Monday, November 3, 2014

Mustaches and Marriage

Hello Beloved Family!

First of all, let me just tell you.  I LOVE my companion.  It has been such a drastic change for me, instead of anxiety and stress, we are laughing ALL the time.  We are both giant goof balls and think we're pretty hilarious!   I have plenty of stories to tell from this week!  Besides that, we are also really working hard together.  She loves talking to strangers so she's good at stopping on her bike and initiating conversations, which is super helpful for me.  We are finding handfuls of new investigators to begin teaching!  She has great ideas and works hard.  Her Spanish is the only rough thing.  It makes her suuuper nervous.  It's hilarious because she gets sweaty hands every time she has to speak Spanish.  So now whenever she has to pray in companion study, or we start practicing she'll say, "Sweaty hands!!"  Yesterday we were reading in Preach My Gospel about this Elder that was learning a language and his companion refused to talk at certain points in the lesson to force the new Elder to practice speaking.  The Elder got super nervous, but progressed "rapidamente!"  We finished reading and I looked at Sister Ferre and I sat back and said "Wow, I am inspired!"  Sister Ferre looks at me with pure fear and says "I am not inspired AT ALL!!!"  We then commenced another of our laughing fits :)  Our investigators already love her even though she can't understand them, this is a great change for me and for our area!  

Sometimes Sister Ferre says really funny things.  One time she was trying to say Christ has a body of flesh and bone, but instead said "flesh and Thursdays."  Granted "jueves" and "huevos" are really close, but still...really funny.  She also got into this kick where she pronounces the "h" in "hijos."  So now we get a kick out of saying we are "hee-hos de Dios."  I felt bad teasing her at first, but she told me to tease her so bad she cries so she learns!  I don't know if I could make her cry, but teasing each other is all we do!  

This weeks email is going to have a lot of Lorenzo stories!  As of right now he is our only progressing investigator because he's the only one that reads in between our visits, comes to church weekly, and has a baptism date.  We had to move the date to the 15th because he had some necessary doctors appointments, but we are still pushing hard for this month!  This week we taught him about obedience and enduring to the end.  During that lesson I've laughed harder than I ever have in my mission.  Lorenzo LOVES talking. I really think he just enjoys the sound of his voice...anyway!  He is reading us the Book of Mormon during the lesson and then stops and says "Ok, you teach me.  You're the teacher and I'm doing all the talking!"  We said maybe 3 sentences, and he takes over again and begins reading :)  ThenYazury puts down sandwiches in front of me and Sister Ferre.  We begin happily eating while Lorenzo continues to read us this chapter.  Then Yazury pulls out these full Jalapenos and offers me one.  I tried to deny it, but then she accused me of not being Mexican!  So I took one.  Lorenzo just keeps reading.  I eat a few more bites of sandwich then decided to take a bite of this giant, super hot-looking jalapeno.  I barely bit off the end and dove for my water.  Sister Ferre was watching the whole thing and started cracking up!  I'm guzzling water, she's laughing uncontrollably, Yazury starts laughing at us, and Lorenzo just keeps reading!!  He chuckles a little bit and asks us why we're laughing, but before we respond tells us to listen and he keeps reading.  Now we are all laughing uncontrollably because the scene was hilarious!  We finally calmed down and finished the lesson, once we could get a word in with Lorenzo :)  My mouth was still burning when we left, but I almost finished the jalapeno!  Sister Ferre ate 3 though so I look like a wimp!

Saturday we taught Lorenzo a second time and he had just told us we needed to push the baptism back a week.  So when we sat down I said "Lorenzo!  What happened?"  He went into a 2 HOUR story that basically explained something he did in the past that he worried would make him unworthy for baptism.  Luckily it isn't!  But now I know why he's been putting of baptism so long, he's been scared of being unworthy of it!  He didn't want to tell us, but something changed this week and he told us he had enough trust in us to tell us what was going through his mind. We talked to him about repentance and how he can definitely still get baptized. He gave us a huge grin and high fives :)  During that lesson he also wanted to make sure we didn't get discouraged with him.  So he asked if he could share a poem with me.  I told him "It can't be a romantic one!"  He said "It's not!"  I let him tell it to me, but a little worried.  It was some poem about holding your head high or something.  Really nice.  Then he tells me "I'll tell you romantic poems later."  I rolled my eyes and asked him if he would come to my wedding in Utah, he said of course!  Then he told us "I have a factory of men for you!"  Me and Sister Ferre never cease to laugh with Lorenzo!  That lesson was also particularly hilarious because Sister Ferre had these stick on mustaches, so we decided to surprise Lorenzo.  We wore them and when he saw us he got these huge eyes and then started laughing really hard.  It was adorable!  Then he wanted us to kiss him, he kept saying "Give me a little kiss!"  And would pucker his lips.  I could not breathe I was laughing so hard!  Then he wanted a stick on mustache.  So he put it on top of his real one, and tried to wear it through the whole lesson.  Oh how I love that man.  He's so worried about being righteous and following Christ, I have no doubt that he was prepared to hear the gospel at this time.  I'm so grateful to be an instrument for the Spirit to teach him! We will show up to his house and find him at the table reading the Gospel Principles manual, or he'll pull out chapters about baptism from the Book of Mormon.

