Monday, April 27, 2015

And the rains came tumbling down.....

Good morning my dear Gringo Family!!!

Not only did it literally rain 3 days this week, but it was gloomy and overcast with our investigators this week too! Everyone decided to dump problems on us, and its been super frustrating.  Nonetheless, there are always rainbows after thunderstorms, so I'm expecting some great miracles this week!  

Yesterday was an awesome day for our little branch!   139 people were at church!!!!!!!!  Sadly the majority were visitors, but still, new record :)  President Alvarado and his awesome counselors were released yesterday after almost 6 years of serving together.  The new branch President is President Guerrero and we are so excited!!   He is the Hermano that invited us to his sealing a few months ago.   His counselors are both young and brand new to the branch.  One just moved here from Mexico, and the other one was in the English ward with his Brazilian wife, but they've been asked to help out in the branch now.  It's going to be fantastic :)  And only one person opposed!  It was really sad. The man who did it is drama....and I was watching him the whole time because I knew he was going to do that!  Oh well.  They had the old and new branch presidencies bear their testimonies and President Guerrero talked about me at the pulpit.  I was so red!  He was saying how all the missionaries ate at his house that week, but there is one sister who has done so much for our branch, and "you all probably know who I'm talking about!"    I felt bad for the other missionaries....that's two weeks in a row!!  And Hermana Guerrero full on kissed me on the cheek yesterday!  Usually they do the whole cheek to cheek thing and just make the lip smacking sound, but this time she grabbed my face, kissed me, then wiped off her lipstick mark.  Ay ay ay these women are hilarious. I looked at my planner this week and realized I only have 4 weeks left here.  AGHHH.  I'm going to cry for days and days.  Hermana Curiel told me she is going to cry too :)  

We had a branch party on Saturday at the park to celebrate the changes and it was super fun :)  This time we missionaries got put in charge of keeping everybody entertained so we came up with a lot of fun games!  We did a 3-legged race, a tug-of-war, water balloon toss, and another game with M&M's.  Somehow I got put in charge of directing all the activities and I felt like a chicken with my head cut off all night....but the kids had fun so it was worth the craziness!  The funniest activity was when we got 9 of the men in the branch to do a gummy worm eating contest.  They could only use their faces, and they had to find a gummy worm and eat it from a pie tin filled with whipped cream.  Lorenzo did it, and I was laughing so hard....but then he was embarrassed so I had to walk away :)

Sister Tenney

On Thursday I had an awesome exchange with Sister Tenney.  She came to my area and we got a lot done!  When we taught we flowed back and forth easily and she was always there to pick up where I left off.    We had a couple funny experiences together.  First we decided to go visit Lupita in the hospital because we heard she was still there.  When we got there, the front desk lady told us what room she was in, so we went upstairs, and her door said we needed to wear masks.  So we put on our masks and walk in.  Lupita was not there!  Some poor man was staring back at us in shock!  I said, "We're looking for someone, but you're not her!"  he just stared back at me so I said bye.  When we walked out I realized that DUH the man spoke Spanish.  So embarrassing! Turns out Lupita had left the hospital the day before and we interrupted some poor guy's rest for nothing.  Later that day we needed to contact some potentials and see if they still lived in the houses on our lists.  One lady was supposed to be an "Itzel" but she said that wasn't her name, so we responded "Ok, well we're missionaries, it's nice to meet you!"  She responded "Nice to meet you too!"  then slammed the door in our face.  Apparently it wasn't really a pleasure to meet us :)  Most of those potentials rejected us that day...but I was with Sister Tenney who I adore, so the rejections didn't even bother me :)  The two of us had a great lesson with the Hernandez family.  We taught the ten commandments and they all have things to work on.  The 15 year old is going to stop praying to the Virgin Mary (I don't know who taught her to do that), the 9 year old is going to stop saying bad words.  And the whole family is supposedly working on keeping the Sabbath day holy, but they didn't come on Sunday so that one is still a work in progress I guess.

