December 29, 2009
Hola!! Wowie! This week was packed with Christmas spirit! To start off…we showed Joy to the World in Spanish at the church Monday night…Elva, Rueben, Omar, Angel, Cilvia and her family and others came to watch. I love that film because it focuses on why Christmas is important..to celebrate Christ’s birth! The crazy snow storm this week prohibited us from having our Wednesday night Gospel Principles Class. We got so much snow this week! I will be talking more about that later in the letter. We had a fun district meeting on Christmas Eve! Our Zone leaders dressed up as Santa and Elves..we laughed our heads off! We also had an activity where we taught the Restoration of the Gospel while using props. My prop was an umbrella, and I needed to connect umbrellas to prophets. I said that God knows the “forecast” and can provide us with the help we need to shield us from the evil storms of life…Prophets are a protection that Heavenly Father provides in each dispensation. I am so thankful for the guidance of our Prophet today, Thomas S. Monson. Christmas Eve was amusing because we had a fiesta at the church with Spanish members and investigators. Not many people came because the snow was pretty dangerous to drive in! But Omar, Eddy, Ignacio, Hermana Florez, Nefi, Melissa’s kids and the missionaries were there. We had a good time hitting the piñata! I crushed it! What satisfaction! Candy flying everywhere! J
Christmas was an intense adventure! Earlier in the week we had gone shopping with Amanda to help her buy Christmas presents for her kids. They had never had a Christmas, so we wanted to help her out. My parents helped out because I didn’t really need anything for Christmas. So we wrapped all these presents and stockings in our apartment and but them in bags like Santa bags. On Christmas morning the Hermanas and I opened up presents we got from each other and some we had gotten from our families… the snow was so bad no one was driving but we were determined to go to Amanda’s and deliver the presents…our little red car made it to her house after getting stuck twice. We were lucky! The Zone leaders met us there and were dressed up as Santa and Elves…us Hermanas wearing reindeer antlers. It was great! We woke up the kids and they each sat on Santa’s lap and opened presents. They were so surprised and thankful for their Christmas! I am thankful to have shared that experience with their kids..so thanks to my family for helping out! After opening presents, we helped Amanda make pancakes to have a breakfast feast! I love her family so much; they are like my family. Amanda will be getting married soon and we got her and Carlos an Olive Garden gift card to go out to eat after. They have never been there and always have wanted to go. After Amanda’s we went to the Widdison’s house with the other Elders and played Apples to Apples. That game is entertaining! Bompy has been writing me and telling me about it and I finally experienced it! Later that afternoon, we went to Hermana Florez’s house to eat lunch and call our families! That was so neat talking to my family; felt like we didn’t lose a beat…talking baby talk with Mom and Nanny, getting all the news about volleyball from my dad, talking to Bompy about cooking…I got to call my mommy and my daddy. Luckily both were with other family members so I got to talk to lots of people! I love my family so much and really appreciate all they have done for me. I committed my mommy to read the Book of Mormon and receive missionary lessons. I really want the blessing of the Gospel to be shared with my family. I know that the Book of Mormon is true and is another testament of Christ…I challenge all to read it and ask Heavenly Father if it is true! I will see my family in a year! I promised Bompy that I will help a lot with next the next Christmas dinner, since I like to cook now. My Christmas was way good!
Well, we totally got snowed in the day after Christmas…day full of studying, sleeping, writing letters, playing cards…Church was even cancelled on Sunday because of the snow, so the Elders came over to our apartment and blessed the Sacrament so we could take it. That was nice of them. We sang a few hymns and had a Spiritual thought.
Transfers are coming up Thursday…us Hermanas are driving to Des Moines tomorrow and I will get my new companion Thursday morning. I am so excited to meet her and serve with her. It’ll be nice to start fresh with a new transfer and set new goals. I hope that I can train her well and be a good example to her! She will teach me a lot too. I am grateful for having these two weeks to serve with Hermana Reese and Jordan because both have taught me more as well. I will serve with both probably after I train Hermana Mcguire…we will see! We have lots of work to still get done here in Sioux City. We have baptismal dates for this month and have found new investigators to teach. I really want to make the Spanish in our ward stronger..eventually they can have a branch! It’s fun to see where other missionaries go for transfers as well. I talked to Elder Holman and he might be moved into my Zone. Thatd be crazy! I know one of my Zone Leaders, Elder Blanchard is transferring to another zone. He has been here this whole time in Sioux City with me! Crazy!
I have seen many miracles of Heavenly Father in the work this week; He is able to guide us missionaries through the Holy Ghost and put us in places where there are people in need of the Gospel. We had a house we needed to contact and the lady, Maria, was never home. We drove by her house on one of the snowy days this week…looked like no one was home but I had an impression that we needed to go knock. So we got out of the car and knocked and she was there! We shared the first lesson with her and are returning to her house this week-end. She really enjoyed the lesson and wants us to teach all of her children. The Plan of Salvation will bring her much peace, because her husband passed away, and she will learn that he is in the Spirit World right now learning about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and she can do the necessary ordinances for him in the Temple! What a blessing! Yesterday we had to stop at a gas station to go to the bathroom…Heavenly Father totally put Jamie and Francisco in our path. They were prior investigators who we had lost touch with. I reinvited them to learn and felt much satisfaction to know things are ok with them. Jim is a cool story! We contacted him on Christmas Eve when he was shoveling outside..gave him some pamphlets but didn’t get his contact information. We wished we had. Well, last night we were at a house we needed to contact, but they weren’t home. The house across the street has lights on and I felt an impression that we should go knock. Well we knocked and it was totally Jim’s house! That was so exciting to know that Heavenly Father was guiding us to Jim again! He is totally being prepared to accept the Gospel. We invited him and his family to come to church and gave their contact info to the Elders to go and teach. Elder Jones is really excited about it. I know that Heavenly Father guides us missionaries to find those that are prepared, we just have to be willing to act on the impression we feel!
I am so thankful for this Gospel and for the happiness it brings into my life. I am grateful for the chance to share it with people and help them feel Heavenly Father’s love in their lives. I know its true and we can become closer to Christ through His church. I love all of you and my prayers are with you! Have a happy new year! Happy birthday Lizzy and Jilly. Love you both lots!
Love Hermana Murphy
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Monday, December 21, 2009
Feliz Navidad! Estoy muy emocionada para la Navidad en Sioux City! This week is going to be very much like Christmas. At the church on Tuesday, we are showing Joy to the World for the Spanish members and investigators. Wednesday we will have our normal Gospel Principles class, focusing on Christ . We are having a fiesta at the church on Christmas Eve with all the families of the Spanish members and our investigators. It’ll be so great! The Bishop is helping provide food and we are getting a piñata. I am also bringing Nanny and Bompy’s treats they sent me…those will be popular! On Christmas day we are waking up and opening presents in our apartment (my family sent me them in the mail, even my stocking Nanny made me!!) , then going to Amanda Gomez’s house to watch her kids open presents and make pancakes. I love that family so much! She is like my best friend. I want all of you to meet her someday. She has a heart of gold and so much love for God. After that, we are going to the Widdisons (family in the ward) to have more breakfast with all the Elders in our zone. On Christmas we will be having dinner with Hermana Florez and with the Brisenos. During that time we will also be calling home to our families! I am way excited to talk to my family. It’s been a long time…I am thankful for the weekly e-mailing, letters, pictures, tape recorders…but the phone will be SWEET! I love my family so much!
This week has been crazy! My companion, Hermana Jenny Madsen finished her mission. We had an emotional goodbye. I miss her lots. She is such a great person and one of my best friends. We will be friends for life! Sonya, Bryan and Bryanna received the Gift of the Holy Ghost in church on Sunday. I wish Jenny could have been there. We love this family so much and have put so much sweat and tears into helping them find their path back to Heavenly Father. We are so proud of the change they have made through becoming a disciple of Jesus Christ. Kianna Lovejoy was also baptized/confirmed on Sunday. It was a great thing! Bryanna asked me if she could get baptized again because it made her feel happy! Isnt that cute? Church was great yesterday! We had fasted with Elva and Reuben in regards to their baptismal date, January 16. They came to church and felt really good about preparing for that date! Amanda has also been fasting to know if the Church is true and if she, Ariana and Andrew should be baptized on January 23. She told me that she felt so much peace and happiness. Yeah! I told her that was the Holy Ghost confirming to her that it is true! She has encountered adversity because some friends and family have tried telling her that Joseph Smith was crazy, he wrote the Book of Mormon, and that the church was full of lies. Well despite all that, she has continued learning because she knows it is of God. We had an AMAZING spiritual experience together on Friday night. I had been making phone calls to investigators seeing who we should visit that night, because our appointment fell through. I had an impression to call Amanda…when she answered she was hysterically crying..explaining to me the troubles her family has been encountering, her relationship with her boyfriend isn’t as strong as she would like it to be, how she wants to be a better mother to make her kids happier…then she had been praying to Heavenly Father to help her with her trials, guide her in the right direction, she had been telling Him if the church is true she would get baptized no matter what it takes, asking Him for a sign to tell her yes the church is true and yes you need to be baptized…Then I called her! We both ended up crying on the phone together…we knew it was a sign from Heavenly Father that she needs to continue growing in the Gospel and be baptized. The Gospel will help strengthen her family and relationships…make her family happier and fill her home with the love of God. We are planning her wedding for the beginning of January and her baptism for January 23. I am so proud of her for her willingness to follow the Spirit and the guidance of God. She is a great example for me!
Omar is so excited about his baptism! I told him about my experience with Amanda and he was pumped! We are still working with him on living the Word of Wisdom and being prepared by February 9.
The Hermanas from Des Moines have been here in Sioux City with me. They are great! Hermana Reese has been on her mission for 2 more transfers then me and Hermana Jordan is in her first transfer. Being in a three some is a bit different, but I am used to it from the MTC with Hermana Taulanga and Nielson (which are doing great by the way! We have been writing and keeping in contact). Speaking of my MTC district, I talked to Elder Holman on the phone! He is doing great. We wished each other a Merry Christmas and he got the addresses of some of my family members to send them a Christmas card. So be expecting that, family.
We have found some new promising investigators! Cilvia and her family, Bitalino and Sandra! We will see how they progress, but we mentioned baptism to all of them and they seemed positive about it. I love the work and helping Heavenly Father’s children receive the blessings of baptism. I have seen how the Gospel of Jesus Christ can transform lives. I am so thankful for His birth and his ministry. I know that the true Church of Christ has been restored to this earth and we have a living Prophet today. I know this because I have prayed about it and received an answer through the Holy Ghost, and the burning in my heart. I encourage all of you to pray to Heavenly Father and ask Him if He has a Prophet on the Earth today to lead His people!
Love you all and have a very Merry Christmas!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Hola! Hace muy frio! It is supposed to snow 10.5 inches tomorrow! AHH. Shoot me! Haha. I am glad that I have snow boots thanks to dad and a snow jacket thanks to mom. Under armor is much appreciated as well. Its going to be a long cold winter. But my first Christmas with snow! Thatll be cool. Ha literally. The good side of things is that we have a lot of investigators so we aren’t out tracting a ton (knocking door to door). We go straight from the car into houses…I hope we are lucky enough for that to continue!
This week was very eventful! First of all… The Pachecos are getting baptized!!! We taught them for awhile and were heart broken that they moved to Arizona. Tina called us and told us they are getting baptized January 2. I was so happy! When they left here, Tina and the kids wanted to get baptized but Raul wasn’t ready. I guess he has really clicked with the Elders in Arizona. Heavenly Father really knows what we need to be fully ready to accept the Gospel! He helped them be fully prepared after investigating for 6 years! Tina thanked us for all we did to help, she said she knew they were in Iowa for a reason…we helped them get back on the path to baptism and got her daughters feeling comfortable in the church. Bah! That’s the best feeling, knowing you have helped souls come unto Christ and be baptized. AHH! We had Zone conference in Des Moines, our ward Christmas party, Fast/Testimony meeting and the Christmas Devotional! Zone Conference was very inspirational, we talked a lot about focusing on what really matters at Christmas..not just the gifts and Santa. I am really excited about having the time to do that! It’ll be great. The talent show was absolutely epic. Our mission is so cool! All the missionaries have funny sense of humors. Our mission president does too. I really feel like this is the mission for me. Even though Des Moines Iowa is really random and speaking Spanish as well here is random…I am random. I really appreciate all the experiences I have had and how much of a family feel this mission is-With the missionaries as well as with the members and investigators. LOVE. I was in a Feliz Navidad dance with the other Spanish missionaries…classic and then in a stomp act with my Sioux City Zone. Stomp is when you make noise with a bunch of random things..but its all to a beat. I enjoyed that. Oh man..there were some good acts too. Elder Holman from my district at the MTC sang/played the piano…he is amazing! He is going to be on Broadway someday for sure. We have videos of all the acts and are compiling them on a cd, itll be sent to Jilly eventually. Our ward xmas party was a hoot. Omar, Angel, and Amanda came as far as investigators go. More Spanish members came. We all sat together. I love our little Spanish part of the ward. We are all like a family. Its great. Fast/testimony meeting was a neat experience as well. I bore my testimony all in Spanish (and I cried)! I shared how much I appreciate Heavenly Father’s love for me-I can feel the love of God in my family, especially my parent. Being away from home has really helped me see how much my family means to me. SOOO MUCH. In our families we can feel the closest love to Celestial love. This is why we have families-to be happy! The Christmas Devotional was beautiful! I love the First Presidency of the Church, and I know they are called of God. Christ is our Savior!
Next week…We are going to the Temple in Omaha because our ward mission leader, Ignacio is going for the first time! We are so excited to go! Hermana Madsen, two elders and I are going to support him along with some of the ward members! It’ll be amazing! Also next week on Tuesday Sonya and Bryan are getting married at our church and then are getting baptized along with their two daughters. We are so excited for them! They stopped smoking and are continuing to prepare for the commitments they will be making. They are so excited! Jenny and I are making the wedding invitation today so she can give them to her family. J Jenny is going home next week. She is so sad to be leaving but happy to see her family. She has been such a great trainer and companion. She is a great example of a hard worker and I hope to be like her someday. Hehe We will be staying in touch through letters.
We are continuing to do the Wednesday night class with the Spanish, and we are going to implement more ward activities to get our ward more unified. There is an invisible boundary between the English and Spanish..so as missionaries we are working with the Relief Society president to dissolve this boundary and have everyone love eachother (even though they cant all understand eachother.) Our investigators are still progressing…Angel’s mom is becoming more open to baptism because of his commitment, he has come to every activity! Amanda Gomez is going to get married so she can be baptized. Eddy knows it is true (BOM and Joseph Smith) and came to the Christmas Devotional. He loved it. He just needs to realize that an organized church is necessary and that he needs to be baptized under the priesthood authority. Omar has read over half the BOM-just need to feel more comfortable praying.
I love this work! I look forward to see what adventures are in store this week. Maybe Evelyn, Amanda’s daughter will help me with Spanish (she is 3). Haha Love you all! Talk to you later!
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
November 30, 2009
Oh man! This week was way awesome! First and foremost I experienced my first baptism! Lauren and Alex (Melissa’s kids) were baptized November 28. They had so much support from the ward there! The whole Relief Society room was packed. Our ward has been really helping us out, we appreciate it so much. It’s the best feeling, having been working with investigators and seeing them grow in the Gospel and then be baptized! Lauren and Alex were so excited too! Up until it was performed, Alex would tell me all the time, “Hermana Murphy, Im so excited for Lauren and my baptism.” They are the cutest kids! We had kids in primary participate in the program. Joseph Lee gave the opening prayer and Ian gave the closing prayer. Meg gave the talk on baptism and Melissa, their mom gave the talk on the Holy Ghost. While the kids were changing from their wet clothes, we had the Restoration play in Spanish for the Spanish investigators we had there. Eddy. Angel and Amanda came to the baptism. We have a baptismal date set with Angel and the other two are really close so it was great that they were able to come and see what its like. They really enjoyed the experience. The Spirit was so strong the entire time. It was fabulous! I took some great pics too so I will be sending those to Jilly to put on my blog and Arly to put on facebook.
Thanksgiving was so much fun! We had 4 dinner total! So much food but full of love. We went to the Memmot’s, the Flory’s, the Kay’s (member families in our ward) then to the Gomez family (our investigator from Guetemala). All the food was way good. My favorite was Amanda’s because she had never made Thanksgiving before. We helped her find some traditional recipes like green bean casserole but she made 4 different styles of turkeys! I liked the spicy one that had chiles and hot sauce. That was a neat experience for my taste buds. J We invited our ward mission leader, Ignacio and our investigator Eddy to Amanda’s house. We are all like family. Its great! We also went to two nursing homes and sang hymns and gave people company. That was really nice. One of the members in our ward is the manager of one so she asked us to sing and help pass out food. The sister of another member, Sister Brown, loves for us to see Spanish hymns to her even though she doesn’t understand..so we did that and Elder Richards played the violin. I made a raspberry jello salad that Bompy had sent me the recipe of. I took it with me to all the houses. Everyone loved it! Amanda had me give her the recipe to make. She wants me to show her how to make it. She is the best. Probably my best friend here, other than Jenny ofcourse.
