Monday, March 30, 2015

Surprise!

Family, Familia, Ohana,

You'll never believe what's happening this week.  I can hardly believe it!!!  It goes a long with a story though....

Last Tuesday, we were teaching Xochitl and Daniel about service and missionary work.  Before we got started though, I asked Xochitl if there was any progress with her "husband."  This is basically what she said, "No, not yet.  But I've decided Daniel shouldn't have to wait on me, I want him to get baptized!"  I'm sure you can imagine how fast my jaw dropped to the floor!!!  Sister Pierson, Daniel, and I just stared at her in shock!!  She said, "I wanted to do this together, but I've changed my mind and Daniel will go first, then me later."  She hadn't told Daniel yet, and he just kept staring at her smiling :)  I said "Ok, as soon as possible?"  She said "Sure!"  So 3 days later on Friday afternoon she brought Daniel to the church for his baptismal interview, he passed, and now he's getting baptized in 5 days!!!!!!  9 months ago, when I first taught Daniel, we wondered if his mom would ever let him get baptized, and here we are now, listening to her tell us that this is what she wants!  Elder Johnson interviewed Daniel for baptism and he said he just smiled the entire time, and tried not to laugh because of the adorable answers Daniel was giving :)  At one point Daniel told him "I've done a lot of bad things in my life, and I've repented for them!"  He told him that we follow the prophet because he will never lie to us, and he remembered what chastity, the word of wisdom, Sabbath day, and tithing all meant!  Elder Johnson was pretty impressed.  Then Daniel ended the interview with a long prayer in which he asked Heavenly Father, "Please help my brothers not trash the house more than they all ready have!"  I never get sick of Daniel's prayers :)  

I have been waiting 9 months for this boy to be baptized!


Saturday evening was the Spanish session of the Easter Pageant and Daniel and Xochitl were able to go with us!  They both loved it, Daniel especially loved the live sheep.  Xochitl had to go to work 2 hours late after the pageant and therefore got home really late, but she still made it to church on Sunday.  Although we were pretty disappointed when she walked in without Daniel!  She made him stay home and clean his room!  Luckily I think she felt bad about it later, and it won't happen again.  She also got to church during the second hour, rather than the first.  However, I think 3 different people spoke about the importance of all 3 hours of church and how the people who only come for 2 aren't being blessed as much as they could be.  I was glad to see her nodding her head :)  


Easter Pageant with our Camelback Branch


Lorenzo and his 3 granddaughters also came with us to the pageant.  Those 3 girls though....yikes.  They were running up and down the aisle, wrestling each other, chasing each other, tackling each other, etc.   At one point Yukey looked back at me, I gave her "the stare" and she got her sisters to calm down for 3 minutes....then they were off again.  I just gave up!  I think Lorenzo liked it though!  He came to church without bringing anybody this week!!!!  I can't be too mad though because he finally received the priesthood yesterday, and he needed to be there on time.  I called Lupita and she said a friend would bring her and Yasury, but they never showed up.  We are going to have to drop Lupita this week :/  When she starts coming to church, we can start teaching her again.  Maybe we can still do lunch at McDonald's though :)  This week was interesting.....

We show up at the McDonald's and there are 5 people sitting at this table with Lupita.  I think between the five of them, they had 20 teeth :)  That might be a small exaggeration, but this group was interesting to say the least!  One of the guys sells stolen electronics, one wore her Jesus on a cross necklace and had sunglasses on the entire time, one I think has a crush on us because Lupita kept telling us that he wants to invite us to lunch with him, and the other two were pretty quiet.  I don't know what Lupita was talking about, but no one was begging us to get baptized!  We didn't even get addresses for them!  One of the ladies said she would come with Lupita to church on Sunday, but by the way she said it, we weren't surprised when she didn't come.  Poor Lupita was just trying to help her friends, but since she's blind I don't think she can see the expressions on their faces :(  The one friend with only a few teeth was named Ana and she wouldn't speak Spanish with us.  She told us that God talked to her in her room and told her that all of the churches on the earth are his.  Hmmmm.... I didn't know how to correct that one, but I'm glad she at least tries to have a relationship with God :)  

The Easter pageant was the 2nd best thing this week, only being beat by Daniel's baptism announcement :)  We went on Thursday night with Valeria and though it was like pulling teeth to get her there, she loved it and cried twice :)  I on the other hand, was trying not to laugh.  I don't know what I was expecting, but I definitely wasn't expecting Mary to start dancing like a ballerina.  Or the choir of angels to start dancing....and the English recording was kind of monotone.  I think I was expecting a Disney level production, but it wasn't :)  Also there was this awkward couple right in front of us that were super distracting.  When we went on Saturday with the branch though, I knew what to expect and I loved it that time!  Especially because it was in Spanish, the recorded voices in Spanish are much more excited and enthusiastic.  When we go next year, you can all watch it in English and I will wear the Spanish headphones :)  Or!  We could go to the Spanish one with my branch and you all can wear English headphones!  

Easter Pageant with Valeria


Also, after 17 weeks I finally got to see Sister Ferre at the Easter Pageant!  She practically jumped on me :)  It was so good to see her.....I miss her so much!  President Sweeney is moving her to English work for at least a transfer though and I am not happy about that!  She wants her Spanish to progress so bad, but it won't until she returns to the valley.  I wasn't the only one excited to see her,  I thought Lorenzo was going to give himself a heart attack :)  

Sister Ferre!!!


We were only able to see the Selinas/Villa family once this week, but they had read the Book of Mormon chapter we left them!  I was so proud of them :)  They had another family thing Saturday night and the kids were "too tired" to get up for church, but he said they'd start coming to church again in April.  Hopefully they stick to that promise and come to a session of General Conference!  I am so stinking excited for conference!  Xochitl really wants to come too which will be so good :)   Unfortunately we had to miss the Women's conference because of the Easter Pageant, but I'll be able to read the talks :)

Octavio came to church by himself since Nereyda didn't wake up :)  It's the first time he's done that, and hopefully not the last!  We called Nereyda once he got there alone, and she had no clue where he was!  When we told her he came to church, she said she'd come for the last hour, and she did!  Hopefully he continues to set that example :)  

We found 6 new investigators this week....I think that's a record for us :)  We had a referral that turned out to be a family of 4 which is so great!  They are pretty devoted Catholics and attend their church twice a week, but they were more than willing to have us continue to come over, so we will see what the Spirit can do :)  They are going through marriage problems right now, and the gospel could really help them.  Another referral was for a grandma named Ana, she has a giant Virgen Guadalupe statue in her house with candles, but she too said she's ok with trying other churches and learning from us!  Then there is Valeria's mother's boyfriend Geronimo.  We taught her mom, Elvira, and the boyfriend the Restoration this week and were able to answer a lot of Elvira's questions and doubts.  Geronimo stayed pretty quiet, but listened and agreed to read a little of the Book of Mormon. 

Ernie is still working on reading the Book of Mormon, slowly, but surely.  He wants to go to the Pageant this week, and then we are hoping he will get off work in time to go to the Priesthood session on Saturday.  In Arizona it starts at 5 though, so it's hard to get to when you finish work at 5!  

Funny story for the week, our apartment is ROASTING.  And no, that's not funny.  We can't turn the thermostat lower than 78 and last night I was especially warm :/  So while we were all getting ready for bed I opened the back slider and the front door to create a wind tunnel :)  Well Sister Noorda has this ridiculous fear that drunk men are going to walk into our apartment at night if we don't lock our doors.  So of course she insisted on closing down my wind tunnel.  The front door I understand, but the back door would be fine, someone would have to crawl over our 5 beds to do anything!  So I waited for everyone to lay down and close their eyes, then I slowly crawled over to the back door on my hands on knees.  I crept my hand up to the lock and flipped it open.  I could just feel Sister Medrano and Sister Noorda tense up in fear!  I threw the back door open and they both flipped!  Apparently they thought the drunk man had showed up :) Hahahaha Sister Medrano said,
"I thought that if I just laid quiet, he wouldn't hurt me!"  Needless to say, they closed the door again and we all had to sleep on top of our sheets :p  I shouldn't complain, I know missionaries in South America are probably a lot hotter than us :)   

All right, well that is it for this week.  You'll hear from me again next WEDNESDAY.  President could surprise me and transfer me which would be sad because that would mean yesterday was my last Sunday :(  Or he could leave me here forever :)  We had to take a survey this week and the first question was "How long have you been out?"  My meter went halfway to the end!  The next question was "How many areas have you had?"  Haha my meter barely moved.  Everyone teased me about it :)  Oh also wish me luck, I have to give a training with Elder Johnson on Planning in front of all the Mission Leaders and 40 other invited missionaries in Scottsdale this week. I have no clue why me....

I love you family, enjoy Moab and conference this week!  Take lots of pictures for me :)  

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Love,
Hermana Short 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Fruit of Our Labor

 Service Project
Buenas Dias Querida Familia!

It's a beautiful day in Phoenix!  It feels like it's been an average week this week, no major disappointments, but no startling surprises either.  Nevertheless, I'm grateful for every moment of every day!

I have great news for you family!  We are related to Elvis, Walt Disney, and 14 of the modern-day prophets.  Cool right??  Someone showed us this week a branch off of Family Search that is called Relative Finder.  It searches your whole family tree and finds famous people!  Sister Pierson and I got a kick out of seeing all our famous distant relatives :)

Yesterday after church Sister Pierson and I realized something.  Every week we work so hard with our investigators, less-actives, and recent converts.  Then comes Sunday and it is like the test, and if these people come, we pass the test.  If they don't come we feel like failures!  Sundays basically show us the fruits of our labors, and I'm getting tired of only having 2 fruits on the tree each week.....but it's ok, because this week they were some pretty ripe fruit !

Drum roll please.....Ernie came to church!!!!!!!!!!  I was sitting in Gospel Principles and wasn't paying attention to the door, but I look over and Sister Pierson who was across the room, looked at me and was pointing at the seat next to her.  I couldn't see behind the room divider, but then a face popped out and it was Ernie's!  It was all I could do not to explode out of my seat :)  He and Jairo came for all 3 hours of church and Ernie said that regular church was way better than his first experience at Stake Conference!  His only problem was he didn't like the noisy kids and talkative women during Sacrament meeting, but hey we aren't perfect!  We are starting to see pretty big changes with Ernie.  He's really working his tail off to get Sundays off permanently, and this week when we went over to teach, he had read 15 chapters in the Book of Mormon!  They feed the missionaries about once a week now, and he even introduced us to his family this week!  They had driven up from Texas to visit him and we were able to stop by for 5 minutes and meet them.  Luckily they didn't give him any grief about the church or meeting with us :)

The other person at church was Xochitl :)  It was adorable because she showed up, hugged us, then saw Concepcion and they started squealing and hugging.  They follow each other to classes, sit by each other, and I even had to tell them to be quiet during the sacrament!  I could hear them talking about Xochitl's baptism, and after church Concepcion was talking to her in the parking lot and giving her advice.  Concepcion is making our job so much easier, and is really helping Xochitl grow in her love for the gospel.  I am so grateful to know that IF I ever leave this branch, Xochitl will be in safe hands :)  On a more rocky note, her husband is still in the limbo about marriage.  I'm getting so drained of his indecisiveness!  I wanted to try to talk to him this week, but he was never there when we were.  Xochitl says she's praying more than she ever has before, she fasted, she reads the Book of Mormon, the poor lady is trying everything!

One day soon, all of her hard work, and all of ours, is going to bear giant delicious fruit!  Valeria visited Xochitl with us this week and helped us teach about the importance of modern day prophets.  They were able to connect well, and Valeria helped answer some of the doubts she was having by using her own experience.  Xochitl is anticipating this upcoming conference to see the prophet speak!

"Just Serve" project
Those may have been our only 2 investigators at church yesterday, but I was thrilled to see Yasury come to church for the 4th week in a row :)  During the week, the day that Valeria was with us, we visited Lupita and Yasury and the girls.  We talked about the 10 commandments and focused in on the Sabbath Day.  Valeria talked about her time away from church, and the happiness she's found in returning.  To my shock, Yasury replied, "Me too!  I've gone 3 weeks in a row now, and I want to keep going!"  And she did!  Unfortunately Lorenzo denied a ride to church for Lupita, and Yasury couldn't do much, but the rest of the family came!  President Alvorado talked to Lorenzo after church though, and apparently he agreed to let Lupita come this Sunday.  We'll see :p  He did help us teach her last night though!  He and Lupita joined us for a lesson about prophets, and they both behaved themselves nicely :)  


Lupita has found this new infatuation with buying us McDonalds and making it like a game show :)  Except instead of "Who wants to be a Millionaire?" it's "Who wants to be a Mormon?" We went to McDonalds's to eat with her and she asked 3 people "Do you want to be a Mormon?"  One of them actually gave us his address :)  Last night when we went over to her house she said "Ok, 4 of my friends are meeting us at McDonalds at and they all want to be baptized.  I asked them!"  Oh how we love our crazy Lupita :)  I don't think any of her friends live in our area, but the Elders love the referrals!

Our investigator Lorena we are legitimately starting to worry about.  We taught her early this week the Plan of Salvation and before we start teaching her she starts telling us how hard her life is living with her schizophrenic son.  She was saying how he swears really loud, hits himself, and yells conversations with himself.  We then heard a grunt from the back room and Lorena says "here he goes!"  He made a couple other noises, and I started to worry that maybe we should leave.  We opened with a prayer regardless and prayed that her son would be calm.  After the prayer the noises stopped!  Taking that as a sign to continue, we taught Lorena about God's plan for her.  We are 3/4 of the way done when he starts yelling from his room, and using not nice words.  I'm starting to get a little nervous, and then I hear a door open in the hallway.   Now I'm trying to wrap up the lesson and get on our way!  Lorena just sat rigid, silent, and looking absolutely terrified.  Well that sure made me feel comfortable!!!  Ready to bolt for the door, we say bye to Lorena, and then the son walks into the room where we were sitting.  The poor guy just looks sick and miserable :(  I nervously talked to him for a few moments, and then he went outside.  We watched him start hitting himself and swearing again.  Lorena just broke down crying :(  The most we could do was leave her with a prayer and a date to return.  Well my friends....we can't find Lorena now!  Her phone is disconnected and she's always mysteriously out of the house when we pass by.  Says the son.  But the lady can't drive!  We've started to get nervous about the situation, and so we just keep trying to pass by and make sure she's alive.  The son has never been violent with her before, but I still worry, she's just an old grandma.  Concepcion has a brother with schizophrenia so we are hoping to have a lesson with her and Lorena this week.

