Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Goodbye Phoenix.....Last week on the Streets!

Arizona Scottsdale Missionaries
Hola hola!!

This week was CRAZY.  I felt like a sad chicken with my head cut off.  I can't remember the order of anything so I will tell things in stories.  

Thursday we had two appointments with Concepcion and Xochitl.  We got to Concepcion's house and she was cooking this giant pan of rice.  She told us it was for Xochitl.  Well that's odd!  I started to get a little more suspicious when Xochitl texted us to confirm our appointment.  When we pulled up to her house several familiar cars from the branch were there!  We walked inside and they had created a surprise goodbye party :). Xochitl and her friend had spent all day cooking and had also bought me a giant chocolate cake!  The Curiels' were there, Concepcion, Pres. Alvarado, Nelly, and Marta :). It was so cute to see Xochitl so involved in the branch already!  That meant more to me than the party!  They sang me Happy Birthday early and then Nelly smashed my face in the cake.  Hahaha it was so fun!


On Friday we had dinner with Valeria and when we got there she said she had a surprise for me.  She made me go look in the kitchen and there stood Sister Clark!!  It was so good to see her! We ate fajitas for dinner and then ran to the church to fill up the font for Ernie.  When he got there he had just changed into his suit and he saw Sister Clark walk in....I thought he was going to cry. Then came Sister Ferre and he had all his sister missionaries there!  His baptism went really well and afterwards he bore a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon.  I am so proud of him!!!

Sister Clark came for Ernie's baptism

Sister missionaries who taught Ernie: Clark, Ferre, Short & Pierson
Ernie got baptized!!
Ernie was one of the saddest to say goodbye to :(. He wrote me two cards and gave me a giant present full of Frozen stuff and M&Ms because the first time we we visited him I ate a ton of their M&Ms :).  He made my favorite meal on Thursday and had balloons to celebrate the occasion!

Sunday Pres. Guerrero and his wife fed us and invited several families from the branch.  AKA party #4.  She made my favorite....Carne asada, guacamole, and corn on the cob :)  Their kitchen table has a glass top and I between the table and the glass they put the business cards of all the missionaries that have eaten there.  My card was in there and I gave them a picture of the 3 of us at their sealing for the table as well.  Pres. Guerrero decided he wants it in his bishops office though :p.  Hermana Guerrero knows me well and gave me a new t-shirt as a parting gift :). It's a nice ASU one too!  Pres. Guerrero thanked me over and over for what I've done for the branch.  It was a super sweet dinner :)

President Alvarado was the Branch President
for most of my time in Camelback!

After church that day we had a meeting with Brother Orozco since he's our new branch mission leader. (Hip hip hooray!!!!!).  After the meeting he was shaking all the missionaries hands and then he turned to me and said "YOU, Woman, are one he-- of a missionary." It was an interesting choice of words but he continued by thanking me for working so hard, then he started to cry!!!  It just showed me that I really had no idea the different lives I had touched. 

Monday night was party #5 with the Orozcos, Dora Zamora, Ernie, Valeria, and Susana.  Sister Orozco made my favorite chicken wraps with cilantro sauce.  That whole dinner I was just dreading goodbye.  When the time finally came, Sister Orozco and Valeria both broke down crying and then I was crying.  Sister Orozco had knitted me a scarf and Valeria had printed me off  pictures of the three of us and wrote me a super nice card.  They are just too good to me!

I said goodbye to Octavio and Nereyda this week.  Octavio asked if he could oppose me leaving like the guy opposed the branch president in church.  He said he was sure the branch would join with him in raising their hands :). We said goodbye to his sister as well and she told me to come back and marry her son.  No!!  Sister Zamora tried to set me up with one of the elders this week too.  AND brother Martinez tried to get me to wait for his little brother.  Seriously I'm not getting married any time soon people!

Dora also told me that on the day I go home she's going to make posters and wait at the airport too say goodbye! She's so sweet :)

Concepcion and Xochitl both gave me bracelets, Hermana Ramos gave me lotion and jewelry, and president Alvarado bought me a ton of cookies.  I almost needed an extra bag just for the stuff I got this week!  

