Monday, July 7, 2014

Daniel, Dust Storms and not my kind of dessert!


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!

Hermana Short

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