Thursday, February 24, 2011

6 weeks tooo goooo!!!

Hola Mis Seres Queridos

Wow, so much has happened in a week. Here we go.

Monday (Valentine's Day): We were invited to eat dinner with two member families that night after P-Day and they were both very fun. When we walked out of the last appointment we found our car covered in red hearts and writing, thanks to our best friend Claricia. That girl just cracks me up. Her and the family she lives with wrote really cheese ball pick up lines that have to do with Mormon culture and wrote them on the hearts and stuck them to our car. For example: "I search, pondered and prayed for you", "I want to hold you like the iron rod", "Tag=Swag" (talking about our missionary tags haha) and then on the back windshield it said, "Read the Book of Mormon, homie g's" Haha. That girl, I just love her.

Saturday: Transfer calls. What a surprise that was. Hermana Wardle (my MTC companion) and I are just going to switch companions. So, Hermana Martinez is going just one area over to Bear Creek and I am getting Hermana Smart. We thought it was a joke at first, just because it is so strange, but I am glad that Hermana Martinez isn't going far because I just love her to pieces. Things will be a lot different with Hermana Smart, but I know that transfers are inspired and that Heavenly Father has a specific purpose in placing us together. I really hope that we can be a unified and obedient companionship so that we can see miracles this transfer, especially since it is my last one...weird.

Sunday: At about 7:00am we received a call from the ward secretary saying, "Oh Hermana Taets, I am just calling to REMIND you that you are speaking in church today." Well, that is strange because I thought that to be able to remind someone of something they had to have already been told about it. Haha. So, Elder Morin and I both had surprise talks to give in church and had zero time to prepare them. I spoke first and I shared my conversion story and talked about the importance of not judging who is ready to hear the gospel or not and to just share with everyone. I was so nervous to just go up there and give a talk in spanish without any preparation but as soon as I stepped up to the microphone I felt so comfortable and the words came out so easily. It is such a blessing to have the gift of the Holy Ghost! Then Elder Morin shared the story of a family he had taught early in his mission and the changes he saw in them as he taught and baptized them one by one. He ended the story saying that he had the blessing of going to the temple the day before to see them being sealed as a family for time and all eternity. It was a very powerful story and most of the women, and some of the men, in the congregation had tears streaming down their faces. It was such a powerful sacrament meeting and I think the members really felt the importance of what we have as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and are hopefully excited to share that with others.

It is always a weird feeling at the beginning of a new transfer. It is really weird not having Hermana Martinez with me but I know that Hermana Smart and I will work hard so that we can witness miracles in our area. I am in the final sprint of my mission and will not be slowing down.
Con Amor
Hermana Taets

Monday, February 14, 2011


2 Months LEFT!!

Hola Hola Hola

Has another week flown by already? wow. Can't believe it. Anyways, today I will share one funny story, of the many, and one teaching story, and I think I actually have time to do it today!

Funny Story

In order for this story to really make sense it must be understood that a missionary's planner contains his/her life. It has all of our appointments scheduled in it, names, numbers and addresses of people we are teaching, people we have contacted while knocking doors or doing whatever, and people that have been referred to us to go teach. My planner is like my first-born child. On Saturday afternoon I was making a right hand turn onto the feeder to get onto the I-10 and had my window rolled down. As I made the turn my companion made a comment, but I didn't really hear because I was focused on driving (that's right, I am a focused-on-the-road-and-not-on-distractions Driver, that might have developed on my mission) so I asked her what she had said and she responded rather calmly, "your planner just flew out the window." My response was a screaming, "WHATTTTT?!" Dummy Taets had left her planner on the dashboard and it was now sitting in the middle of the freeway feeder. You can't just leave your first-born child sitting on the freeway so we turned around, parked the car by where I had made the turn and analyzed the situation. Planner was sitting about one lane away from the sidewalk, right on the line, it's pages blowing in the wind as if saying, "Look at me, I am right here, come save me!" Luckily, we had the Elders with us, and of course they had to be the chivalrous young men that they are and decided they would face death and go run into the street and get planner. Elder Morin was the lookout, yelled, "GO!" while Elder Lang ran into the road, grabbed planner, and made it back safely. Planner is now safe and sound, never again to be placed on the dashboard. I am a little disappointed that planner didn't even have a cool tire mark across it just for looks. Oh well, can't complain.

