September 27, 2015

Week 67: I can't complain

  hasta luego to mis hermanas

Wow.  I am so stoked to tell you guys about all that has happened this week!! On tuesday morning I recieved the new hermana that I will be training these 12 weeks!  Her name is Hermana Quispitupac-- I'm proud i've got the pronunciation down-- and she is from LIMA, PERU.  She is 28 years old, studied psychology and is the most prepared new missionary i have ever seen haha!!  wow she is so intelligent.  It's fun learning about her country and introducing her to the mexican culture-- fun fact, they don't eat tortillas or spicy food in peru!  So her eyes have been widely opened this week haha.  Her accent and vocab are also different so it's been fun learning different spanish vocab.  I am super excited for all the hard work we will be doing my last 12 weeks.

Well I finally have left the "san Nicolas bubble" haha and my new area is about 30 minutes out in a city called Apodaca!  I am now in Bosques de San Miguel and wow it is so different and awesome and I am just on cloud 9.  So this is the 2nd time in my mission where literally on tuesday i recieved the keys to my new apartment and a cell phone and off we went in a taxi trying to find the house  / new area haha.  But i love how both Hna Q and I are new here because it is such an adventure finding our way around.  We eventually pulled up to a private lot of apartments with a guard and everything, and we make our way to my new address, we get out of the taxi, i open the door, and i couldn't help but shout for joy seeing a giant fridge, a WASHER AND DRYER, air conditiioning, and literally a dishwasher.....havn't seen one of those in 15 months.  I turned to my companion and said:  Esto no es normal.  This is not normal.  we are spoiled.  hahah the asistants to Pres Bird were messing with me on tuesday that Pres put me in the BEST mission house to "die" in haha let's just say I will be living in paradise these last 2 transfers!  I've never been so excited to do laundry.
  pulling up to our private apts ;) mom and dad- im super protected dont worry

2 hermanas were here before us but they didn't leave us a map of our area....haha so we had to go to a gas station around the corner, buy a map, and call the elders for our area boundaries.  This area is 3x as big as my first 3 areas!  IT'S GIANT.  I've got foot blisters again.  We have been running all around haha but i love it because the people here are SO much more open and accepting.  The people are much more humble here than my former area, and in just one week I have taught more complete families then in all my mission!!  Great miracles are in store for us here in Bosques de San Miguel.  It's incredible too how GUIDED we have been by the spirit.  On the first day we happened to run into many members, former investigators of past missionaries....although I am in a complete new area and don't know a single person, I feel so incredibly guided in where I am supposed to go.

Our church building is absolutely gorgeous.  It is brand new-- since june, and it is right on the main high way. 20 min walk from our apt, and it's great because EVERYONE here has seen this beautiful chapel and it draws a lot of interest.  It is helping the missionary work grow a ton here.  My previous 3 wards had about 70 active members in each, but here in this ward we have about 200 active members!!  one of the biggest wards in the mission.  We have 8 missionaries in this ward!!! Largest number of missionaries in one ward in the mish, 6 elders and us 2.  For food each day we divide into 2 groups of 4 and eat with diff families, but yesterday it was a blast because a ward family had all 8 of us over to eat!  It was a party.  The chapel is absolutely gorgeous-- first time i have seen / felt carpet in 15 months hahaha.  And a super nice electric piano that i will be playing each week as newly called ward pianist haha :)  mom i will forever be grateful for making me take piano for 8 years.  My other wards have been super low in baptism rates, but this ward has one of the highest baptising rates in the mission so i hope we will be able to help many families enter the waters of baptism!!

Honestly I am just super stoked and happy to be here in my last area with my last companion because I can just feel that so many miraculous opportunities are in store for us.  I absolutely love training and it's an honor being able  to teach my "hija" all i've got these last weeks i have left.

exciting news:  my dear investigadora andrea got baptized yesterday in AMERICA i couldnt go :( but teaching her for 3 months and her conversion will always be a treasure in my heart.

saying goodbye to the sweet familia lara

sweet hermana valeriano  

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches


September 20, 2015

Week 66: The Bitter and the Sweet

Well Folks the news has come in:  I am getting transferred and will be training these last 12 weeks of my mission!  Before I get into all the transfer deets i just wanna talk about how cool yesterday was being able to see the live video transmission of the Mexico City temple re dedication!
us with Pres and Hna Bird- they always go to our stake conferences because stake I am currently in is the mission office!