Now that thanksgiving is over we are listening to Christmas music! We have the new motab Christmas cd in our car right now. I think Jenny and I are going to make a xmas card too. Then next few weeks that Jenny has left (she goes home Dec 18) we are going to be SO busy! Zone conference is this Thursday in Des Moines. We are way excited for that because it includes 6 zones and we are having a pic slideshow and a talent show. My zone is putting together an act for the talent show; we will probably wing it. Somehow it will involved me hitting a volleyball. We will see. We are working with the Lovejoy family really intensely right now. Sonya is out of the rehab facility and is doing at home treatment. We are getting her involved with the addictive recovery meetings at the church every week. Also a member of our ward works at a free clinic for people without health insurance…so they will get a program going there too. Sonya and Bryan will be taken care of! We are also helping them plan their wedding; the Bishop is going to marry them at our church. We are having the Relief Society do the food. I never thought I would plan a wedding! Bryan, Sonya and their two daughters, Kianna and Brianna will be baptized Dec 15. We love them so much and have seen the changes in them since learning about the church. They have much more happiness! We have many other progressing investigators working towards baptism. Our Wednesday night Gospel Principles will help the Spanish in our ward a lot. Last Wednesday was our first one and we had a few less-actives and also a few investigators (Rosa, Omar and Angel). We will continue to be having the class every week and having a different Spanish member teach the class to get them involved. We also have our ward xmas party this Saturday! That will be a hoot.
Church was great yesterday because all the lessons were based around the family. During on of the talks given in sacrament, I cried because I love my family so much!!I felt the Spirit strongly testify that I am where I need to be right now. I am growing in ways I couldnt have without serving a mission. I I am so thankful to have my family's support. This love I feel for them is what Heavenly Father feels for us. This is why He gave us families, to feel that Godly love and to work together as a family to be the best we can together. I am excited to have my own family someday and have my family centered on the teachings of Jesus Christ. J haha Don’t worry mom, it wont be for awhile. It’s exciting to think about though!!
I love this area so much and my companion. We are going to work really hard to get all we want done before she leaves…then ofcourse I will continue to work hard after she leaves..But we have an intense few weeks. Wish us luck! We love doing the Lord’s work and are blessed for it everyday. I love you all very much!
Monday, November 23, 2009
Wow. This week has been way awesome! We are loving our investigators and our members! We set 3 baptismal dates this week. Angel Hernandez is working towards getting baptized by December 15. We are still working on teaching his mom-we plan on bringing a member with us, Hermana Baraza. It’s a tough situation because the mom is Catholic…she said she would give Angel a ride to our church on Sunday but she took him to the Catholic church. We are going to arrange rides for him in advance so he can come. We also found a person to fellowship Angel, his name is Zach. We are working on getting fellowshippers for all of our progressing investigators. The ward has really been helping more. We are glad! The other baptismal dates we set are with Jose Manuel and Liz. Jose Manuel has been learning for a month or so and is feeling more peace in his life since reading the Book of Mormon. He is excited to work towards baptism on December 12. To help Liz prepare for January 16, we are going to teach her why she needs to be baptized with authority and answer all her questions. She has been investigating for 5 years and we recently checked up on her. She has been reading the BOM and knows its true, she is just nervous for baptism. We hope to lead her down the path and help her feel confident in her decision to be baptized.
Church was great yesterday. Amanda Gomez finally came! I love her and her family so much! She really wants to get baptized, but she needs to get married first. They plan on getting married in December. Her boyfriend also wants to get baptized so we are going to work on teaching him and setting dates with them for January. We are spending some of Thanksgiving with Amanda and her family. We had a fun Saturday night teaching Amanda and then her kids sang us some church songs. They are the cutest! Omar was able to come to church. That was great to see him there again. He really likes learning and has lots of deep questions, showing he really wants to understand. We are having Nefi fellowship him. We are helping him and his brother, Guadalupe stop smoking. The church has a program so we are helping them follow that program. Eddy loved church! Ignacio has been a great fellowshipper to him, coming to appointments and sitting with him at church. We will be teaching him this week. Lauren and Alex Ochoa came to church and are excited about their baptism this Saturday! Lots of the ward is helping out with treats are coming to support. Jenny and I are so excited! My first baptism on the mission! We are having investigators come too, so that they can see what it is all about. The Lovejoy family is doing well, we taught them twice this week. Its amazing to see how the Gospel really is blessing their family. Everything has improved for them and they are so excited to get baptized as a family in December!
To help our Spanish investigators, members and less actives, we are teaching a weekly Gospel Principles class. We are very excited about it! Each week a new member is going to teach the lesson. It should be a great way to get the Spanish more involved and excited about church. We spent some time with the Brisenos, a Spanish family here. We learned how to make Tamales! Way authentic too.
Other things…last pday was so fun! A group of missionaries went bowling. I like to bowl! It was funny because we were bowling next to an intense group of like pro-bowlers and I went at the same time as this huge muscle guy wearing bowling gloves and I got a strike out and he didn’t. That was awkward. The Elders thought he was going to take me out. Haha. We also got to go rock climbing! We got it approved with President…its so much fun. I did 7 climbs (more than all the Elders)…guess my morning work-outs have been paying off. I totally want to rock climb more when I get home. This pday we are going to practice a talent show routine with some of the Elders. I always wanted to be in a talent show in elementary school, but I was too nervous. This is my time to shine! At our Christmas Zone Conference we are driving to Des Moines…lots of missionaries will be there and we are having a talent show. Im excited to see what everyone does. Itll be good.
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! We will be going to 5 Thanksgiving dinners! Four on Thursday and one on Saturday. Wahoo! I love all of you and appreciate all of you. Miss you! I am loving the mission and feel blessed to be here serving the Lord. Have a great week!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
November 18, 2009
We are doing well here in Sioux City. We got our transfer call this morning and found out that we are staying one more transfer! Hermana Madsen goes home in 4 weeks! We aren’t sure what will happen when she goes home, I will probably be in a threesome until the new Hermana comes 2 weeks later. We will wait and see! We are so thankful to be in this area for more time because we absolutely love it here! We love the investigators, the members, and each other. haha But we feel blessed to stay. One of our zone leaders, Elder Phillips, got moved to be Assistant to the President of the mission. We are so happy for him!
This week has been a better week because we saw light at the end of the tunnel with some of our investigators. It started with the LoveJoy family! We were able to set a baptismal date with them for December 15- Sonya, Bryan, Kiana and Brianna. They are excited to work towards that date and continue learning. The Gospel has already blessed their life so much as they go through important changes. Rehab has really helped Sonya, she is glowing like she never has before! She has also been reading scriptures with her children nightly and praying more. She hadn’t prayed for a really long time, since her mother’s death. We are so excited for her as she continues to grow and progress. Bryan has also changed a lot; the kids are better taken care of. We have been teaching Bryan and the kids twice a week during visiting hours with the social worker. Next week, Bryan and Brianna are moving to Macy while Sonya and the kids stay at the Women and Children’s correction facility. Sonya and the kids are able to get released for Church, which is such a blessing! Bryan and Brianna will go to church in Macy and continue learning from Elders there until their baptism. Originally, Sonya requested that we teach her family and her because we are sisters-they are really connected to us. We are glad we are staying because when we told her we might be leaving, her heart dropped. We love them and are going to continue to show our love, support and encouragement. My mommy sent me some jackets and we were able to give them to the family! They loved them and really appreciated it. The Ochoa family is also doing well. Lauren and Alex so excited for their baptism on November 28! We are teaching them every week and getting them rides for activities. They have been very welcomed into the Primary class in the ward, they participated in the program last Sunday. We were so proud of them! I gave Alex a few thumbs up because he was so nervous to recite a scripture on the microphone! J We were happy to see Amanda Gomez and her family come to a Relief Society activity we held at the church. We gave them a tour of the church and the Spanish speaking members really welcomed them. The lesson was on food storage and family history. Amanda wants to do temple work for her mother who passed away without learning about Christ, so she was excited about family history. The family has yet to come to church but we know they want to-the kids will also be going to activities. We are going to her house for thanksgiving dinner Guatamala style. Im excited! Guadalupe and Omar are continuing to learn. They will have their baptismal interviews this Sunday. They didn’t feel ready for baptism yet but we are going to set a new date with them. We are working with them to stop smoking; they have cut back a lot. Victor wasn’t ready for his baptism, but he wants to keep learning and understand more clearly. I have faith that as we teach him he will feel more comfortable to make a commitment like baptism. The last progressing investigator I am going to update you on is Jose Manuel. He is the nephew of a less-active family that we are working with. He really loves learning and it all makes sense to him.