Teaching Story

We went to contact one of our many referrals this week, named Alicia, and right when we knocked on the door she said, "It's freezing outside, come in!" That is the one perk with this cold weather, people are more likely to let us in when we knock on their door. We sat with her at her kitchen table and talked to her about her family and religious beliefs and why she requested a visit from us. I don't think she really understood why we were there so I explained to her what we do as missionaries and asked her if she would be interested in us returning and teaching her family. She seemed pretty hesitant and reverted to the "I'm Catholic" thing, even though she had already explained that she never goes to church and doesn't really know what "being Catholic" even means haha. After realizing that we probably wouldn't get the chance to come back I taught her about the Book of Mormon, my companion and I both bore testimony of it and committed her to read it in her own time and ask God if it is true. She told us that she loves to read and seemed excited to find out what the Book of Mormon is about and said she would pray to know if it is true. Before leaving I asked if we could call her two sons into the room and have a family prayer, and she went and brought them in. This was my favorite part of the whole experience. We talked to the little boys a little bit about what prayer is and taught them how to pray and then we all bowed our heads and my companion offered a prayer. The spirit was so strong and I know that the mom felt the power in family prayer. If this family learned nothing more from us than how to pray and to do it as a family then I consider it a huge success. I pray that they will start praying and reading the bible as a family so that they may grow and uplift one another.

I love being a missionary. I know that this gospel is true, that Jesus Christ came to the Earth, completed the will of His Father and was a perfect example for us. I know that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus Christ, I received that answer from God and nothing will be able to change the testimony that I have received.

Hermana Taets

Week 64

Buenos Dias Mis Seres Queridos

This week was really crazy, lots of doctors involved haha I still have my cough, after 3 different kinds of prescriptions, dumb, but hopefully it will go away when the weather warms up. We had to take Elder Lang downtown for a checkup with his diabetes doctor, the trip downtown was really scary, I just cannot drive down there without having ultra anxiety. Then on Thursday Elder Morin hurt his ankle while biking and we had to take him to the emergency room because it wouldn't stop bleeding. We were at the hospital from 9:30pm-11:30pm which was really weird because I have never been out of the apartment that late during the mission. Fortunately Elder Morin did not break his ankle and did not need stitches, just has to be on crutches for awhile.
Friday I hit my 15 month mark in the mission and one of our investigators threw me a quinceanera, which is like when white people have a "sweet 16", in Hispanic culture they have a HUGE party when girls turn 15. They made me buy a dress and wear a crown, it was so fun. I did not buy a big poofy dress like what would normally be worn in a quince, but I found a cute one at ross that I can keep wearing during the mission, woo hoo. I love the people we are teaching, we are all like best friends. We are trying to establish good relationships with the members of our congregation and the youth in the ward and are seeing the fruits of our labors. The youth are bringing friends to mutual and we are getting a ton of referrals. My only complaint is that our area is so huge that we waste so much time driving around and I wish we could just work work work all day long.