Finally on Tuesday I really had to leave.  I had a pretty bad attitude about going to the mountains and I "knew" I wouldn't love it like I did the valley.  Well, every mile we drove closer to Show Low I fell a little bit more in love.  It is GORGEOUS here.  Everything is surrounded by pines, it's quiet, it's clean, there is cold water that you can drink! And it's not a billion degrees!  I realized that while I wasn't very willing to change, I needed it.  I needed to get away from everything I knew and learn to teach a different people, a different style, and take a break from the worries and problems in Phoenix.  I feel great!. Camelback 1st will always be in my heart, but I'm going to enjoy this new chance to serve.  

View outside our apartment!
Show Low, Arizona

When I wake up I feel like I'm at the cabin!  All the houses are hidden inside the forest and sometimes we take dirt roads! It's gorgeous!!!! Except I'm really nervous about moose.....

My new companion - Hermana Erekson

Last night was hilarious though!  We finally pulled into Show Low at 8 pm after 3 hours of driving and a stop for dinner at Del Taco.  Sister Erekson (my new companion) told me we had to run a bible to someone real fast so we hopped in the car and left.  Well wouldn't you come some police lights.  We pull over and he tells us that my companion forgot to turn her lights on and that our insurance was expired.  We explained who we were, gave him all the info, and he went back to his patrol car for what felt like 20 minutes.  He comes back and gives us a warning then asks if his K9 can check our car for drugs!!!  We had to stand by his passenger door while the K9 sniffed our car.  I said "Did we pass?!" Trying to joke, and he said we were clean and to take a seat back in the car.  Hahahaha we are trying so hard not to explode laughing at this point.  He told us he did that so he can tell the courts that he checks everyone for drugs not just a certain race or something.  Whatever!!!  We finally got the bible to the lady and she ended up not needing it anymore.  Ohhhh man what an adventure :)

Our area is 2 wards and a Spanish group in a 3rd ward.  We have lots of people to visit....mainly less actives.  I was told they average only 1 lesson a day though so hopefully that changes quickly.  I'll go crazy!!  We have 11 less active Spanish families so hopefully I'll stay up with my Spanish pretty easily :).  

Thank you so much for your prayers this week, the adjustment is going so much smoother than I could have hoped for.  I love you and miss you!!!!  

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Hermana Short
Sent from my iPad
Sister Linford - one of my old sister roommates!

Monday, May 18, 2015

The 24 Hour Week!

Buenos Dias!

I feel like this week went by faster than any other week in the literally felt like 24 hours!  I was even having a hard time remembering what happened so I could write about it!  I did remember some key points to share though.

One last hike with the Zone leaders!

Ernie!! Last Monday evening we were going to have a good heart to heart with Ernie and tell him that if he doesn't feel ready then he needs to tell us so we can make new goals and plans for him.  Well he was ready!  He bore his testimony to us that he knows this is what he's supposed to do, and he's gotten that answer through a lot of study and prayer.  I was shocked!  We went through the baptism interview questions with him that night and sure enough....he was prepared :)  This Friday is the big day for him and I am ecstatic!  There's no better way to finish off my time here in Camelback 1st.   I am so proud of him.  Yay Ernie!!!

Xochitl and Daniel are doing fantastic!  We met with Xochitl this week to reteach the Plan of Salvation as part of her recent convert lessons.  She started telling us about how she had been studying the scriptures and she found a verse in the Bible about how before we were formed in the belly, God knew us. (Jeremiah 1:5)  She was so excited to have proved the plan of Salvation through her own scripture study :)  Daniel is also taking his baptism very seriously!  Xochitl said that when Junior tries to torment Daniel, Daniel will say to him "Junior don't make me mad!  You know I have anger problems, but I got baptized so I can't fight back!"  He's adorable :) 

Julie is a former investigator that we decided to stop by this week.  As we pulled up to her house, we saw her outside so we jumped out of the car to go talk to her.  She invited us in!  So I ran back to the car to grab my scriptures.  Well...while I was jogging to the car, there was a piece of the cement sticking up reasonably high, but I wasn't paying attention and didn't see it.  So I hit it with my foot and went flying!!  I don't remember much except for trying to save my face from hitting :)  I got a good scrape on my knee, bruised my hip, scraped my hand, and bruised my pride, but I was fine.  Julie felt bad so I tried to play it off like it didn't hurt when really it stung so bad!!!  Oh well, she wants us to start visiting her again so something good came out of it :)

Ouch!  Don't run in church shoes!

