July 27, 2015

WEEK 59: H E A T

Heat.  I can't think of any other creative title for this week's post.  Man this weather is so hot everyday......38-40 degrees celcius which is basically 100 degrees fahrenheit every day!  We have the daily routine of trying different homemade popsicles that people sell in their homes.  The only thing that monterrey lacks is the BEACH.  What's super nice though is we have one of the few houses in the mish with a mini air conditioning system :)  So at night we just blast the cold air.
What a fabulous week we had.  Things here in America just keep getting better and better.  Yesterday Jorge was confirmed and received the gift of the holy ghost and he is just so stoked and happy.  He accompanied us yesterday afternoon to visit one of our investigadores, and he just LOVES sharing with people this happiness and change he has experienced through the gospel.

WEEKLY HIGHLIGHTS:

God answers prayers.  One afternoon we were on splits and I went with hermana Nina to go teach.  She is the woman in the wheel chair i have mentioned before.  I was pushing her along in the street when we happened to come across a disabled woman having difficulties trying to cut her aloe vera plant for her leg pains.  I went over to help her, and she caught sight of Hna Nina and let us in to share a message.  This woman, Teresa, began to explain all of her body pains and how she lives completely alone.  Hna Nina began to share her testimony that this gospel keeps her happy and strong through trials.  After our little message, Teresa happily announced that she had a little surprise for Hna Nina.  She rolled in her wheel chair in order to grab the gift inside, and later returned with a big bag of adult diapers.  I couldn't help but have the biggest smile on my face, as literally that same day Hna Nina had expressed to us that she and her father had run out of adult diapers and didn't have money to buy more for this week.  Hna Nina heartily thanked hna Teresa, and hna Teresa just had tears strolling down her face. The spirit was so strong as I sat between these 2 women in their wheel chairs, knowing that the Lord had led us to Teresa and inspired her to give Hna Nina this needed gift.

God Answers Prayers.  Last night at 8:30 pm we were with Estefania and we wanted to find one last person to teach in the 30 minutes that remained.  We decided to say a prayer in her car, asking for guidance, and afterwards recieved the inspiration to check a reference we recieved from a member.  We knocked, and no one was home.  We decided to walk down that street to see if anyone would recieve us.  After about 3 rejections, we saw a lit home and knocked.  A kid ran out and later got his mom who let us in.  We sang a song about the family, and Priscila, the mom, was very interested and explained to us that she had been praying and asking God to bless her with the wisdom to guide her children on the right path.  We happily testified that she was the answer to the prayer we had offered in the car, and that this message would truly help her.  We talked about El Libro de Mormon and gave her a copy, and she said she had just finished reading a book and was in the process of finding something else to read!  She was literally a direct answer to the prayer we had offered in the car, and I am excited to see how she will progress.
Verily Verily i say unto thee, blessed art thou for what thou hast done; for thou hast inquired of me, and behold, as often as thou has inquired thou hast recieved instruction of my spirit.  If it had not been so, thou wouldst not have come to this place where thou art at this time  DC 6:14

Every day is filled with these experiences.
view from the roof of one of our neighbors
In august we have 3 people planned to be baptized who are progressing so well; Yaretzi, Jose Guadalupe, and Marcelina.  I will give their backstories next time, but they are golden!  Marcelina is a single mom with a rebellious 15 year old daughter, and she has read almost the whole book of mormon in a month.  She has had a smoking problem for the last 30 years so we are helping her quit to prepare for baptism.  She says whenever she feels tempted, she reads the book of mormon and always feels better.  El Libro de mormon has impacted her so much that she is going to dedicate / write a note in it for her nephew and give it to him as a gift- as he is currently in jail and she knows it will help him.  We visit her everyday, and each time she just knows more and more in her heart that these things are true.
A man in my ward loves to write poetry, and he wrote this poem about sister missionaries and wanted to put a photo of us on it and make copies for everyone he knows hahaha!  So all the ward members have this poem with a pic of us.  It's pretty funny.  But the poem is amazing and he framed it for me-- it will be something I treasure forever.
attention please......I successfully did not get lice from my companion!

Sunday we get transfer news-- I hope with ALLLLL my heart that I don't get transferred!  Talk to yáll on monday or tuesday!

 Jessica, a 15 year old in my ward

PRAY WITH FAITH.  AND YOU WILL SEE MIRACLES.
  California Love


C O N  A M O R
hermana riches

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July 26, 2015

Week 58: Vestido en Blanco


Vestido en Blanco.  Dressed in white.  Yesterday Jorge Alvarado Lopez entered the waters of baptism, received the remission of his sins, and took upon himself the name of Jesus Christ.  It has been very special meeting with him pretty much every day for the past 2 months-- i have seen so many changes in him.  At the beginning, he was a little close minded with lots of doubts, but as he began to really discover for himself and read El Libro de Mormon, the answers came flooded in.  Yesterday at his baptismal service, he spoke for about 10 min how he had been praying to God before we showed up at his door, listening to different religions trying to find the one that was the true church of Jesus Christ.  He has suffered from a terrible liver disease, jobless, and when he started to go to church, these problems diminished.  He calls us and the members ängeles de Dios/ angels of God.  Him and his daughter Yaretzi have recieved all of our lessons (his wife is still very catholic) and he will be baptizing Yaretzi within the next month or so :) Jorge really is such a strong example to me of someone who is firm in his faith and won't deny the answers he has received.  He is so determined!  He has experienced lots of harsh treatment from family members due to his decision, be he tells us that "nothing will change his mind"..  A special surprise I prepared for his baptismal service was the past month I took sheet music from the artist Jenny Phillips, learned it on the piano, and wrote a song in spanish for him, and I played it and had a mini choir with Estefania, hna espinosa, hna guillen, and hna salinas (they came to the baptismal service) and us 5 sang it together.  wow it was so powerful-- so many wonderful comments from everyone.  

"For my soul delighteth in the son of the heart, yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads" DC 25: 12
This past week we had our zone conference..... i only have 1 conference left!!!!  Pres Bird always makes us laugh-- but it was also filled with lots of strong spiritual insights.  One high light was the importance of taking the sacrament each sunday-- bread and water in memory of Jesus' Christ's sacrifice.  We are literally repenting each sunday of all that we did wrong that week, and committing to be more like Christ.  Some questions that you can ask yourself while taking the sacrament:

1) ¡quien soy yo?  Who Am I?
2) Que estoy haciendo?  What am i doing?
3) Como estoy viviendo?  How Am i living?
4)  A donde me voy?  Where am i going?  
5) que estoy realizando? What am I carrying out / making happen?

I testify that it is highly important to take the sacrament each week, to renew the covenants we made at baptism.
I love them
Well this week started the famous "CANICULA" Monterrey's 40 hottest days of the year.  Also- my companion discovered she has lice....so i am keeping as much distance as i can hahah alately there have been lots of lice outbreaks :/  Please pray that i won't get lice.

Yesterday Estefania made us cheese burgers, brownies, and mint chip ice cream.  #heaven

Everyone needs to go read the talk THE CHALLENGE TO BECOME.....Dallin H. Oaks.  It is fantastic in spanish so probably even better in english!!  

"Keep my commandments continually, and a crown of righteosness thou shalt receive" DC 25:12

hasta luego!!!!

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches

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July 14, 2015

Week 57: Ultimate Highs and a Few Lows

Wow this week was the BEST week I have had on my mission.  I'm gunna share a few highs and lows of the week:
Tuesday was a big day as hermana espinosa and I had to train  again in a mini zone conference (EVERYTHINGGGG we do in the mission is in spanish- to answer your questions dad! haha i literally have not had a conversation in english for 13 months) , and then all day we celebrated Hna Espinosa's bday!  She turned 23 years old, and I planned many hidden surprises throughout the day....resulting in 3 cakes, gifts, and great company of friends.  I have given each of my companions a mini Book of Mormon and Hymn book in english with pics of us inside and a note, and she loved it a lot.  What makes me so sad is that she didn't get ONE birthday email from her fam or friends....i truly am so blessed and grateful for all the support and Love you all send me from home THANK YOU SO MUCH for all the emails.... i have a huge binder in the apartment with all of them printed off <3
a mom and daughter who have baptismal goals.....we celebrated with pizza and homemade pies she makes.

