Monday, February 23, 2015

Cops and Robbers

Phoenix Zone

Hola Familia,

The worst news of this week is that my bike got stolen!  I'm super unhappy about it, but one day that thief will be brought to justice!!  As we drive, Sister Clark and I constantly check everyone's bikes, and now that I'm noticing....there are a lot of sketchy people riding bikes that definitely don't look like they are theirs!  Old men on pink beach cruisers, and adults on 10 year-old's's super sad, and I swore I'd never be that missionary who let their bike get stolen, but the Lord humbles us :(  I'll be a lot smarter with my things now.  

I was really upset about my bike.  We live in a gated community, I was told there was a night patrolman, and our back patio has a pretty high wall, so we kept all of our bikes outside for space and cleanliness reasons in the apartment.  I  didn't lock it up after I used it on Thursday, so it's my own stinking fault that it got stolen.  I was in Paradise Valley on exchanges when Sister Clark had to call me and break the bad news.  So I wasn't even home to try to figure everything out.  Sister Clark and Sister Martinez went door to door in the apartment complex asking people if they saw or knew anything and no one did.  The managers said there is no surveillance cameras either :(  We filled out a police report, and so if the serial number turns up in a pawn shop then they have to return it to me.  I've called all the pawn shops and no one has seen it :(  Sister Noorda got her bike stolen too, but they left 3 other ones.  I felt can't even imagine.  Sister Sweeney offered to take Sister Noorda and I pawn hopping this week, so we'll have to see if she still has time for us.

Luckily I don't have to buy a new bike anytime soon, and I probably never will.  Sister Sweeney offered to let me use one of the mission bikes that they have if I do.  For now I'll be a mini-van driver for a couple more months. But now the mini-vans have tiwi devices!  It's only yelled "Check your speed" at me three times!  It lets us go up to 9 over, but at 10 it gets upset :)  It also talks if we don't buckle up, don't log in, or go too fast over bumps, rev too hard, or stop and turn to hard.  Elder Rivera all ready got an aggressive driving violation.  In his words the speed bump "came out of no where!"  

After my not so great Monday and Tuesday, things started to turn around.  Ok maybe not til Thursday Wednesday Sister Clark had to give 3 trainings between two Zone Training Meetings, and it was a lot.  They went well though! 

Xochitl and Daniel were a roller coaster this week!  We taught Xochitl early in the week and had a good lesson about prayer, she's been praying to "Lord" instead of "Heavenly Father."  Afterwards she understood, and we were just about to leave when Daniel came out of the house, but wouldn't look us in the eyes.  I didn't think much of it, but then Xochitl asked us if we could help her with something.  Sweet innocent 11 year old Daniel was looking at pornography websites on her phone :(  She asked us if we could help teach him that this was bad and how to stop.  Oh it just shattered my heart!!  We told her we would come see him the next day.  The next morning I studied and thought hard about how we could get to Daniel, and help him understand without making him feel uncomfortable or angry.  This is what happened during that lesson.

I was on exchanges with Sister Call and we sat across from Daniel in his front yard.  We started out with a scripture in 1st Nephi about avoiding Satan's darts of temptation, and then we taught Daniel what temptation means.  Then we moved on to the Bible and he read us the scriptures about the armor of God.  We talked to him about putting on his helmet and having good thoughts, using our shield of faith to say no when our friends ask us to look at bad stuff, using our sword by reading the word of God, and then praying for help.  He was pretty excited about all the armor talk :)  Then we looked at him seriously, up until now we hadn't really touched on the pornography.  I said "Daniel, do you know what those pictures your friends show you are called?"  He looked nervous and said no.  I told him it's called pornography.  His eyes grew huge, and he immediately recognized that that was something really bad.  We then related what he was going through to a life meter in a video game.  Every time he looks at a bad picture, his meter moves closer to the red, and we have to pray and read to get back to the green.  He looked at us very solemnly and said,  "So, do you think I'm closer to the red, or in the middle?"  I asked him where he thought he was.  He looked down and said "I think I'm in the orange."  Oh I wanted to cry for that poor kid.  We promised him he could get quickly back to the green by reading and praying.  He looked back up at us and said, "I feel a little guilty now."  We told him guilt helps us change and ask forgiveness.  He promised us he would read and pray, and never look at those things again.  We asked him to say the closing prayer, and this is about how it went, "Heavenly Father, I am sorry for looking at those bad pictures.  I promise I will never look at them again.  I ask you to forgive me.  I promise I will read and pray every day so that I am back in the green."  We just grinned :)   We asked him how he felt afterwards and he smiled and said. "A little better "  As we walked away from his house we heard him telling Xochitl that after he prayed he felt better.  She just smiled and waved at us.

We checked on Daniel yesterday and he's kept true to his word!  Xochitl is also keeping very true to her word!  She told us yesterday that she and Lalo are still fighting, and she doesn't know if he's leaving or if they'll get married.  But she said that this week she told him she's getting baptized, and her date is March 21st.  Then she tells him that he needs to leave, or decide to get married by March 15th, so she can get baptized.  Wow!  We were quite impressed!  It was also at that moment that I was EXTREMELY grateful that Xochitl has taken 8 months to get to this point.  If she had not taken this long, she would not be as converted, and these stumbling blocks would have gotten in her way.  But now, she's pushing them over like they're nothing!  She also told us this week that Lalo told her he wants to talk to us, and prove us "wrong" with the bible.  She told him no, because she doesn't want him to be mean to us.  We were pulling out our hair "Hermana!!! Let us talk to him!!!"  She was surprised we wanted to, I guess she doesn't know what missionaries are capable of :)  She promised to let him talk to us next time he asks.

Next miracle of the week was Ernie.  Saturday night was the adult session of stake conference and since it wasn't a Sunday we thought we would rope him in.  Sure enough!  In walks Ernie and Jairo!  Unfortunately that was one of the worst first impressions of church ever!  The theme of conference was ward councils, and I was just biting my cheek realizing that it would all sound super foreign to investigators.  They both were so bored!  Afterwards we laughed with them about it a bit, and invited them to come on Sunday, to which they laughed again.  Well we're sitting in the stake center on Sunday when Jairo texts us and says he brought a friend, and to save 2 seats.  We wondered if Jairo finally got himself a girlfriend, but then in walks Ernie!  To church!  On a Sunday!!!!!!  We just grinned from ear to ear.  He said he had to jump through blazing hoops to get work off, and that it might not ever happen again, but it's ok, one step at a time :)  The themes on Sunday were better and easier to understand, but they didn't seem to touch Ernie at all.  That night though we taught Ernie and Jairo the Restoration again, and I've never seen Ernie pay such close attention in a lesson.  He even asked for the pamphlet when we finished.  Church attendance always brings miracles....even if it's stake conference! 

Jairo & Ernie fixed us dinner.  Yum!

We also retaught Concepcion the Restoration lesson this week.  She loved it as usual, and we gave her a copy to give to her friend.  At the end of our lesson she let us call her daughter Didi in Mexico to check up on her church attendance.  She hasn't gone!  But she promised she would this week, and now she knows we will be calling to follow up :)  Concepcion's son Doug still won't let the Spirit get to him.  We beg him to stay in the room just for the opening prayer and he won't do it!  He did tell us this week though "One day you'll ask me and I'll say yes, but not today."  We have hope :)  

On another occasion we taught Octavio's family!  His mom, dad, sister, and Nephew!  They all listened attentively, and we passed out Book of Mormons.  Octavio walked in the door right in time for our lesson, and he was even brave enough to bear a bit of testimony :)  He told his nephew he'd pay for a mission if he'd go and do what we're doing!  The nephew didn't jump on it like he hoped, but maybe one day :)

We found a new family this week!  The Villalobos family.  It was a referral from other missionaries who contacted them at an apartment complex, and they said to send Spanish missionaries.  It turns out that this family investigated the church 2 years ago, and attended church for 2 moths before moving to a different part of Phoenix!  They invited us to come back and teach them, and if we can find them rides, they're willing to return to church :)  It's a single mom, Alba, and her 3 kids -Yasmin, Elsa, and Dardio.  

Transfer news are in for me....I found President in the mission home parking lot for 20 seconds and asked him for a transfer hint.  He said "Not yet, text me later today."  I texted him that night and he responded "Choo choo..."  I sat there thinking about cities with trains and then I realized what he was saying...I'm the train...the trainer!!  I told him he's crazy, and asked if the train was going to do more work in the Camelback station and he said "yes!"  I don't know how I feel....actually it's about 50/50.  New missionaries are super fun, but if they don't speak Spanish it's really hard :/  It's been so nice to have an equal companion, but I'm up for the challenge again I guess :)  I don't know if I'll still be a Sister Training Leader though...that's a lot of work, and as I would know, it's kind of hard on a new missionary.  Oh well "I will go and do."

Ok that's about it this week!  We are off to the zoo!  In the rain :p  And we just got a car wash too....grrr.  Oh we got zone t-shirts made!  I forgot to take a picture but we are wearing them to the zoo, so stay tuned for next week :)

I love you so much.  I miss you, and I think about you often.  

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

Hermana Short

Monday, February 16, 2015

Another Week in Paradise!

Buenas!!!!  (That's what we yell through people's doors :)

This morning was quite an adventure.  My cold has peaked, so I'm congested, have a terrible cough, and the occasional headache.  We hiked Squaw Peak at 5 am, I twisted my foot somehow on the way down and it kills to walk.  THEN!  I fell in my apartment somehow and I have a nice gash on my back.  I think my weak knees from hiking just gave out.  I'm a walking klutz today and it's not even 1 o'clock!

 I'll try to push past my misery and remember all the juicy details from this week :)

First of all, Squaw Peak this morning was crazy because we had to hike in darkness!!  Luckily, I could hear my Scout Master dad telling me to take a flashlight, so I could see a little bit, but even when we got to the top we still had to wait 30 minutes before the sun finally came up.  It was really pretty to watch, but I don't know if it was worth the pain :)  I can just hear Grammy now, "Were you walking sideways down the mountain? Because that's the safest way!"  No, I wasn't :p  And I was going too fast :)

Our recent converts are doing amazing this week!  Concepcion is probably the most converted one right now and it still amazes me to see her.  She was confirmed last week in church and this week she gave a talk!  It was more like her testimony, but it was neat and she did a great job :)  Yesterday was her birthday so we took her a framed picture of her baptism, a new set of scriptures, and a card.  She loved it :)  Her sister was there when we went by, but she's not ready to listen to us yet :p  Concepcion did help teach a lesson to Octavio's parents though this week!  She bore a strong testimony and was a great source of help!  

Driving Hermana Toledo to a lesson

Jairo is also doing really well.  While I was on exchanges Tuesday, Sister Clark and Noorda had to go meet 4 Mexicans at a park that they didn't know.  The ASL Elders set it up.  Sister Clark was nervous so she called Jairo and Ernie and they went and played body guard.  Apparently the guys didn't show up, and they had a good lesson with Jairo and Ernie :)  Jairo came to church again yesterday, and we wanted him to have his priesthood interview, but he showed up late :/  Hopefully next week!  

Octavio has set his own goal to read 2 pages in the Book of Mormon each night and so far he is doing really well!  We went and saw them on Valentines night and they were getting along great!  It was nice for us because they are the one couple who would let us in on Valentines!  We wish they would go on a date with each other, but all things come slowly. However, they did come to the branch Valentines party Friday night and enjoyed themselves!  Octavio even tried to dress up :)   The best was earlier last week when he let us wash his baby :)  No, not the real baby, his car!  It's a vintage Crown Victoria and he hardly ever drives it.  It just sits there, but he likes to wash it.  After a little persistence he let us wash it this week and he was hilariously detailed.  When we thought we had it all dried he came to look at it and found all sorts of water!  After that we were very particular :)  

Friday's Valentines party was quite the ordeal.  You see, the members in charge of it could have their own Novela (Latino Soap Opera).  First they said no kids, then they said they'd provide a nursery, then they were going to charge for the nursery, then they said no kids and hung up a sign about it, then everyone had to wear a ball gown and suit, the missionaries couldn't bring investigators, then we could, but we had to tell him who...blah blah blah, we were not happy!!  So many people didn't come because they didn't have a babysitter or nice clothes.  The attendance was really poor.  We even got chewed out at one point because we didn't tell him who we were bringing.  (How are we supposed to know?  We invited all of Phoenix!)  The Branch President came and saved the day for us, but that wasn't the end.  Some member families brought their kids anyway.  Obviously this made the members in charge very unhappy and caused drama across the tables.....the worst part was the chocolate fountain wouldn't work :(  On a better note, Concepcion came all dressed up and more modest than some members and loved the party!!  

Elders in our Spanish Branch

Lesson learned.  We invite families to parties!  In this part of town, families are very poor, and church parties should not cost or cause them hassle.  Grrrr.. sometimes we have to humble ourselves and let the branch leaders handle thing, but the 6 of us want to make the calls most of the time :)

Yesterday was a good day at church :)  Xochitl came for 2 of the 3 hours even though she was sick, and she brought 2 kids!!  Daniel finally turned off the TV and came with her, and then he brought in his 6 year old brother by the hand :)  Junior doesn't speak very much English, but he sat right down in his primary class and waved goodbye to us!  Next time she's going to try her nursery age son too, but he's a handful so I don't have much hope for him!  I'm glad she's trying though :)  Xochitl's going through relationship problems right now, so a wedding isn't in the plans as of yet.  We'll find out this week if they're going to separate or stick together.  She does have a baptism date for March 21 though....hopefully everything can get sorted out before then!  This is one of those things we as missionaries can't control and it's so sad and frustrating, but everything happens in the Lord's time and the Lord's way so we'll keep waiting.

Hermana Wheelwright came back to visit!
We had a lesson with her this week and we invited a member that has a situation similar to hers.  The member is married, but her husband doesn't go to church, and I think this really helped Xochitl see that it's ok to do this without her "husband."  Two of the members kids are on missions, and her other 2 go to church with her this week, and all Xochitl wants is for her kids to grow up and be good people and to see the example of the member's children was really good for her.  In the lesson Xochitl told our member that when she met us she never ever thought she'd get baptized and her husband told her to quit wasting our time, but something intrigued Xochitl, and curiosity turned into faith, and faith has turned into action.  All it takes some time is some honest doubts and questions :)  

Last night we saw Octavio's parents again.  They really do listen to us, but they're going to take some work :)  When you're teaching older people who were raised catholic, it's like convincing them that 2+2=5.  They just think it's impossible to change.  They don't go to church, don't read the bible, don't do anything really!  They're just "catholic."  With the help of Octavio and Nereyda though, they can be taught :)  

This week we are getting the dreaded TIWI's in our cars.  They basically judge our driving :p  Sister Clark and I have two exchanges this week and on Wednesday we have to go to two different zone meetings and give 3 trainings.  Ay ay ay!

Our mission has set new "Standards of Excellence" which is basically what we should be achieving weekly.  Each companionship can and should have 3 progressing investigators, and 3 with baptismal dates.  Sister Clark and I have 2 and 2 right now and we're desperate to find more!  All of our super investigators are baptized and we are back looking for people who are prepared.  Luckily our members have been starting to give us referrals so hopefully those all work out!  Whoop whoop members!! 

Well that's all I can juice out of my brain right now :)  Time for some more Wal-Mart cold pills!  I love you so much!!  Thank you for the package, and letters!  Karsyn....don't make me come get you.  Jensyn, your sweethearts pictures were gorgeous!!  

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

Hermana Short
Thanks Dad for the silly string!! :)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Meetings, Miracles and Bautismos

Buenas Dias Familia!

This week we had a lot of meetings, but luckily we also did a lot of work and saw a lot of miracles!  Let's start with my absolute favorite miracle of the week.

Tuesday I was on exchanges with the fantastic Sister Lakin and we had planned to go see Xochitl (pronounced so - chill).  Sister Clark and I haven't been seeing her that often because she wasn't progressing towards baptism and was still saying she's not ready.  We knew one problem was the whole marriage ordeal and that she has to convince her long-term boyfriend to get married first.  So we decided to buckle down, get firm, and teach the law of chastity and get her to set a date and make plans.  We are sitting in her trailer and I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to get tell her this, so I decide to start simple and say, "Hermana, do you remember the law of chastity?"  Her response was as follows...or something like this,  "Yes, and I've decided I'm going to talk to Eduardo about getting married again, because I've decided I'm getting baptized."  "WHAT?!?!?!?!"  My grin was as wide as a football field and I had to ask her repeatedly if she was serious.  She basically told us that she realized she's gotten all the answers she needs, she knows this is right, and this is what she wants, so she's going to get married and get baptized.  She said she and Daniel will get baptized together since he was the first one to start this whole thing :)  I was in paradise.  I could barely even speak because I was in shock.  She told us some neat stories that happened throughout that week that furthered her decision.  Apparently after she made the decision, she was looking online at Valentine's Day cakes and a video about the "false mormon doctrine" popped up, and it just happened to be in Spanish.  She told us that she began to wonder if it was a sign from God that baptism was not the right thing.  So she pressed play on the video.  As soon as she did she had this overwhelming realization that it wasn't God, but Satan trying to dissuade her from following through with her decision.  She turned off the video and didn't look back.  Her "husband" has also been trying to feed her things.  He tried telling her the Book of Mormon was false and made up.  Our fantastic Xochitl though told him "No!  They didn't make this up!  Joseph Smith translated it."  She said he still tried to tell her otherwise, but she knows it's not true.  On Sunday at church she told us he gave her some things to read, and she read them, but she wants to ask us her questions before she believes them.  I just can't believe what a miracle this is.  She took FOREVER. But all this working and waiting was worth it when I heard her tell me she wants to get baptized.  Apparently she'd been planning ways to tell me all week :)   I'm in heaven!

Our second miracle was just as grand, ok this one might actually be my favorite, but our two baptisms went through!!  I'll talk about them each separately.

Concepcion's Baptism day!

Concepcion has been ready since day 1, and so we didn't have many concerns this week with her.  We taught her about temples, and she asked us how long she had to wait to go in.  We taught her family history work and she started naming people she could find and do baptisms for.  She invited her son, sister, and friends from counseling classes to her baptism.  She planned out what she was going to wear a week ahead, she cried when we talked about it, man she was just so ready. Saturday day we couldn't get a hold of her for a while, but she finally returned our call about an hour before and said she was getting ready to go.  Besides Sister Clark and I, she was the first one at the chapel!  She changed into white clothes and came out of the bathroom just grinning and laughing, then crying.  Oh how we love her :)  We took some pictures then she went back to the bathroom to try to call her sister to come.  Her sister wouldn't answer or respond :/  And her son Doug refused to come because he "had no interest."  We begged and begged him, but he was stubborn and refused.  Finally Concepcion gave up and walked out to the room to sit down.  When she opened the door she saw one of the friends she invited, and the friend's whole family!  Concepcion just cried and cried.  The friend was a member and helped her after her baptism just like a mom would help her daughter.  It was so perfect, and it meant the world to Concepcion.  The whole relief society presidency came and gave her a welcome gift, and she just radiated happiness.  I couldn't have asked for better for her.  Well maybe it would have been better if she only had to be dunked once, but twice was good enough :)  She didn't go all the way under the first time. :p

Her confirmation was yesterday and again she just cried and cried.  She received a really neat blessing that talked a lot about the missionary work she would help us with.  And that is all ready coming true!  Yesterday in Relief Society, a random lady walks in and Concepcion whispers to me, "That's my friend!"  We still don't know if Concepcion invited her, or if she just knew her, but still.  This friend, Lupe, looked like she lives a rough life.  Her face was straight and cold.  After the meeting, I tried to talk to her, and she wasn't very friendly.  She also told me that Concepcion wasn't a friend, just an acquaintance!  I felt a little awkward now.  Meanwhile, the teacher was handing out framed Salt Lake Temple pictures, and there weren't very many left.  Concepcion grabbed one, but didn't keep it for herself.  She took it straight to Lupe.  I watched Lupe's cold, hard face, turn into a soft smile I hadn't seen yet.  Concepcion just hugged her. In the second hour of church, Lupe left early.  After the meeting, Concepcion called her to check on her.  We were so amazed at her outreach.  She's all ready an incredible fellow-shipper and member missionary.    

