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Monday, March 28, 2016

Happy Easter! Happy Hump Day!

Happy Easter!
Hump Duhay! Happy Halfway!
Leonor's birthday

Oh man this week has been crazy, it has gone by really fast but its been long at the same time. I dont know if thats possible or if that makes sense, but thats what happened. There have been so many things that have happened. I want to talk about people first. On Tuesdays we do service with a Lutheran church and help them run a food and clothing shelf. We met a lady there this week that has had 12 surgeries in the last 5 years and has another scheduled for next month. Shes in a program for homeless people and has a live-in PCA. She was having a hard time all around, and we offered to say a prayer with her. She cried through the whole thing and was really grateful for our help. She is scared in pain all the time. We talked to her about how God is mindful of her and always gives us the experiences we need to grow the most. It was nice to feel like we helped her and made a difference. She wants us to come and see her in the hospital, so we'll see how that goes/if that goes. 

We had dinner with a member this week at Panda Express and she was telling us more about her life story. She said it herself, her life would make the perfect telenovela. She has been married 4 times, a couple of times to abusive spouses, and her parents are crazy and have kidnapped her son before, like crazy things. The more and more I talk to people the more I realize just how good I have it. It's something I knew before, but it becomes more and more apparent that my life is perfect. She would never describe her experiences as bad necessarily, she always says that if it's what she had to go through to be where shes at today, then so be it. It's all a part of her. If anyone figures out why life has to be so hard for some people, let me know. God works in mysterious ways. 

That same night we met with Leo, one of our recent converts, and he has had a problem with wanting to receive the priesthood, so we had a pretty intense lesson with him about the priesthood. at one point, he said "my heart feels weird." we were like...uhhh ok, what do you mean? Like it's beating really hard? and he said "no, it's really calm but like full of adrenaline." It didn't really make sense, but it was obvious that he was feeling the spirit and it was a cool experience to see him recognize that he was feeling something. 

Another thing that happened this week was that I screwed up and Heavenly Father bailed me out. It's not the first time that has happened. We were at the Cupkies house and I chose not to leave when we should have so we would have been really late to an appointment with one of our investigators, and on our way I realized, wow I really could have screwed this up. I prayed please don't let my stupid decision mess it up with this investigator, and it turns out her daughter was sick so she couldn't meet with us anyway. Its not the first time that I've prayed that same thing, and both times, we've been bailed out. I am grateful that Heavenly Father let's us work with Him to preach the gospel, because there are so many people that would be so much more qualified, but he gives us, the 18 and 20 yr olds of the world, the privilege of doing it. Thankfully he doesn't let us mess it up too bad. 

Wednesday, we had new missionary training in Bloomington. It was fun seeing Hna Warmbier and Hna Bryson who is Hna H's comp from the MTC. WE got to hang out and learn stuff haha plus the ladies from the Twin Cities Spanish ward fed us lunch, and it was so fun to see all my friends! While we were in our meetings, it started to snow and basically snowed all night. President was hesitant to let us drive home in the snow, but said ok fine but be suuuppper careful. It took us almost 2 hours to get from Bloomington to Lakeville which is usually only a 15 minute drive. At one point there was a minivan stuck in the middle of the road on a hill, so we had to stop for them, someone had to back them into the middle of the intersection, they were stuck, we were now stuck, because we're still on an incline. A snow plow drove by and a huge line of cars followed them. Finally I was able to back into where they had plowed, and we still barely made it up the hill. Then, when we got home, we couldn't get into the garage because the driveway is too steep and slippery with the snow. So we shoveled for a half hour before we could get in. It was a crazy day haha, but fun. Quite the adventure. 
Thursday we had interviews with President Forbes. Originally we were told to be at the church by 1pm, but at 9 ish we got a text that said that there was a miscommunication and President was already at the church. So we booked it to the church and were the first ones there for the first half hour. Apparently it caught everyone by surprise. We were there until 3 ish. Good thing we started early. So that was a weird day too. Friday and Saturday were really busy because we didn't a lot of work Wednesday and Thursday with all the meetings. 

Another crazy thing that happened is one of the Elders in our district was emergency transferred because someone else in the mission went home early. That was unexpected too. And now the Elder left here is in a trio with the zone leaders and they are covering two areas. 

Saturday we had the general womens session of conference, and that was really good. We had a ton of people member and investigators who said they were planning on going, but we had 1 member show up. SO that was sad, but the messages were still really good. I loved the focus on service. 