We want to start having a Spanish Bible and Book of Mormon study class once a week with investigators, members and less-actives. We think it would really help them get involved. We are also going to go by houses Saturday nights to remind people about church the next morning. Everyone says they will go, but it is hard since it is at 9 in the morning. In January our ward changes to 11:30 am. Thatll be sweet. We were able to do service at the O’Connor House in Nebraska this week. That was fun because it is an old-fashioned house that was owned by a rich family in the 1800s. I love antiques and family history! That was neat. The members of our ward have invited us over for dinner for every night of this month! Intense. We had a great dinner appointment with a Spanish member, Rose and her son, Nefi. Their family is made up of converts-Rosa gave her conversion story and made me cry. She is such a great woman. She talked a lot about how she feels the Spirit through hymns that we sing at church. I shared her an experience I had with music, before I was baptized Arly-lian sang “Lead Kindly Light” to me and I cried like a baby because I felt the Spirit so strongly. I knew what I was doing was the right choice. It is neat how music can connect with our Spirits.
I love all of you so much and hope all is well. All is well here in Iowa. Being a missionary is a great experience and I am learning so much every day. Talk to you next week!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
This week has been really crazy. The weather is bizarre because its sunny! I don’t mind it, but I guess its usually snowing by this time consistently. For cooking this week, I made Bompy’s spaghetti sauce last night and my first omelette this morning. I made Betty Crocker’s gluten-free yellow cake! It is way good. I feel made for the other gluten free brands that are not mainstream because Betty is going to crush them. Oh well. Not my problem. Coolest thing so far this week was while we were giving a referrel to a sister missionary in Ohio she said she felt prompted to ask us if we had anyone in our family who would want a Finding Faith in Christ DVD. I said sure! So I gave her addresses to family members of mine. The film is great; especially at this time of year. She has been calling me to update me on the responses of family members…mommy agreed to let missionaries come over to teach her the lessons. This is important to me because she will learn exactly what I am teaching in Spanish in Iowa! Pretty cool. I am excited for her. I hope the rest of you will accept the movie and maybe even missionaries! I know that they would bring a special spirit in your home. J
Arly-lian sent me a tape this week! I was able to listen to her voice. So nice! I am going to send a digital recorder back/forth with her. J She is my best friend.
I got to go to my first baptism as a missionary! Victor and Ochoa kids came. It was a special afternoon seeing Senite get baptized. She recently moved here from Africa. She has such a sweet Spirit. Seeing her cry after being immersed in the water really reminded me of my baptism and how special that day was for me. We are so lucky to be able to be baptized under the authority of God because the Priesthood was restored. J After seeing her baptism, it motivated to work even harder to get our investigators working towards. We have baptismal dates set with Victor, Guadalupe and Lauren Ochoa. Victor loved the baptism and he wants to continue preparing for his. He will be a great member and he wants to serve a mission!
I was able to give the Spiritual thought in our district meeting this Wednesday. I wanted to share it with all of you. My friend, Elder Burton who is serving in Colorado sent me some teaching activities and a poem. I shared it all with my district because I loved what he sent! First I will share the poem:
The Oak Tree by Johnny Ray Ryder Jr
A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark
But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke
How can you still be standing oak?
The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs and make me sway
But I have roots stretched to the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me
Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew
This poem makes me cry! I love the symbolism that is involved. First of all, it reminds me of my favorite chapter in the Book of Mormon, Alma 32, which discusses faith. Faith starts as a seed in our hearts and grows into a tree as we nourish our testimony. In a way when we develop faith and are baptized we are planted in the ground and continue to grow. As our knowledge of the truth gets stronger and we gain a deeper testimony our roots get deeper and we are able to endure more trials. This poem relates to me a lot. As a new convert and a missionary, my testimony is growing rapidly. Out on the mission field, we encounter lots of adversity and rejection as well. Some of it has discouraged me, but in the end, I have been made stronger through the trials I have endured. As my testimony gets deeper, I can handle more of the Opposition. In a talk given by Elder Holland at last General Conference, he stated that men’s hearts will fail them in these latter-days and they will fall away from the teaching of Jesus Christ. The opposition is getting stronger, but as we hold true to our testimonies of Christ, we will not be those trees that fall down but instead staying strong because we have deep roots! J The second thing I shared with the other missionaries was the Welding Link. As we teach our investigators we need to emphasize how important their role in their family is. For example, as a convert to the church I can do Temple work for my relatives that have passed away and also be an example for future generations. Converts=welding links. Every member of the church is an offspring of a welding link! At my baptism, I did not think about how my decision would impact so many people. At the meeting we also discussed a talk by Elder Holland on how salvation is not easy; it needs to require trial. Our mission is not going to be easy because as disciples and representatives of Christ we are going to feel rejection-to feel a tiny bit of the rejection Christ felt. The Atonement of Christ can carry us as missionaries. Christ suffered all rejection for us, He knows how we feel when we are disappointed or disheartened..
Chad sent me notes from a Fireside he was able to watch with President Uchtdorf speaking. I shared the notes with a family that we had a dinner appointment with. The moral of the story is: Questions are good! Uchtdorf said, “ Is it all right to have questions about the church and its doctrine? Brothers and Sisters, we are a question-asking church! We know that questioning leads to truth. That’s how the church got its start! I don’t know how you can discover truth without asking questions. Often the knowledge Joseph Smith received extended far beyond the original question… [the Lord] can not only answer the questions we asked, but he can give us answers to the questions we should have asked. Inquiry is the birthplace of testimony..asking questions isn’t a sign of weakness; it’s a precursor of growth.” He said its logical to him that our finite intellects cant always comprehend the designs of God, if everything made sense to us, it would be evidence that it had all been made up by a mortal mind. So its normal and good and a sign of our desire to be like Him. “Always hold fast to the faith and the light you have already received…the words that you feel in your heart and mind and in your soul come from the Holy Ghost, and by the power of the Holy Ghost you can know the truth of all things.” I love his talk! On my mission, my testimony has taken leaps and bounds. I have had questions that have been so deep I have to sit back and think for a while. At first, I wondered if having questions were a bad thing. I have come to find that every time I search for answers to my questions in prayer or scripture study, Heavenly Father is right there with me leading me to the truth. I am so thankful for the promptings of the Holy Ghost and for my testimony which continues to grow deeper and deeper.
I gave a talk at Sacrament about Charity! I basically talked about how my testimony of charity has grown so much on my mission. I am constantly working on it everyday. We can strengthen our love for others through prayer, helping us to become better disciples of Jesus Christ. I encourage all of you to show charity towards your brothers and sisters, in turn demonstrating your love for God and Christ who have both proved their love through the Atonement. I shared a quote that I love by Elder Ballard entitled “The Sacrifice of the Father.” I love this quote because it describes how Heavenly Father sacrificed his son for our sins. When I have thought about the Atonement, I have understood Christ’s role but never Heavenly Father. They work hand in hand, giving us the gift of Eternal life.
The struggles of some of our investigators has really rocked our world. The Ochoa Family has had problems lately because Melissa’s husband is anti.(Melissa is a member) We are trying to help them as much as we can. Lauren and Alex Ochoa want to get baptized, and its hard for them when their dad is doing what he can to prevent it. Amanda Gomez is still learning and wants to prepare for baptism, but her husband also is against the church. People in Amanda’s life have been saying negative things about the church. We had a powerful lesson with her on prayer and how she can know the church is true through the Holy Ghost and the negative things she hears will not matter. The Lovejoy family is doing better. We got to see the girls during visiting hours. We will be teaching them twice a week and will see Sonya on Fridays at the correction facility. She is doing so good! She will be able to get released to go to church on Sunday! She has read the Book of Mormon and has been praying. Because of her trial with alcohol, she has really learned to lean on the Lord. We love her so much. We were able to teach the Hernandez family this week with the mom included, her attitude towards baptism is changing slowly and we are hoping to set a date with Bellin and Angel soon.
Well, I have to go do errands but I love all of you! Have a great week.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
This week went by real fast as usual. It was a roller coaster of emotions this week. Was kind of a weird week because we taught lots of people and they all committed to coming to Stake Conference this week-end but none of them showed up. Jenny and I were really disappointed. We really felt like they would follow through. We get frustrated because we want to know what we can do better to help our investigators progress. We have been praying more for guidance from Heavenly Father to help us recognize who is prepared and who is not. We pray to know our invesetigators' doubts and questions so that we can help resolve them.
