February 26, 2015

Week 37: Mi Primera Hija

Well here I am with transfer news/ updates!  On Tuesday I found out that I will be training a brand new hermana for these next 12 weeks!! Hermana Flores is 22 years old from Mexico City-- doesn't speak english which I love because I continue to speak epañol 24./7--- it is such a privilege to be able to train as I am the 2nd/ 3rd american sister to train in this mission.  We are here in my new area...MIGUEL ALEMAN... about 20 minutes away from my old area Sada Vidrio.

So I think what I have learned this week is the duty of responsibility and independence: On tuesday I was handed the apartment keys, cell phone, and we arrived at the apartment with all of our luggage only to find notes on our desks of people's addresses and a map haha!  normally one companion stays in the area to teach the new companion the area, people, but since we are BOTH new here I am having to find my around/ the needs of the investigadores AND teach Hermana Flores everything at the same time haha!  Not to mention I have had to call the water heater people to come repair our gas tank so we can have hot showers.....Mom/ Dad you would be proud ;) Man this week has been exhausting, but it is so fun being a trainer.  It's awesome being able to show Hermana Flores the life of a missionary...how we teach, plan, organize all the info-  it's a big responsibility because I am the influence that is helping her instill habits for the rest of her 18 months as a missionary.

Train up a child in the way she should go:  and when she is old, she will not depart from it  Proverbs 22:6

the desperate need for hot showers 
Hermana Flores has such a positive upbeat attitude, with the desire to learn everything.  It's great because every advice, tip I give her, she puts in practice right away.  Every morning we have 1 hour of personal study, 1 hour of companionship study, 1 hour of training, and 1 hour of language study.  Although I am the one training her, I am learning so so much on my end.  I'm grateful for all of the advice I have recieved from my first 2 companions and now I can pass it all down to my hija :) 

Yesterday at church was a bit weird being in a new chapel!  I really miss my old ward....especially the delicious meals everyday....but I know this ward will be great too.  The chapel here is a lot bigger....with pews inside and a nice piano...and in total there are 2 elders and us here in the ward.  There are about 80 active members.  Just like in Sada Vidrio, I am the first american sister to be here in the ward haha so it's fun :)  all the primary kids kept wanting to touch my hair hahaha it was reallly cute. All the people casually stare at my in the street too as they haven't seen an american girl for quite a while.... I also recieved an official ward calling....WARD PIANIST haha!  So I officially play the hymns in sacrament meeting now.  It's interesting to feel/ see the different dynamics in the ward/ area compared to Sada Vidrio.... Miguel Aleman has a lot more younger people/ families, and here in monterrey there is a clear difference between wealth status (Miguel Aleman is one of the wealthiest area in the mission).  My area is pretty sweet-- the biggest, nicest mcdonalds I have ever seen haha, a GIANT walmart, other american stores/ food places.... I'M SET.  And our apartment isn't above a sketchy food shop!  #score

Well we are working super hard here and I know we will see many miracles.
Shout out to the only other blonde sista in the mish!!



February 17, 2015

Week 36: Bittersweet

Well Folks, my 30 week reign here in Sada Vidrio is officially coming to a close. Last night I recieved the call that I am being transferred.Tomorrow I will get my new companion and new area! Words can't describe how I am currently feeling.  Words can't describe how many people here have touched my life, how many stories have opened my eyes, and how grateful I am for having served here.  I have had 2 companions teach me qualities that have strengthened me as a person and a missionary, and I have witnessed the personal conversions of 3 people (Dana, Patricio, Victor) and their baptisms.  I have seen weak church members regain their strong testimonies, the ward grow in numbers, more excitement from ward members about missionary work, and more than anything else the humility and gratitude the people have for every single blessing God has given them in life.  When I first arrived here in July, it was a really hard transition for me...completely lost in the language, different lifestyle, but here is where I have learned to lean on the Lord during every moment of loneliness.
I know that everything happens for a reason.  I know that I have learned what I needed to learn here in Sada Vidrio and that now the Lord needs me somewhere else with someone else!  I have completed the first chapter of my mission, and it's really sad to realize that I will probably never see some of these people ever again as you rarely return back to your old areas..... but their stories will always stay with me.
Well Hermana Mendoza and I have had an awesome 4 months together, and although we are completely different, we made up for each other's weaknesses.  hahaha we have had lots of crazy times.  
I am going to miss these people so much

I'm super excited for tomorrow!!! It will also be great because I will get to see a lot of my friends here share their last testimonies before heading home...it's actually super sad when your friends start to return home.  I'll fill you all in on the deets next week.  As hard as it is to accept "change" in life, we need change in order to progress and learn as human beings.  So whatever changes you guys are going through, accept them and learn to enjoy them and put your trust in the Lord that there is always a reason behind everything.

freezing apartment....huddled around our heater every morning to study
and this is a SHOUT OUT TO CHLOE BRAY....I feel your pain gurl.  The natural ombre look wasn't workin' out for me either, so I had to spice things up by going to a hair stylist who has never done blonde high lights before:
a sister missionary's biggest fear is when a man suddenly touches her shoulder hahaha

"the past is behind:  learn from it.
the future is ahead:  prepare for it.
the present is here.  Live in it!"  Pres Monson

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches


February 13, 2015

Week 35: Victor Manuel Rodriguez Moreno

These past 8 months I have witnessed many miracles, and yesterday was one of them as we watched Victor be baptized!  Here is a little background on how we found him/ his backstory:

Early December Hermana Mendoza and I decided to pray and fast with a specific desire:  "Padre Celestial, ayúdanos a encontrar alguien que pueda ser un futuro misionero" "Heavenly Father, help us find someone who can be a future missionary".  A few weeks passed and walking down a street we found Victor sitting out front with a friend.  We presented ourselves, and He went in and got his mom, who accepted a visit for the following week.  When we visited, we learned that Victor and RosaMaria live solo- aunts and uncles visiting everyday- but that Victor has never known his father.  The only income they recieve is from the tacos/ tamales that Rosamaria sells, earning enough to only let Victor recieve education up until the 8th grade.  Victor has a passion for futbol, but injured his foot leading him to use a cane every once in a while.  Victor is 18 years old, very obedient to his mom, courteous, and since day 1 has gone to church with us each sundayand done all his "homeworks" we have given him.  Him and His mom have been raised catholic but never went to mass, leading them to believe in God but wanting to really know that God's plan is for each of us.  Victor accepted the first baptismal date, and his mom loves to listen to us but does not have a desire to be baptized.  Yesterday was the first time she went to church which was HUGE so we will continue to pray really hard for her :)

Yesterday's baptismal service was perfect.  Hot summer weather, and the room was filled with members supporting him- seriously so great to see.  Ezekiel Gomez, who baptized Victor, got baptized exactly a year ago on Feb 8th so that was really special as well (Dad....he is the one with the meat business and the house we skyped at for christmas :) )  us and the elders sang "Divina Luz"....Lead Kindly Light.....which was gorgeous, but the best part of the service was listening to the testimony of Hermano Victor.  You could tell he was pretty nervous haha but seriously his testimonio was so genuine and humble.....explaining this grand change and pure joy he has felt thanks to "two angels that came into his life" hahah Hermana Mendoza and I wanted to cry....!  He bore truth of the Book of Mormon, and how he knows he has to share these truths with all those he comes in contact with.  It was pretty incredible sitting there, with my arm around his mom, listening to him, knowing that the fast and prayer we offered in December really had been answered:  Victor is a the future missionary that the Lord placed in our path.

"Remember, the worth of souls is great in the sight of God...Wherefore you are called to cry repentance unto this pepole.  And if it so be that you should labor all your days...and bring save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of the my Father!" DyC 18: 10-15
all the kids my age in the ward, and the bishop
Well...next sunday we get transfer news!  I have been here in Sada Vidrio since July...So it may be my last week here but who knows.  I seriously love the ward members here sooo much...I have had so many incredible memories and really hope I don't get transferred, but we will soon see!
  us with our ward mission leader #thecrew

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches


February 08, 2015

Tender Mercies (Week 34)

Us at the temple this morning!
So I just want to begin by saying that we have seen the hand of the Lord so much this week!  We have seen lots of tender mercies and answered prayers.

Sundays:  The craziest day of the week.  In the morning we are crazily running around knocking on doors getting our investigadores to go to church with us, and to make us even more stressed out, this past sunday we found Pres. Bird sittin' smack dab in the middle of the congregation as we walked in 5 min late...luckily with 2 investigadores hahaah (the mission presidente makes his casual visits to all the wards).  This past sunday was probably one of the best sundays I have had here....so many members got up to bear powerful testimonies (many of which were about missionary work) and a miracle was witnessed as right in the middle of the meeting in walked a family I had taught back in september by complete surprise!  They weren't really progressing so we stopped teaching them, but now we will see if they are more interested.  I swear...the Lord has his timing for every individual....as missionaries we are solely instruments and He directs us and prepares those in our paths.

This past monday our golden investigador, Victor Manuel, had his baptismal inverview, and he is set to be baptized this sunday!  On monday I will write in my email more of his background story, but he really has been progressing so well and the driving influence has been one crucial aspect:  the support of the members.  Las Familias Gomez and Sanchez have invited him over for dinners, each week he goes to institute class with the other young single adults,  and one couple even bought him his own leather set of scriptures that we are going to give him this sunday.  I am so so greatful for the love and support of the members because this will help Victor stay an active, converted member of this church.
My ZoneThis week we also found a woman who got baptized 4 years ago but is now inactive.  We entered her home, sang a hymn, and with tears in her eyes she told us she has not felt this warm spirit in her home for so long and that she has greatly missed it.  I can't begin to explain how powerful the spirit is each time we teach...the spirit is the teacher and the converter- not us missionaries.  This message really is so true, and even when people reject us, they can't deny the powerful presence of the spirit.
A quote I read this week that I love:

None of us likes to admit when we are drifting off the right course.  Often we try to avoid looking deeply into our souls and confronting our weaknesses, limitations, and fears.  Consequently, when we do examine our lives, we look through the filter of biases, excuses, and stories we tell ourselves inorder to justify unworthy thoughts and actions.  But being able to see ourselves clearly is essential to our spiritual growth and well-being.  If our weaknesses and short comings remain obscured in the shadows, then the redeeming power of the Savior cannot heal them and make them strengths.  Ironically, our blindness toward our human weaknesses will also make us blind to the divine potential that Heavenly Father yearns to nurture within each of us.  Pres Uchtdorf
  Our friend Elder Bautista goes home in a week *missionary air hug* hahaha
Classic Missionary Selfies:

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches