Monday, July 28, 2014

Training, Toasty, Tans and Tostadas!!

Hiking Squaw Peak
Buenas Dias Familia!
I can't believe I am on week 6!!  I'm halfway done training already!  And oh man it was hot.  It was a different kind of hot this week though.  Not just an "Oh my goodness the air is like the inside of an oven,"  More like "Oh my goodness gracious I'm being roasted over an open flame!"   The car thermometer on Tuesday said 127.  I think in reality it was 114, but at that point it all feels the same!  I still have yet to get sunburned though.  My tan on my arms is so deep though...I've never seen my skin so dark!  Everyone comments on it....it's funny :)  

My leg vs. my arm
Roasting!

 So this week I had some pretty miraculous experiences, some hilarious experiences, and then some other fun stuff!
First the funny experience of the week :)  So yesterday at church one of our less active families came to church.  Yasury is the mom and she has 3 little girls (the ones that think we look like princesses from Frozen) and then Yasury's non-member friend came with them!  Every one says it's a miracle we have gotten Yasury to church twice in a row because she hasn't been in so long, no matter what missionaries are here!  We felt pretty accomplished :)  Well every time she comes to church, or we are at her house she usually takes a picture of me.  Sometimes with Sister Baros too, but usually just me.  I didn't even think much of it, but yesterday I finally asked her when she took one in Relief Society why she was taking pictures.  She's been sending them to her little brother!!! Hahahahaha!  I cracked up!  I said "Sister!  I have 17 months left!!"  She told me "He will wait."  Oh man I was dying....last time I let her take a picture of me!   Oh man, I love that family so much.  

This week we had a lesson with Daniel about missionary work.  We gave him a pass a long card to give away and he started naming off friends he all ready had in mind to give them too!  It was so cute :)  We told him at the beginning, "Daniel did you know you can be a missionary right now?"  His eyes got wide and he got so excited!  I love that kid :)  

Rosio is our newest joy.  She is maybe 21ish and has a 16 month old daughter Analisia.  Rosio lives with her parents who are members, but hasn't been baptized because she didn't want to feel like she did it because her parents did.  I told you a couple weeks ago she now has a baptismal date!  Again the other missionaries told us that was a miracle, and that they've been working on that for a while.  The best part is that Rosio really trusts us.  She told us about a couple experiences she's had recently that only her mom knows about and has asked us not to share them.  We are so glad that she feels safe to confide in us.  She has chastity issues with Analisia's dad, but she told us this week, "I'm just going to tell him that I want to get baptized so he has to follow the chastity thing with me."  That was the first time we heard her confess that it's really something she wants and is looking forward too.  She set the date for her baptism I think because she knows it's right, but since then her desire to be baptized has grown immensely.  We hope....sometimes we get our hopes up with people and then they crush our dreams, but we keep hoping :)

Francisco was an incredible experience this week.  Me and Sister Baros are biking down a busy road at 8:30ish one night; it's dark, there's weird people on the streets, and it was starting to rain.  Usually at night we don't talk to people when we bike past them because it's risky and kind of dangerous.  But we are biking past this bus stop and the man sitting there hollers hello.  So we respond, and I slowed down (I don't know why) and Sister Baros keeps pedaling full speed ahead.  I turn my head and hear the man holler "Are you guys from the church?"  Now I stop and yell for Sister Baros.  Wondering if this guy is legit, or drunk I tell him that yes we are from the church.  He says "I know.  I could feel the Spirit when you went by!"  WHAT?!  Now I'm excited :)  Sister Baros comes back and we discover that his name is Francisco, he has tons of faith, and was really interested in our message.  So what did we do?  We taught him the restoration at the bus stop in the rain.  He loved it!  He told us the Spirit was testifying the truth to him of what we were teaching.  We got to the part about the First Vision and it was my turn to talk.  I started in English, but for the life of me could not find the words to speak. I told him I usually teach in Spanish, he was a Latino so he said "Do it in Spanish then!"  So I switched to Spanish and the words flew off my tongue way better than I could have even tried in English.  It was incredible!  After I finished he told me he felt like crying.  I was just grinning from ear to ear and me and Sister Baros kept looking at each other like "Is this guy for real?"  So we asked him for his number so we could meet him again.  He told us he didn't know his number, but he would call us.  My heart kind of fell.  That's how people brush us off.  Well that night Francisco called our phone and gave us his address and number and told us how excited he was to meet again.  The only bad part...his address is not in our area :(  We were devastated!  We gave his info to the other missionaries, who aren't even in our branch :(  It was so sad, but at the same time, we were so glad we found him.  Had I not stopped, and I'm convinced the Spirit stopped me, we would not have found Francisco, who is so prepared it kills me!