Easter was different than I'm used to as well. First of all, our ward switched our fast Sunday to this Sunday, so we had Fast Sunday on Easter. Second we had a dinner with the branch after church so we had tamales for Easter dinner. Sounds about right for a Spanish missionary:) It was also Leonors birthday, she turned 85. Overall I really enjoyed/enjoy this Easter season. It's really nice to be able to really focus on the Savior. All the Hispanics ever ask why Americans celebrate Easter with bunnies and eggs. And we say. Beats us, want to hear what its really about? It has been a nice focus. 
It's been a pretty crazy week. Today was an errand running Pday, we shopped, printed pictures, went to the post office, and got our hairs cut. No rest for the weary. I am really glad y'all got out to see Ryan. YAY RYAN for winning. Thats so exciting! I miss St George and hanging with the fam. I love the pictures. Everyone is getting so old. Ryan's hair makes me laugh aahaha!

Thanks so much for the Easter basket, it made my entire week, I loved it. Also the hump day shirt made me smile:) Happy nine months, I hope it's gone as fast for you as it has for me!

I love you! 

This is Leo. He is always bringing us candy!

Hey family!
So first of all I saw this video and it reminded me of all the times we talked about rafting analogies.
Second, I really like this quote:
 "Faith in God engenders a love for the sabbath. Faith in the sabbath engenders a love for God." -- Elder Nelson
 I think it is very very true.

This week has been a little wacky. Sister Jensen, the lady we live with had her birthday yesterday so we were in on a surprise for her. All of her kids flew in for the weekend, so we were kicked out for a
few days. We stayed with another set of sisters from Thursday until this morning, which means a lot of couch sleeping and living out of a suitcase. It was pretty jammed for a few days, and we didn't get a ton
of sleep. The Jensen's invited us to dessert last night to meet their family. It was fun to meet them all and see how happy they were just hanging out for the weekend. They are all grown and most of them have kids. I'm excited for when our family is in that stage but at the same time soooo not ready for when we are all old and out of the house. Everything changes when that happens. So that was kind of a pain, but seeing how well the surprise turned out and how much their family
enjoyed it made it worth it.

We also had exchanges this week, it's a lot less stressful than it used to be now that I can actually communicate in Spanish. We taught 4 lessons I think. I learned a lot about training from Sister Smith, she's done it three or four times now.  We had a good discussion. I have learned that I really owe Sister Scholl more credit than I gave her when she was training me. I think Sister Hughes is very much like
I was as a greenie as well. She has ideas of how things she should be done and then I resist her ideas because they're not my ideas, and then she resists because I'm resisting, and then there is tension. But I discovered that that's probably exactly how I was in training. I have a lot more respect and appreciation for Hna Scholl since I started training. Sister Hughes and I talked about it quite a bit, and I told her all that too, it's interesting the change of perspective that you get haha.

I was thinking today about how much time I've been on my mission, I still remember telling people that I had only been out for like 6 weeks  saying still have some left... And now, I'm almost
nine months in and I get an in between response, like you're close to going home, but not really at the same time. Time is flying by.

This week has been of the weeks that I have felt most consistently guided by the spirit. We had multiple experiences this week where it turned out way better than it should have. We had dinner with a family
where the parents aren't married because he doesn't want to. So I went out on a limb and asked why they weren't married. We discussed and I felt the spirit more strongly than I have in a long while. We were able to testify of the importance of keeping the commandments and of families. It was more bold than I think I've ever been. Another lesson we had, we are talking to a lady that we had just met and she was talking about the church she went to in St. Paul but how that she hasn't been to a church since she moved down here. I had a distinct impression to ask if she would like to attend church with us and she
said, yes would really like to and told us about how her six year old has asked if they can go to church. She said she would do everything possible to didn't come haha but the moment was cool. We also taught a Hispanic Mama Odie last night. Imagine Mama Odie from princess and the frog and add Spanish and that is literally this lady we taught last night haha.

It's been a good week, thanks for the emails and the video of Lauren,
if you have more I would love to see them! I think you should be able
to send up to two minutes.

Love you!

More Lakeville...

New Trainees!
Emily and her cousin Josh!
First Comp selfie!

I'm Training!!!

Emily and Hermana Rowland
District van ride!

Where do I even start? We got a text this morning at 939 to get on a conference call at 945 and it turns out it was all the trainers being told they were training. I choked. I was 98% sure that we were staying

together. So I get to pick up a trainee on Wednesday! I'm really excited, but really nervous. I was legit shaky after phone call. This would be a breeze if we were still in Richfield, but I'm still new to this area. Speaking of Richfield, Hna Warmbier is training too! So I get to see her on Wednesday! We're training the two new sisters together. I'm stoked. It will be an adventure. Sister Rowland and I are sad she's leaving. She is going down to St Peter with Sister Scholl who goes home after this transfer. She has had a companion every transfer, and because Sis Scholl is dying is guaranteed at least two more.