Another ultimate high was returning to SADA VIDRIO (my first area) for intercambios-- i am so lucky i get to visit my 2 previous areas / wards during these intercambios.  I was there for 7 months and it was wonderful to be back after being away for 6 months.  All the ward members found out i would be visiting, so i recieved many warm welcome surprises such as Hermana Alma's homemade flour tortillas, arriving at the church building and seeing all the youth, and at night being dropped off "campachanas"..... famous monterrey tacos...from la familia gomez.  Literally some ward members shed tears they were so happy to see me!  It was amazing; i love them.  I worked with Hna Sousa-- from Brazil!  The first Brazilian to come to this mission.  She arrived 4 months ago, and we actually have a small world connection.  In january when she got her mission call, she found my blog online and as she is fluent in english, she emailed me asking questions and we had these chats through email going on for about 3 months.  She arrives here in March, and gets assigned to Sada Vidrio!!  After reading all about it on my blog, she was so excited and literally called me on her first day on our cell phone from Presidente's cell phone to tell me the news.  So it was awesome getting to know her in person, to be assigned as her hermana lider, and to know that God works in mysterious ways :) She spoke to me in portuguese and i read her scriptures in portuguese and I totally understood almost everything!!  It is super similar to spanish so that was cool.  Here are some pics of us together:

Another ultimate high:  Ok I just have to express my excitement and say that we had RIDICULOUSLY high teaching numbers this week-- we pushed ourselves to the max, and one of the assistants to Pres Bird, Elder Aguila, called us (he calls us each monday to get a report on our work and how the other hermanas are doing) and this morning told us that we had the highest numbers of ANY other missionary he has EVER seen in all of his mission!!!! he goes home in 3 weeks, and he could not believe how high our numbers were haha he was so happy!  and he is in my ward here, so he expressed so much appreciation for all that we are doing in the ward.  He said Presidente Bird is going to call us later to congratulate us...... haha hermana espinosa and i are on cloud 9.  We have been working sooo well with the ward members, and what we do is we go on splits with them ( hermana espinosa goes and teaches with a ward member while at the same time i go with a ward member and teach other investigadores)  so we cranked out a ton of lessons this week.  What's even more amazing is literally EVERY missionary talks bad about this area America....that it's super hard, that no one wants to listen, etc.....and we have proved them all wrong!  I have learned a giant lesson that it is not WHERE you serve but HOW you serve.  This past sunday we had 115 people present at church when normally there are about 50 so we are super strong team with elder aguila and elder cook!  I love hermana espinosa, and we are seeing so much progress not only in new people that want to listen, but the members in this ward as well.  Yesterday we had ward conference and the choir that Estefania put together was sooo beautiful as i played piano and we got a violinist to come.  a new bishop was also called, and him and his wife are AWESOME- he got baptized just 5 years ago and is only 30 years old.  They are a wonderful couple that go out and teach with us.  I am so excited for the booming progress this ward is going to continue to have!  

Well Jorge is beyond pumped to be baptized.....but we are facing many obstacles.  His daughter Yaretzi left out of town so she can't get baptized next sunday ;( and our investigadores need a total of 5 church attendances before they can be baptized so she's got 2 sundays left.  We were thinking of postponing jorge so they can both be baptized together, but he is beyond ready and prepared so he will get baptized this upcoming july 19th!

Too many more experiences i would love to share--- yesterday i went out teaching with estefania and we contacted a man outside of his house and shared a short lesson with him.  He began totally bash El Libro de Mormon and Jose Smith, saying lots of false comments and statements that had zero backround evidence.  And during this moment, I didn't feel beaten down or weak.  It actually strengthened my testimony of how I know that what i am sharing with people is true.  I know one day he will remember estefani's and my face and the words we declared to him.