Jairo and Hermana Short

Jairo's testimony is what amazed me this week.  We met with him almost every day to teach a lesson or check up.  Tuesday Sister Lakin and I weeded his and Ernie's front yard for 3 hours.  Don't worry mom, I knew you wouldn't believe that, so I had Sister Lakin write you a note of verification and sign it.  It will come in the mail this week :)  But seriously, that thing was a jungle.  The weeds were ginormous, and after 3 hours, there were still more, but we had to leave.  They fed us brunch while we worked, and we had a good talk about why we do service :)  They didn't like watching two girls do their work.  When baptism day came, Jairo wasn't returning our texts either, but I didn't have the panic feeling I usually do.  Finally he sent us a message 30 minutes before the baptism.  We were waiting in the church when Jairo walked in with a shirt and TIE! :)  He looked so adorable!  He changed, we begged him to take a nice picture, and then he sat and waited for it to start.  Ernie didn't come because of work, so Jairo had no family or friends there :(  Luckily the men he knows from sports night were there though to support him.  He only had to get dunked once, but the Hermano messed up the prayer three times.  Seriously, one time he said the wrong name!  I was exerting all effort not to laugh out loud.  After he changed and came out he just grinned, then asked me what time it is.  Hahaha typical Jairo.  He too was confirmed yesterday.  He even wore a button-up white shirt and suit jacket :)  He told me he was too tired to put a tie on.  :p

Hermana Short, Jairo, Heramana Clark

Both Concepcion and Jario bore their testimonies after the baptisms and they were incredible testimonies.  Concepcion talked about her testimony in the Book of Mormon, how she came to know Joseph Smith was a prophet, and that today "Thomas" is a prophet too.  It was very powerful.  Jairo stood up there and I could tell he was really nervous.  He made a joke, we laughed, and then he started to talk about how he knows this is the right thing.  I almost cried when he started to choke up!  He talked about how he didn't pray or read when we asked him, because he didn't really want to find out it was true.  But that he now knows this is the church of Jesus Christ.  He ended by saying he's going to need help on this new journey, but he knows the members are going to help him, and he's ready to work.  That was probably my favorite part :)


One terrible thing that happened at Jairo's house this week was when he fed us one night.  He brought me out (because we eat outside on TV trays) this delicious looking guarache (navajo taco, but with carne asada instead of chili) and I was super excited.  Then he brought out Sister Clark's plate.  A fish.  The whole stinking fish.  Fins, tail, eye balls, everything!!  I was physically sick.  They just fried the whole fish and stuck it on a plate, and she was so excited!  Gross!  Well you know me and fish, it's kind of a phobia thing, so of course I started wigging out.  They made me pray and so I prayed for the poor fish's family.  Then Jairo told me it had no family because he and Ernie were going to eat it!  So mean! I couldn't eat without imagining the fish, so they had to help me turn my table to face the wall, and I ate facing the wall.  At one point I turned around and almost died.  Jairo was holding the fin, and sucking meat off of it!  aghhhh.  They thought it was hilarious, but I was scarred.  I'm still scarred.  Luckily the next time we went over, they went safe and bought us Sonoran bacon-wrapped hot dogs.  Much better!  

Other good lessons this week were with Octavio and Nereyda, the Orozco's helped us with a family home evening and it went really well.  Hermano Orozco was able to help Octavio understand the Holy Ghost better which was a huge thing for him.

We taught Octavio's parents this week too.  His dad is really interested, and his mom loves us, but she dozed off in our lesson :)  They have a parrot that yells "MA" constantly.  It will also occasionally say "Ven por aca!" (Come here) and "Buenas".  Spanish speaking parrot...what more could you ask for? :)

Wow, it's been a more eventful week than I thought!  I am running out of time, but I'll have plenty to write in my weekly letter today :)  I hope you all have a great Valentines Day this Saturday!  I love you and I miss you, and I'll see you in 10 months now :)  Hey look we're almost in single digits. :)

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

Hermana Short

Monday, February 2, 2015

We're having a baptism!......x2!!!!!

