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

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