I don't know why I always give a food update in my emails, but it entertains me :)  This week we got to go to Chic-Fil-A.  We went with the other Sisters in our branch and Sister Orozco.  We had to bike there, and pay for ourselves, but man those chicken nuggets were worth it :)  I ended up buying tostada shells, the craving was too strong :)  I have tostadas at least every other day for lunch now! 
 
Tostadas for lunch! (side note from mom.... beans & lettuce, so gourmet -Ad!)

 I was craving cheesecake, and the Branch President's wife just happened to serve cheesecake after our correlation meeting!  Man, I really love the blessing of fulfilled food cravings!  One couple bought us pizza this week.  The wife was so funny, we walk up to her house and she starts going off "Oh mi amor! Pobresitos, ven a dentro, oh mi amor, mi amor!"  for you gringos out there "Oh my love, poor children, come inside, my love!"  It was like a mom talking to her 1 year old who crashed while trying to walk.  So dramatic!  We always say she should be in a soap opera.  She took very good care of us though!  OH and I had the most delicious fajitas this week.  A member in the English ward made them for me and Sister Grooms.  Homemade guacamole and everything!  It was the best meal in my mission so far.  During that meal though I see this odd shadow on the lady's curtains and realized it was in the shape of a lizard!  I said "Um is that a lizard on your curtains?"  It didn't even phase her!  I was freaking out the rest of dinner constantly making sure that slimy creature stayed put.  Apparently they are common.  EWWW!

 The worst animal story this week though was when I was at another one of Sister Grooms investigators houses and I sit down in a chair and realize I'm sitting next to a glass cage.  The thoughts that immediately ran through my head were so panicked!  "Snake? lizard? Gerbil?"  I'm frantically trying to find the animal in the cage, then I see something move....On top of the cage.  A GIANT white rat was out of its cage, and right by my face!  Oh my goodness it took ALL my self control not to run screaming out of the house.  I just calmly stood up, and scooted my chair very close to Sister Grooms!  Ayayay-- that disgusting long tail and those beady eyes still haunt me.  

I had one of my hardest lessons yet this week.  Sister Grooms and I were in my area, which means I teach the entire lesson while she nods her head and says "Si!"  Well we went to Carlos and Veronika, for their first lesson and they gave me a run for my money!  How was I supposed to know they were leaders in their christian church?  They listened well, but at the end when I asked if we could come back the wife told me no.  Then Carlos told me I was taking blessings away from other people, because he already believed in Christ, and was on the same page as me, so I should go find people who were worse off, and needed faith in Christ.  I was on my own! I didn't know quite what to do with that, so I invited them to pray about what we had taught, and then if they felt differently to call us.  Ayayay that was rough!  There was so much potential throughout the lesson, then BAM rejected.  Oh well, there will be more I'm sure :)

Last P-day we got to go bowling!  It was so fun!!  Like a giant party with our zone, and we all felt so normal for 2 hours....so. Fun.  








This morning we went hiking on Squaw Peak.  I almost died.  It was so steep!!  We went at 5 am so luckily it wasn't hot, but man I was sweating!  We are all exhausted now and planning naps for after emails.  