Yesterday at church only Xochitl was there from our investigator pool :/  But I'm happy she was there because this is the 3rd week in a row that she has made it for all 3 hours!  She tried bringing her 3 year old yesterday too, but he got pulled out of nursery for continuous crying :/  Poor kid got dropped off with strangers!  It's like those awful days when mom would abandon me at preschool....oh the trauma ;)  Xochitl still isn't married.  She knows she has to have a wedding date or a wedding by Saturday in order to be interviewed for we are all praying and crossing our fingers!  

Ernie got 2 new jobs to get out of the bad environment of his old job.  However, one of these jobs requires him to work Sundays.  Grrrr....just when we think he's good and golden, another thing comes up!  Jairo and Julio both missed church this week too for no good reason.  Jairo slept in and Julio was working in the yard.  AND we went to their house once this week and everything had the aroma of coffee.  NOOOOO.  We were so upset.  Julio promised it wouldn't happen again, and Ernie admitted to it but said it doesn't happen often, and Jairo said he didn't drink any of it.  These 3 men are going to give me stress ulcers.  

I don't know what happened with the Selinas family this week. They cancelled our Friday lesson and didn't come to church again this week.  If we can't see sufficient progress by the end of this week we are probably going to have to drop them.  I know they'll be ready one day, but they might need a break for a time.  

Octavio and Nereyda gave us a scare this week!  Us 6 missionaries went to their house for dinner on Tuesday and Ashley the 7 year old throws open the door and says, "My parents are fighting and my mom is going to another house!"  We went out back to where Octavio was grilling and he said it was true!  We didn't push it further and decided to just have a good dinner conversation with him.  His food was DIVINE.  He grilled green onions, asparagus, zuchinni, steak, chicken, and then made homemade salsa right in front of us, homemade guacamole, and none of us could stop eating.  I ate so much of that asparagus.....
That night at almost 11pm our branch president texts us saying that Nereyda left the house.  Ay ay ay we called him the next morning and he said that her car was back. Then she texted us and apologized for not eating with us.  She said that things were better and they're in the same house again.  I can't keep up with their drama....I just want them to live the commandments and let living the gospel solve their problems.  They both made it to 3 hours of church today which was a plus. :)  

Oh good news, we now have a pet cat.  It's name is Jazz.  We think it is trying to protect us or something!  When we pull into the parking lot, it follows us to our door and then leaves!  It follows us to the gym, the mailbox, everywhere!  This week we were weekly planning on our back porch  and the stinking cat scaled the wall and sat at the table with us.  The other morning we left our door open to let some cool air in and all of a sudden I see Jazz shoot out from underneath one of the beds.   It took forever to get him out!  First Kevin the peacock, now Jazz the cat, next we better get a dog!

We found a new investigator this week! Her name is Carmen and she's friends with Xochitl :)  She's interested in listening and Xochitl told us she's going to invite her to church with her!  Hopefully she begins to progress soon!

Bowling with Jairo & Ernie last Monday!
On Saturday we participated in another Just Serve project.  This time we were cleaning up the grounds of a black history cultural center in the ghetto of Phoenix.  So. Many.  Weeds.  Sister Pierson and I alone filled 3 huge black garbage bags with giant weeds!  It's fun to see different places in the community and be able to help!

Well that about sums up our week!  A lot of stressful days this week because of people not keeping commitments, but it's ok, we'll try again this week :)  Today we are going bowling with our zone!  Hopefully it will be a good stress reliever :)  

I love you family!  Happy May Day this week!!!  I miss you!

Hermana Short

Monday, April 20, 2015

Buoyant Currents

Buenas Tardes Familia!!!

All of my days are meshed together this week....I couldn't believe today was all ready preparation day again!  Only 3 more weeks til mothers day calls!!  I'll try to set that up with the Curiel family again this week....