Valeria did a 24 hour mission with us this week!  She slept over Friday night and was with us all day on Saturday.  We love her and she did an awesome job! 

Lupita was soooo close to coming to church.  But on Friday her doctor told her she's on house arrest.  She had walked on her injured foot too much and caused it to heal the wrong way.  So they refixed it and told her she's stuck at home for 15 days.  She also tried to show us her foot but I closed my eyes....those things make me queasy.  

The Villa/Selinas family was supposed to be baptized next week, but they aren't quite ready.  They are still searching for answers.  They told us they want to keep learning from us and they will tell us when they are ready to set a new baptism date.  Fair enough :)  We taught about the prophet this week and they had a lot of questions, but are always willing to do their homework to find answers for themselves.  

This is the week our mission has been waiting for!  Ipad week!!!  Wednesday night will be like Christmas Eve, waiting for the big day on Thursday to finally come!  A general authority (Elder Evans) is coming to introduce them to us and scare us into being obedient.  Basically ;)

This Sunday I volunteered to speak in Sacrament meeting.  I felt I owed it to the branch to give them my last words.  Hopefully I can contain myself and attempt to portray through words how much I love them.  

Out of 17 recent converts in our branch since October.  3 were at church on Sunday :p  We as missionaries are trying to really emphasize retention of recent converts in our branch!  For dinner messages we have been taking each member a list of names and most of them have no idea who the converts even are :/  Also we are the highest baptizing unit in the mission right now. I'm pretty baptisms apparently aren't our problem.

Sisters Lakin, Pierson, Linford and Short

Well those are the big news stories of the week!  This next week is going to be CRAZY for me.  Remember I won't email again until next Wednesday, but I'm sure I'll have plenty to talk/cry about.  Sister Orozco was my first dinner in the mission, and on Monday she's having us over for my last dinner here in Phoenix.  It will be a rough one :(  But! Learning experiences are in store for me I'm sure so I will keep "enduring".  Haha thanks mom :)

I love you family!  Thank you for your letters and love :)  I miss you!!!!!

Love,  Hermana Short

Sister Pierson fell asleep in studies so I covered her in soap and later lotion :)

Flying beetles attacking us!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Rockin' the Roller Coaster

Talking to family on Mothers Day!

Hello family!

 It was so good to see you all yesterday :)  It felt good to laugh with my family again!

I told you a lot about what happened this week with Xochitl, but I'm going to write it all out again so it's saved!

Wednesday was supposed to be Xochitl's wedding!  But! Her husbands ID was expired so they couldn't get the marriage license that day :/   Tears welled in Xochitl's eyes and for the first time she began to sob in front of us.  She said "Hermanas I just want to get baptized."  I felt torn apart inside.  Tears welled in my own eyes as I then listened to what she had done.  Never in my life have I seen the faith that it took for her to make that decision.  Tears continued to fall as she told us "I've done what I can, I want to be baptized!  We called President Sweeney for permission and he said yes before I could finish the sentence!  Xochitl was ecstatic, and we were very proud missionaries :)

Xochitl, Concepcion, Lisa, and Martha

Friday Xochitl came to the branch party all dressed up and had a great time with her friends in the branch.  Concepcion and Martha Zamora have really taker her under their wings and it makes our job so easy.  