Well that's it for this week folks, I'll try not to injure myself this week mom!  Oh I didn't even tell you.  I ran into a bar with my head, it probably looked hilarious like a clown who runs into a bar and it knocks them backwards.  Left quite the goose egg though!  I forget how tall I am sometimes and frankly forget to watch where I'm walking :)  Any other sister wouldn't have brushed the dang thing with the top of their head!  Maybe I'm growing...after all...wouldn't want Kars to pass me!
I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU!
Love,
Sister Short

Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Pioneer Day

Querida Familia,

Can you believe that there is only 5 months til Christmas?  We listened to Christmas music in the car to the library....only a couple of us didn't complain :) 

This week has been a great big ball of crazy!  We had 3 days of exchanges and I can't keep track of what happened which days anymore!  The next thing I know we are sitting in church again :)


Hermana Short & Sister Grooms
So for two exchanges me and my half companion, Sister Grooms, were together.  Once in my area and once in hers.  The other exchange was actually for me, so I was with my Sister Training Leader Sister Doolhoff.  That day was such a blessing!  Sister Doolhoff is like a 24 year-old version of myself.  It was so nice to be with someone just like me for a day!  She is an English speaking sister so we'll never actually be companions, but she even told me that she had never felt so comfortable with a companion before on her mission til that day we were on exchanges. 

 The best part of that day was I GOT TO DRIVE!!!!!  Oh man I didn't realize how much I missed driving!  The mission sells cars after 50,000 miles too so we drive nice cars :)  This was a 2014 Chevy Cruz and I soaked in that steering wheel :)  I feel like I know sister Grooms and Sister Doolhoff's investigators as well as I know my own since I'm with them so much.  This week I met Carl who is a quadrapolegic.  We go to a rehab center to visit him.  He's a less active member and the most amazing artist I have ever met!  He can draw with his mouth a million times better than I can draw with my right hand.  We feel bad for him though, he's lonely, and thinks everyday about the drunk driver who took away his ability to move.  He was a neat guy, but visiting with him is heartbreaking!  

Their other investigators Jordan and Michelle were a crack up this week.  They seemed to be acting funny when we got to their house.  They listened quietly and at the end of the lesson we asked if they had questions.  Jordan asked us why heaven and hell both start with h.  I told him in Spanish they start with different letters so it's just a coincidence in English.  He also asked who Jesus's grandpa was.  We were wondering why he was asking such weird questions.  Then we asked him to pray to end the lesson.  Ha!  It was all I could do not to laugh.  He prayed for the fishes in the sea and asked God to create more fish since polution was killing them all.  After this never ending prayer we left, and Sister Doolhoff says "Well they were high as kites!"  Ohhhh everything made more sense :)  I'm not sure they're going to remember the lesson on the doctrine of Christ....but we will! :)  

Have I mentioned Arizona is a little warm?
Staying at Sister Grooms and Doolhoff's apartment is also fun because they have hilarious roommates!  Sister Jackson and Sister Heuea.  Sister Heuea is from Tahiti and is on her 3 month leave from Temple Square.  She speaks 8 languages!  Her assigned language is French though, but she can speak Spanish, Chinese, Tahitian, and German....I don't know what else.  It's crazy!  Sister Jackson is from Provo and she's a crack up.  

I was on exchanges when Sister Baros met with Daniel this week, so I don't really have an update.  His mom told us she was bringing him to church yesterday, but they didn't come :/  We have a lot to work on with her and hopefully we can rely on her more to bring Daniel to church and scouts.  We don't have very many ward members with cars and the cub scout leader isn't fond of giving rides to our investigators.  It's sad and frustrating that she wouldn't be willing to help, but there's not much we can do about it :/

Laticia is our investigator we are really happy about this week.  We weren't able to have a lesson with her because she's always gone, but I passed her house one night and she was outside smoking.  I asked her if she'd had a chance to pray about the restoration, she said yes and that she felt good about it!  Then without me asking she told me she'd been reading a bit in the Book of Mormon and that it's been bringing her peace.  I was so excited for her!  She's progressing!!

Rosio is our newest progressing investigator and we set a baptism date with her!  She's been hesitant for a while because her parents are members and she doesn't want to feel like she was forced to join, or rushed into it.  We explained that baptism is an act of faith, not of knowledge, and not of force.  If she believes these things are true, and if she wants to follow Jesus Christ she should get baptized.  The real clincher with her was when she told us she wants her baby to grow up in the church to learn how to make good choices.  So therefore, she'll be going to church and she might as well be a member :)  She's young, the baby's dad just got out of prison, and we're worried about what will happen there, but we meet with her twice a week so hopefully we can guide her through challenges while helping her stay on the right path.  We are working towards August 30 for her baptism.