Monday night we got a new investigator!  A couple of weeks ago the Elders referred us to a woman named Ana and we visited with her and her daughter that was visiting her.  Well this past Monday evening we got there and the husband was there!  Lots of Latino men are pretty macho and leave it to their wives to talk to us, but he agreed to join us in the lesson :)  We taught the Restoration of the gospel to them and the whole time we taught, Manuel flipped through the pages of the pamphlet and read the paragraphs.  When we finished teaching he asked us for a Book of Mormon!  We handed it to him and he asked us how much it cost.  Of course we told him it was a gift, and he immediately flipped to the introduction and began reading :)  We extended a baptism invitation to them at the end of our lesson and he quickly agreed!  Ana was less sure, but as they both come to gain testimonies, they'll be able to make these changes together :)  Wahoo for teaching families!  They said we could pass by again tonight :)  It's his only day off, and he is willing to spend it learning from the missionaries.  That, my friends, is a rare occurrence!

We also met with Ernie last Monday evening and moved his baptism date to the end of May.  He says that right now, this is what he wants.  He just wants to make sure that he's really committed, and that he will live this for the rest of his life.  I thought that was a good answer :)  He helped us do service in Concepcion's yard this week, went to a Fireside last night with us and Valeria, and got a new job this week that doesn't require him to work Sundays :)  He still spends his free time watching conference talks and reading the Book of Mormon.  The man is on fire!  We just need him to recognize that all this "comfortableness" that he feels when he does these things is the Holy Ghost.  He also needs some confidence in himself to stay strong in the gospel, but that will only come as he acts and gets baptized.  He's almost there!

Jairo & Ernie

Tuesday consisted of lessons with Daniel, the Hernandez Family, and Elvira (Valeria's mom).  My favorite lesson of that day was Elvira :)  When we pulled up to her apartment complex, she was outside sitting by her broken down car, waiting for her son to bring back parts.  We sat on the curb next to her and just had a friendly chat for a few minutes.  She opened up to us about this boyfriend she has, who apparently is a member, but can't remember anything because he got heavily into drugs and alcohol.  He remembers he was baptized in Mesa though.....anyway!  Her son finally got back with the parts and Elvira invited us into her apartment to teach.  We began with faith, and she immediately got stuck on the Book of Mormon.  She just didn't understand why having faith in the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon was important.  We explained that if the Book of Mormon was true, then Joseph Smith was a prophet.  And if he was a prophet, then this is the only true church on the face of the Earth.  She looked taken aback and said "So that means that if this is true, all the Catholics and Jehovah's witnesses and Christians have to be baptized Mormon."  I responded bluntly.  "Yes."  She said "Wow, that's a lot of work!"  I wanted to laugh and say "You're telling me!!!"  To my surprise that didn't really bother her, and she understood better why this is so important.   We tried to move on after that and then she said "You know why I stopped going to church?  They wanted me to do baptisms for the dead, and I just wasn't ready for that!  What is that?  I just imagine a dark basement with people praying to spirits!"  Her imagery was hilarious, and we promised to come back and teach her what they are really like :)

Wednesday was a long day.  We had a 3 1/2 hour zone meeting, and I had to re-give the planning training we did in Mission Leadership Council, but this time I gave it with Sister Linford.  After the zone meeting, we went to dinner with the Elders at a burger joint since a member gave us money to go out to eat.  Then we left early and ran to Concepcion's house where Ernie helped us do some yard work for her :)  I used the weed-whacker.....apparently dad should have let me practice at home because I gave that poor lawn a pretty rough hair-cut!  Concepcion was grateful none the less :)  After yard-work we ran to pick up a member, then we ran to Xochitl's house to teach her about the covenant of baptism.  There was only a hint of concern on her face when she asked us what "baptism by fire" is :)  The member we brought with us, Hermana Serano, was a lot of help, and she and Xochitl hit it off well :) I'm convinced that Xochitl gets a long with everybody though.  After that lesson, we had to race that member back home, then race to our apartment so Sister Lakin and I could race to Scottsdale for exchanges that night.  Now, when I say race, obviously I mean the speed limit because TIWI keeps me in check :)  

Thursday was a bitter sweet day.  Sweet because I was reunited with my buddy Sister Grooms!!  It was fun to catch up on the good old days, how far we've come, and where we've been.  Well...where she has been at least :)  The bitter part was that they have been struggling to find people to teach.  They are over the single adults age 18-30 in half of the valley.  They cover a lot of ground, but prepared single adults are hard to come by apparently!  We knocked unanswered doors for almost 5 was exhausting.  Finally after dinner, a less-active girl named Chelsea let us in to talk to her.  Actually she let us in because she wanted to trim dead ends off of Sister Grooms' hair.  It wasn't p-day, but it was an in, so we took it!  As she was "dusting" her hair, Chelsea's roommate, Markell, came into the kitchen to grab something.  I asked her where she's from and she said Idaho, but that she lived in Sandy, Utah for a year.  I told her I was from Herriman, and she said "Oh!  Do you know the Tomicic family!"  Of course I do!  She then told me that Linda is her aunt, and that she used to nanny Boston Strain!  Crazy small world....but that turned out to be another "in" for us.  Markell is an inactive member, and the sisters had never talked to her before, but after that "coincidence" she was really open with us.  Imagine this girl in her 20's, ears pierced to the top, a nice big pair of silver cross ones too.  A belly shirt, short skirt, and purple hair.  She began to tell us that she knew the church was true and she would raise her kids in the church.  What?!?  She told us why she had strayed, and began to cry as she told us of times when she has felt the spirit.  I longed to talk to her for 3 more hours and help her see a way out of the life she is living, but there just wasn't time, and that isn't my area.   As I talked to Markell and Chelsea, I thought of my own various family members who have strayed from how they were raised.  I could see their reasoning and their fears.  And my own testimony was strengthened of the power of God in missionary work.  Sister Grooms and I walked out of that apartment in shock.  The Lord knew I would be there that day, and that that personal connection with Markell would be significant. Because of that experience we were able to see that soft spot for the gospel in her.  Heavenly Father is funny that way :)  And that 5 hours of what seemed like meaningless knocking, ended in an awesome miracle!

They gave us free hair products!!
On Friday I finally got to see Julio again!!!!  He didn't say much about Bolivia, which was super frustrating, and seemed shocked when I asked about his girlfriend.  He told us that he went to church every single week that he was there, except Easter because for some reason the building was locked and no one was there.  Hmmm conference? :)  I didn't know whether or not I believed him, but he told us he saw missionaries there and told us without being prompted what time church started and ended.  It all sounded correct to me!  He asked us how our branch was doing, and told us he would be there on Sunday!  I definitely believe that he went to church at least a few times in Bolivia, I think he slipped a couple of times on the word of wisdom, but for the most part, I hope hope hope he's telling the truth.  We asked him what he was going to do now for work and he said, "Find a job somewhere, but not on Sundays!"  He came to sports night that evening with Ernie!  Obviously he was quite surprised to come home and find Jairo baptized, and Ernie planning his for May. :)  Maybe he'll open up more about his trip in the future. 

We taught the Villa/Selinas family that night as well and we heard the neatest story from Oralia!  On Sunday when she stayed home fasting, she told us it was because her kids were just too crazy that day, but she fasted to thank God for everything he has given her.  So precious :)  Well, that day while she was fasting, she had gone downstairs to make the kids food, and her 2 year old Noe was upstairs by himself.  She heard him start crying and ran upstairs to check on him.  She went upstairs to find the 2nd story window open, and no Noe.  He fell out of the 2nd story window to the ground!!!  All he had was a few scratches.  Below that window is a 1 ft area of sod, that just happened to be moist that day.  Had he fallen anywhere else, it would have been rocks, cement, or a sharp fence.  Oralia had a very obvious blessing because of her fast.  It was one of the neatest stories!

Saturday- all 5 of our set lessons cancelled, and no one else we tried was home :(  It was so sad!  Presidente Alvarado made us Carne Asada for dinner though and it was divine!  I think I ate half the bowl of his wife's guacamole :)  The meat made Sister Pierson queasy though so we had to go in early that night.  We spent the time making 55 sparkly invitations for our branch party this Saturday!  We had joked with the Elders about needing sparkles for the invitations, but they thought we were serious and went out to buy some!  We had to make up for it by actually using them :p  

Sunday was a really good day :)  We had our last branch correlation with Presidente Alvarado seeing as he will be released next week.  He gave a nice speech, thanking us at the end, and then had his councilors and the High Council representative talk to us as well.  It was great to hear their testimonies of missionary work.  What was really random and kind of funny was when the High Councilor, who lives in our branch, gave a "we're going to miss Hermana Short if she ever leaves" message.  I was very touched :)  He was trying to explain that the branch gets attached to missionaries, and since I've been here forever, it will be rough when I leave.  You're telling me :p  They're so comfortable with me that Hermana Orozco sat on my lap!  That's Hermana Orozco for you though :)  I love her !