Äs you earnestly and prayerfully familiarize yourself with the details of joseph's life, i promise that you will find your affection and admiration for him grow, you will find comfort and encouragement for these particulary hard days ofl ife and service, and you will bolster your understanding against the sneer of modern critics so sure that worldly evidence proves joseph could not be what he claimed.  To these ends, consider just a few glimpses of this most remarkable man "The path to Palmyra-- Matthew S. Holland"

Next week I will share more about our other progressing investigadores!

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches

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July 09, 2015

Week 56: God Bless America


what a full crazy week-- i'm dead exhausted!  It ended with a 4th of july fiesta that Estefania organized for us-- mom your decorations and patriotic outfit was perfect ;)  I definately repped America the Beautiful-- my ward/ area is even named Ämerica" So everything worked out haha.  It's a bit sad being away from home during these holidays....but Estefania made us feel right at home with the coolest cake i've ever seen!
We went all out
Ill give you all a day to day run down of this past week's events.  Tuesday I got to go work in MIGUEL ALEMAN for an intercambio with Hna Romero-- so great to be back on my old stomping grounds and to see the fabulous progression of my converts and other members there.  I also love seeing my former companion hna Flores <3 I really do miss Miguel Aleman but I know that all these changes happen for a reason....I am loving the area that I am in!

Wednesday-- we had a little painting party in our house!  The dueño/owner wanted to repaint the walls so Elder Aguila, Elder Cook, and Estefania helped us haha it was a lot of fun!  We were all just chatting about the future-- giong back to college, our study plans, and everyday i just get more and more excited to go and continue with these friendships I have made here in the mish, as the majority of us will be studying in utah together!  And of course I am just as excited to reunite with all of my dear amigos i left behind <3  5 months!!!!

Thursday-- consejo de liderazgo!  Leadership council all day long with zone leaders, presidente, hna bird, and hnas lideres.  I love these councils because each month we discuss the prgoress of the mission and set goals.  Hna Espinosa and I had to capacitate in front of all these leaders for half an hour......this is what happens when you are in the same ward as the Assistants to Pres Bird hahaha, but it went well!  Of course we had to have  our cute little handouts with the theme topic and everything-- Pres Bird chuckled and made it clear to all the elders that they should follow our example and also give out cute little handouts haha.  We all ate Hna Bird's lasagna and Brownies with ice cream at the end......i felt very much at home.  It was also Pres Bird's birthday so we all signed a basketball for him, because he is obsessed with the sport, and they brought in a cake for him and some elders shoved his face into the cake!  It is a mexican bday tradition here-- luckily Pres Bird loves to joke around so he wasn't mad haha!  

Friday I went to the immigration offices in Monterrey to renew my visa!  It was fun reuniting with a few of the missionjaries that arrived with me a year ago and to go on a little "field trip" and see new scenery.


Saturday we had a mini zone conference with Pres Bird, and Jorge and Yaretzi also had their baptismal interviews!!  it all went perfectly, and we felt the need to congratulate them with blue stars haha.  They are set for baptism July 19.  Jorge and Yaretzi really are so great-- yesterday Jorge even fasted with us and got up to bear his testimony in front of all the ward members....expressing the changes and blessings he has seen in his life through accepting this gospel.  He said he knows this church is true, and El Libro de Mormon has been the key to everything.  Here in the mission I have developed a love and apprecition for this book in my life, because it truly changes people and testifies of our Savior Jesus Christ

I'm doing great!  My comp Hna Espinosa seriously is so funny and awesome and we are a great team.  I have had 5 great comps so far, and I am able to learn so many things.  The mission is hands down the best decision I have ever made-- I have learned more than i could have imagined, and my eyes truly are being opened to so many aspects about life and this gospel that I know is true.  I will never deny the miracles I have seen here, in other people and in myself.  

***Currently dying of heat in this super small public computer place****

Until Next Monday!  

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches

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