You guessed it, no time. I love you all and wish I could promise a longer email next week, but I can't haha I like P-Day activities too much ;)
Con Amor
Hermana Taets

Week 63

Hola Hola Hola

Guess what? No time. Bullet Points.
Car Accident. Yep, we got in a car accident on Thursday, but thankfully it was very very minor and there was no damage to our car. It was raining a little bit so the roads were slick, I was stopped at a red light and was rear ended by a car that skidded. It was a very interesting experience and I know that we were protected. As I was stopped at the red light I saw the car skidding in my rear view mirror and thought to myself, "Well, no one is in front of me, should I move up and avoid an accident?" but a soft voice in my head seemed to whisper, "don't move." So, I stood my groud and watched the car hit us. I am not 100% sure why I wasn't supposed to move, but I think that if I would have moved forward we still would have been hit and then pushed into the cars the were making left hand turns. I am so grateful for the gift of the Holy Ghost, that He is my constant companion and is guiding me each day. My only complaint about the accident is that after we got the guy's insurance information and saw there was no damage I tried to give him one of the new pass-a-long cards, and he said no! Can you believe that? You just rear ended me buddy, the least you can do is take the card, say thank you, and continue on your merry way. sheeeeesh. People these days.
Tovar Family. We started teaching a new family this week and they areso sweet. The 13 year old daughter has cancer, so the family is very humble and seeking to gain a stronger relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. It is so sad to see so many children who are affected by cancer. I had no idea before my mission that there are so many children with cancer, but now that I have taught several families who have children with cancer I am starting to realize how far reaching the disease is. I pray that this family will be able to feel the Holy Ghost strongly testify to them of the truth as we teach them in their home and that the gospel will bring them comfort in this time and need.
A lot more things happened this week but I think my companion is going to kill me if I make her wait any longer for me to finish up. Sorry, know that I love you all and that I love this work!
Hermana Taets

Week 62

Buenos Dias Mis Seres Queridos,

I don't have much time because it's actually not P-Day, the college where we e-mail was closed yesterday for the holiday, and we have an appoinment pretty soon. You know what that means. Bullet Points.

Tracting with Claricia. Claricia is 18 years old and a recent convert in the english ward that meets in our building, but she speaks spanish as well, so we bring her out with us a few times a week. Last week we went out looking for a co worker of hers who speaks spanish and who happens to be a less active member, and starting knocking on the street he supposedly live on. We couldn't find him, but we did almost die haha. The area was just a littttttle sketch and we were knocking these old apartments. We climbed up this set of rusted metal stairs and stood on a rusted metal landing while we waiting for someone to answer the door. While we were standing there we heard this loud noise and Claricia screamed and jumped which made all of us start screaming right in front of this person's door, I am sure it looked hilarious. After the screaming we asked what happened and Claricia said that the floor was moving, and when we looked where she had been standing sure enough there was a hole there. We made it back down the stairs in one piece and promised her we wouldn't climb anymore stairs with her haha. Oh the adventure in being a missionary.
Juanita. We started teaching a young woman this week named Juanita and she is amazing, I love her! She is so sweet and genuine and was really excited to read from the Book of Mormon. She has an 11 month old son named Eder who has cancer, so she is in the hospital a lot while he gets chemotherapy, but he seems to be doing really well. He has been doing chemo for about 6 months now and it sounds like it is working, hooray! Eder is just the cutest little smiley baby, you wouldn't think anything was wrong with him. Juanita is so amazing, she is going through just a huge trial but she talks about how she trusts in God and is grateful for the time the He has given her with her son, even if it will be shorter than she would like. Juanita is such an example to me of faith and I am excited to watch her grow closer to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ as she attends church and studies the scriptures.
Well, out of time, I love you all very much and pray everyone is well.
Hermana Taets

Week 61

Buenas Tardes Mis Seres Queridos

It has been such a crazy week, and went by much faster than I would have liked. So, I am going to have to do this in bullet form, like usual, if I am going to cover everything.

Exchanges: I went on an exchange with Hermana Ang on Wednesday and that was super fun, love that girl to bits. She has learned and grown so much since I was training her! She taught me a cool way to teach about the great apostasy that I am way stoked to try out. She hits her halfway mark in her mission this month...that is really weird, my daughter is growing up and is an old missionary, weird! We had a lot of fun together, didn't sleep much at night because we just laid in bed until about 1 am just talking about all of the people we taught in Fairbanks and all of the crazy experiences we had together. My three transfers in Fairbanks with Hermana Ang were probably some of my most favorite transfers in the field.

Dia de los 3 Reyes Magos (Three King's Day): January 6th was Three King's Day, which is kind of like an extension of Christmas, they celebrate the bringing of the gifts from the wise men to the baby Jesus. Us and the Elders went over to the Estrada home to eat la Rosca and drink Abuelitas hot chocolate, yum. La Rosca is a sweet bread that is kind of shaped like a wreath and has some fruit and colored sugars on top. The cool part is that inside the Rosca is a little doll, and whoever gets the little doll in their piece has to throw a party on Feb. 2nd and make either pozole or tamales. I love hispanic culture, they throw a party so that they can figure out who will throw the next party, genius. I am planning on implementing this tradition in my home because it was so much fun and I loved it! The Rosca that they bought had three dolls in it, and my companion and I each got one, haha, Hermana Martinez made the first cut and there was a little doll showing from the side, it was so funny, and I got the last doll of the three. Since we can't really throw a party the Estrada family made a deal with us that we would come over on sunday and help make dinner, which was also way fun.
Transfers. I had absolutely no idea what was going to happen next transfer, but I wasn't really nervous like I usually am because I think I have finally learned that no matter what happens it is the will of the Lord and therefore it will turn out alright. Our district all met up and read over the transfer paper, and NOTHING is changing in our district! So, I will be with Hermana Martinez for another transfer, which I am happy about because we get along really well. We have talked a lot about what things we need to improve on and are both excited to make changes and see miracles this upcoming transfer.

Pupusas. Sunday after church we went back over to the Estrada home and ate pupusas, which is a traditional meal from El Salvador, delicious. Me and two young single adult girls from the ward made the pupusas and it was so fun! I thought it was going to be really difficult but it actually wasn't that bad and I really enjoyed it! I am excited to try and make them on my own when I get home and show my family some authentic hispanic food, yum.

Well, that is about it for the week, I am excited to begin another transfer (my 10th transfer) here in the great Texas Houston Mission. Hope all is well back home!
Hermana Taets

Week 60

Happy New Year!

Sorry I didn't write last week, I was lazy and had already talked to my family on the phone on Christmas, so I went shopping instead of doing a bunch of emails :) The Holidays have been so good! We have been spoiled rotten by the members of our ward. On Christmas we went over to the Acosta home and played with the kids and ate all day. Calling home was fun, kind of weird because we mainly talked about me coming home in 3 months. Talking to my family made me a little more excited to come home, but it will definitely be bittersweet. I am sure I will miss being a full-time missionary every day of my life. Anyways, New Year's Eve we had to be inside the apartment after dark so a group of us missionaries brought some food back and played apples to apples until curfew, which was alright. My favorite part was watching all of the fireworks through the porch window. You can just buy fireworks on the street here in Texas, and it's legal, so fireworks were going off alllllllllll night. Pretty neat. On New Year's Day we went to the Acosta's again because their family and the Estrada family had some carne asada and invited us over. The food was delicious and after eating they had a Foosball tournament. I played offense with Hermano Estrada (2nd counselor in the bishopric) on my team as defense and we beat everyone! We won 5 games straight and eventually just stopped playing because we were tired and there was no one left who hadn't lost, haha. It was so much fun, especially because all of the hermanos who played were pretty competitive and didn't really appreciate losing to a sister missionary. Hermano Estrada was just hilarious, he kept telling me, "Acabelos Hermana!" which means, "Finish them Hermana!" I was just cracking up the entire time.
I am super excited to begin a new year here in the mission. I have been thinking a lot about repentance and what a blessing it is to have the opportunity to change and become better each day. There are many many things that I want to improve on this year, and I am excited to see what challenges the Lord will dish out this year to help me become more like Him. I sat down the other night and wrote out some goals to accomplish this year, and it was very strange to see that they would have to be accomplished outside of the mission. Although I am nervous to go home I know it is just the next step in my life and that it will be full of new adventures and experiences. I know that in the next few months we will be witnessing miracles here in the Texas Houston Mission. It has been promised to us that as we are obedient with exactness our baptisms will double by the end of March. I know this is true, I can just feel that we are standing on the edge of something huge here. I know I have a lot to improve on, a lot of loose screws to tighten up, so that I may be worthy to witness those miracles here in West Green.
I pray all is well back home and that everyone is excited to begin a new year!
love, Hermana Taets

week 58


Oh my crazy, can you believe Christmas is this Saturday? I can't. This week is going to be really epic because we have a lot of activities going on with the mission so that we don't get homesick haha. For example, Wednesday we have a mission wide service project in the morning then sports in the afternoon and then a conference/devotional at night. Thursday is mission wide temple day, yay! Friday is a zone meeting and then we have to be in our apartments by 5:00 pm for safety reasons. Saturday is CHRISTMAS! We are spending it with a family in our ward who spoils us rotten and I love them so much. I am super excited to call home on Saturday and get to talk to my mommy and seester, yay! So, crazy schedule this week, time is going to fly right on by as usual.

Now, I want to share a little thought on Christmas, in light of the season. Something that has really stuck with me is a scripture that is found in the Book of Mormon, in 1 Nephi 11, when the prophet Nephi is shown the birth of the Savior that would occur some 600 years later. After seeing the baby in Mary's arms, the angel asks Nephi, "Do you understand the condescension of God?" and Nephi says that although he doesn't know much, he knows that it is the love of God. I have been thinking a lot about that verse this month. The fact that the Savior would descend from His throne on high to be born as a helpless child in a stable greatly signifies the love that He has for each and every one of us. Thinking a little bit deeper I have wondered, what are the things that I need to do to come down off of my throne and be a little bit more humble? What can I be doing to show Him how much I love Him? Well that is a much longer story for another day. I have much to improve on and am grateful that the Lord has given me this time on my mission to grow and change with His guidance.

I pray everyone has a safe Christmas and that your thoughts are turned to the real meaning of Christmas.
I love you all.
Hermana Taets

Week 57

Buenos Dias Mis Seres Queridos

This week was crazy. We had the ward Christmas party on Friday and 3 families that we are teaching showed up to the activity. We have so many people we are teaching that our schedule for this week is full, and I mean full. On Tuesday we won't even have time to do our morning studies because we have appointments from 9 am to 9 pm. I know that we are having success because we are striving to be obedient with exactness, I just hope that we can accommodate for the needs of all of the people we are teaching and that no one gets lost in translation. I love being so busy, but I wish we had a little bit of time to go do some finding and knock doors so that we will always be searching for those who are prepared. Oh well, I really can't complain that we have too many investigators ha ha.

I don't have a lot of time so I am going to just tell a really cool story. Once upon a time it was Monday the 6th of December, aka last Monday, and we were leaving the house after P-day around 6:00 pm when all of our appointments called and cancelled. Boo. So, we thought about stopping by Sephora, the makeup store, because I had spaced out during P-day and forgot to buy my makeup that had run out that morning. I started driving in that direction, but was thinking about what we should do and just didn't feel good about going to the store. So, I drove right past the store and went to visit a family that we are teaching who are members but don't go to church very often. We had a really great lesson with them and then we stood outside for a really long time in the cold waiting for a fire truck that was supposed to pass by with Santa on it. Apparently they do this every Christmas, and we could hear the fire truck but eventually it came time for us to head back to the apartment for curfew so we weren't able to see it. It was about 8:30 pm and we were about to pass by Sephora again and my companion suggested we just go in and grab the makeup I need really quick. I thought about it and it didn't feel wrong this time so I figured we could just stop really quick, grab what I need and go. So, we went in, got the makeup (it was on sale 2 for 1 woo hoo!) and I went to go checkout. While I was checking out, my companion was getting a perfume sample from another associate there and when I went over there I realized that they were actually talking about the church. The sales associate, Elizabeth, was asking about my companion's name tag and then started asking about church and said that she was looking for a church to attend with her boyfriend but it having a hard time being satisfied with the ones that she has already attended. We talked to her about church, invited her to the ward Christmas party and to church on Sunday, and then I gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon. It was really neat because I recently started carrying a copy of the Book of Mormon in my hand at all times to give away, so when we went to the store I didn't have anything with me except the car keys, wallet and the Book of Mormon that I carry, so we were able to testify of the truthfulness of it and she said she would read it and knew that Heavenly Father would tell her if it is true, and she was actually excited about it. This week was my first week doing this, always carrying a copy of the Book of Mormon in my hand instead of in my bag, and we have given out half a box of copies of the Book of Mormon this week. Yay! I love being a missionary!

