Monday, February 29, 2016

Week 53

Look what I found in Walmart! Minions!!! I thought it was a great deal at 248 pesos for the set,
but it ended up ringing up for 150 pesos, that's like 9 dollars:D

Well, I'm leaving Cadereyta!! :(  I had a feeling I would be leaving, but I was hoping I could stay at least another transfer because it's literally the best area ever and I love everything about it! It's the only town with bikes so I'll be saying goodbye to her soon :/ Also the members here are the best, I'll miss them as well as all the wonderful investigators we have here, but I'll be keeping in touch with Elder Torres to hear about all the baptisms he'll be having here soon :D It's a bummer I couldn't be here to see more of them, but the important thing is that they can continue getting closer to our Savior and hopefully someday be able to make covenants with him.

This Sunday, two investigators went to church, which was a little sad considering how many we had planned, but I have faith that next week will improve for Elder Torres and his new companion (whoever it ends up being). We had a family night with the Reyes Ramirez Family of 7 at a members house and it was awesome! We taught about the Book of Mormon and watched a video about it, with lots of great questions and comments from everyone and at the end we ate sweet bread and drank orange juice. I loved it and I could see that the family did as well! We gave them 3 Books of Mormon for now since that's all we had and committed them to read. Later in the week, we called them and they had read the entire first chapter and asked if they should continue reading or wait until we pass by! Of course, we said they can keep going :)

Everyone keeps telling me I'm going to be raised up to Zone Leader, which I doubt because I only have 1 transfer as District Leader, but we'll see what happens tomorrow. Also, they'll tell us where we are going and with who later tonight. Again I'm sad to be leaving here, but I'm ready to take on whatever the Lord has in store for me! 

We went to a mall that has a Walmart;
the first time I've been to Walmart in 1 year!!!

Salmon for Breakfast! (A member gifted me it:D )

The mall has a pirate ship:O

Large Pizza for each of us:P

The amazing view from the Hospital (I had a follow up this week) 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Week 52

Like my sick ride? ;D

Just as I thought things were turning around, everything seemed to come crashing down this week. One by one, all of our investigators nearing baptism began to fall for reasons of insecurity, health, or economic reasons, or straight up deciding to give up. It's been hard for me to see them struggle and I've never felt so pained to see another miss or postpone their opportunity to change their lives, but I've come to rely on the Lord more and more. To let go of the sorrow that I feel when they fall because I know the Lord has a plan and everything will fall into place for the better. It's been amazing to see how He lifts my spirits every time I feel like giving up. Also, I have seen how much my Heavenly Father knows and loves me through these trials.

There has always been something that lifted my spirits back up. The biggest one recently was the Reyes Ramirez Family we found just over a week ago. They are a family of 7, Felipe (Dad) Monica (Mom) and 5 girls, Gloria (13), Natalia (10), Valeria (8), Alison (4) and Jennifer (3). I've already come to love this family so much and they amaze me more and more. They have been reading and praying as a family between every visit and made it to church this Sunday:D Also they mixed in really well with the ward and made some good friendships already. We have a family night planned with them this Tuesday at a members house!

My district struggled this week due to sicknesses which has been rough. A sister, Sister Sousa, is sick to her stomach with something similar to what I suffered, and the other, Elder Garcia, has a small tear in his meniscus, so I can feel a lot of sympathy for the both of them. Luckily just as the Lord has helped me through these trials in my life, I know he can help them as well:)

It started getting really hot again this week. In fact, I started sleeping with the windows open and a fan going again! Tomorrow it's supposed to get up to 94, yikes! Anyway, other than that I guess I hit my 1 year mark...what!? I honestly can't believe that...but I am so grateful for all the amazing experiences as well as trials I have had this year because they have helped me to grow and come closer to my Savior. I hope to continue giving my all to the Lord this next year because it's such a blessing this short time I have and I don't want to waste a minute of it!

My motivation! :)

My companion and me, with our bikes outside of the Church building

Monday, February 15, 2016

Weeks 50 and 51

Baptism Pictures! (Jose Angel had an accident last Sunday and was operated on Saturday, It's nothing serious, just adjusting some screws that got out of place inside him, a year ago when a horse fell on him and he broke a ton of bones and had plates and screws put in...He's suffered a lot and I have learned so much from his will power! I hope he'll be able to make it to church this week because he still needs to be confirmed)

¡Feliz Dia de Amor y Amistad a todos! Happy Valentines Day everyone!. Yes, we celebrate it here, but it's called Love and Friendship Day more commonly. Although, they sometimes call it Dia de San Valentino (Saint Valentines Day:P).

It's been quite the crazy week, to be honest, and I learned a lot of lessons. The biggest one I want to share I learned yesterday. We had worked super hard all week and had everything lined up for Sunday, but one by one everything fell apart. Of the 16 investigators sure to make it to church, only ONE made it and she wasn't even planned. The worst part was the members of the Ramirez Family, who were supposed to have their baptism interview, but also didn't show up. I was honestly a little frustrated. Why didn't Heavenly Father bring us the fruits of our labors? Why do all the doors that we've worked so hard to open seem to be closing?