Our investigators are like our kids. We teach them, call them to remember their reading and to come to church, we make them baked goods, love them, encourage them, receive satisfaction when they progress...its heart breaking when they don't do the crucial things that will help them progress the most and receive a testimony. We want them to have the truth like we have the truth!! Reading, praying and going to church are the crucial steps to gaining a testimony and preparing for baptism. As an investigator, I grew the most by reading the Book of Mormon and praying to Heavenly Father about its truthfulness. I didnt just take the missionaries word and believe the lessons, it took effort on my part to study it out and desire to have the answer to my prayer on whether it was true or not. Its a different experience for people to learn about the Book of Mormon, because we have all grown up knowing that the Bible was true and heres this new book claiming to be written by Prophets living in Central America. What?! Its pretty amazing. The world claims so many different beliefs, its hard to know which are true and false. This is why reading and prayer are so crucial. Reading the words in the Book of Mormon can prove to anyone that the book wasnt written by a man of the world. It is full of scripture from Prophets of God. As I read the Book of Mormon for the first time, my relationship with Christ and God really became stronger. Because of this, I know it is a book written by Prophets of God. We have had people say the Book of Mormon was written by a crazy man trying to lead people astray. The thing is, how could a book that brings us closer to Jesus Christ and God, help us to feel the Holy Ghost more in our lives and fill our hearts with happiness be of a human being under the influence of unrighteous? It cant be so. We can all turn to the Lord for guidance and direction to what is true. We can receive answers to prayers through promptings of the Holy Ghost. Heavenly Father will not lead us astray if we sincerely desire His direction and His will. I know that prayer is real. I have experienced the power of prayer in my life since receiving the answer that the Book of Mormon is true and that I needed to be baptized. I crave for my investigators to pray with an open heart to receive their answer that the Church is true. As missionaries, we try to emphasize these key steps in conversion: reading the Book of Mormon and prayer. Another huge step is going to church, because it is there that the members can fill the Spirit strongly and learn the true doctrine that we believe. Its funny when people are against the church and start telling us their beliefs, but in reality their beliefs are in accordance with the church. People just dont take the time to study it out and read the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith and come to church to see what the church really is!
But on the bright side! We set a baptismal date with Melissa's kids..we gave her nonmeber husband a Book of Mormon which is a huge thing because he has been anti. (Melissa is a member). We are planning on setting a date with Victor soon because he is really progressing. We had some amazing lessons with him this week; he wants to be a missionary! We have been teaching Amanda lots this week. I love her so much! She already has a strong testimony of the Gospel, we just have to keep teaching her to prepare for baptism. We had a great lesson with her this weeek and are going back tonight. We taught her with her sister and brother in law. Her brother in law has had major doubts, but we were able to resolves some of them. The thing is, none of the teachings of our church go against the teaching of Christ in the bible. We teach with the Bible as much as we teach with the Book of Mormon. Both testify of Christ and His teachings. For me personally, my testimony of the Church has increased by reading the Bible. I love the New Testament. Our church today is truly the restored church of Jesus Christ that He established!!!
A sad note, one of the families we have been teaching had some family troubles this week. We have been teaching the daughters, and have tried hard to also teach the mom, but she didnt feel up to learning yet. Well, it turns out she is an alchoholic and the kids are going to live with her cousin in macy until she gets situated at rehab. We went over there to counsel her and tell her that God loves her and she can get through any trial possible with the help of Jesus Christ. The girls are going to live with her in the womens and children correction facility. We can go and visit them and keep teaching them there. Its sad because the dad has no where to live because they cant afford their house. We are trying to find someone in the ward with extra space for him. We helped them out by sending food through the church to the kids living with the cousin in Macy. Its such a dif life here for people. I am thankful to be able to help out our investigators!
Other than that, Im doing well. Hermana Madsen and I are getting along nicely. We are getting used to eachothers personalities. We laugh a lot. She is very sarcastic. Im ok with it, I joke along too. We had stake conference this week-end. Our mission president and his wife spoke. It was so good! We were also able to see other missionaries from the mission, which is always fun. Friday we are going to the Nauvoo Temple with President Talbot, Sister Talbot the APs and other missionaries that are leaving. Before a missionary leaves the mission, he/she gets to go to the Temple with their companion. So since Jenny is leaving, I am joining her for the trip! I am so excited to go! It will be so beautiful! Halloween is also next week! We are planning a party with ward members, missionaries and investigators. Should be fun! Im going to make Halloween treats. Send me any cool recipes!!
Well, I love you and hope you are doing well! I miss you. But Im having a good time! Teaching others is really helping me with my communication skills and its a bit like counseling because we have to get to know the poeple and know their concerns and doubts. At times I feel like a psychologist. We are starting to do service at Hermana Florys work (a member in the ward) She is a social worker and we are going to go and help the Spanish people feel out their application correctly. Its amazing how many people are on programs such as food stamps! Getting a totally dif view of the world.
I am rooting for ASU while on my mission! :) The, AP Elder Thomas keeps me updated and my parents do too!! I will be a whole different athlete after my mission!
I love being a missionary and am thankful for this opportunity. I never expected it but I have been prepared for it throughout my life by Heavenly Father.
Love you all. You are in my prayers!
Thursday, October 15, 2009
here is caitlyn's letter from yesterday...
Hola! esta semana fue muy rapido! my cooking updates first. haha I made mom's split pea soup! Heidi's ginger chicken and brocolli! Then also blueberry pancakes and chocolate chip brownies for my investigators. Twas fun! Cooking is rewarding! All the work for a yummy meal. If you know of any sweet recipes..send em my way por favor!
We had some good progress with investigators this week. We started teaching an inactive family, whose kids arent baptized. The kids came to church on Sunday and loved it! During Sacrament, two of the little girls held my hand. It was precious. :) We are teaching the family about twice a week. The father is anti-mormon but we have taught with him in the room and he lets his wife and kids go so his heart is softening up some. We had a great lesson with Rosa about the plan of salvation. She really enjoyed it and felt it was true. We are trying to help her develop a love for the Book of Mormon. Victor and Geudelupe have also made progress. Guedelupe was able to go back to high school and is finishing his high school degree and wants to go to the Air Force. Its great that he is turning his life around from drugs and alcohol to the Lord. He stopped smoking recently..that was good news! We got to watch the Restoration movie this week with Amanda and her kids. The kids really love us. One of the little girls, who is about 4 totally tooted on my leg while she was sitting by me watching movie. We just laughed. I thought it was funny. But Amanda really has the desire to learn and understand. She believes that God would send another Prophet in these latter-days and feels the Book of Mormon is scripture. We just have to help her to continue to progress and learn. We love all our investigators and feel so blessed to be in this area and be teaching the Spanish culture. I love it! I want to watch tv, movies, magazines, and do everything in spanish after my mission. I was thinking of going to a Spanish Ward in Arizona sometimes in Mesa when I go to ASU! Thatd be sweet!
Yesterday, Hna Madsen and I went to visit Sister Brown's (a member from our ward) sister in the nursing home. It was her birthday and she asked us to sing spanish hymns to her. that was interesting. Neither Hna Madsen or I am great at singing but we sang out hearts out for her. As we were singing, old people would peek their heads in and listen, it was cute. We are planning on going back on service day and going from room to room singing hymns. I think it would brighten their days. At conference, the speakers talked a lot about showing charity to those around you. They also focused on the elderly...helping them enjoy the present, rather than only remembering the past. We need to visit the lonely people around us more often! Show them that they are children of God and have their Eternal life to look forward to! :):)
So it totally snowed here again today. Its going to be a rough winter. I actually kind of like it. As long as my feet are warm and I have layers I am fine. I want one of those ski masks with the holes in the eyes. That might be scary for people while tracting..what do you think? But yeah my mom bought be a nice jacket and I am looking forward to that! I worked out in the sand (icy sand) with like 3 layers of everything. That was a first. Dont get snowy sand in socal.
Well...I love all of you and hope to hear from you soon! I want to testify that the Gospel is true. God restored Jesus Christ's church through the Prophet Joseph Smith after many years of Apostasy. He had a vision, just like Prophets in the Bible have had visions. He saw God and Jesus Christ and they directed him to restoring the church on the earth again. We have the Priesthood keys and the power of God in our Church. Jospeh Smith also translated the Book of Mormon with the power of God. No man could have written that book without Divine inspiration. I encourage all to read it and pray about its truthfulness..pray whether prophets really did live in Central America during the same time the Bible was being written and pray about where the Resurrected Christ visited "the other sheep" in the Americas.
I am blessed to be a missionary and serve the Lord. :) I enjoy the people I encounter every day, the time I have to study the Gospel and understand it at a deeper level. I pray for you. Please, pray for me!
Love Hermana Murphy!!!