Lorenzo came to Stake Conference yesterday too!  Our only investigator that did!  It was a regional conference so we watched a broadcast from Salt Lake where President Uchtodorf and Elder Christoffersen spoke.  Lorenzo thought it was pretty great to listen to apostles.  

Something about Sister Ferre gets our investigators to open up. Last night we went to teach Selene, Cristian, and Yahir.  We were going to teach about baptism and set a new date with them, but we hadn't gotten five minutes into the lesson when Selene interrupted us and asked if we could help her with a problem she's having with Cristian.  Apparently he has a hard time loving one of his aunts and hates that his mom helps her so much, because she's done things in the past that Crisitan saw and doesn't think she deserves it.  The aunt is Liliana, and so we know and Selene knows that she needs help because she's not all there, but the boys don't get that.  We changed our lesson and talked about loving everybody even when they hurt us.  Cristian is 12 and he started to cry as he told us that he doesn't want to feel that way about his aunt, but he does, and he doesn't know what to do about it.  That's the first time I've cried in a lesson when I saw him cry!  

We told Cristian he has to serve Liliana, and then good feelings will come.  We also taught him to pray for himself, to have better feelings and that when he prays for Liliana, he'll grow to love her again.  He said he would try it, and his mom told him she'd pray for him too.  It was so neat to see that Selene trusts us and knows we're there to help her family.  Another really cool thing is Selene told Cristian "You don't want to go to the final judgement and...." Cristian interrupted and said "What's that?  Oh yeah the thing where I go to one of the 3 kingdoms!"  Selene continued by saying we want to know we did good things when it comes to judgement day.  But I was shocked as I realized this family not only believed the Plan of Salvation, it was now their basic knowledge of what happens after this life!  The rewards of missionary work are great :)

We  taught Leticia one night.  We didn't plan on teaching her that night, but we sat down and talked to her about overcoming her word of wisdom problem.  She told us she gets anxiety without it, and so one smoke really calms her down.  We were able to talk about prayer and how prayer can pull us through and God can take that anxiety away better than a smoke.  We'll see how she does this week.

A new investigator we've started teaching is Ruben.  Well, he told us he got baptized 40 years ago in Mexico, but we still need to find his records.  Last week we tried to talk to him about Alma 32 and the "faith is a little seed" analogy.  I asked him how he nourishes his seed of faith and he started talking about gardening and 20 minutes later ended with some comment about communism.  We've got another Lorenzo!  This one's in English though so Sister Ferre is able to understand how frustrating run-on investigators can be!  Ruben's super nice and open to learning again though, it's just a trick to find him at home.  He also told us that if there's ever service in the church that needs done, he'd love to help.  We're brainstorming an English class, and told him maybe he could help us teach!  We'll see....

We have had a couple of really funny TTI's this week!  That's what we call street contacting because we "teach, testify, and invite."  One group of 4 teenage girls stopped us on the street and immediately wanted to follow us on Instagram and Facebook.  It was hilarious!  They all want to come to Sports night with us and took a picture in mustaches with us.  We left them Finding Faith in Christ pass along cards and took their names and numbers with us to send missionaries to teach them :)  

  By the way don't worry about our safety.  We can definitely feel when we shouldn't be in certain areas and when it's ok.  The area we were in was right by Selene, Xochitl, Liliana, Leticia, and a complex with 2 member families and 3 other former investigators.  We have plenty of safe places on that road!

Halloween Temple trip

Halloween was super great. We weekly planned for 3.5 hours, studied for 3 hours, then went to the temple!  The Mesa temple invited all the missionaries within the boundaries of the temple district to come that night.  Sitting in the celestial room with 50-60 missionaries is pretty dang neat!  Also when the session is full of missionaries and then they pray for the missionaries, oh man, the Spirit was so strong!  A member who was a temple worker there that night spoke in Stake Conference and shared how strong the Spirit was throughout the entire temple that night.  After the temple we went to Cafe Rio to top off the night :)

Well that is my week in a nutshell, I hope you all can see through my words how hilarious, crazy, and unfathomably rewarding missionary work is.  Also, It's like 65 degrees so I'm enjoying my bike SO much!

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

Hermana Short

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