

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

Ang: It's free...it'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 http://lds.org/conference/sessions/display/0,5239,23-1-1298,00.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