Monday, September 28, 2009
So this was a rough week. We had 4 baptisms scheduled for this weekend and they all fell through. The member who was going to baptize Samantha wasn’t available, Bryan wants to investigate the Catholic church more and the Hernandez family wasn’t able to because their mom wants them to learn more. Bryan was a sad let down because that kid is very special. Heavenly Father has prepared him, but he just needs more time to see things clearly. He has been going to the Catholic church as well, so he is confused with the differences between their church and ours. I have never felt such Godly love for an investigator. After talking to him on the phone and him telling me not to feel sad that he doesn’t want to get baptized, I cried. Frustrated he hasn’t received his answer that the Church is true, and that he doesn’t love the Gospel like I do. I can bare my testimony to him over and over…Of course I would be sad that he didn’t want to get baptized…I love him and want him to have the happiness I do. Bellin is 12 and her mom wants her to learn more (which is totally fine.) But her brother Angel was so pumped about getting baptized…he was for sure shed say yes..but instead she laughed at him and wouldn’t sign the permission slip. L that was like the saddest thing ever! He was really bummed. We hope that we can continue to teach this family and get the mom more involved so that she can realize what a good thing the church is for her children. Our favorite family also moved to Arizona but they told us that we made a big difference for them in getting back into the church so I don’t feel bad about that. Although, it would have been nice seeing their baptism! I know they will get baptized in Arizona.
Throughout the tough times, I realized that its all part of the mission. Jonathan helped me out by writing a really nice email. All the trials will make the success that much more rewarding! Which is definitely true, and I am growing from these experiences and so is my testimony. A quote I really like from “Discipleship” by Neal A Maxwell. He states, “Disciples, like diamonds, are developed in a process of time and heavy pressures and both the disciple and the diamond reflect the light that comes through them. As the disciple enriches his relationship with the Lord, he is apt to have periodic “public relations” problems with others, being misrepresented and misunderstood. He or she will have to “take it” at times. Meekness, therefore, is a key to deepening discipleship.” As members of the church we are all disciples of Christ and we shine the light of Christ through our testimonies. We receive pressures from the outside world to change or not follow the path of Christ but we remain strong. We might also encounter people in the world who think they know our religion but have been misguided. But we cant take what they say to heart, love them as children of God and hope that they can feel the truthfulness of Christ through our testimonies.
We have some cool new investigators too that are progressing. One of them might get deported though so we are praying for her!
Other things…found a gluten free section at the grocery store! Wahoo! I also made Bompy’s tamale pie “quick style.” That was yummy! I also made his spaghetti sauce last week and nannys rice krispies. Lizzy sent me rice krispie treats that were the bomb! Thanks, Lizzy. One of our assistants to the president goes to ASU and he just called me to tell me my volleyball team at ASU beat UCLA. Haha I already knew because dad emailed me! He said also that mail is getting forwarded to me from ASU from the mission office..he thought it was for him but its for me from my coach. Good times. He is going to be a good friend I think. We will be at ASU at the same time.
This last Sunday was fast/testimony Sunday. I bore my testimony about how important journal writing is and also how important being a missionary is. I try to write spiritual experiences in my journal so that I can go back and read them later during hard times. Recently I looked back and read my feelings after being set apart as a missionary. That helped me a lot remember how strongly the Spirit hit me that night. I know I have been set apart by God to serve Him in the Spanish language. I also talked about how thankful I am to be a missionary and how I want to be a good example for my family (since I am the first one in our family). I started crying while talking about being an example for my kids and also for Claire. I want Claire to grow up and know that she can serve a mission like Aunty Caitlyn. She is the cutest thing by the way! I want to make a mural in my room of her! Hehe. But the testimony meeting was full of the Spirit! It reminded me how important my family is to me and I love them so much. Its been a little hard being away while Claire was born but I felt impressed while baring my testimony that part of the reason I am meant to serve a mission is for her. So we will see what happens with that!
I love all of you so much. I am growing a lot while out here on my mission and witnessing a lot of cool experiences. As I continue to work hard and have faith I know Heavenly Father will bless my companion and I with success. We got frustrated when our baptisms fell through, thinking it was our fault..but overall everyone has their agency, all we can do is testify and teach.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Wow this was a roller coaster of a week First of all we started the week with 4 baptismal dates for this week-end. Bryan (13) , Samantha (9) and Belen (12) and Angel (16). I was so excited I wanted topee my pants! These kids are all AMAZING and want to follow the example of Jesus Christ and be baptized. But we encountered some problems. No matter how much they want to, their parents need to approve. Bryan is my favorite. Such neat kid! Wow. So intelligent and so enlightened. The questions he comes up with rock my world and strengthen my testimony. His grandparents that live in Mexico are LDS but his family in Iowa is Catholic. He is pretty confused with the differences between the two churches. We are helping him the best way we can but his family has a huge impact on him. He has decided to wait and push back his baptism until he is 18?! What?! Why?!? We love him so much and are going to contineu to teach him. We also told him we would go with him to the Catholic church Sunday after our ward because we support him and want him to be happy. We dont mind learning about other religions...it just reconfirms our testimonies of the LDS church. Samantha is such a sweetie. She plans on getting baptized this Sunday but her mom is unsure about it. Samantha has special health conditions so we feel that baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost will help her so much! We pray that her baptism will follow through. Belin and Angel are syblings. We have been teaching them for a while and asked them to set their baptismal date. They chose this Saturday..but their mom feels Belin is too young to make this big of decision..she needs to study more and go to church more. I want her to feel completely comfortable making this decision but it was Belin telling us she wanted to be baptized ASAP. We know she has the desire but her family is putting doubts and confusion in her head. We feel that they will be baptized if not now in a few weeks. But we are nervous that once they push it back they will keep pushing it back. So we pray that they will follow the promptings and get baptized (with their moms approval ofcourse). We are praying that her mom will approve. We have taught her mom before and she wants to learn too. We had an awesome member present lesson with Hermana Baraza from our ward. Hermana Baraza's parents are converts so she really loves missionary work. Her testimonyy really touched Belin's mom. As for other progressing investigators...an Amazing family of 6 who has been investigating off/on for 6 yrs! is moving to Arizona Friday. We are so sad to see them go but they told us that they cam to Iowa for a reason, to get back into the church and meet us. We are thankful that we were able to motivate them to go to c hurch and continue learning, they will probably be baptized in like 2 or 3 weeks! The mom and 4 daughters are ready but Raoul, the dad isnt yet. So as a family they will hopefully be baptized soon! We are helping them move tomorrow. Some other cool investigators moved unexpectally and others stopped returning our calls because they heard bad things abouut the church. But Heavenly Father has provided us with a few more awesome families...Juan is way cool and totally searching and the LoveJoy girls came to church and love it. I have noticed that the younger generations are more willing to accept the Gospel and I believe it is because they havent been as exposed to the Opposition and recognize the Spirit more strongly.
As for other things of the week. We had a zone conference which was amazing! We got training and got to hear our president speak. He is so great! I love him lots. I was able to bear my testimony in spanish and share parts of my conversion story. That was a blessing! :) I look forward to zone conferences to come. A general authority is coming to our next one. I got to see my friend from Norcal Scott Haycock at the conference and a bunch of missionaries went out to dinner. :) Fun Fun! Missionaries here are way cool. My companion is so nice. Elder Thomas is going home in January (one of the APs) and is going to ASU so I will see him in the future. There is also an Elder who plays college football and is a convert so I talked to him!
I am working hard and enjoying the roller coaster ride. My emotions are flying from the seat of my pants but I know that as I pray and follow the Holy Ghost that God will perform miracles and direct us to who we need to teach.
Love all of you and miss you! :)
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
This week has flown by once again. I am enjoying getting to know Hermana Madsen better. We are learning how to work together as companions and teach together with unity listening to the promptings of the Spirit. I am looking forward to working with her and teach our investigators. I feel that we are here for a reason because we have connected with people very well. Our personal experiences seem to fit what they need to hear. Its amazing! I am so grateful to be a convert because I have been able to share things that have made a difference.
We set three baptismal dates this week! Bryan is an awesome 13 yr old who has really grown in the Gospel. Yesterday at church we were talking about people that have made differences in our lives… I mentioned my parents and he said Hermana Madsen and I have made a big difference in his life! He said before we taught him the lesson he wasn’t sure if he believed in God and Jesus Christ. Now he has more faith and wants to get baptized. I thought that was the cutest thing ever! I am excited for him and his continued progression. I explained a lot to him about how baptism is step in the dark but we need to trust God, then once we are baptized our lives are filled with more light than we could have imagined. Samantha is such a sweet girl. She has been taking the lessons for a long time because her mom is a member. She has special health conditions so her progress hasn’t been as quick as Bryans. She is going to get baptized though at the end of the month too! I know that the gift of the Holy Ghost will make such a difference to her and her anxiety. I think she will be able to be more calm and comfortable with the Holy Ghost as a constant companion. Emerita is a cute old Mexican lady J She is so willing to learn about the Gospel and follow the teachings of Jesus Christ. We are so blessed to be teaching the Spanish people. They are so loving and welcoming. I just love them! Our area is full of them too! We got to go to a Mexican parade. That was some good times. I took a video of it and am sending it to Jilly. We ate great Mexican food and passed out lots of cards to people for free movies of Jesus Christ. We talked to 70 people! That was a lot in 1 hour. We wish there was a parade every week. L All the Spanish people of South Sioux come out for them so it’s a unique opportunity.