Aloha Familia!

So missionaries are pretty stinkin' excited when one of their investigators gets baptized.  Well imagine the excitement of Sister Clark and I, because we are having a double baptism!  Concepcion and Jairo are both prepared and they both passed their interviews this weekend so we are doing a joint baptism!!  Wahoo!!  I'll give you the updates on them.

Like I said last week, I was starting to have doubts about Jairo and whether or not his baptism was really going to go through.   Monday after P-day we went to his house to teach him and Ernie and one of the first things Jairo said was, "So what do I bring to my baptism?"  I was shocked!  We talked to him about what being baptized means and explains that this isn't something that he can just give up in a few years, he will be a Mormon for life!  He said "Ok."  We told him he couldn't ever drink coffee again.  He said "Ok."  We told him a few other changes that would have to stick with him and he said "Ok."  We finally asked "Jairo, why do you want to get baptized?"  He said very simply, "This is between me and Jesus.  He did it, and it's a commandment, so I do it."  I had nothing left to say!  I've decided Jairo exemplifies the scripture where it tells us to be meek and submissive like a child, and easy to be entreated.  I doubted him because he accepts everything we teach so easily.  Rather, he just listens and accepts a message that he knows as truth.  He's amazing :)  He was on time and prepared for his interview, and apparently passed with flying colors.  He bore his testimony on the atonement, Joseph Smith, and how he knows we have a living prophet. He came to church again yesterday for all 3 hours, and at the end of the 3rd hour he stretched and said "Ah, que rico."  Which literally means "How rich." or "How great."  He's told us he'll help us teach lessons in the future and even asked if he could go to Germany or somewhere to be a missionary like us :)  Too bad he's almost 45!

Concepcion has continued to be our miracle.  We taught her about prophets this week though and got our first struggle!  We ended the lesson with "Concepcion, will you follow the prophet?"  To which she responded.  "No.  Not yet."  I thought she was kidding and started to laugh....but she didn't laugh...she was serious!  We left her with a Liahona article to read and a video to look up.  Later that week when we went to visit her, she had read 6-7 articles in the Liahona, loved the one by the prophet, and decided she can follow him :)  Phew!  Another time this week we went over, but she was about to leave so we only stayed for a little bit.  Her son and his friend were home so we introduced ourselves and invited them both to church.  They gave us a firm maybe for next week. We sat down to talk to Concepcion for a minute and she told us she would bring her friend to her baptism.  We responded "And your sister!  And your son!"  She told us no, and that she hadn't even told her son she was getting baptized, and that she wasn't going to tell him! Agh!  We almost went crazy.  We told her she had to invite him and that she should do it right then so we could see!  With a little prodding she invited him in, and told him the news.  He was super nice, told her congratulations, and that he would be there :)  We said a prayer before we left, and afterwards Concepcion began to cry and told us she just feels happy.  She had her interview morning before church, and Sister Clark and I waited anxiously outside the church classroom.  After about 30 minutes I peeked through the window on the door and could see her saying the closing prayer, and tears running down her face.  She finished and just grinned.  When she came out of the room we looked at her with hope and anxiety, she nodded her head, and we attacked her with hugs :)  She too came to church yesterday and participated in Relief Society, marks her manual up with a high lighter in gospel principles, sat by and fellow-shipped Xochitl, and was excited to have her baptism announced in every meeting.  She is going to do great things in this branch!!

We had an awesome family home evening with the Guerrero family and Octavio and Nereyda.  They didn't even fight in front of us this time!  Also, miracles do happen.  They had said prayers together 2 nights in a row for the first time in their entire marriage.  Nereyda told us she felt different at home.  Like there was more peace, and she felt safer.  I wanted to shake them and say "We've only been asking you to do this for 2 months!!!"  It just goes to show the power of members, and that when they invite, miracles happen. We went over to their house for service and while Nereyda was in the studio working, we helped Octavio with house chores.  He had us clean the kitchen first.  Well my magic eraser got pretty gross and beat up so I threw it away.  Since I didn't have another one, I left Sister Clark to finish the kitchen, and I asked Octavio what I could clean the wood in the family room with.  He looked at me, looked at the one wall we hadn't scrubbed in the kitchen, and said "You forgot to clean this!"  My bad!  He found me a new sponge and put me to work scrubbing the wall.  Seriously, that man was more of a clean freak than mom!  He was very specific on what rags and what sprays we could use on the surfaces.  It was funny :)