Later on, in Priesthood Quorum, we had a lesson on adversity (no small coincidence for me). President Hunter taught me a very valuable lesson. In the manual "Teaching of the Presidents of the Church: Howard W Hunter", it says,

“Being human, we would expel from our lives physical pain and mental anguish and assure ourselves of continual ease and comfort, but if we were to close the doors upon sorrow and distress, we might be excluding our greatest friends and benefactors. Suffering can make saints of people as they learn patience, long-suffering, and self-mastery” [Faith Precedes the Miracle (1972), 98].

In that statement, President Kimball refers to closing doors upon certain experiences in life. … Doors close regularly in our lives, and some of those closings cause genuine pain and heartache. But I do believe that where one such door closes, another opens (and perhaps more than one), with hope and blessings in other areas of our lives that we might not have discovered otherwise.

I knew that this was God answering my prayers and reassuring my doubts and I am so grateful to know that he truly knows and loves me:D

Also, this week in my studies I starting reading about Joseph Smith since I came across the book of his life/teachings. I absolutely LOVE learning about the prophet Joseph Smith! I'd just like to share quickly some quotes about him I loved from "Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith":

Orson Spencer, a Baptist minister who joined the Church in 1841: “In doctrine, Mr. Smith is eminently scriptural. I have never known him to deny or depreciate a single truth of the Old and New Testaments, but I have always known him to explain and defend them in a masterly manner."

This helped strengthen my testimony that Joseph Smith really was called of God because I tend to think of him as a prophet who taught from pure revelations and the Book of Mormon, but these words about how he taught assure me that he knew and loved ALL the words of the prophets from the beginning.

Mary Ann Stearns Winters, a stepdaughter of Elder Parley P. Pratt: “The Holy Spirit lighted up his countenance till it glowed like a halo around him, and his words penetrated the hearts of all who heard him."

Oh, how amazing it must have been to witness such a man radiate with the power of God. I know that he was called of God to restore the Church and I hope to be able to get to know him more and learn from his teachings :)

Anyways it started getting hot again already, but it's still a little cool outside at night for now so that's good! My stomach is continuing to improve and I'm now able to eat just about normally, thanks again for all your prayers and support! Love you all!!

Even though I couldn't watch the Superbowl, I guess I was in the football mood because I bought a football and a donut shaped like a football:D

I like getting creative with my food a little (yes that's salsa on an apple):P

Monday, February 1, 2016

Week 49

There's sooooo much to tell you all about this week so I'll get going on writing. First of all, I went to see the doctor, who attended me during my stay at Doctors Hospital, last Thursday and there's good news and bad news....well, let's start with the bad news to get it over with. I have a type bacteria which has been causing the gastritis and stomach problems, and it's actually something I had already been tested for when I started having problems, but the blood test wasn't accurate I guess because based on the biopsy they took when I was in the hospital, I am positive for the same bacteria. Alright, now the good news. With antibiotics, the bacteria should be killed off and with it will go the stomach problems and gastritis! And the best part is he said I should be back to eating normal and being able to exercise and play sports again:D Also it never was that I was eating a terrible diet or anything. It was something I caught from food I ate, which brought months of problems. All being said, I am so happy to be able to get back to normal here in a few weeks. I will be seing the docter in a month for the last time, if all goes well!

Okay enough about my health, this week was AMAZING!!! We taught a TON of lessons this week and 10 investigators made it to sacrament! Also a bunch of less active/semi-active members made it so the ward was full for the first time since I've arrived here! Also, with all the new work left by the other Elders, we've been able to line up baptisms every week for the next month, if all goes as planned, starting with a young man named Jose Angel who's in a part member family and has overcome many addictions to get to this point. I am so blessed and happy to be here doing the Lord's work and I hope to continue to see miracles:D

This week I came across a scripture I had read before, but it's been quite a while and I loved it a lot. It's in Doctrine and Covenants 78:19 and says, "And he who receiveth all things with thankfulness shall be made glorious; and the things of this earth shall be added unto him, even an hundred fold, yea, more."

Let us learn to be more grateful for what we have, instead of complaining about what we don't have or always desiring more and more. Then, we can see the hand of God more abundantly in our lives and we will begin to recognize mountains of blessings.

Well, I am super happy to be here in the work of the Lord and am truly the most blessed person on Earth. Love you all!! Thank you so much for your prayers and support. I know it hasn't been in vain as I've seen miracles because of them. :D. Also, sorry, but this week I can't send any pictures since my adapter isn't working on this computer, for some reason.

I watched Ryan's proposal to Krystina and felt so warm and happy for them that tears began flowing. I wish the best for them and good luck with all the planning. Sounds like it's a lot of work! Just remember to find time to give thanks and not stress out too much because it's a happy time for the family :).