Octavio and Nereyda are going to make me go bald.  We went by  night, talked to them both, they both said they were coming to church, and thenyrolls around and they don't show up!  We called Octavio after church and he says "I don't know....we just did things around the house!  Oh and the baby has a cough."  They fight and they don't come to church, they get along and they don't come to church!  What more do they want :(

Our other neat miracle for the week was Abril Ramos.  She's our 12 year-old less active who went to Young Womens last week and she's adorable :)  Well I was so excited she went to Young Womens, that I wasn't really prepared for what she showed us when we passed by!  She had read 3 chapters in the Book of Mormon!  2 months ago we pulled teeth to get her to agree to 1 verse a night!  She told us she's not going to girls camp though, but Sister Pierson and I shared all of our Girls Camp memories and now Abril is looking forward to going :)  Our next mission is to get her to get her dad and brother to come to church.  Mission possible!


In fun news of the week!  Sister Pierson and I became professional tire changers!  Ok so she was the pro and I did the heavy lifting :)  Last time the van got a flat it took 8 Elders and an hour  to change it.  The 2 of us finished in 45 minutes!  Whoop whoop! 



St. Patrick's day was also really fun :)  We wore glow-stick masks and had a battle with glow-stick swords.  The 4 of us had some nice welts that night! 



This week we are excited to attend the Mesa Easter Pageant!!!!!  Saturday is the Spanish showing and we are hoping to get 8 investigators to go :)

Well, that's all for this week :)  I love you all so so much and I miss you!!  Less than 2 months til my mother's day call!!!
I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Love,
Hermana Short

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Camelback.....Halfway!


Dearest Family,

I feel like the weather in Arizona right now is like the JAWS theme song.  Every day the heat gets a little more intense until BAM it's going to be here in full force.  We had to do some yard-work.  Excuse me, we GOT to do some yard-work this week for Hermana Curay and she made us work outside in the sun....ay ay ay I didn't miss it!  Her dogs had torn up a ton of trash and spread it around her jungle-length grass.  We just raked and raked and raked.

Other than the heat, things this week improved from last week in some areas, but there are others we are still working on!  Here I go :)

Xochitl and Daniel have fallen off of their baptismal date again :(  We fasted, she fasted, we all prayed, but the wedding just isn't going to happen for a little while.  Then to make things worse she missed church for the 2nd Sunday in a row.  This week she said the pain in her back from working was just too much.  We are going to set a new date with her this week, but we need her to first understand that baptism is more than just joining the church, it's making promises with God.  Her commitments now as we teach are mini promises she makes to help her prepare for the larger ones she makes at baptism.  If she's serious about this, then we can't keep calling on Sunday mornings to wake her up, she's got to do this with her full efforts.  I know she wants it, she just needs to want it more!  We did go over Joseph Smith and the Restoration with her again this week.  After we finished she said she believed what we said and she committed to pray about it.  We also left her with the Restoration video to watch.  She told us later that she watched almost all of it with her oldest son Carlos!  Apparently it really interested him, but when she asked him to come to church with her, he said "one day."  I'm starting to wonder if the Lord wants us to try harder on the rest of her family before he gives us the miracles that we are looking for on her behalf.  

Lupita, Lorenzo's wife, has also fallen off baptism date because she can't seem to make it to church on Sunday's.  She always seems so optimistic in the week and tells us she's coming, but mysteriously Lorenzo and Yasury show up with out her.  It's hard to be mad because Yasury came 3 weeks in a row, but still, they need to quit leaving Lupita behind!  They also didn't make a very big effort to get Lupita to Yukey's baptism this week.  We were sad when she wasn't able to be there with the rest of the family.  Yukey was super excited though!  Since I couldn't baptize her, and her grandpa refuses to get the priesthood, she chose the man in the branch who looks the most like her grandpa :)  It was really cute and that Hermano was flattered :)  