This week has been really busy. You have already seen pictures from 
the temple, so you know I went, but it was probably the most enlightening temple experience I've had so far. The Cupkies are seriously incredible. I learned a TON. I want you to meet them. When we come back you'll have to meet them. They shared a lot about symbolism and it is a whole new world. It's so cool. I can't wait to share. We talked about the numerology of the scriptures; I'm studying the book of Revelation and it's cool how useful it is.

Something I've been thinking about this week is the different learning I've done this transfer compared to the last two. The last two transfers, I was learning how to be a missionary, and what it means to work hard. It was more about the work and learning what missionary work is supposed to be like. This transfer has been completely different. All my learning has been about the gospel and how to apply it better in my life. It hasn't been about being a missionary, it's been about developing myself as a person. For example, a big part of this transfer has been learning about obedience and what it means. Josh explained it really well to me last week, he said "In short, The Savior changed obedience forever when he came to the Earth. He made obedience lifestyle and a feeling, not a matter of facts and actions. What I mean by that is when we see a rule, there is a principle. The principle is more important than the rule, but the rule is easier to understand than the principle. When one understands the principle, they know how to keep the rule. When they only understand the rule, they look for millions of ways to "keep" it. " When he explained it like that, it made so much more sense to me. I'm learning how to be obedient in ways that I never would have dreamed of before my mission. It has been an interesting mind switch. I've learned a lot about how deep the gospel is. Hna R is really into studying the deep doctrine of the church, and I never have felt a need to study deep things. I prefer the principles and basic doctrines. But spending time with her and the Cupkies has really expanded my understanding of how deep and penetrating the gospel is in EVERYTHING that we do. It has broadened everything that we teach and do as missionaries. This has probably been the hardest and most exhausting transfer of my mission so far,
but I have learned a ton. I seriously have never been so tired in my life.

I feel like the work has been picking up in this area. We have no new investigators, but our lessons with the members have been more productive. We had at least five really good member lessons this week.
One of the less actives we teach is pretty combative sometimes, but the last couple times we have been over, she has been much more receptive. Her main question this week was if the church of Jesus Christ was established by him, what church did Moses and Abraham have? They didn't have an organized church per say, but they did live the lifestyle of the church even though to them it didn't really exist. I
don't know if that makes sense. Basically the principles and doctrines of the church are a lifestyle. Like Josh said, obedience is a lifestyle. The established and organized church is a means for us to live the principles more fully. It's a tool. A very inspired tool.

Cool right? I told you, I'm learning lots.

We had a lot of good lessons. I feel like breakthroughs with their lessons. Or so I hope. We finally had the opportunity to do some service this week. The lady we are teaching, Anel let us come and help her clean. We washed dishes and cleaned her fridge. It's about time, because Hispanics are weird about letting us help out. It was a good experience, and we were able to build a better relationship with them. We saw her the next day when we were knocking doors and all her daughters waved and were really
excited to see us. The oldest has her quinceaƱera in May which I think would be super fun to be around for. They are super cute.

Somebody that I got to know better this week is someone named Fernanda. She is the daughter of a less active family. She was baptized when she was fourteen but was pretty inactive until October. In October she decided that the church is something that she needs in her life and hasn't looked back. She's eighteen. Her younger siblings are semi antagonistic, and her dad is not interested in the church.
Her older sister married a return missionary, but they have are no progress toward the temple or the gospel. Her mom tries, but it's hard when no one else goes to church. Fernanda is the only responsible one in her family. She is the only one with any goals or drive. She is incredible. She also wants to serve a mission at the end of this year. I love meting so many incredible people.

Saturday was like 60 degrees!! It was sooo warm. And then it snowed yesterday haha. I am excited for spring.

How was Morgan's birthday?

Dad in answer to you question about the Book of Mormon, I don't have any specific stories, but the first thing we ask when people are struggling with receiving answers or their testimonies is if they are
reading regularly. I didn't realize how much a testimony of the restored church hinges on the Book of Mormon. From the introduction "Those who gain this divine witness from the Holy Spirit will also
come to know by the same power that Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world, that Joseph Smith is His revelator and prophet in these last days, and that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the
Lord’s kingdom once again established on the earth, preparatory to the Second Coming of the Messiah." It's awesome.

How crazy about the Averys. Margaret mentioned it in one of her emails, but not the whole story. How crazy.

I am so excited for Ryan to get his call. I almost can't handle it. I NEED a video of him opening it.
Life is good.

I love you!