Hermana Orozco

Xochitl and Daniel, Julio and Ernie, and Octavio made it to church.   We taught Nereyda and Octavio that night and they told us about some things they've been doing and I wanted to beat my head against a cement wall.  Nereyda has started a coffee habit, but don't worry!  She prayed and told Heavenly Father that she is drinking it, and that she doesn't think it's that bad. Mother of I allowed to say that?  Hahaha

Hopefully this week has more smooth sailing, and less buoyant currents.  I was telling Sister Grooms this week. Sometimes I just want to spend 72 hours with each investigator and help them live the gospel step by step, and over explain things until it's ingrained in their heads.  Sounds very familiar to raising a teenager I think :)

I love you so much family!!!  Thanks for your letters mom and dad :)  I love my weekend mail! Happy Birthday Dad!!!!!  Eat lots of Mexican food for me :)

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Hermana Short

Monday, April 13, 2015

Secrets and Smiles

Dear Family,

This week seemed to be a slower week if you look at our numbers.  We taught 6 member present lessons, and 2 less-active lessons, and nothing else.  Yikes!  Usually we have like 17-19 lessons a week!  However I'm not  dismayed because the miracles we saw this week HEAVILY outweigh the dropped numbers.  

Ernie still said that getting Sundays off wasn't in the near future.  We called him Saturday night and asked him if by some miracle he had gotten Sunday off.  No.  :(  He agreed to go to a Fireside in Scottsdale with us Sunday night though and actually seemed excited!  Sunday at church we are standing in the hall talking to someone when I got a glimpse of Ernie's head in the crowd!  What?!  We ran to the Gospel Principles classroom and saw him innocently sitting there with Jairo!  I asked him if he quit his job, if he got let off early, or what happened and he responded, "I lied to you."  Grr "What?"  If only I could do back-flips.....he said, "I lied to you on the phone last week!  Starting last Sunday I have all Sundays off!"  WAHOO ERNIE!!!!!!!!!!!  Sister Pierson just stood there with her mouth wide open!  He should have his interview this week, and then to our shock and pleasure, Ernie's most likely getting baptized next Saturday.  We were only a little mad that he lied to us...I'm sure the shock on our faces was worth the wait for him though.  The neat thing about him getting Sundays off is that it's kind of a sacrifice for him.  He has to work Tuesdays now which he really didn't want to have to do because of the time and the jobs he has to do in the restaurant, but he did it because he knows it's important to go to church :)  We are so proud of him!

President Sweeney met him last night at a fireside and after feeling his muscles (haha that was awkward!)  President encouraged Ernie and told him how great his missionaries are :)  We know ;) Just kidding, but we have worked hard for this one!

Jairo.  Jairo received the priesthood after Sacrament meeting yesterday!!!  I'm super excited for him, and I was glad Ernie was there to see him ordained.  Presidente Alvarado encouraged Ernie to have Jairo baptism, but he's afraid he will drown him.  We'll see what we can do...I so badly want to see Jairo perform his baptism!  

Xochitl.  Yesterday during correlation, Presidente Alvarado asked if he could go visit Xochitl with us after church.  Of course!  Within that lesson last night, Xochitl put herself back on a baptism date!   We are now looking, praying, and working hard for May 9th as the big day :)  Xochitl really respects President and he was able to help us encourage her yesterday.  The neatest part was when he asked her if we could kneel to pray before he left.  He prayed for her and her family, and specific blessings that she needs in order for this baptism to happen.  The Spirit was so strong, and we really appreciated his help.  She and Daniel also made it to 3 hours of church this week which is a miracle!  Even before the opening prayer in Relief Society!   Daniel stood to be recognized as the newest member of the branch and it was adorable :)  I hope in 7 years, I'll get to attend his Farewell talk as he serves his own mission!

The Villa/Selinas family.  We were finally able to have another lesson with them this week and it was a roller coaster!  We took Hermana Toledo with us and of course she's a huge help, but the 3 year old in the family was screaming almost the entire time!  I tried so hard to get her to stop, but she just wailed and wailed.  The mom was obviously flustered and I felt bad staying much longer, but the dad was acting as if nothing was going on and listening and learning intently.  We were teaching about tithing and fasting.  Finally Mareli calmed down, and we invited the couple to fast with us on Sunday. Jose was all for it, but his wife thought she was going to die if she didn't eat :)  It was almost humorous how worried about fasting she was.  Her husband said I'll do it, and she will try!  They said they would think of a purpose together.  Well come Sunday, only Jose is at church!  I said "Your wife couldn't come?"  He said "No, she is at home fasting.  I decided to wait until next month to fast so I can prepare myself,  but since she's fasting I told her to stay home and rest."  Hahaha ay ay ay, I guess we'll explain fasting again before May 3rd :)  At least Oralia did it!  We are going to call her today and find out how it went :)  

Lorena. Has anyone seen her?  Or been able to get a hold of her?  Hm.  Us either.  It's hard to help someone quit smoking if they are never home!  It's also hard to get someone to come to church if you can never find them....oh wait we did catch her once.  She opened the door, but kept the screen locked.  She said she was on the phone with Crisis control because her schizophrenic son was having an attack.  Gulp.  The son was outside with us!  We had just talked to him!  She heard him say something and started yelling at him to go back in the backyard.  He seemed harmless to us, it kind of reminded me of that guy in the dungeon on Goonies :(  Poor Sergio... the time after that we passed by and for the first time we met Lorena's husband!  He opened the door holding a hand gun.  Granted he was dressed like a cowboy, it was a total cowboy gun, and he was cleaning it so it wasn't loaded, but still a little odd.  We were told Lorena wasn't home though, and since then we still haven't been able to come in contact with her.  Needless to say she's not getting baptized for a while longer, and we will probably take a break from going over there.  Oh the life of a missionary :)  

Lupita.  We dropped her a couple weeks ago, but the girls told us at church on Sunday that she was in the hospital for something that happened to her foot, and that she might  have to get surgery.  We went straight to the hospital after church and she was really happy to see us :)  The Elders came and gave her a blessing, and she said that she hopefully gets to leave on Wednesday.  I'm not quite sure what happened, but I know she had some sort of blister on her foot, and it popped or something, so she saw a hole in her foot and went to the doctor.  Because of something to do with diabetes, she had to be put on an IV, wait for the thing to heal, and possibly have surgery on her foot.  If you don't get it it's ok....neither do I :)  She really wants to come to church though....we need to find a way to work around Lorenzo.  Hmmm

March of Dimes Service Project
Saturday was my favorite day of the week :)  We got up super early and were in downtown Phoenix by 6 am.  Saturday was the March of Dimes; March of Babies event and we the missionaries of the Phoenix East stake made up a good portion of the volunteers!  For the next 5 hours we all had different jobs, some passed out waters or stickers, or took care of garbage's, guided walkers and runners, etc.  Sister Pierson and I for the first 2 hours were assigned to a registration booth for 5k runners, then for the next 2 hours we passed out probably 500 hot dogs!  It was incredibly neat to see so many families supporting the cause.  Lots of families are walking for their babies who didn't make it, or preemie babies that miraculously lived.  Tons of extended family, friends, Pediatricians, nurses, and local businesses were there.  And the best part was all the cute babies :)  The people are all so humble because they've all been through quite a lot with their kids, and it was neat to be a part of that service project!  There were about 20 missionaries or more that stayed after the event to help them clean up and they thanked us profusely.  The volunteers that signed up to do clean up never showed, and they had never met a more focused and dedicated group like us.  We made a really good impression on the directors of the event, and hopefully those who saw our badges will let us in their doors when they see us next :)   And of course, I always enjoy a free t-shirt!