Yukey's Baptism
Lupita always hangs out at the McDonald's in Wal-Mart and she had us meet her there on Wednesday for lunch :)  It was a great way to mark my 9 months!  hahaha Lupita is blind and couldn't see where she sat, so she sat at the table next to ours across from a Wal-Mart employee.  She realized her mistake but kept sitting there anyway.  She talks to us for a bit and then turns to the Employee and asks her straight out if she wants to be a Mormon!  The employee says "I'm Catholic."  Lupita says "Well I was Catholic too, but now I'm turning Mormon."  I am trying not to burst out laughing.  The employee responds with a rock cold face.  "To each their own Senora."  Lupita says "Yeah"  and continues talking to us like nothing happened.  Such a sweet old lady :)  

Ernie is progressing, but he's really putting us through the wringer.  I have to find out about his progress through Sister Clark who texts him because he won't tell us squat!  We think he's trying to avoid raising our hopes, and he really is working through some personal things, but sometimes he won't even tell us if he's read the Book of Mormon or not.  Jairo one time told us that Ernie was reading, and Ernie called him a tattle-tale, so now Jairo won't tell us either :p  Ernie did come to a baptism with us though on Saturday!  He was a little concerned that it was a trick to get him baptized, but he finally came :)  I'm sly...but I'm not that bad!  The next dayon Sunday he had to work again, but he came to the fireside we had that night and it was really great for him because Jairo gave his testimony and conversion story at the fireside.  I think Ernie really needed to hear that and see exactly why Jairo accepted the gospel so fast.  

Jairo's testimony at the fireside was incredible!  I was a little concerned when he started, but man, he told that audience what was up!  He talked about the Book of Mormon teaching the same gospel principles as the Bible, he talked about the sacrifice of missionaries and how he used to shut the door on them.  He said that his co-workers think he's crazy, and that he used to be the one to tell them to hide from the missionaries.  Now he's telling them to open their doors and hear the message.  He ended by telling us that when he called his mom in Venezuela to tell him that he was going to be baptized she said something like "Well finally! Your brother, me, your aunt, your sister, and your other sister are all baptized!  It was just you and your grandma left!"  Now it's just his grandma :)

Concepcion also bore her testimony at the fireside and did an awesome job.  She shared a neat conversation that she had with her friend.  The friend asked her what church she had joined so she told him she joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.  He said "Oh you made yourself a Mormon!"  She said "Yeah I did."  He told her "I'm Catholic, but I believe that one day, all the other churches and people are going to join the Mormons."  Obviously Concepcion was shocked and asked why.  He said "They have the power of God."  He wouldn't talk about religion with her much more that day, but he told her he'd listen one day :)  There's definitely something about Christ's church that shines as a beacon to people of all faiths.  They can see it and feel it just as much as a life-long member can :)

One miracle for us this week was Lorena.  She's a Grandma who is probably in her late 50's and she's so open and ready for us.  It's almost another Concepcion.  We taught her 2 lessons this week and on the 2nd lesson she accepted the invitation to be baptized on April 25th!  It's still early to tell what lies ahead for her, but we have high hopes!  

Valeria and Susana received their patriarchal blessings yesterday.  They both told us they had really neat blessings promised.  Valeria is even more set on a mission now :)  Wahoo!  Except she's saying a mission is at least 2 years away....we'll work on that :)  We ate with them twice this week, and one of the times her mom cooked the food for us!  Her mom is an inactive member, and has all sorts of doubts and questions, but wants to receive answers through Valeria.  So we get all these calls and questions from Valeria.  Last night after the fireside though, Valeria finally told us she would take us to see her mom!!!!  Hopefully her mom is going to be open with her questions and be able to feel the truth.  Valeria thinks she's just scared of the changes she has to make with her life if it is true.  I believe it!

The Selenas family stood us up this week for our lesson, but they showed up at church so we didn't mind too much :)  Their youngest son was a rascal again and didn't let them rest, but their older two love it, and the 3 year old is at least quiet :)  We are going to see them tonight and teach Chastity.  I hope it's not another Xochitl situation where I think they're married and find out they're not!

We had a couple service opportunities this week!  On my 9 month-mark day we did service with Phoenix City and helped them do yard clean-up for an elderly lady.  Funny thing....the elderly lady came out of her house, got in her car, and told us she had to go help an elderly lady.  I wanted to say "What do you think we're doing??"  Her yard had a lot of cat poop which smelled really bad, but with 13 missionaries we had that place lookin' neat in no time :) The best was that I got to wear my "Hump Day" shirt the whole time :)  This week we've been asked to help with translating at the family history fair.  That should be interesting!  

HUMP Daaay in Camelback!!


We got in contact with the Ramos family again this week!  They are the part member family that Sister Baros and I worked a lot with.  Now Abril is 12 and after just one visit from us, her mom has all ready taken her to Young Women's, told her to read her scriptures, and said she doesn't like that they don't go to church.  Kind of ironic seeing as the mom's not a member, but we'll take the support however it comes!

And that my friends is this week in a nutshell!  Thank you so much for the home-made cookies :)  They are all gone!  I was just craving those last week too!!  Can you believe I have less than half of my mission left?  And all in the same area....whoop whoop Camelback 1st mission!  But seriously....I hope I never leave!  The members now call me their "Hija" or "nina" or "mi guarrita bonita."  (My pretty little white girl).  I got all of those names in the first 5 minutes of Relief Society yesterday.... they're so funny :)  I've heard the record in one area is a year....I'm hoping that will be me!  Yes, transfers are part of the experience, but not very many people get the experience of really knowing each member, watching the long conversion processes of certain investigators, or watch a branch from an average attendance of 40 shoot up to 85.    If I was supposed to be somewhere else the Lord would put me there.  I'm pretty sure President Sweeney thinks my amount of time here is as crazy as you think it is!  I know though that he's inspired, and I have no doubt that I was called to serve in this branch, at this time for a reason.  I'm not done here!!!

I love you family :)  I love this mission, and it is definitely the best decision I have ever made.  I'm learning so much about the gospel, the role of the Savior in my life, and I'm developing Christlike attributes that I don't know if I could have developed anywhere else.  I know this church is true, that God knows each of us individually, and that he has a very specific plan for each one of us.  Our job is to read and pray to figure out what it is :)

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Love,
Hermana Short
This is what I get for scaring my companion!


Monday, March 9, 2015

9 months and Laboring (get it?) bahaha



Querida Familia,

The last 5 days have been quite the blur.  My companion is picking everything up super fast and I'm able to rely on her a ton.  I honestly don't feel like I'm training, she's a super hard worker, is very focused, and has a lot of great ideas for the people we teach.  This has been such a blessing!  

Our investigators though are going to make me pull my hair out!  Not one of them came to church yesterday.  We had 8 committed to coming and they all cancelled.  Some had good reasons, others gave no reason.  I was so frustrated!  Plus Octavio and Nereyda had a fight so they didn't come, Concepcion went out of town, and Jario had a class at the DMV for his job.  Valeria came, but her sister Suzana slept in.  The only super great thing that happened was that Yazury came to church and we didn't even ask her to this week!  And her daughter Yukey got interviewed for her baptism on Saturday! That was probably my favorite part.  Cute Yukey turned 8 in February and is finally getting baptized on Saturday.  At church I asked her who she wants to baptize her and she looked at me and said "You!!" Hahaha sorry Yukey, I can't :)  I was honored though!

Camelback Branch missionaries
Xochitl and Daniel's baptism is starting to really stress me out.  She has to get married before March 21 in order for it to go through!  On Friday we went to ask her if the wedding is still going to happen and with tears in her eyes she told me that they are fighting again and now he doesn't want to get married.  She told me her baptism is "not a matter of will!  I'm decided!" she said.  She just has to wait on him.  We fasted with her this weekend so that she could find the way to make this happen.  1 Nephi 3:7 God will provide the way!  In the meantime we are on our tip-toes with our fingers crossed, praying diligently.  We have an appointment with her tonight to talk about the role of Joseph Smith in the church.  A part of her still thinks we worship him :p  ay ay ay
She did not come to church on Sunday because she said she worked til early Sunday morning (that's normal) and then said she had insomnia?  That's a new excuse from her.  Daniel told us they were going to come at 11:30 after his mom slept a bit, but they never came :/

We had an awesome lesson with the Selenas family this week.  Two awesome lessons actually!  I don't know why that led to them not coming to church though :/  The first lesson we took Hermana Toledo.  Bahaha you should have seen their faces when we led a blind lady into their house!  They felt super awkward at first...I guess I should have warned them, but they wanted to hear a convert testimony so we brought her!  It turned out really good, Hermano Selenas just thanked Hermana Toledo up and down for coming and sharing how her life has changed through the gospel.  The second time we taught them this week we taught them the Word of Wisdom.  Apparently the dad used to be an alcoholic, but was able to quit a few years ago.  Every now and then they drink a beer or a cup of coffee, but they were very willing to let all of it go :)  

Lorenzo's wife Lupita still really wants to be baptized, but she keeps leaving the house on Sunday mornings and doesn't come to church :/  We're going to have to stalk her house next week and not let her leave.  I secretly think Lorenzo purposefully takes her other places so he doesn't have to bring her to church.  This week he told us he wants her to go to a different branch :p  That man.... it's funny though because he will help us teach her the lessons and bear his testimony!  But when she's not around he's a different Lorenzo.  