Saturday was the big day and we ran around all morning making preparations for the service.  I don't know if she or I was more excited :)  At 3 o'clock she walked in the doors with Daniel, and her 2 youngest boys Junior and Brayan.  After changing into white and taking pictures she sat next to me antsy and with an irremovable smile.  Everything was going pretty smoothly until it was her turn to go to the font.  Her 6 and 3 year old both freaked out!  I think they thought we were going to drown their mom or something :(  They put their hands and face to the glass and wailed and howled as if someone was torturing them!  No matter who tried to calm them down...they wanted none of it!  Xochitl just blocked them out though and Presidente Alvarado said the prayer.  Xochitl came out of the font grinning with tears in her eyes :)  One of the sisters brought the two boys into the bathroom right after and they wailed for another 10 minutes.  I was worried the Xochitl would be super frustrated and irritated, but literally nothing could take the smile off her face! Once done changing she was asked to bear her testimony and did an incredible job!  She talked about how Daniel first accepted the missionaries, how she got roped in the first time, and how after 10 months she finally got her answer.  It was super neat.  Daniel closed the service with the most adorable prayer I've ever heard.  He stood up at the front and froze with eyes wide when he saw all the people, then closed his eyes and talked as if it were just him and God :)  The kid's prayers are cute in English, but after he said this prayer in Spanish everyone was just oohing and ahhing. It was obvious he didn't mind the attention though!  Xochitl texted us later that night and tried to describe how great she felt.  She said "I'm so happy to be in the Church of Latter Day Saints, my new family :)

Xochiltl.... an incredible woman of faith!

In Sacrament meeting she was confirmed and that was a super powerful moment for me. In the 11 months I've been here, I've seen 7 of my investigators baptized and confirmed, but no confirmation brought the amount of pride and joy that I felt during Xochitl's :)  Every part of her is committed to the covenants and promises she made, she is turning her life inside-out to keep God's commandments, and she's learning how to teach her family correct principles. I absolutely adore that women!  After her confirmation, Daniel gave his testimony during the mothers day program.  In Spanish he said "I got baptized because I want to do what's good.  Also, since it's Mother's day, I am grateful for my mom.  All her kids lover her, and she loves them, but especially she loves me!  I never want to be far away from her."  The branch was drooling over him.  He's such a sweet heart :) And it meant a lot to Xochitl.  Her younger two still scream at church so she left them home, but it will be exciting for those 3 boys to be raised in the gospel.  Hopefully next Christmas Junior won't tell me that we are celebrating Santa Clause ;)

Another miracle on Sunday was watching Ernie walk into the building!  He doesn't like us to make a big deal out of it.....but we do :)  He told us at church that he has 2 days off now.  Fridays (so he can come to sports night) and Sundays :)  I couldn't believe the miracles God has been working on this week!  If everything goes as planned and prayed for....Ernie will be interviewed this week and baptized next week :)  And I think Hermana Clark is flying down for it!!

Courtney sent me a big hug!!

Lupita was centimeters away from making it to church this week!  She was all dressed and ready to go, President Alvarado went to pick her up, and she told him her friend was bringing her in a couple minutes with Yasury and the girls.  President saw that Yasury and the girls were all dressed for church too so he trusted them and left.  Well they never came.  We visited Lupita last night and she said "I should have gone with Alvarado!!!! Juan was so late!!"  She promised to go with him next week even if she has to go alone.  

The Hernandez family couldn't meet with us this week and they didn't come to church because of Mothers Day events, but this week we'll get them back on track.  

The Villa/Selinas family also missed church :(  We did have a good lesson with the wife this week about why we have the Book of Mormon.  Sometimes I feel like we teach that to every investigator 5 times before they get it.  But so far they've always ended up getting it :)

We finally got back into Valeria's mom's house.  We were walking around her complex and caught Elvira outside so she invited us in :)  She basically tried to tell us to quit coming over because she has no desire to learn about the gospel. At this point I was constrained to be bold, and I felt like Elder Holland when he spoke about the Book of Mormon.  I may have shocked my companion, but Elvira needed to hear what the Spirit was trying to get past her.  I told her that if she doesn't try to learn and live the gospel of Jesus Christ, then one day she will have to stand before God's face and tell him that.  I told her that we as missionaries aren't here wasting our time, we come here for people like her who have forgotten what it feels like to have desires to be better.  I had to tell her there is no such thing as "normal" life.  You can't live day to day aimlessly wondering when it will end.  There must be purpose, and if Christ's not her purpose then she'll never progress, and that's not good.  She just stared at me and said "Ok."  We ended with a prayer and as I hugged her goodbye I said "We'll be can't chase us off yet :)"  She smiled and said ok....but I know that won't be the end of her hesitations. Baby steps!

Elder Hernandez and I were not very good at flower arranging :)

Besides all of this we had some fun activities!  Our Branch had a Mothers Day party on Friday with double the people that come to church!  My companion and I sat at the single ladies' table with Concepcion, Xochitl, Lisa, and Martha Zamora :)  They're a fun little group....even when they make fun of my sugar addiction.  I didn't even eat that much ice cream!

 Today the 6 of us branch missionaries went golfing!  We did the driving range and I wasn't very good....I try to hit it like a softball, but apparently it's all about technique and not how hard you swing.  I missed the ball more than I hit it!  I knew dad and Grandpa would be ashamed ;)  We then had a putting competition and Sister Pierson and I were a team and tied 2 of the Elders for first place!  Mainly because Sister Pierson is a good shot, but I helped a couple of times :)

Camelback Branch missionaries

So there's our roller coaster week! We ended on a really high point, and I'm hoping we can coast there for awhile because transfers might be the hardest part of my mission so far.  Before I knew about transfers I had only cried 5 times on my mission.  Now tears in my eyes are a daily occurance.  I don't know how I'll say goodbye to these people....aghhhhh life isn't fair!  I'm excited for a new opportunity to serve, but man change is hard!  

I love you family!! Happy Mothers day again :)  Now it's my birthday month so Jensyn and Karsyn should work on writing weekly letters for my birthday month.  Maybe since I'm gone we can make it 2 months this year!!  Yeah!!!  hahaha

11 months today!!
I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Hermana Short

Monday, May 4, 2015

There is a rainbow!

Dear Family,

Remember last week how I told you that thunderstorms bring rainbows?  This week brought a HUGE rainbow!  Are you ready for this?? 

Thursday I was on exchanges with Sister Noorda in my area and I was only starting to stress a tiny bit about Xochitl because her interview was the next day and she couldn't be interviewed without a wedding date set.  She called us at about 3 pm and asked us when her interview was.  I told her,  "tomorrow Hermana! At 3 pm!" She said "Ok!" and tried to hang up.  I quickly stopped her, "Wait! Hermana remember you have to be married or have a wedding date set!" She says "I know!  Tomorrow right?" "Yes?" "Ok, adios!" Ay ay ay I shrugged it off and moved on.  I wasn't getting my hopes up for that date to come through.  Then we got a text from her 6 hours later on our way home from the night.  Translated it said "Hermana, I'm happy and I couldn't wait til tomorrow to tell you that I have a date for the 6th of May! You can't imagine how we came to agree I only know that God puts the means and uses the people we least expect."  It was probably not safe that I was driving when my companion read that to me because I freaked out!  I honestly don't know if I've ever been happier on my mission than in that moment! :)  She was interviewed the next day, passed, we set up her marriage affairs for this Wednesday and BAM she will be a member by Sunday!  I am so incredibly proud of the faith she has had, and it is ONLY because of her faith that this is happening.  Let me tell you why... 

Xochiltl at Baptism interview

Xochitl's mother-in-law does not like her.  She tells Eduardo he should leave her and find a better wife, she says mean things about her kids, and she never comes to Xochitl's house to visit the family, they always have to go to her.  On Thursday Eduardo announced that his mother was coming over and Xochitl thought that was weird, and obviously didn't really want her to, but she cleaned the house anyway and let her come.  As Xochitl was resting in the family room, she heard Eduardo and his mom talking, and his mother told him that if Xochitl was going to be a church-going-woman, then she needed to be married or it just wasn't right.  Xochitl said that she perked up and listened intensely.  The mom continued to talk about it, and Xochitl stepped in to give her two cents.  She said things started to get contentious so she stepped back out and let them handle it.  After the mom left Xochitl asked Eduardo what he thought and he said he would marry her on the 6th of May!!!!  Xochitl just kept telling us how her mother-in-law was on an errand of God because normally she would have never said that, but God knew that the mom was the only person Eduardo would listen to.  I'm amazed at God's ability to soften hearts this week!  

In other news....we are getting iPads on May 19th!!  Let me tell you...excitement is thick in the mission :)  Also!!!  We are getting music back tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The music purge is over and we're being allowed to follow the white handbook standards again :)  I'm ecstatic for that one.  Could you please send me back my 2014 EFY CD?  I miss it so much.....