I love you all and pray everyone is feeling the spirit of Christmas and extending a hand of love and friendship at this time, especially to all those poor poor missionaries in your areas who are away from home at Christmas ;) Feliz Navidad!

Hermana Taets

Week 56

Buenos Dias Mis Seres Queridos

Whoa. When I typed Transfer 9 in the subject line...that was weird. When did this happen?! I wrote a letter to my trainer, Hermana Blanco, this morning and mentioned, "Remember when I would tease you all the time because you were going home soon? my trainee does the same thing every time I see her. I deserve that I guess." This transfer I received my "death dot", meaning that my picture that is on President Hansen's transfer board now has an orange dot with a 3 on it, because I only have 3 transfers left. So, basically all of the missionaries in my zone have made comments about how I am not officially a "dying missionary". Boo.

Enough of that nonsense. This week was AMAZING. We received so many blessings from the Lord this week as we strive for obedience with exactness. We found and began teaching 6 new investigators this week! The mission standard is 4 a week, but we have been struggling with the goal for a while, BUT this week we found 6, and they are all so solid and just amazing. We also found several members of the church this week while knocking doors who haven't been to church in 10+ years because when they moved here from other countries they didn't speak english and couldn't find the chapel, crazy! We also tried out this idea I had heard from some Elders in another zone called "zebra tracting". On saturday we went on a mini exchange with the english sister missionaries who happen to cover part of our area and we went and knocked doors for an hour. It was really neat to do because the streets we had chosen had an equal amount of english and spanish speakers, so I would talked to all of the spanish speakers and Sister Layton, the english missionary, spoke to the english ones. It was very successful and each companion found a new investigator from it. We ended up talking to this guy and I taught him a lesson about prophets and the restoration in front of his garage and at the end he asked me why the other missionary doesn't talk and I explained that she doesn't speak spanish. His response was, "Well I speak both languages! You should have said something! Haha!" He was so nice, and happens to be our new investigator, we are going to go teach him and his family next saturday, woo hoo!

Jose and Elizabeth are doing SO good! They were really struggling to understand why it is important to keep the sabbath day holy, especially because they are struggling financially and really need to work on sunday. BUT, we went over this week and were talking about repentance and while we were teaching Jose said, "So, this week I decided that I am not going to work on sundays, is that repentance?" I couldn't even believe what he had just said, and asked him to repeat it just to make sure, and once he confirmed what he had said my companion and I were both in tears. They are SO amazing, I have never met people with such faith and trust in the Lord. Jose told us that while he was working last sunday he was just having a hard time focusing and everything seem to go wrong, and it reminded him of when we talked about the Tower of Babel and how the Lord confounded the languages there so the people would stop building the tower. He said the Lord must not want him to work on sundays because he can't work effectively those days. Wow. I love them so much! They also said they didn't want us to have to leave so early, we always teach them right before our curfew, and suggested that we just move into their son's old bedroom, haha. I love being a missionary, I really wonder if there is any joy greater than this.

Love, Hermana Taets