Ernie is our only progressing investigator.  He still can't come to church on Sundays yet, but he got a promotion at work (blessing!) and should be able to rotate his schedule within the next few weeks so he can come to church.  Though he didn't come to church, he did make the 30 minute trek out to Scottsdale last night to watch a Missionary Musical Fireside we had!  The more good experiences he has in the church the better :)  He also came to Sports night on Friday without Jairo, so we know he's coming to events on his own now, and not just because he follows Jairo everywhere :)

We were only able to teach Concepcion once this week, but it was a great lesson on the Plan of Salvation.  She took an extra pamphlet from us, put it in her purse next to a Restoration pamphlet and said "These aren't mine."  Meaning that she's going to give them away to the people she knows who need them :)  Although she left town and couldn't attend church yesterday, she was still able to help us.  We asked her to call Xochitl and encourage her and just be a friend in the church for her.  Xochitl really really trusts Concepcion and just loves her.  So Concepcion responded and said to send her the number :)  Doug told us that his mom is an AA councilor and gives speeches in conferences all the time, so she knows how to deal with people going through rough spots, and I hope she can help us get Xochitl into the font next Saturday!

This musical fireside I've mentioned a couple times was last night in Scottsdale and it was really neat.  It was all music from missionaries, youth in the stake, and then a gospel choir was invited for one number.  It was all about Christ and coming unto him, and I left that meeting feeling spiritually super charged!  It was one of those meetings I wish I could have recorded!  

This isn't the fireside.  Hermana Toledo asked us to sing for her and then posted it to Facebook! 


Today for P-day I believe we are going out to eat with the Elders in our branch since President Alvorado gave us lunch money, and then we are going to watch Ephraim's Rescue in the Elders' Apartment's theatre.  It's a good change-up to an average p-day!  

President Sweeney emailed me and said that I'm secure for 12 more weeks here in the Camelback 1st branch.  hahaha in the words of the Branch President, "This branch is your mission!"  This transfer is only a 5 week transfer and the next one is 7 weeks because of a mission president's seminar in the middle.  So transfers will come up fast this time!  Maybe I'll get really lucky and be transferred right before June :)  That would make my year mark!!  

I love you family!!  9 months down, 9 more to go!!  I hear the last 9 months go by way faster than the first 9....you can do it mom!

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Love,
Hermana Short

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Transfer #7....in Phoenix




Alooooha!

The weather here is comparable to Hawaii so I'm quite happy for this week! However, Wal-Mart has put out their sunscreen so I am worried it won't last too long :/


Laughing hysterically up to the end!

Trying to fit in Hermana Clark's suitcase



The biggest news of the week is that Sister Clark went home and Sister Pierson came in.  Saying goodbye to Sister Clark was really hard.  We both cried during our last companionship prayer....one of maybe 4 times I've cried on my mission!   It's hard too because unlike Sister Ferre....I won't see Sister Clark anywhere in the mission...I have to wait 9 months and even then she lives states away!  Hopefully we'll stay in contact over email :)

Sister Pierson is all ready a huge blessing though!  Her Spanish is incredible!  It's in the same place mine was when I came out so she understands everyone, she can respond easily, and is not nervous to speak and help me teach.  She hit the ground running hard....and was talking to strangers at dinner, discerning investigator's needs, and giving great teaching ideas.  This is such a huge blessing because our area is skyrocketing with people to teach that want to be baptized....and we can't afford to slow our pace!   She is 22 and from the Long Beach area in California, and graduated from BYU last year with a rec-management degree.  The company she was working for had to close down, and with that and some other signals, she decided to serve a mission.  She studied 4 years of Spanish in High School, and 6 weeks in the Provo MTC and she must have remembered a lot or learned fast, because she does not speak like a new missionary!  She's super outgoing, and just wants to work and learn all the time....she's keeping me on my toes that's for sure!

My new companion, Hermana Pierson

 We get along really well until we get into our pajamas....then we are rivals, but it's ok, I'll live :)  We've all ready had a silly string and water gun fight....haha so she's still got a little bit of kid in her !

Ok, next biggest news of the week.  The Scottsdale mission has been approved to receive iPads in May!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  We are incredibly excited...and we're all ready counting down how many planners we have left before they are electronic :)  2. 

Because it has been 10 crazy days, I can't remember the order of how things happened, so I'll go by name!

Concepcion is progressing faster than I could have ever imagined.  We met her the first week of January, she was baptized the first week in February, and the last week of February she was in the Mesa temple doing baptisms for the dead!  She's spoken in Sacrament meeting, accompanied us on lessons, said a prayer in Sacrament meeting, bore her testimony on fast Sunday, and is a Visiting teacher now.  Baptisms for the dead were the best part of the week though :)  We wentSaturday night as Sister Clark's final hurrah and what a great ending.  Concepcion told us afterwards that she just felt like everything went away in the temple, and she was in a different place.  She then asked us how often she gets to go, if she can go by herself, and told us she's going to invite her mormon friend at work to go with her :)  We are so proud of her!  On Sunday she bore her testimony of the Book of Mormon, Joseph Smith, and her experience in the temple.  She has such a huge influence on Xochitl, so we are super grateful for that! 

Concepcion at the Temple

 

Xochitl is still progressing towards her baptism date!  We taught her about the temples and family history work with Concepcion, and then later on in the week we went over the baptismal interview questions with her.  She still has some concerns about who Joseph Smith is to us, and isn't quite sure about the living prophet, but we're glad we found that out so we know what to focus on this week!  Daniel passed the interview questions with flying colors :)  And when we asked him what repentance means to him, he bore a great testimony that we can change, and that Heavenly Father forgives us.  Hopefully we see a wedding next weekend so they can get baptized the following week....

Valeria and Susana are miracles.  They have been inactive members for about 4 years, and one day just showed back up at church!  Valeria is 19 and going to a college, and Susana is 22 with 3 little kids.  We found out this week that Valeria wants to receive her patriarchal blessing and possibly serve a mission!!!!  We took them to Meet the Mormons last week and the missionary story really touched her.  Hopefully we can help her get out in the field!  She loves to come on lessons with us, and is willing to do and go wherever!  

Valeria and Susana


Jairo is still coming to church weekly, and this Friday he has an interview with the Branch President so he can receive the priesthood.  We took him and Ernie to the Mesa Visitors center this week to watch the hour long Joseph Smith movie and they both liked it.  We asked them what they learned and they said, "Everything!" apparently they didn't understand the story very much and now, after seeing a visual it's much easier to understand.  I took Sister Pierson to meet them last night, but only Ernie was home.

Baros, Short, Noorda, Ernie & Jairo


Ernie is progressing :)  Sister Clark went to talk to him Sunday morning so she could say goodbye, because he had to work during church.  Sister Clark was very bold with him and said "Do you know this church is true?"  He looked her in the eye and said "Yes."  She then invited him to be baptized, but he wouldn't commit to it.  But we weren't too concerned because that was the first time he'd admitted that he knew it was true.  Last night when Sister Pierson and I taught him, he really opened up and I think it might be because Jairo wasn't listening, so we might need to find more oportunities like that.  When Ernie was our age he served a mission in Mexico for the Christian church and he said his biggest stumbling block right now is coming to terms with the fact that what he grew up with was wrong, and that what we are teaching is the real truth.  He feels "weird" leaving his roots.  But he again said he knows this is true, and he's just nervous to act.  However!!! He did agree to prepare for baptism on the last Saturday in April!!  Whoop whoop!

The Selenas family!!!!  This is the family that was studying with us and the Jehovah's witnesses at the same time....well I don't think they are anymore!  They weren't too excited about their "no donating blood" rule or the rule against celebrating any holidays.  We talked to them about why we celebrate Christmas and Easter, and that any other activity is for us to have fun and spend time as a family.  Hermano Selenas told us how much better he felt, that they had worried they were offending God, and now he felt peace.  The best part was seeing them come to Church on Sunday...all 6 of them!  My first complete family at church!!!!  All 4 kids went to Primary or nursery....1 of them left screaming though.  The parents both liked it, and they said they will be coming back :)  The father said he felt a peace and a love there that he had never felt before and that he recognizes he's in the right path.  I was so happy for them!  Sister Pierson's first lesson was with them last night and we brought our blind member, who bore testimony of her conversion.  The parents were so grateful to hear her testimony and joy in the gospel.  They are now on date to be baptized the first Saturday in May.  April they said was too soon, but I think after a few more weeks they'll be willing to be baptized sooner.  For now though, they are on a date!

Lorenzo's wife Lupita wants to be baptized, but we can never seem to find her.  We have another appointment tonight and hopefully it goes through because if she really wants to be baptized at the end of this month, we've got a lot of teaching to do!  She also went to work instead of church on Sunday....and since she's self-employed that's kind of an issue :p  Hopefully this week she will make a bigger effort.  Yasury did come however!  For the first time in a few months, and it just so happens that we haven't visited her in a while.  So she's really choosing on her own, or Lorenzo is being a really good patriarch in the home :)  Either way I was really happy to see her there.  

Well there are all the exciting points for this week!  I'm sure I'll have some more on Monday :)  This area I'm in is quite the adventure....we always have new stories to tell :)  Like last night I ate at my first taco truck.  I ordered Carne Asada tacos, but when I saw brain, tongue, and intestines on the menu...I wondered what was really in my taco!  Oh well...whatever it was it was good!



P-Day at Phoenix Zoo

Have a good week family, hopefully it's not too cold!  Someone told me you got some snow?

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

Love,
Hermana Short

Funny letter from Hermana Clark