 Yesterday the whole stake met to watch a video transmission of the Mexico City temple re-dedication.  Only adults with a temple recommend and kids 8 and older interviewed by the bishop could attend,and it was honestly so neat.  It was filmed in one of the temple rooms and Pres Eyring and Elder Holland among 4 other 70s directed the session.  They were all dressed in white and as the apostles spoke they would speak a line and then a translator next to them would translate it in spanish.  But it was sweet because Elder Holland bore a mini testimony in spanish haha.  It was neat because they bore firm unshakeable tesimonies of how the temple is literallly the house of God and how thanks to the Prophet Joseph Smith we have this restored priesthood power on earth today.  Watching this re-dedication made me appreciate being a missionary even more and how blessed I am to have this knowledge in my life.  Pres Eyring gave the re-dedicatory prayer, and after we all died this temple tradition of waving white handkerchiefs in the air.  So much more I can share, but bottom line is that it was a super neat experience!  and being able to be with our convert Hno jorge was super special as he is so excited to be able to go to the temple.

Oh man how i have so many mixed feelings in my heart.  I can't put into words how it feels to be getting transferred:  excited and anxious for all the new adventures that lie ahead but you can't help but feel a pain in your chest saying goodbye to all the members and investigadores.  I have absolutely loved the 3 areas I have been in and my companions.  All are so different and I have grown in different aspects with each experience. Here in America I think I truly learned the importance of having faith and working super diligently.  Before arriving here I was told that Ameria was a "super small area filled with old people and those who don't want to listen" and through my 4 months of being here we were able to pull off extremely high teaching numbers and gain complete support from the ward.  Now every missionary WANTS to come to America the Beautiful haha!  And all these positive changes are thanks to Hermana Espinosa's and I's faith, hope, belief that change can happen, and constant help from the Lord.
  a few of the ward families

I could write a novel about all the miraculous lives I have met here.  I wish all of you reading my blog could just experience these people's humble personalities.  Every family in this ward I will truly miss-- la familia robles, a couple who goes and teaches with us almost every day, La fam Valeriano, the bishop and his wife who are super ÿoung and hip" and cook us knock out meals, the  young women who look up to us as older sisters and all want to go teach with us, Hna Nina who is disabled in a wheel chair nevertheless we take her out to teach with us so her powerful testimony can effect other's lives, Hno Jorge and Yaretzhi whose door we knocked and whose lives we saw change through accepting the gospel, familia flores who make me brownies and arroz con leche, and i could go on.  At night I can't help but just thank Heavenly Father for how much love I feel from all those around me

A girl who has been a blessing in my life is Estefania.  The elders knocked on her door in april, 6 weeks later she was baptized, and now she is preparing to serve a mission next summer.  She lost both of her parents to cancer and is 19 years old.  She lives alone as her 3 older siblings are married.  She is one of the strongest, most determined people i have met with the biggest hart willing to serve and lift others help.  Her conversion has changed my life and strengthened my testimony that this gospel does in fact change lives.  She spends practicallyl every day with us, and she literally is our official companion as we are "training" her haha!  she takes part in the teaching, and we really are teaching her as if she is a new missionary in the field.  Presidente knows her and our friendship and jokes that we aren't "real" missionaries because she literally drives us everywhere and we just have it "too good" haha.  I can't say enough about this girl, i have a goal of coming back for a few days next summer and going through the temple with ehr before she leaves on her mission!  She is a sister to me, and I am grateful for her example in my life and I will miss her terribly.
 i will miss these 3 ;(

My days as an hna leader are over....and it has been a fantastic experience growing to be a more christ-like leader.  I am stoked to receive my 2nd "daughter" here in the mish!  Training is a blast- And it is a privilege to be able to teach a new missionary everything i've got during these last 12 weeks i have.  Next week I will fill you all in!  My past 3 areas all literally touch and surround the mission offices haha so maybe this last area will be a more of a geographical change!