I got some sad news this week.   I'm leaving the valley completely :(  On May 26th I'm headed to Show Low, Arizona which is about 3 hours north from where I am at!  Every time I tell a member, I have to change the subject really fast because I choke up.  Sister Orozco is not taking it well :(  I will be 2nd half training a missionary that came in last transfer.  We will be over 3 English wards and we will translate for the Spanish people.  It will be a completely new challenge and I'm up for it, but I won't lie.....I'm devastated.  I found this out on Friday when I was at the mission office for Mission Leadership Council.  I poked my head into President's office and he pulled me in to show me the news.  It was all I could not to cry....but I knew it was coming.  The Lord knows best and I will trust in his hand. :)

Mission Leadership Council was good.  That is where we, under the direction of President Sweeney, decided that our mission is living the law of Moses rather than the Higher Law as taught by Jesus Christ.  So we changed our mission culture and we are going back to just the white handbook.  We will be agents unto ourselves :)  It will be harder from a leadership perspective to correct and guide missionaries to live a higher standard, but I'm not going to lie....Mormon Tabernacle Choir is getting super old.  It will be nice to listen to other spiritual music!

As of today we have 8 people on date for baptism.  Xochitl, Ernie, and the Villa couple.  Then this week we added 3 people from the Hernandez family, and Lupita (Lorenzo's wife) again.  

Ernie got the Word of Wisdom lesson again this week, and he took notes :)  He can't wrap his head around the "why not coffee or tea?"  He's really struggling with it.  We've approached it from every angle I can think of, Sister Clark has called and explained it to him, he's read talks, but he just can't accept it.  Also....he got a 3rd job and dropped the one he was working on Sundays.  But now both his other jobs have him working Sundays.  He's kind of like Xochitl right now in that we are just waiting for him to make a act on what we've taught.  It takes patience and trust in the Lord's timing, but I do have faith he'll make it there :)

We decided to surprise visit the Villa/Selinas family this week and only the wife Oralia was available to talk to us, but it was a really good lesson :)  She talked about how what we teach feels right, but that her other family members are trying to pull her into their religion and she just feels torn.  We taught about prayer and using specific questions to get specific answers.  She then asked us how to know she's getting an answer. We read Galatians 5 with her and explained the fruits of the Spirit.  She pondered it for a minute and then committed to pray again this week.  We can't move on until she begins to get answers from heaven :)

The Hernandez family is a former family we were teaching after they randomly walked into church one day.  The mom was pregnant and exhausted so we gave them a break for about a month and now we are back and they are more prepared.  We taught them the gospel of Jesus Christ lesson and then focused on their need to come to church.  Immediately after the lesson a member drove the oldest daughter to young womens and we went with her.  She had a lot of good fellow-shipping going on and though the activity was boring, she was able to make new friends.  Then on Sunday we were extremely excited to see them waiting for us in the foyer!  The oldest 4 kids went to their classes and then the mom Maria and her mom, and the new baby came to Relief Society.  By the time sacrament rolled around the kids were a bit rowdy, but only one had to be taken out.  Hopefully they saw that it was manageable and they will come again next week!

We went to visit Lupita this week and she has a yearning desire to learn.  We taught her and Yasury the law of chastity this week and luckily there were no problems.  Lupita promised us Lorenzo was going to take her to church...but none of them came this week.  President Alvarado even tried to pick them up and they said they weren't dressed yet.  Patience...patience...
We will keep trying with her, and hopefully we can outsmart Lorenzo :)

Octavio's sister Juanita is our next closest investigator to being on baptism date.  She is going through a hard time in her life right now, and as we've taught her the Plan of Salvation, her purpose in life, and that she has a loving Heavenly Father, she's really opened up to us.  She said the longest prayer I've ever heard on my mission the other day!  She just laid everything out to God in front of us.  It was really neat :)  

This week is going to be pretty stressful. Coordinating a wedding and baptism for one, then Sister Lakin and I have to give a 75 minute training with the zone leaders in 2 different zones tomorrow, and we have other meetings and exchanges to plan out.  I like being busy helps me forget that I'm leaving Camelback.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY ON THURSDAY MOM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'll tell you Happy Mothers Day in person :) :)  

I love you family!  I can't wait to talk to you on Sunday!!!!!  

I love you, I Love You, I LOVE YOU

Hermana Short