Phoenix Zone Service Project

Sunday was what I'm calling Miracle Sunday!  Not only did Xochitl, Daniel, Ernie, Jairo, and Jose Selinas come, but Rocio made a comeback, Octavio and Nereyda were there, Hermana Covarubia, Silvestre, and Rocios dad who has been inactive for over a year!   It was so neat to see them there, I don't know what got them all there, but I don't question miracles :)  

Well family, that is our exciting week all wrapped up like a bean burrito!  It's gettin' warm, which is softening hard hearts :)  Hmmm maybe the heat is a good thing!  Pray for Ernie and Xochitl especially this week....they need a couple more miracles :)  Especially Xochitl.

I love you so much!    I love love love love love letters :)  You all make me crack up!  Have an incredible week!

Hermana Short  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Daniel's Baptism

Hello Family!!

I have so much to say....let's see how fast these fingers can type!!  

The best part of this week was of course DANIEL'S BAPTISM!!!!!! After 9 months and 1 week of working with my adorable buddy Daniel, he finally made it to his baptism day on Saturday!  I don't know who was more excited, me, Daniel, or Xochitl.  The poor kid had to wear a really tight jumper and I was trying so hard not to laugh!  We called it his muscle suit :)  Our branch had 4 baptisms that day and Daniel was the 3rd one in the water.  Our branch President baptized him and as he came out of the water, his mouth was gaping open and he gasped really loud. We all started to chuckle, and then President Alvarado thumped his back and Daniel gasped again!  The cute kid was just grinning from ear to ear :)  Because it was conference weekend he was able to receive the Holy Ghost immediately after, and he was so reverent and concentrated during the blessing.  It was really neat to see him sitting there.  Xochitl cried, and told us later that throughout the entire weekend she was just smiling and as happy as if she herself had been baptized.  I was really happy to see Daniel's primary teacher come to support him, and she brought him a couple of really nice gifts.  One of which was a lion, and without her even saying anything Daniel says "A lion!  I'm Daniel and this is the lion like in the story!"  I LOVE HIM!!

Original missionaries who started teaching Daniel 9 months ago!
Sister Baros, Xochitl, Daniel, Sister Short

My adorable buddy, Daniel

Before Saturday we had a really amazing lesson with Xochitl and Daniel. We used the story of Abinadi and Alma to talk about enduring to the end even if others tease us.  This includes going to scouts, standing up to his friends at school, and even sometimes family members who might tease him about the church.  Then being like Alma, and inviting those friends and maybe even helping them get baptized.  We finished telling the story and then Xochitl amazed us.  She began to teach Daniel the concepts better than we ever could have.  She compared Abinadi to Peter when he denied Christ, and talked to Daniel about being more like Abinadi in those situations.  Daniel is still pretty upset that Peter did that to Jesus :)

We talked to Xochitl last night and she said that she believes her baptism is super close!  She said that Eduardo is starting to soften.  He offered to take Daniel for a haircut before his baptism, and help around the house so she could get things ready to go.  Daniel invited him to the baptism, but he said he couldn't come :(   She hopes to be baptized in the beginning weeks of May.   She knows that Daniel has a greater commitment now, and so does she, so she promised to make a stronger effort to make it to Relief Society and Primary for Daniel.  

XXXX baptism date is coming up fast!  We were worried it wasn't going to happen, but last night he surprised us when he agreed that he was still working towards that date!  We had a lesson about Baptism and Confirmation last night, in which we described the promises we make with God, and the promises he makes with us.  XXXX told us his concern is that he will start off with a blank page, or a fresh start, but that his old doubts will come back and pull him down.  We testified over and over again about the truthfulness of the gospel, and the importance of the Book of Mormon.  He knows that if his testimony is rooted in those, then no doubt will ever be able to overcome him.  He's going to make it...I can feel it!  