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches


September 13, 2015

Week 65: A Little Piece of Heaven on Earth

                                 Pres Bird and Hna Bird

This morning we went to the temple, and for those of you reading who are not members of the church, i'd like to explain a bit about the temple:

The temple is literally the house of God where we go to recieve ordinances that are necessary inorder to enter into the kingdom of God after this life.  It's fascinating because this week I was reading in the old testament in the bible, and Solomon's temple is an EXACT description of what our temples are like, making it even more clear that really this gospel is so true and that it is Christ's church here on earth.  It is the holiest place on earth, and the inside is all white with gold fixtures, bouquets of flowers, beautiful paintings of christ.  When inside we wear white clothing-- women wear white dresses and men wear white pants and shirts, to simbolize the purity found within the temple walls.  The many things we do in the temple involve baptisms in the name of those who have passed away, celestial marriages, and family sealings.  Thanks to the priesthood power the men have in this church, the temple is the only place we can go to seal family relationships/ get married for all eternity-- for this life and after.  Many go to the temple to make importance life decisions, it is the perfect place to recieve this guidance in your heart from the Lord.

6 am temple arrival

It is seriously such a powerful experience being in the temple with about 50 missionaries and pres Bird and Hna Bird.  I am so grateful we are able to go every month in this mission.  There are temples all over the world (144 in total) and more being built every year because they are so crucial for our salvation.  What gives me the most joy as a missionary is being able to share with people that it IS possible to see your loved ones again after this life-- baptism is the door that leads to these temple blessings.  A lot of times people out of the church get offended that they can't attend the temple, and it's not because it is a "secret"or anything, it's just that one truly needs to be worthy inorder to enter-- fulfill the commandments of God inorder to recieve these blessings God has prepared for his children.  I know that my purpose as a missionary is not just help people prepare to be baptized but to be able to enter the temple one day and be sealed with their families for all eternity.  I am forever grateful for what I have learned here in the missoin that is helping me prepare for my future eternal family I will have one day :)

SO MUCH HAPPENED THIS WEEK!  We had intercambios-- i worked with a new hermana here in america and its awesome being able to give support to the other hermanas and learn new things from them.  We also had consejo de liderazgo-- leadership council-- with Pres Bird and made our new mission goals for the month of Septiembre.  I love these councils because i gain so many insights on leadership-- i just gotta make a quick comment and say that our ward here in America is helping us SO much that Hna Espinosa and I had the highest number of lessons with a member present for the months of July and August in the whole mission!!!  We have had an average of about 25 lessons with a member present per week-- and honestly this ward is helping us so much with our investigadores.  As missionaries we are here to strengthen the wards and its awesome seeing so much progress.  hahah just a funny side note-- presidente in the middle of consejo just walks over to where I am sitting and makes a comment on how the giants aren't playing too well and that the dodgers got it all-- our SF / LA rivalry is unreal.  Mom and dad....i can't wait for you guys to meet them.

a few miracles with FASTING:

Crazy legit miracles with fasting!  During ward council the bishop mentioned to us that he wants us to search for boys 18-28 because the ward lacks this age group.  On wednesday we fasted specifically for this, and on thursday we went and taught an investigadora and in walked her son (22 years old).  He expressed how he has been looking for people his age that don't drink, smoke, and that have high morals. He expressed his sadness he feels when all the women around him dress / act immodestly and how he honestly wants to find this direction in his life.  We couldn't believe his words and i just kept hearing a DING DING DING in my head haha!  He accepted a baptismal date and i just know the Lord answered our fast and led us to Daniel.  Naother fasting miracle-- on saturday we fasted again and asked in our prayers to specifically knock on a yellow house with a family of 5 inside.  Sunday afternoon we knocked on every yellow building in sigh and came upon a really nice upper class home that was indeed yellow.  The woman let us in and at the end of the lsson told us she lived with her husband and 3 children.

It's incredible how fast the Lord responds to us when we are obedient.  A 24 hour beverage and no hard.  But it is the perfect way to receive answers and revelation from God.  I invite you all to fast for a specific reason-- beginning and ending witha prayer-- and you WILL recieve an answer from the Lord.  OUr investigadora Andrea, 15 yrs, that is getting baptized sept 20 fasted with us this weekend and she had so much excitement telling us that she didn't feel hunger nor thirst. I know that if we put the Lord first, we are immensely blessed.
  my zone is hilarious.  i love them.

my office secretary best friends-- mom they recieve all the packages you send ;)
               my wonderful district and fearless district leader.

Sunday is an exciting day as we get to watch a transmission from Mexico City and watch the temple re-dedication!!  Also sunday night we recieve transfer calls!!!! monday i will fill you all in with the details :)
  the young women in my ward here and 3 of our investigadores :)
yo sé que vive mi señor.  sé que esta iglesia es verdadera.  no hay duda en mi corazón.
mom and dad....i've got all the names of the best taco stand places when you guys come down here in 12 weeks :)  

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches


September 07, 2015

Week 64: The Gift of Free Agency

Buenas Tardes!  I hope life is fab!!  I wanna begin by taking back what i said at the end of my last post-- the heat has NOT died down haha.  We got in store for us this week super hot weather with rainstorms.  September is a month fileld with daily unpredictable weather changes.

I have to say I felt my heart break a little this week on wednesday.  Marcelina, who has gone to church multiple times, read the whole libro de mormon, made so many positive changes in her life, told us in our lesson on wednesday that she just "wants more time to think about everything and recieve more answers"-- she still continues to smoke and doesn't have the faith that she can give it up.  It was one of the few times I just sat there crying listening to her-- one of the hardest parts about missionary work is growing to love the people you teach and feeling sincere sadness when they reject everything that can give them eternal happiness.  Hna Espinosa and I had no words as we just sat and listened with tears rolling down our cheeks.  She still wants to go to church and listen to us, but it's not the same Marcelina we met 2 months ago.  I have learned to accept that everyone has their free agency, the gift to make choices, and I know that other missionaries down the road will help her nourish this seed we have planted.  

God wants his children to return to Him.  But what is surprising is that He allows them to choose this course. he does not force them.  He sends his children to eart, causing a veil of oblivion to come upon them.  They are here to acquire a body, to be tried and to choose.  The greatest choice of all will be to choose to return to their Father.  First, they learn about Him.  Then, they learn about His beloved son.  They learn about His church and about His plan of happiness which allows them to return to Him, through the sacred temple, being cualified to live with Him, His son, and with their families forever  Elder Nelson (translated from spanish quote)
                i will miss our dear friend estefania so much

On a more positive note, yesterday we had a great sunday at church, including a surprise visit from Presidente and Hna Bird.  They got to meet some of our investigadores and congratulate Yaretzi on her confirmation :)  The room was filled-- I love sundays because I can really feel and see the progress of the ward.  I love sitting up top at the piano and seeing everyone there :)  This past weekend we had 4 15 year olds we are teaching attend a girl's campout with the youth in the stake-- they absolutely loved it and it's so great to see them make new friends.  These 15 year olds we are teaching amaze me-- every one of them has family problems stronger than you can imagine, and yet this gospel is helping them find inner peace and purpose in their life.  During Sacrament Meeting it's sweet because hna espinosa, estefania, and I are all seated up in the front row with our 4 15 year old hermanitas-- Becca they remind me of you!!  The ward really is headed in a super strong direction, and the new bishop valeriano is totally organized and has total faith and confidence in us, greatly appreciating all that we are doing to help strengthen the ward.
enjoying nice cold shaved ice with Citlaly- a girl in my ward
Today we made waffles with the zone-- nothing too exciting haha.  I'm 99 percent sure I've only got 2 weeks left here in America-- so I know i gotta take advantage of every opportunity that comes my way!

Sé que Jesucristo vive y que nos ama.  Me ha dado una felicidad tan grande ser un instrumento en sus manos para invitar a todos a conocer su evangelio.  Sé que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero....cada dia puedo testificar de el y ser testigo de su poder para cambiar las vidas de las personas.  Sé que la fe produce milagros y que las pruebas existen para que podamos aprender y progresar como hijos de Dios.  Sé que La Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias es el reino del Señor que de nuevo se ha establecido sobre la tierra.
                                 Our church building

I want to thank you all again for the incredible emails i receive!!! so many missionaries don't receive emails each week, so i feel truly blessed and loved with all of your support.

this thursday we have consejo de liderazgo-- leadership council-- and next thursday we go to the temple!! talk to yall sept 10th!!

  Jesus said unto Him, I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me  

C O N  A M O R
hermana riches