Pink clouds!
 I speak PLENTY of Spanish.  Rosio, Daniel, and a teenager named Fortino we teach in English, but that's because they are young.  All the adults we speak to only in Spanish.  On the phone, on the streets, at church, everything requires Spanish.  And I've been getting some great compliments!  Yesterday a guy asked me "Where did you learn Spanish?!"  I told him in school and he told me he thought I learned in Venezuela or something because it was so good!  I asked him if I still had a gringo accent and he told me I just paused a lot so that's why he was thinking Venezuela because they have pauses in speech.  Mexican Spanish doesn't pause for commas or periods or anything.  I was flattered :)  At the beginning of my mission I told people I was from Chihuahua as a joke...but they believed me so I had to stop.  I can hear mistakes in my speech still, but it's definitely improved a ton.  Especially when I'm with Sister Grooms and I have no one but myself to rely on.

Tuesday I had to teach the Plan of Salvation to a family by myself in Spanish!  Fabiola and Francisco and their four kids.  It was hard not having someone to take over for me when I forgot a word, but I felt so good afterwards!  They wanted us to come back, and he had questions, and asked if we had a pamphlet about the Plan that he could have.  Sister Grooms said even though she couldn't understand she felt  the Spirit.  That was a great compliment for me :)

Even when I'm with the English sisters I speak Spanish.  There are Mexicans everywhere!  One of their investigators speaks both, and when we were over there Sister Doolhoff was trying to ask her a question and kept having to repeat herself.  So finally the lady looks at me and says "What is she trying to tell me?!"  So I played translator :)  Then she had me pray in Spanish at the end.  I love speaking to people in their native tongue....I've seen that it builds trust.  

So there's a magic trick with missionary work....when you are craving something...you get that food within 2 weeks!  I was told that a couple weeks ago and said "Well I'm craving restaurant food and that hasn't happened!"  This week members took us out twice :)  The Branch President bought us lunch at a Roberto's/Betto's type restaurant which was heavenly, and then the English Sisters had a member that took us out on Saturday during exchanges to that delicious Diner.  Blessings!  I've decided to crave a tostada now :)

My favorite... Mexican Food!


The funny thing about my picky eating now is that all the missionaries know it.  So when a plate gets set down in front of me with food, everyone looks at me for my reaction.  Some will offer to help me with the noodles, or apple pie, others just laugh.  I did have to eat more mashed potatoes though....I ate them with salt, pepper, and mixed it with my corn though so it wasn't too awful.  Otherwise it's been a pretty good food week.

Sister Baros got bit by a dog this week!  It was hilarious!  It was this little yappy dog and we were both ignoring it.  I turn around though and Sister Baros mouths, "it bit me!"  I laughed and said, "Wait, what?"  "That dog definitely just bit me!"  She had a black swelling bruise on her leg, so we called Sister Sweeney and she said we had to go to a doctor.  By the time we got to the doctor it looked totally fine and they all but rolled their eyes at us.  The worst part was Sister Baros put her home phone on the Animal Control paper so they called her house to ask about it and of course her mom freaked out and called the mission office.  We've learned to pay attention to even the small yappy dogs now :)

Last night we had a fireside and I played the piano for the opening and closing song.  Then our 8 ward missionaries had to sing a song.  I got assigned to pick musical numbers for next months fireside and I'm thinking I might play, "Come Thou Fount".  It's just super difficult to fit piano practice into a missionary schedule!  It stinks!

Well, that about sums up my week.  Today we are going bowling!! I'm so excited!!  I get to wear capris and a t-shirt and play a game!  Man it's been a while.  This is our zone activity for the transfer.  Next transfer we go to the temple, the next transfer a zone activity and so on.  I hope they have good french fries...bowling isn't bowling without french fries.  Right family? :)

I love you family!  I hope you have a happy pioneer day!  It will be weird here because people in Phoenix don't celebrate it.  In Snowflake they have a huge celebration, but that's because it's a Mormon colony up there.  

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU  (A sister told me she hates "Elf" this week....so wrong!)

Love,
Hermana Short
Missionary tan
Thank you for one Peanut Butter Cup, one stick of Kit Kat, one stick of Twix, 1 chapstick, UNO cards, memory card and baby wipes (you think I sweat?) 

Monday, July 14, 2014

One month.......Struggles and Miracles!




Eating out on P-Day!

Burgers and Shakes....we felt like we were on vacation!








Querida Familia,

This week went by like an Arizona Dust storm!  I feel like I was on the computer yesterday!

Dust storm moving in!!
First I'd like to give updates on my favorite investigator, Daniel.  We met with Daniel and his mom on....I can't remember :)  But!  We took Hermana Orozco (the Relief Society President) with us.  The lesson went so well!  We taught the gospel of Jesus Christ which focuses on Faith, Repentance, Baptism, Receiving the Holy Ghost and Enduring to the end.  She listened very attentively and seemed genuinely interested!  She asked us why Jesus was baptized in his 30's, but we baptize children when they are eight.  We talked about being able to choose right from wrong, and being old enough to know which is which.  She told us she was coming to church with Daniel this week!  Her youngest ended up in the hospital with an ear infection though so they didn't come :/  But we visited her last night and set up an appointment to teach her, so we are very excited!  She still hasn't given permission for Daniel, she wants to learn more.  The best part was when she said something along the lines of, "I have been to some other churches; including the Jehovah Witnesses, and I go there wanting to feel that it is right, but I don't feel it."  Ding-ding-ding!  We are so excited for her to come to church and find that feeling she has been looking for!

On Thursday...I think it was Thursday.  We taught Daniel the Word of Wisdom.  He's only 10, but the one thing he has to give up is coffee.  He didn't hesitate though :)  He knows this church is true, so he does anything we ask to show Heavenly Father he'll follow him!  He told us, "I forgot to pray last night and then bad things happened!  My dog almost ran away!"  His testimony of prayer grew so fast!  We showed him a picture of Joseph Smith and before we told him who it was he said "That's Joseph Smith!"  I said, "Yeah who is he?" "A prophet!"  Sometimes we worry he isn't paying attention cause he will go off on random tangents about video games or start playing with one of his 6 dogs, but we ask a question and he knows the answer perfectly!  I love teaching him!  And now that his mom is interested and hinted at maybe bringing her other 3 kids to church we are so excited!!

Yesterday, I had a super neat experience.  I was kind of having a rough afternoon.  We had been at church meetings from 7 am to almost 4 pm.  No investigators came to church, and hardly any members because of the dang World Cup soccer game.  It was sad when the sister missionaries made up half of the relief society!  Finally at 7 that night after studies and dinner, and finding Sister Baros a bike to ride since her tire is flat, we actually got to go out and do work!  We had an appointment that is about a 15 minute bike ride away and I prayed the entire way!  I was praying for patience mostly...

 I prayed for forgiveness and patience, and that I could teach our appointment with the Spirit.  It was quite a long prayer :)  Well last night we were blessed with 2 amazing experiences and I felt so much better riding home that night!

Our appointment was with Laticia.  She lives by Daniel and we taught her once last week.  She said she was leaving, but we asked if we could read the intro to the Book of Mormon with her real fast since she hadn't been able to do it yet.  She agreed and after we read she expressed to us that she felt like there had been something missing in her life for a long time.  Material things weren't filling it for her, and she wanted to know what was missing.  Ding-ding-ding!  We bore testimony of the Book of Mormon and the power it has to fill that hole.  She wants to continue learning and we are so excited to teach her the Plan of Salvation this week.  So now we have 2 progressing investigators!! 

After we met with Laticia, there is a 14 year old boy Fortino who we met a couple weeks ago.  He said he wanted to learn more when we met him, but every time we go to his house he's not there.  So we decided to drop him this week.  Well last night I had a feeling to try him while we were by his house.  So we knock on his door and he comes outside!!  I have never had a lesson so full of promptings before!  I asked him if he had any questions about life for us.  He said he had one, why weren't his prayers being answered? I asked him if there was something specific he was praying for.  He said about his sins.  I said, "Well you believe in Jesus Christ right?"  He said no.  I felt hurt for him!!  I was glad it was dark, because that was the first time someone told me they didn't believe in Jesus Christ, and I probably looked shocked :)  My companion felt prompted to have him bring up the Mormon message "Because  of Him," on his phone.  We watched it with him and the Spirit was so strong!  We sat in silence for a few seconds afterwards and I asked him, "How did that make you feel?"  He says "I want to learn more about him, and the miracles he did."   A wave of relief flew over me.  THIS is why I'm on a mission.  To bring others unto Christ.  I have never felt so happy as I did right then, knowing that with the help of the Spirit and my companion, we had helped one of God's children find hope in Christ :)  Aghhh me and Sister Baros were so happy last night!