So highlights of this week…my Spanish is getting better. My companion told me she liked how “gungho” I am. Haha Walking up to Spanish people and attempting to communicate. They really do appreciate it and try to understand though. But a funny story (to me atleast) was when we had just contacted a refferel and were walking out of his house, I thought I recognized his friend outside (but was just another Spanish person) and I said “ Va returnar menana a 3:30.” HORRIBLE Spanish and I think its actually French. But the best part was how he reacted. He just stared blankly and shook his head. I laughed for awhile after that in the car. Spanish makes me laugh sometimes because it’s a little rough for me right now. I am thankful how much I have learned though for only knowing it for 3 months or so. Yesterday we went back to that same house to teach Cesar and his friends. Well it turned into Hna Madsen and I talking to a group of 15 men in the back yard and their Catholic Preacher about the Restoration of the Gospel through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Intense! I got nervous when the Preacher walked out but he was interested and wanted to learn. I asked them if they all lived there and they laughed and said no..they had been having a meeting for their church. Heavenly Father put us there on purpose! Throughout the whole lesson they all listened intently which was a first for that many people and understood our Spanish. Its intimidating speaking to Natives! Especially that many but the Spirit helped us say what we wanted to say. Thank Goodness.
Well I am excited for this week. We hope to set more dates with other progressing investigators. I love them all so much and want them all to find the truth. I learned this week that overall we can try our hardest and pray but its up to their agency to act on what we teach them. We had committed like 20 people to come to church and 11 did. I felt sad that 9 bailed but I was thankful for the ones that followed through. Just need to stay positive and keep working hard and Heavenly Father will take care of the rest.
Love you all and hope to hear from you soon!
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
I am now in the library for my first pday in Sioux City, Nebraska! The computers are way slow, so I am getting a bit annoyed. But all is well!
This week WAS so CRAZY! First of all we had an amazing Devotional by Elder Richard G Scott, an Apostle of the Church...I got to sit in the front row! His words strengthened my testimony of Jesus Christ and that our Church is the Church of Jesus Christ restored for the last dispensation. I left th MTC bright and early Wednesday morning (4am)...got to the SLC airport. My Mommy was there so I got to see her! That was such a great blessing. She met my travel group and Elder Holman (from my district at MTC). I also got to talk to Jilly and Jon on the phone. I was so happy to hear her voice! Jon gave me few spanish pointers. :) On the plane ride to Arizona, mommy was on my flight! That was by accident...we got to sit by eachother. Very surreal. Elder Holman and I taught Mom the first lesson of the Restoration of the Gospel. She really liked it and we both started crying (because the Spirit was so strong)...talking about how Heavenly FAther has prepared me to find the Gospel and now be a missionary! God is so mysterious, He has His hand in our lives constantly...I have already seen it out on the field..thatll be in a few more paragraphs...Once I hit Arizona and said goodbye to Mommy, I got to see Dad, Heidi and Tommy. Their route to Indiana included a flight from Phoenix to Iowa. I got to sit with Dad on the plane to Iowa and talk about the usual, life, volleyball, mission...He had had dinner with my ASU coach previously so I got to hear about that. Tommy has gotten so big! I am excited for Heidi to have another baby! AH! Once I got to Iowa and said goodbye to the Daddy, Heidi and Tommy I walked to the checked baggage with my travel group and meet my Mission President and his wife for the first time! That was really exciting! They are the nicest people :)
All of us new missionaries stayed one night in the mission home in Des Moines (had meetings and dinner)..Then the next morning was when we got our areas and companion assignment. It was funny because Thursday morning during exercise time I used the treadmill and President Talbot found me and said "I knew that was you." haha. Im intense. But opening the paper with my first area and trainer was like opening my mission call all over again! Drum roll...I am serving in the Sioux City 2nd Ward Spanish with my trainer, Hermana Madsen (she has been out for 13 months and is from Utah). My companion is a very nice Hermana! She is a great example to me on how to be a missionary. We have had successful days thus far...we are both willing to work really hard and follow the guidance of the Holy Ghost. I am so excited for this area! I went to church for the first time in our ward and the members are so welcoming and friendly. :) Our ward is an english speaking ward with spanish members. We have headsets and translate sacrament meeting and relief society for them...the Gospel classes are in Spanish. I offered to read out loud in Spanish in the Spanish class…good times with my pronunciation. I already love the Spanish culture..they are so loving and love to hear us speak spanish, and help me with words and pronunciation...I can tell they appreciate it when I struggle to speak their language. They like how bubbly I am. I make them laugh. We have eaten at a few Spanish members homes. The Brisenas cooked us authentic mexican food..they dont even speak english..I used a lot of hand motions with them. haha
I feel very comfortable in this area and feel blessed for my companion and the experiences we have had together so far. We have taught many lessons (in Spanish and English) and found new investigaters. The promptings of the Holy Ghost come naturally out here in the field. A few times we have been led to certain houses and people who are ver interested in our message. All of the people we talk to speak spanish but some of them prefer english..so we do teach a bit in english. I really want to work on my spanish so I try to do both with them. I have felt the inspiration of the Spirit while communicating with the people. It is so neat to receive promptings and be able to say them in Spanish without thinking about it! Heavenly Father is involved in this work! It has helped for me to show people my baptism picture of me, Jon and my sister missionaries. They enjoy hearing my conversion story and how I had missionaries teach me and now I am a missionary! Jon’s face is famous in Nebraska now.
We found the Pacheco family a few days ago and taught them the first lesson. They came to church on Sunday (which is so exciting!). I think Heavenly Father has prepared them to receive the Gospel.…as He does a lot of the investigators!
Our preparation day is really intense. We are going to drop off dry cleaning, get lunch, meet a member at Wal-Mart (she likes to get groceries for us!)…which is really nice. Then we will be going home and doing things around the house. Tonight at 6 is our first appointment of the day. We are meeting with the Hernandez family. Then we have another appointment and will go out tracting.
I am so pumped with my new missionary life! My testimony continues to grow as I see people understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This work isn’t easy, but all the hard work and lack of sleep is worth it! Our companion theme is “Faith.” Faith that we can speak Spanish with the help of the Lord, Faith that the investigators will feel the Spirit, Faith that we will bring people unto Christ. Believing is seeing.
I love all of you and hope to hear from you soon! God bless you!
Monday, August 24, 2009
I only have two more days then I leave for Iowa! I am so excited! I have already paccked and sent boxes to Iowa full of books and letters. hehe. I am just doing my last loads of laundry at the MTC. SO symbolic I know.
This was a good week. Highlights included: going shopping outside of the MTC in Provo! My companions and I got special permission and we got an excort. I think she was annoyed with us because we went to too many stores. But I found nice walking shoes for Iowa and a nice blue skirt and matching jacket from Sister Missionary Mall. Wahoo!! It was kind of weird for us to leave our "bubble" at the MTC. People like to stare at missionaries with name tags on at the stores. Wednesday will be culture shock for sure leaving here for good.
Sunday was my birthday! I am the big 21 now. Good times. Thanks for the cards and presents in the mail! I waited and opened them all Sunday morning. I felt like a little girl, wearing my pink birthday tiera my mom sent me while opening my cards. My companions dared me to wear the tiara to breakfast in the cafeteria and ofcourse I obliged. I got some stares but lots of "happy birthdays!" The day got better because we got to participate in the Oquirrh Mountain Temple dedication. It was a special few hours for us missionaries to listen to the Prophet and Apostles dedicate the Temple!! Sunday night, as a district we cut my birthday cake (gluten-free! thanks mom) that my special diet cook had made for me and we opened up the rootbeers Dad sent me (thanks dad). It was so fun! My district president (who reminds me of Bompy) and his wife along with my class sang "Feliz Compleanos". Wahoo! Then to top it off...that night at the fireside, Elder Holman and Elder Clegg from my class sang at the fireside in front of all the missionaries! My class got to sit front row right in front of them. I was so stoked because they have beautiful voices!
Today has been a bit stressful. Going to the Temple was a relief because there isnt one in my mission area...but we will travel occasionally to the ones surrounding Iowa. Everyone from my class (including my companions) leave tomorrow morning except Elder Holman and me. I will have one day with my new companion, Hermana Hadley..she is one of my roomies.
Wednesday at the SLC airport I will see my mommy and at the Phoenix airport I will see Daddy, Heidi and Tommy (my district president said it was ok!) I am so excited! Then once I get to Iowa my mission president will be there to greet Elder Holman and me. He is happy we are coming! He e-mailed me and said he is counting down the days for us to arrive. He gave me permission to see Nanny and Bompy in Iowa if the timing fits. Thatll be cool!