Jimena with Ashley's "Frozen hair"

Ok here is a food update for this week, well actually just for because I could not believe how much I ate!!  First for breakfast I had a good sized bowl of Cinnamon Life Cereal.  4 hours later, Sister Orozco had me and Sister Clark over for lunch.  I ate 2 giant chicken wraps, 2 brownies, and ice cream.  4 hours later, I finally felt like I was starting to recover from lunch, when we went to go see Jairo.  He had made us Guaraches.  Which is basically a carne asada tostada on an English muffin, topped with lettuce, salsa, cheese, and actually I don't remember what else.  They are so filling!  And I ate 2!  Sadly, that was at  and dinner was at with Hermana Curay.  She fed us chicken, with a good-sized helping of rice and beans.  After that, I was dead!  But then 2 hours later our branch president called and offered us Dairy Queen shakes!  How could I possibly refuse that?!  Needless to say, I was a little bit full that night.  This week I also ate arroz tapado again.  Which is rice, meat, raisins, and eggs all mixed together with a lot of oil or grease, I don't know what it was, but it was greasy.  

Thursday We had exchanges with some sisters in Mesa who are in English work or "white work" as we Mexicans call it :)  I was the one who went to Mesa and though I struggled to teach in English, it was kind of fun, I felt like a real missionary....not that I'm not....but all the missionaries in the movies speak English :)  Also it felt like Utah because this little piece of Mesa is thick with members and there's only a few houses on the street that aren't.  It rained a lot that day and they are on bike, but luckily members drove us everywhere.  I got to pick fruit!  We did service and I got to climb into a tangerine tree and pick a couple hundred tangerines.  I got some good scratches, but it was fun :)  We also vacuumed this lady's house who has 3 dogs and I couldn't count the cats.  The poor lady can't even breathe because of all the hair in her house!  Her vacuum was clogged with hair too which was gross.  Ay ay ay, I will never have an animal that sheds!  Let alone 10 of them! Ok there might not have been that many, but who knows...half the furniture was for the cats.  They were the creepy kind too with the creepy eyes and aghhh.  
Hermana Baros, Tenney, Short, Clark, Mackillop, Martinez

On Saturday We went to the sealing for the Guerrero's in the Gilbert temple.  That temple is huge, and sooo pretty.  The sealing was in Spanish and it was really neat to see my first live sealing.  Out of the 25 guests there 10 were missionaries, and in her testimony Hermana Guerrero referred to us as the 10 angels in the sealing room.  She cried when she walked in and saw us all there.  We love that family, and it was so fun to be a part of that day with them.  That evening most of the branch met at the church for a party.  It was so cute to see our less active families there, especially when they started dancing, and even Nereyda and Octavio danced together!

Hermanos Elisa y Mario Guerrero 

I am super excited for tonight because we are going to the Mesa Visitor's center with Concepcion, Ernie, and Jairo to watch Meet the Mormons in Spanish

. We are a little worried about getting there because the Curay's are supposed to take us, our investigators, the Elders, and their investigators!  Luckily a couple of them can drive themselves, I guess it's just a branch party in Mesa tonight.  

Well that is about it for this week. Except for the 2 spiritual thoughts I picked up in church yesterday.  The first came from one of the Elders when he said "Missionaries leave their families for a short period of time so that others can be with their families forever."  That hit me so hard!  That is exactly why I am here :)  The other thought had to do with the dense fog that we had yesterday morning.  We couldn't see more than 200 feet in front of us.  Hermano Pineda was saying in his testimony how the fog is like life, and Christ is like the headlights on our car.  We can't always see what's up ahead, but the headlights help us see enough to keep going.  

I love you family!  I miss you like crazy and I love reading your letters :)  Go Patriots!

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Hermana Short

PS Happy Groundhog day :)