I committed someone to baptism this week!!  I was with Sister Grooms in her area and we were at a first appointment with this lady Janette.  She had been meeting with missionaries and attending church and trying to make changes for 2 years!  But every time she got close to baptism she'd fall into temptation.  I had the impression to set a baptism date for her to work for.  I felt like it was a little bold, and I didn't want to freak her out, but I did it and she accepted!  She told Sister Grooms and I that she could feel the Spirit super strong, and she wants to have that all the time.  I love when I meet people who's hearts have been prepared :)

Another thing we have learned as a companionship is that when we show up to an appointment and they cancel, there is someone nearby waiting to be found.  This happened earlier this week, with Patty.  She didn't answer her door, so we decided to knock on doors in her complex til we found someone.  After 3 doors we found 16 year old Juan Carlos, and 14 year old Marlene.  They invited us in and we taught the restoration on the spot!   Marlene seemed really interested and we are hoping she continues to progress.

Food this week has been good and bad.  I got 2 days of Mexican food!  It's a record!  Empanadas and Enchiladas :)  But I also got 2 days of pasta :(  The first time I tried a piece of the pasta and was pretty sure I was going to die.  Thank Heavens for Sister Mortensen!  When the lady turned around to stir the pasta, Sister Mortensen scraped all of my pasta onto her plate and ate it for me :)  I was so grateful!  The next night though, apparently Sister Mortensen was too full!  So I ate maybe 5 bites, then stuffed myself with bread and watermelon so the lady could see I was eating, then left the rest of my pasta.  This is why I'm in the states!  People don't get offended when I don't eat their pasta!

My comfy bed
My Study area
This week President Alvarado (Branch President) is taking us out to eat at a Mexican restaurant with the other 6 missionaries!  I'm soooo excited!!  He is a great branch president, he has been one for 10 years total.  5 years in this branch and he does everything a ward mission leader is supposed to do.  Sister Orozco is my favorite sister in the ward.  She is the Relief Society President and the closest thing I can find to a mom out here.  She always gives us big hugs, feeds us, and is willing to go with us and help us teach whenever we ask.  She is from Chile and has one 17 month old Draven :)

On a more temporal note, I ran a mile in 8:30 seconds this week!  I was so proud :)  We've started using our apartment gym and I actually like it!  I also get injured a lot out here.  I don't know when I started getting so clumsy!  I hit my head at least once a day on something.  The other day....this is embarrassing, but I ran into a fire hydrant!  I was biking and I don't know if I didn't see it or just didn't turn wide enough, but my foot got stuck in between my pedal and the fire hydrant.  It hurt SO bad!  It left a gnarly bruise on the top of my foot for a few days!  I also cut my arm on a tree...and found a huge bruise on my calf where my bike pedal hits it when I walk :)  I'm a klutz :)  One of the Zone leaders said "Sister Short your right calf is dirty,"  "No elder, that's a giant bruise!"  It was funny :)

Arizona is hot, but gorgeous at night!  The sun sets and the sky goes bright blue, but the clouds go pink!  There are so many cool cloud formations!  We had 2 dust storms this week, but they were at night.  We woke up one morning sweating cause the power had gone out in the middle of the night.  Luckily in went on within 30 minutes of us getting up.  And last night there was a storm with rain, that was exciting!  But our power stayed on this time :)
Arizona  at sunset!


I love you family!  Thanks for your letters!  They are the best parts of my week :)  

Have a great week!  
I love you!!!

Love,
Hermana Short

Sisters in my District
Happy 4th of July


Hermana Short & Hermana Baros at park for 4th of July

Monday, July 7, 2014

Daniel, Dust Storms and not my kind of dessert!

Familia,

I can't believe this week makes 1 month in the mission field!!  It has gone by fast, and slow, depends on how I look at it :)  Some days I think of all the summer months I have left and moan...other times I think about everything I've done in 1 month, and can't wait to see what I can accomplish in 17 more!

