Sisters have 12 transfers in a mission, and this transfer marks my 6th one! So by the end of these 6 weeks I'll be halfway through this thing! That gives me mixed emotions.
Transfers went as expected. Sister Clark and I are staying together again (hallelujah), and we are now the only sisters in our branch. There are 2 sets of Elders, and one of them is a trio. We don't like being the minority :p But we are going to be the branch favorites now! Everybody loves the Sisters and now we're the only ones :) Presidente Alvorado also told me I'm the first missionary to stay this long in his branch, so basically I'll be a legend! It will kill me the day I have to leave this area. Sister Martinez and Sister Tenney both left to different areas in the valley, so Sister xxxx and her companion moved in. We're praying hard for patience and humility, so we shall overcome! The hardest thing is we played a lot with those other sisters and we all teased each other and had a good time. Now we feel like we have to be serious, it's just not the same. It was hard to say goodbye to those other sisters yesterday.
Sister Clark goes home in 6 weeks, and she doesn't like to be reminded. So I keep a daily countdown for her :) My arms are bruised now....I'm really going to miss her. We have as much fun as Sister Ferre and I, plus she's been out so long, and in a different country, so I learn a lot from her, and the doctrine she knows amazes me every day!
Since the last time I emailed we had a lot of neat experiences, so I'll get started now :)
Concepcion! This week we taught her the law of chastity, and the word of wisdom. Luckily she had no issues choosing to live both of them! We were talking to her and her mother one day when Concepcion started to tell us that she doesn't like her name. She asked "When they baptize me, can they change my name?" We cracked up, she was really disappointed when we told her no! During one of the lessons we followed up to see if she was still praying to know if Joseph Smith was a prophet. She told us "Si lo hice." Or "Yes I did it." We responded, "Have you received your answer?" "Si." Dying of suspense we asked "What was it?" Tears filled her eyes as she replied "Que si." That is the first time I have seen someone receive such a powerful answer to their prayers so quickly. It just shows how true her intentions are, and how sincere she is about learning and living the gospel. She didn't make it to church this week because some family came in town to visit her mother, but she's coming this week :)
Oh silly me, Octavio and Nereyda should have come first! Octavio did get baptized!! That was quite the stressful night, especially when he was 20 minutes late to the baptism, but he finally showed up, and he did it, he got baptized and confirmed the next day. He's not a man of many words, and he wouldn't share his testimony at the baptism, but we could see in his face that he felt changed, that he was happy, and that he knew what he did was right. We just wish he'd say more than "Todo bien." Or "All is well." One night as we were waiting for Octavio to come home so we could teach him, we were talking to his wife Nereyda. During Relief Society she had shared her testimony of prayer which was a huge step for her. She does not like to stand in front of people and talk like that, and she was so nervous, but the spirit was strong. As we spoke with her that night she told us she wanted to tell us the whole story of why she believes so much in prayer. Basically, Nereyda was at a really low point in her life when one day she humbled herself and asked God if he was true. She told us "Incredibly, the very next day, the Elders knocked on my door." She bore her testimony to us of prayer, and that she knows this gospel is true. She's still got a lot of work to do, but her foundation is slowly becoming the gospel, and we love watching the changes in her :)
Funny story from their home this week. I was trying to ask Octavio how tall he is and so I said "Cuantos pies tiene?" He replied in all seriousness "2." I was so confused. I asked him how many feet he has, instead of how many feet he measures. Everyone laughed at me :) We ate at their home twice in the past week, and Octavio was more talkative than I've ever seen him. He lectured us all on not getting married til we were 38 or older. He also kept making everyone eat more, and more, and more pizza. Sister Martinez puked on the way home he gave her so much to eat! Poor girl. Their daughter Ashley adores us. Ana and Elsa have to do everything with her. Other kids in the branch have called us that too now. We even helped her with 1st grade homework this week. Poor Nereyda can't help Ashley read, because she doesn't know English! She said she usually uses Google translate to tell Ashley how to pronounce words. Helping Ashley helped me cement my decision to teach :) I just love it :)
|I decided to climb the wall and then couldn't get down!|
Ernie and Jairo have not been available for lessons lately because they've been working a ton, but they did feed 5 missionaries this week! We made them listen to church music while we ate, and they actually quite enjoyed it :) Sister Martinez has been struggling with knee pain, so Ernie offered to let her borrow his shock-therapy thing. As soon as we got home I was ready to "help" her try it. That ding-dong gave me the remote :) :) I slowly moved the levels up, until at one point she was lying there demanding the remote because her legs were twitching and she couldn't bend them. I was laughing so hard! I told her to come get it from me and then we both busted up laughing cause she couldn't move her legs! So she threw shoes at me. A couple mornings later I woke up to find her attaching the thing to my legs while I slept. Luckily, I got them off in time....oh I'll miss her!
We know we're changing lives when our investigators tell us "I was about to ___ but then I thought about the Hermanas!" That happened with Concepcion this week, when she wanted to cancel our lesson to go to a meeting with friends, but then decided she probably shouldn't cancel the people who talk to her about God. It also happened with Xochitl this week. We went to talk to her and she told us that yesterday she was really wanting a cup of coffee, and she decided it would really help her. So she planned to make it, and then change her clothes and brush her teeth, so Sister Clark and I wouldn't smell it on her. Then she said she realized how terrible that was because even if we didn't see, God would! She didn't drink the coffee :) I said "And alcohol? Because Hermana, we are friends on Facebook!" She was so embarrassed, she said a couple days after posting that, she remembered the Hermanas would see it and she was so embarrassed. Like everyone, we make mistakes. Her breaking her coffee habit is the best news yet though :)
Yesterday was stressful, but there was one moment that changed everything. Sister Clark and I had to taxi 4 missionaries to transfers in the van. We got there, unloaded and loaded luggage, talked to a few missionaries and then made the trek back to Phoenix. We found our apartment rearranged and a couple other things that were disappointing (from the new sisters who moved in) so we left the apartment irritated, but whatever, we needed to work. We got to a home where we were going to contact a referral we were given, and we were about to get to the door when the zone leaders called. They needed us back in Scottsdale to bring people home...apparently we weren't supposed to leave. I was on my way back to the car when Sister Clark asked if we could quickly contact the referral first. We haven't had luck with referrals lately so I didn't have much hope. A woman named Claudia answered the door and upon telling her who we were- she told us she got baptized in our church a few years back! What?! She invited us back next week to teach her and we said our usual, "Is there anything we can help you with?" She asked us to pray for her, and told us she has a tumor in her chest. She began to cry, and looked down at her two grandkids standing by her legs. I felt horrible for her. Sister Clark followed the Spirit as she told Claudia that there are no coincidences and that God knew what she needed. We offered to get the Elders to give her a blessing, and she accepted, so we will be going there. The person we were referred to didn't even live there anymore, but Heavenly Father knew we needed to find Claudia yesterday. I reflected on that many times yesterday as we dealt with the little problems we had. There are so many worse things that could happen. It was very humbling.
Our other investigators aren't really progressing right now, but we're working on that. The work here NEVER ends :) It's incredible.
I love you family, I hope you have a fantastic week. I know Heavenly Father will bless you all for the stress and hard work you're handling right now!
I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU