Lets see exciting happenings this week... we had a tornado scare. Our first warning that we have had..we already had our jammies on so I went throughout the house searching for my most valuable things..definately put on my pearls from my mommy. That made Hermana Reese laugh so hard. We didnt have to evacuate or anything but we were on call. I now have experienced that. :) Reese and I are learning so much together! We realized that our companionship is like a marriage..we have to sacrifice for eachother and compromise, also focus on the positives in eachother and learn to be selfless (the whole world needs that..stop focusing on our lives and open our eyes to the struggles of others.) When you are around someone 24/7 you learn alot about them...positive and negative. We shared our past struggles with a few families in the ward who are having communication problems and such. In a companionship, you just have to be honest and open. Let it all out! We have had problems when we arent as open..if something is on your mind, express it. Whether its the toothpaste Hermana Murphy leaves on the bathroom counter, or the way Hermana Reese drinks her water..haha We love eachother. Anywho, Our investigators are like our children! We have to constantly be in contact with them, encourage them, and they are constantly on our minds. When we were talking with Gladis about raising children...disciplining each based on their individual needs, we adapt all the lessons based on the needs of the people we are teaching. We love them so much. A random miracle this week was the following: we were tracting and knocking doors..there was a house that was abandoned but a nice little business card on the door of Jugo Torres who cleans rain gutters. Well, I noticed the Spanish name so I was like, "Hey! Im going to call this number and talk to him.." Well at the end of the convo, we had an appointment. He has learned before with missionaries..and wasnt creeped out by my stalker ways. Talk about Heavenly Father knowing I would call and be creepy. Splits were fun this Friday. I am in love with Debby. She wore her future missionary tag..and participated in all the lessons. The investigators love her and her testimony. :)
We have two baptismal dates that are solid right now. Julio is preparing to be baptized on the 10th of July..he is doing his reading and praying. We are not sure why he did not come to church yesterday? We will be seeing him this week and are emphasizing the Sacrament so he understands the importance of church attendance. Diana finally came to church and she is preparing to be baptized for the 20th of June. Janeth and Isaac (two of her syblings) also came. We have been teaching Janeth but her parents wont let her get baptized. We are still working on gaining the dad's trust. He has been raised catholic so he believes in their way of doing baptisms. We explained that we are baptized exactly as Christ was...immersion, by a worthy holder of the Priesthood, at the age of accountability, for remission of sins. Their mom, Adela is still learning but she is not as interested. Omar came to church yesterday! That was a surprise. He still wants to learn, we dropped him for a few weeks because he wasnt keeping commitments. The Sandaval family came to church! The dad participated alot in the Gospel Principles class...only the son is baptized, so we will be teaching them this week. I am excited because I was under the impression that they were less-active members, the way he was participating in class. They are just super involved! We made progress with other investigators this week as well. We had a strong lesson with Angel about prayer, scripture study and church attendance. He really wants a new job so he can have Sundays off. He is completely ready to be baptized and has the desire..we have been praying a lot for him to either drop the job he has on Sundays and have faith the new job will call him, or that the new job will call him already! He applied to a lot of different places. He wants to be baptized June 15th..he will need to come to Church one more time..then all the times after. It all depends on the job. I really hope it works out! Jenn is doing great. We had our first formal lesson with her and she liked it. She was worried and nervous, but she felt comfortable with the way we taught and got her involved. (She said we were real people.) :) Her biggest concern right now is recognizing the Spirit and starting to pray regularly. We are taking baby steps with her..talking about the existence of God. Her family has always been skeptic and not into religion. I can see little changes in her! She is quite amazing coming to a spanish branch and only speaking english. She feels a connection with the people, and her best friend Jordan is a convert in the branch. We had two lessons with Gladis this week. We shared a few talks from General Conference with her about family and parenthood. She understands that teaching her children about Christ is very important and she has a strong desire to do that, and to discipline with the love and guidance of the Holy Ghost. I realized a big part of setting rules for children is expecting them to do the right thing. Heavenly Father has given us our agency and we are born with the light of Christ. He trusts us to do whats right to receive the blessings. I explained to Gladis how my parents always expected good from me and that helped me make smart decisions. There was no question in my mind what was expected. Her biggest interest in the church is eternal families! She has been reading the Liahona and believes all the leaders of the church are called of God. We explained how the church can help her family and her soon to be marriage; she will receive lots of blessings from doing what is right. She worries about their being conflict in her marriage with two religions, but we promised blessings and more unity. We feel her husband will become interested by her example. We have had some amazing members come and bear their testimonies. Jenni Crespo shared her conversion story and how she knew it was true before her husband. Then her husband felt the Spirit strongly at her baptism...accepted lessons and was baptized later. Miracles happen! Gladis has great faith and is very receptive to the Spirit and engaged in lessons. I just love her to death! She even cooked us pig skin this week. Yummy. We did service for Ally and her family..helped clean their house. I think that opened her mom up a bit and we taught them a lesson about the plan of salvation..focused on families. They want to have a stronger mother/daughter bond, so we promised blessings if they will apply the teaching of Christ in their home. Ally's mom wants more help around the house and feels Ally is too distracted...sorry mom for not helping you clean all the time. :) I owe you! We have scheduled a Family Home Evening. Ally is praying about baptism right now. We had a fantastic lesson with Oscar last night and committed him to baptism for the 20th of June with Diana! He had some deep questions and is really searching for the truth. Great guy!
Heavenly Father has really blessed us this week and we are going to continue on leaving commitments and checking up on them more frequently. We are attempting to have daily contact as well. I really enjoy studying for our investigators because I have seen the Lord bless us with knowledge and guide us in the lessons through the Spirit using that knowledge we obtained during study. Sweet! I am really starting to understand the Atonement and Repentence. I have been studying the attributes of Christ to become a better missionary. Repentence is a process everyday that we all need to do. It involves a change of heart, putting the Lords will before our will and being humble. No one is perfect! God did that for a reason, to live happily ever after, we need to depend on Him! We need to get down on our knees and thank Him for our Savior Jesus Christ!
Our branch has really been progressing. I can feel the desire of the members to go to the Temple and do the ordinances with our Heavenly Father. More families are striving to be sealed after the Ortegas and Rodriguez families were. There was a baptism on Saturday of a few kids in the branch. During the break in the ceremony, we taught the plan of Salvation. Heavenly Father is so perfect! We have always had the organization of the family..living with Him before, our families here, and after. I love the Gospel! (Hermana Reese and I get really excited while teaching, we like to express our love by giving high fives). We explained how baptism is a step for the child as well as for the family to reach their Eternal goals. We focused on the goal of reaching the Temple for the families involved in the baptism. We will be focusing on that with other members lessons. We are working with the Lopez family on their goal to be sealed in the temple. Right now, they are having some communication issues and we are going over to their house every week to help them focus on the positive of eachother and study the scriptures together. We are helping Hermana Amaya and her daughter have a closer relationship of understanding. We love them so, and we will be going back every week to see their progress. We gave them an assignment to write down 5 positive things about eachother daily. :) I bore my testimony in church about how the blessings of the Gospel are available to all, we just need to continue to be better everyday and encourage those around us. The plan of salvation was made for each of us because we are all children of God! I want my family to receive the blessings of the Gospel and I know that they will! I was talking to the Elders at the baptism about that and then the sister missionaries in Kirkland Ohio called me to tell me that they got a hold of some of the referrels of my family. That made me happy! Heavenly Father knows how important it is to me! He wants us all to be blessed.
I love you all so much! I am so thankful for the things I am learning on my mission!