I have a lot to write this week, but first I'll give the update on Daniel.  I cannot believe how much faith this kid has!!  We taught him the 10 commandments on Tuesday and he soaked them in, and promised us to quit taking the Lord's name in vain.  It was kind of a hilarious lesson because he would say, "So I shouldn't say "Oh my [bleep]",  Nope!  We don't say that :) 

 On Thursday I was on exchanges with Sister Grooms.  She came to the field the same day as me, so we are both greenies, but since our companions are Sister Training leaders, we are with each other usually 1 day a week.  I love her as much as my real companion!  She doesn't speak Spanish so when we are in my area- it's a bit tough, but I get us around :)   I took her with me to teach Daniel on Thursday.  We taught him the commandments to read, pray, obey, keep the Sabbath Day holy, and follow the prophet.  He soaked it all in, and promised to do each of those things.  Well, when we were teaching him about how Heavenly Father answers prayers Sister Grooms talked about finding answers in the Book of Mormon and how sometimes we can just flip open the book, pick a verse, and we will find an answer!  Before I even thought I blurted "Do you want to try it right now?"  Of course he gets super excited.  So I told him to pick a question.  "Was Noah a prophet?"  (He learned about Noah in primary).  Now I'm thinking crap!  How am I going to find a random verse that answers that question.  Holy miracle he did it himself!  He flipped open the Book of Mormon, pointed at a verse, and it just happened to be about following the commandments, and remembering prophets of old and the things they did.  I was able to answer his question easily, and I knew Heavenly Father had inspired me to show Daniel the miracle of the scriptures.  THEN!  We told him that sometimes our answers simply come from a feeling in our heart from the Holy Ghost.  And we explained what it felt like, and how sometimes we'd have to wait for an answer.  So he insists on saying the closing prayer at the end of the lesson, and he wants to kneel.  So we kneel in the dirt, in the ants and ticks, and he starts his prayer.  He asked Heavenly Father if he should talk to his mom more about baptism so she will let him.  Then he paused and I was worried he needed help or something but he quickly says "In the name of Jesus Christ amen!"  I look up at him and he jumps to his feet, throws his hands in the air and yells "I FELT IT!!!!!"  I could have cried.  He paused in his prayer so he could feel the Holy Ghost, and he did, and he recognized it. 

 I remembered my setting apart today and how I was told I would teach some of the most elect of God's children.  I thought that meant rich people, but I know without a doubt that Daniel is one of those elect.  We are meeting with his mom on Wednesday to talk about baptism, he wants it so bad, but she won't let him because she thinks he's too young and doesn't understand.  When she said that Daniel yelled "Mama I know!!"  He went to scouts this week, came to church again.  He's amazing!  This week he learned about Daniel the prophet in primary.  I had him draw me a picture of it in Sacrament when he was bored and then asked him to write me his testimony.  He wrote "I believe Daniel was a prophet.  I believe in Jesus Christ."  I wish I could email the feelings I have every time that little boy talks about the gospel!




Sadly Jesus doesn't live where he told us he did, so we had to drop him since he's MIA.  We did find Valentino though!  Earlier this week I was on my bike with Sister Baros and she wanted to head home for lunch.  It was a little early and I thought we should stay out, but I decided to just go with it.  Well we are riding down this street and I see 2 mexicans working on a roof.  So I yelled up "Hola!  Como esta?"  The one replied "Hey!  Where za water?"  I said "Quiere agua? (You want water)?"  They look surprised..."You got water?"  I told them no, they said thanks and we rode away.  I immediately said to Sister Baros, "We are going to get them water!"  She looked aprehensive, but followed me up a block to the nearest gas station.  She wouldn't pay for a water, so I bought two knowing she thought I was crazy for doing this.   We rode back to the house and  they were in the front yard now so I told them I had water!  We ended up talking to them for 15 minutes about the gospel, placed a book of mormon, and got Valentino's contact information.  They told us when we had rode away they had made bets on whether or not we'd return with water.  I was so glad I'd followed that prompting!  Valentino isn't in our area, but he might be moving here soon, so we are going to call him again this week :)


Thursday I had my first dust storm.  Oh man I almost became a dust monster!  I was with Sister Grooms on bike and we see this dust cloud, and we got text message warning alerts, but the cloud looked far away so we decided to keep working.   We bike to this guy's house who I hadn't met before, but had been a former investigator.  We get to his house and he tells us he's not interested right now.  We turn around from his door and realize we are about to get hit by the dust cloud.  By miracle the guy we had just been talking to mentioned the lady across the street was a member.  We rushed over to her house and started banging on her door so we could hide inside.  No one answered!  Now the wind is blowing dust like crazy, the palm trees are bending, and I have no idea how to get home.  I called some other Sisters to come pick us up, but they were going to be a while so I decided we'd just try to bike home.  We hadn't biked 5 feet when Sister Zamora, the member we'd just been trying to find, pulls up in her car and demands us to get in :)  We had to stay in her house for an hour while we waited for the dust storm to pass and the sisters to come get us.  She was hilarious and luckily for Sister Groom's sake she spoke English.  I was so grateful for the protection Heavenly Father provided that night!  My companion found out and said we probably should have gone home as soon as we got the warning text, I guess I'll remember that for next time :)


In other news, last night I had my first Spanish lesson with adults!  Rafael and Laticia live in Daniel's trailer park and we taught them the restoration.  They were super attentive, asked great questions, agreed to read the Book of Mormon, and accepted a return appointment!  One crazy thing about teaching the restoration though is the First Vision.  Every time we start that part of the lesson, and huge distraction comes.  When we were giving an overview to Jesus last week, a line of cars drove by, and a car alarm went off.  Last night right as we turn the pamphlet to that page, a  huge truck pulls up, starts honking the horn, and is playing loud music right in front of their house.  He didn't want to talk to them, didn't get out, honestly we aren't sure why he was there except to distract our investigators from the power of the First Vision.  Sister Baros said it happened every time in her last area too.  All it tells me is that this message must be really true for Satan to want to distract the spirit so much. 
 

Last night I also got to eat pozole!  I had it in Spanish class in high school, and have been waiting to have it on my mission.  So. delicious.  Everyone else feeds us chicken drumsticks and green salad.  We don't know why...but I think I've had to eat chicken and salad 4 times this week.  And for some reason Mexicans think fruit is dessert.  So don't worry mom, I'm eating plenty of fruit!  And every meal comes with vegetables.  I'm going to die of too many!


The 4th of July was all right.  It was a normal missionary day til that night.  We went to a huge park in Phoenix where they have a big 4th of July event and firework show.  I think I heard there were 100,000 people there!  Me and Sister Baros stayed for about half an hour, trying to talk to people.  There was rock music really loud, and salesmen handing out fliers, and we were having a rough time finding intersted people and feeling the Spirit so we left.  Sister Grooms and Doolhoff picked us up in their car and as soon as we got in and heard MoTab on the radio it was like a rush of the Spirit.  It was crazy!  I hadn't realized how sheltered my life as a missionary is til then, we literally have the Spirit with us all the time!  We went back to the church and contacted some people watching fireworks in the parking lot, watched some fireworks, and went home.  


The other family we are working closely with is Yasury, her parents, and her 3 little girls.  Yasury got baptized in October and has gone inactive so we are trying to bring her back.  We had FHE with them on Wednesday and taught the plan of Salvation.  They always feed us even if we tell them we are full, and the girls love us!  They told us we look like Ana and Elsa from Frozen :)  Her parents are not members so we went over again last night to teach them a lesson.  Her dad Lorenzo is probably 60 something and yacked our ears off in Spanish for probably an hour!  We couldn't get a word in!  He had lots of questions about the Spirit World, told us he's a mormon-catholic, and loves when we come over, but doesn't want to change his way of life?  I don't know I zoned out after 30 minutes or something....he kept going in circles.  We are going to meet with them again and hopefully get through a whole lesson!


I love you all and I can't wait to hear from you again!!  On July 5th I hit my 11th anniversary of my baptism!  I would have never guessed then, that I would be here today.  That shy little 8 year-old is now talking to random Mexicans in a new language!  Crazy how God's plan for us really helps us grow :)


I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU!

Love,
Hermana Short