Sunday he had work off again and came to both sessions of general conference!  He was on his phone quite a bit so I didn't think he was paying attention, but that evening he was texting us about 5 other talks he had watched online, which ones he liked, and why!  We were so impressed!  The other day he asked us what "Quorum of the 12" and "seventy" mean.  Then last night xxxx let it slip that xxxx has marked as a favorite on the iPad :)  Thank goodness our church is tech-savvy....I don't know if xxxx would progress without it!  His most recent fascination is that his phone can read the Book of Mormon to him, and he doesn't have to figure out the big hard words :)  

We had a really neat family home evening with him at the Curay's home as well.  We talked about temples and we were shocked when he looked at us in amazement and said "how'd you know?!"  Obviously we didn't know anything, but just earlier that week his mom had been on the phone with him and was asking questions about the temple that xxxx didn't know the answers too.  That was a testimony to me that God is in our planning sessions!  xxxx was then really excited to look up the temples and churches in his home town that before he hadn't really realized existed.  

xxxx has had some hilarious moments lately.  Last week he says to us in Spanish "So lets just were on the internet looking for something.....and this website popped up about single Mormon women looking for husbands....what would you do?"  Of course I lost it laughing and xxxx says "No really!  What would you do!"  Turns out xxxx found lds planet's dating site and is considering it :)  I was laughing so hard.....xxxx says "I can't believe you told them about that..."

Oh!  You're probably wondering about transfers....ha.  Ok, so I for sure have 7 more weeks here in Camelback 1st!  The Branch President and Relief Society president called me after transfer news came out to find out if I was leaving or not :)  I'm going to skip my last Sunday in the branch so I don't have to say one told me how hard this part of the mission would be!  I'm still with Sister Pierson, and now I'm also a Sister Training Leader.  However, my STL companion is Sister Lakin so she moved into our apartment with her companion Sister Linford, who came into the mission with Sister Pierson.  We are only over 4 companionships this transfer, so luckily we only have to do 1 exchange a week!  It was sad when Sister Noorda and Medrano moved out....I'm going to miss those nuts :)  A brand new Elder came into our branch and so Elder Thompson left.  Then a native speaking Elder came in as well.  However he got hit by a car and his knee has been hurting, so he's waiting to find out if he has to go home and get surgery.  For now he just tries to walk on it like normal!  Poor Elder Hernandez....

April Fool's prank on the Elders

Monday evening President asked if Sister Pierson and I would go take the new Sister Missionaries contacting at a park.  They were both Spanish speaking so we drove them to a Latino-filled park and I think we talked to everyone there!  My companion was Sister Colina who is originally from Venezuela and obviously fluent, but still very nervous about approaching strangers with the gospel.  I didn't tell her that it doesn't get any easier.....the craziness of it just starts to seem normal :)

Phoenix Zone
The Villa/Selinas family has been MIA this week, but we found them yesterday and he warmly welcomed us back for a lesson this Friday.  To our dismay he tried to go to church on Sunday, but we had forgotten to tell him about General Conference, so no one was at that building :(  I felt so bad!  Bad Sister Short!!!

We had an awesome lesson with Valeria's mom on the plan of Salvation this week.  I swear, I don't know what kind of missionaries taught her 5 years ago, but she had never heard of 3 kingdoms, or a Spirit World!  Everything is so new to her.  She still says she's not ready to come to church though.  We are going to set a date for her to come though....she needs a goal to work towards.

I hope you had a fantastic Easter Weekend, and that the talks from General Conference touched you as much as they touched me!  What a great day to be a member of Christ's church!

 Thank you so much mom for my Easter package, I've worn the shoes everyday since- I love them so much!  And I'm sorry to admit that I've almost eaten all of that chocolate....I need to take it away from my study desk :)  Thank you for the Subway card as well!  My favorite part was the note in each Easter egg :)  I was so excited to open each one and laugh at the funny memories!  Everything about that package made me so happy.  Especially the little piece of heaven :)  I had been wanting to read that....

I love you all so much, we've made it 10 months, now 5.5 months of summer, 2.5 months of kind of summer, and I'm home!  Yeesh...summer.  It's ok, because now I'm driving around town in a shiny red 2014 Corolla :)  I've always wanted a red car!!!

I miss you, I'm SO jealous of your Jeep Safari!!!  Happy Easter!!!

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Hermana Short