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

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