It's a beautiful day, the sun is shining, and everything is clean!!! Mom you're going to get a kick out of this. On Saturday we got a call that the mission housing inspectors were coming to inspect the cleanliness of our apartment on Monday. Well, we had zero time that day to clean, Sunday is the Sabbath, and so that left this morning. So last night I made job lists :) From 6:20-7:30am the 4 of us were scrubbing walls, cleaning floors and counters, sanitizing light switches etc. Classic Mondaycleaning day!! Our place was a disaster! But when the inspectors came, we received the rating of "Celestial." I never thought I'd be so grateful for job lists! Now you can do your "I told you so dance" :)
|This is what I get for making funny faces in other |
people's pictures....so embarrassing!
The real reason I'm so excited is because I just got this email from President Sweeney, "Dear Sister Short - as of today, you are staying with Sister Clark for her last transfer. I hope that you and she will be able to continue to bring strength to the Sisters you minister to. Having you maintain your own area and still focus on the Sisters is a large task, so no changes in your companion will be a good thing. LOVE your exchange miracles! They happen to consecrated missionaries --- like you!"
Me and Sister Clark just finished screaming and jumping....ok so only she was screaming, but I'm equally excited! That means I'll finish the next transfer with 9 months in my area, then I'll probably have to stay another transfer to get someone else familiar in this area....10 1/2 months total. Seriously....could I be more blessed? This branch is my home away from home and I was trying to imagine ever leaving them and it just seems unfathomable. Plus we have sooo many new families to work with! Of course I can forget last transfer, and how I thought I knew what was going to happen, so the Lord's will -will be done, but he told Sister Clark the same thing so we are counting on it!!
We have interviews with him this week so hopefully he will confirm his decision there :) Next week is the last week of the transfer so his mind is probably pretty set!
President just loves me, he gave me permission to listen to those Spanish Primary songs you sent, and he told me all our branch missionaries could go to the sealing of one of our members! It's the Guerrero's and they are getting married before transfers so that we all can be there! They are even getting sealed in the Gilbert temple because they want us all to be able to go to that temple :) They don't have a specific date yet, but we are all super excited.
New Years this week was really fun!! New Years Eve Sister Clark and I treated ourselves to Five Guys Burgers and fries which was delicious :) Then we went to Mesa to wander the grounds for our last night. Some of the hosts that came invited us to eat their pot-luck with them in the break-room which was also super great :) Sister Clark was amazed at how much food I was putting down! We talked to a few families, and then we talked to this one lady who seriously told us her life in 30 minutes. All about her kids, their problems, her problems etc. She was adorable, but man we couldn't get a word in!
We got home that night and the other sisters had popped open a bottle of bubbly. Juice that is :) It was gross, but they even bought plastic wine glasses which was hilarious...agh I wish I had a picture. I got in a water gun fight that night with Sister Clark, except it wasn't a fight, because I was the only one with a water gun :) Once she was soaked, I turned on the other two sisters. Sister Tenney, the sweet quiet adorable Polynesian, tackled me and poured water on me. It was hilarious!! Her playful side is coming out slowly :) The other night I hid behind the door when they came home and scared her really bad. To my dismay, she didn't scream, she just swung her arm and caught my ribs! It would have hurt if I wasn't laughing so hard at the fear on her face :) Then another day she and Sister Martinez were trying to get in the van, but I kept moving it slowly. When I finally let them in, she attacked me. I'm telling you, I can get anyone to play!! I promise I'm not mean....I'm just my father's daughter :)
|Showing love for my dad's favorite baseball team!!|
New Years Day was extra fun. We got up, skipped exercise, studied for two hours, then traveled to Paradise Valley for a tri-zone activity. For five hours we just did whatever we wanted! I got to play softball! Well, wiffle ball, but still! Then I attempted soccer, but I wasn't very good :) After that we watched Joseph:King of Dreams, and the Prince of Egypt. Some people just watched movies the entire time, others played in the gym the whole time, it was so fun just to relax. We all ate pizza for lunch and then returned to proselyting by. We ate with Sister Orozco that night, and we found out later that Draven has the chicken pox, and he gave me a kiss on the cheek that day, so hopefully I don't contract that thing!!
So that's everything fun from this week :) Now lets talk miracles :) Concepcion and family!!!!!!!!
For the entire time I've been in this area, we have had a referral for Concepcion, but we could never find her at home. Finally 2 weeks ago we found her and she told us to return last Monday. We did, and I've never had a more powerful lesson. Concepcion is in her 50's and lives with her adult son Douglas. Her daughter Didi lives in Mexico with the grandson Sebastian, but they were here for the holidays. Didi and Douglas were both baptized as youth, but have been inactive for more than a decade. When we arrived at the house, we said a prayer and then by inspiration we began asking Didi about her baptism which was forever ago. She told us how she came to know it was true, and that she felt really good. I asked Concepcion if she attended that baptism to which she responded yes. When asked how she felt about it she told us "scared." She could see her two kids making changes, and she knew it was for the better, but she was scared they would become different people, and they did. Better people. She said "I just wasn't ready." The Spirit was thick in the room as I asked her "And how do you feel now?" Tears filled her eyes as she responded "Now, I'm ready." With tears filling my own eyes I bore the strongest testimony I've ever felt as I told her "We are here as representatives of Jesus Christ to tell you that Heavenly Father has heard your prayers, and he loves you." She was really emotional as she told us she has been waiting for this for a year and a half! She had even tried going to our church building 3 times! But it was a couple months ago when the building we go to now was under construction. :( Sister Clark and I continued to bear testimony of how this gospel would change her life, and how she in fact was ready. Her inactive daughter Didi was also there during the lesson and she too was crying. We asked Didi to return to church, and she said she would. Full of love for this family I'd barely met, we helped 5 year old Sebastian say the closing prayer. Afterwards he asked us to sing a song about Jesus. Concepcion cried again as we sang "I Am a Child of God." When we got to the car we both just sat there in pure amazement. God knows his children, he knows when they're ready, and he'll always bring them home.
