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

Hermana Short

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