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!


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