This will be a crazy week of adjustment to a new home, companion and environment...but I know Heavenly Father will be there to help! Thank goodness I am not alone in this work. My third companion is the Holy Ghost! :)
I love you all and hope to hear from you soon in Iowa!
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
So this week was pretty sweet. lets see...same old same old. lots of studying and stuff. I am so excited...I go to Iowa on the 26th!!! :) I am so excited about leaving! I cant wait to share the Gospel with real investigaters! Enough of this role play investigater stuff! Real business! haha Cant wait!
Highlights of this week include...talking to some real investigaters on the phone about the Book of Mormon- I cant believe how much spanish I can understand. Speaking it is a bit tougher- but once I start testifying the Spirit directs me and I make sense. Wahoo!
Another funny thing that happened was that an Elder from my district ran into another Elder while playing softball,,,pe gets intense and he had to go to the emergency room! He is ok, after 10 stiches later.
Other than that, just preparing to go and cram my spanish... this is a very big adventure.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Hola! I just got back from the Temple. It was amazing! :) Mondays are my favorite because we get to go to the Temple and I get to e-mail with my family. I love them so much and miss them.
This week flew by! The highlight of my week was speaking in Relief Society yesterday. I got to share my conversion story in front of all the sisters at the MTC! Much anticipation..I was nervous but once I got up to the mic, I relaxed and felt the Spirit. I love talking about my conversion, it really makes me happy and I am so grateful to have found the Gospel! Afterwards, many sisters came up to me and said I inspired them to go out and serve! That made me feel satisfied. I tried to connect my experience to the missionaries at the MTC, explaining how my sister missionaries made such an impact in my conversion and the power of the Holy Ghost. I talked a lot about my Sister, Jill and how she influenced me to want to strengthen my relationship with God.
Other than that, my week was the same as always. Lots of Spanish and Gospel studying. We started teaching The Plan of Salvation in Spanish. Teaching the Gospel in a foreign language is so hard! I am thankful for prayer because I wouldnt be able to do it on my own.
Monday, August 3, 2009
This week was pretty busy. We taught all in Spanish again. Yeah! It is getting better...slowly. Teaching the Gospel in another language is way hard because my vocabulary is limited. That is where the Lord comes in and helps. Thank goodness for the Holy Spirit. I only have about 3 weeks left here which is nuts. The highlight of my week was yesterday (Sunday). In our class meeting, I shared with my class how the Lord prepared me to become LDS. The major influence was my sister, Jilly. Her example was amazing to me. Also, my best friends, Krisia, Lauren, Arly-lian and Connie. My class said they like to hear my conversion stories :). Our meeting was on how we need to follow the Spirit to be directed to people in our mission areas that are prepared by God to receive the Gospel. It is so cool to see how the Lord's hand was in my life, directing my path. Yesterday was also fast/testimony meeting. I went up during testimony meeting and bore my testimony in Spanish. It felt so good! I was nervous because I did not know what I could blurt out in Spanish. I felt the Spirit prompt me to go up, so I did and I actually made sense! It totally wasn't me but the Spirit. That was a neat experience for me. :)
This next week is going to be really hard. Right now all my study time is so crucial since we are leaving soon and time will fly. I have to write my Relief Society talk on my conversion for next Sunday. I am nervous!
I love you all and hope you are doing well.
P.S. I got to do outbound calls to investigaters in Spanish! I committed a baptist woman to pray about the Book of Mormon and a Catholic man to go to church! so cool.
Monday, July 27, 2009
This week was crucial because we are half way done and have half way left! Need to stay focused. :)
I am only speaking spanish now in class and teaching in spanish. I am working hard on my pronunctiation, because I have a french accent. lol.
Updates: I am the new coordinating sister in my zone, which is basically like the sister zone leader. I am in charge of the girls in my zone (there is 6 of us total) I check up on them and make sure they are doing well. I go to leadership meetings. Its a nice responsibility. I also am talking in relief society the second week-end of august to share my conversion story. There has been some cool ones, from sisters from China, Korea, Mongolia, Italy..yeah I am the United States one! :) That will be awesome, its in front of like 500 sisters.
I am learning lots about the Gospel, Spanish and how to connect to investigaters. I am so excited for Iowa! I love people and I love helping them. I cant imagine the joy I will feel, teaching about the Gospel I love and watching them change in front of my eyes. We started calling and chatting with real people out in the world! I talked to a nice lady, named Lizzie from Florida. She is 78 and loves God and the bible. It was way awesome sharing my conversion story with her and setting her up to meet with missionaries. I wrote her a letter also. :) I got a little taste of how itll be and Im stoked.\
I love you all and would like to hear from you. :) MTC is great 4 more weeks left for me here then Iowa.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
This week was very productive. we got 2 new roommates that are english speaking! I had to take out half of my clothes from the extra closet i was using. sad day. it's ok though because it is hot here so I don't need my winter clothes at all:)
My last time teaching a discussion in English was this week, then they all have to be in spanish. I am excited to get immersed in the language. I carry my dictionary and verb book around in my purse so I can speak spanish throughout the day. it's productive.
I said the closing prayer in sacrament meeting!! it went well. my spanish accent is improving! we got 3 new hermanas in our district. they are very nice and it is good to have more girls around the classrooms.
My sister liz sent me a lot of desserts and i ate them all!!! did not share! its' hard too because everyone else can eat the treats in the cafeteria all day. I need my special wheat, dairy & gluten free treats:) She can't send those all the time though or i will gain weight. haha.
I got to play volleyball this week. some experienced girls are here, and we had a fun scrimmage! i was so excited.
I am so happy that my sister Jillian had baby claire. she is so adorable. I started freaking out when I saw the pics that jill emailed me. the whole laundry room looked at me. haha. what a cute new niece:) made my week better to be able to get to see her.
My week this week will be so busy. spanish, spanish, spanish!! weeks just fly by here. Soon I will be in Iowa! I feel myself starting to mature and become more responsible. It feels nice. well I love you all and miss you all. Read the Book of Mormon !! hehe.
love, sister murphy
Monday, July 13, 2009
here are some mission photos that i got from caitlyn in the mail today....enjoy!!
so silly. she looks so cute with her name tag though!!
her district. her companion is the girl on the left. they get along great!
she is so excited to be there....can't you tell?!
cait sent us this to prove that she has learned how to iron. her companion taught her. i know - 21 is a little old to be learning to iron...haha.
this guy has become a good friend to her. they will be serving in iowa together too. fun!
them being silly on the 4th of july!!
Well this week basically consisted of me getting sick, going to the doctor, then getting sent to quarantine. Good times! I slept atleast 12 horus a night, ate, watched a million church movies and wrote letters until my hand cramped. The time of my life was spent in that little room, without fresh air or human contact. I got out on Sunday, perfect timing for sacrament. I got to talk to my mommy on the phone, which was way cool! The doctor suggested it, because as he worded it, " your mom is a little clingy?" haha I was like yeah, I am the baby, a convert and the first missionary. After he heard that it was a for sure a go on the phone privilege. Hearing her voice was comforting and reminded me of the loved ones I have at home. Being away for three weeks about now, has already reminded me of how much I love my family and appreciate them. It brightens my day to receive letters and packages, because it reminds me of that love and that support. :) I hope that my experience as a missionary will positively affect my family and they will be blessed because of my service.
We started the past tense in spanish. Yipee! My companions and I are now teaching lesson 2, the plan of salvation. I like this lesson, because it answers a lot of questions we have as people as to what is going to happen when we die. As a convert, this lesson hit me hard because I always wondered that. I wondered if my family would be with me in heaven and they will be! This lesson is good news to the investigators because it provides a positive outlook on death (the scariest thing for most people to think about.) I have a testimony of the plan of salvation and I am working on threading my own conversion and testimony throughout the lesson. It has been a challenge learning how to teach a lesson with 3 companions..we really have to work with the Spirit and listen to the promptings of what to say and when to say it. I feel so passionate about what I am teaching that I want to "hog" all the time and teach. It has been humbling for me to be able to work with my companions and the guidance of the Spirit. Today we had a breakthrough while practicing teaching the second lesson, and the Spirit was strong. We taught the lesson without Preach my Gospel in front of us and just said what was from our heart. I ended up crying while talking about what the lesson means to me. I am so emotional when it comes to Spiritual things!
Today we got to go to the Temple which is a blessing. We get to go every Monday and it really relaxes me. We are so busy all the time that it is hard to stop and think sometimes. The temple provides that outlet.
This next week I am going to focus on my Spanish, getting the plan of salvation down and learning our task. We have a new "missionary task" every week in Spanish. This week we need to extend commitments and ask our investigaters about their school and work. Exciting!
Well I love my family and my friends.
talk to you soon, sister murphy