We met with this cute family again on Friday night and Concepcion had read the entire Restoration pamphlet, and basically helped us teach the lesson to her daughter, who had forgotten most of it. By the end of the lesson, Concepcion had accepted the baptism invitation, and committed to come to church with her daughter and grandson. Sure enough, sacrament meeting rolls around, and all three of them are there in church clothes with grins on their faces :) We took a picture afterwards and said goodbye to Didi and Sebastian who are going back to Mexico. Didi told us "I'm going back to church when I get home." I know we were meant to find that family this past week when Didi was home, so her mom could find the gospel, and Didi could return. She promised to come back for her mom's baptism :) God definitely has his own timing :) Concepcion's mother is also a member in Mexico and I know she's been praying for this for a long time. I wish I could talk to her and tell her everything that has happened!
Did I tell you last week about the family that walked into church and just happens to live in our area? Golden! We met with them this week and we are very very excited. The Grandmother is a member, who lives with her non-member husband, daughter and soon to be 5 grand-kids, 2 of which are baptismal age! I guess that's what we get for praying for families to teach :) For some reason they didn't show up to church this week, I think they went to Mesa, but they want to come to all 3 hours, and they want to be baptized! Maria Jr is due in about a month though so hopefully she can come to church a couple times before it becomes too hard.
Neryeda and Octavio's family is doing very well :) I can almost feel love in that home! Step by step :) If they would just pray together like we ask every time!! I was pretty dang proud of myself last night though :) Every time we go over we ask 6 year old Ashley to say a prayer and every time she makes "Ana" or "Elsa" do it. Aka Sister Clark and I. (She's kind of obsessed.) Last night she was sitting by me, Elsa, and I was trying to get her to say it. While I was convincing her, bribing her etc., Sister Clark was answering the parent's questions. I had to get this kid to pray though! She would whisper to me that she was scared and didn't want anyone to hear her, and other cute kid things. Finally, I talked to her about why Heavenly Father wants us to talk to him and I told her we would practice quietly so her family couldn't hear. She agreed so we practiced twice in whispers and then she told me she was ready. I told her parents we were ready and Nereyda looked at Ashley shocked and asked if she was serious. Ashley nodded and began the prayer. She would look at me for help, but I'd just nod my head. It turned out to be the cutest, faith inspired prayer I've ever heard! I'm a sucker for little kid Spanish anyway :) The best was when she prayed for her dad because he's getting baptized :) Kids are my favorite! And I am a firm believer that the faith of a child can activate a whole family. Ashley's the whole reason her parents come to church....she cries when they refuse to go. Her baby sister Jimena was blessed yesterday and I feel like it was just a really neat day for that family. Octavio's set on getting baptized in two weeks, and Nereyda wants to do her visiting teaching. I love miracles!
We taught Xochitl this week and focused on having the faith to set a date for baptism. She still says she doesn't have an answer and therefore isn't ready to make that step, but she did come to church despite her 4 hours of sleep the night before. Our goal is to start pointing her answers out to her. Like when she said she flipped open the Book of Mormon to Moroni 8 which is mostly about baptism. "Hermana that's a sign!" She didn't see it :) Member present lessons....that's what we really need.
Last night we went to Ernie and Jairo's house to read 3 Nephi 11 with them. Again it was obvious that Jairo is more serious about this than Ernie, but at least they both listen and ask questions! The funniest part is that we always have to teach them outside and they always complain about it being cold. So this week we pull up and they have a campfire built in the front yard. Reminded me of girls camp, reading the scriptures by the fire. Seriously...those two! They get really excited about sports night with the members too. They show up on Fridays with or without us, and even bought their own ball pump this week. More and more members are getting to know therm which is great :) We confirmed their date for yesterday, Jairo was a lot more firm than Ernie.
This week was my first Mission Leadership Council (MLC). It's basically a 6 hour meeting with 2 ten minute breaks. If it wasn't for the fajitas they made us afterwards I might have cried! It was neat to see how much trust President puts in the leaders to make decisions. We all decided to cut out Facebook permission because there were too many problems and not enough need for it since we don't have ipads, or even a hint of them. Sister Clark, our Zone Leaders, and I were also very pleased to see that our zone is ahead of all the other zones in many categories such as street contacts, member present lessons, progressing investigators, and those with dates, etc. That's really good because a few months ago we were trailing everyone :) We also had a district leadership council this week with the leaders in our zone, so 6 of us. There I got to hear about all the naughty things Elders do, and sometimes I just tried not to laugh and act disappointed. I thought Elders were perfect til I went on a mission....they're still teenage boys....attempting to grow up :)
I can't believe all of the ward changes....I try not to think about it because it's so sad actually. It's like all those missionaries whose parents move while they're gone and they come home to a strange ward they've never seen. Except, you didn't even move!! That is a drastic change!! Dad, I'll be praying for you!! And the rest of the family, since you're all probably super stressed out :) Just pretend it's transfers....I wouldn't know what moving areas feels like (haha), but I know what getting used to new people feels like! Give everyone a chance...you'll be surprised at who becomes your closest friends :)
I hope you all have a wonderful week, I know Heavenly Father never gives us anything we can't handle. However, he does push us to the limits sometimes :)
I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU