Hola mi familia!
This has been a really really good week! Hermana Stricklin and I thought of ways to be better missionaries the week before and as we pushed ourselves to be better at little things, we saw a lot more miracles and we were a lot happier! We truly are happier when we follow all of God's commandments and push ourselves to be better!
First I want to tell you about my friend Karen. She is related to one of our investigators and she is 8 years old. We go to her house every Monday night to have an FHE with her and her little siblings and every time we walk in they are literally jumping with joy and hugging the bajeebers out of us! In fact, her little brother Jose is always headbutting me in in the stomach and knocking the wind out of me out of love! So Karen always offers to say the opening prayer and I die every time because she is just so cute. She comes from a different church background so when she prays, she is VERY animated! Last week was the best because she literally jumped up and down in circles with her hands up in the air and then she ran to us and put her hands on our heads and thanked God for sending such good Sisters her way and she anointed us with God's love! She's the best. Her mom never would sit in the room with us when we were over but little by little she has been warming up to us and she finally comes and sits down and listens and tells them to pay attention to us! We're hoping to get them to church soon!
Tuesday was a great day. We decided to have a "themed" day and our theme was "The District 1." Anyone who served a mission recently and watched Preach my Gospel training videos knows exactly what I'm talking about! That day we had anther fantastic lesson with our friend Mark! We taught the Plan of Salvation and it went really well! We had a member with us that went into some deep stuff but we did our best to lead the discussion back to the simple truths of the gospel. I love that as missionaries we have only been set apart to teach simple truths, we are not here to teach EVERYTHING!
We had a funny miracle happen! We had met these men a month ago at Walmart who were super friendly and nice and took a pamphlet from us but when we asked for their address they said they would give it to us but they had no idea exactly what it was! (This is VERY common with the people that just come here to work!) Well last Tuesday we went to a former investigator's house to see if they were home but they weren't :/ but I felt really impressed that there was SOMEONE there we had to talk to so we just kept knocking on people's doors and either they weren't home or didn't want to talk to us. Finally we knocked on one last door and when it opened I saw our friend from Walmart! I immediately was like "WHOOOAAAA!" and told him that we finally found him- he couldn't hide from us! We all started laughing and Romberro let us in. We had a really funny lesson with him and his roommates. His roommate Noe is such a clown. After we had explained what the Book of Mormon was and gave them a copy, we asked Noe if he would read from it and his reply was that he couldn't see without his glasses. I thought, okay, I understand because I can't see anything far away without mine! BUT then he continued to say that every time he tries to read he cries because he doesn't have a wife to help him- wait what?? Then we were like well you're friend can read to you and his reply was "He just cries too when he tries to read!" They were too much! They were super friendly and Rromberro said he would read from the Book of Mormon this week so we're going back to see how it went!
Another cool miracle happened that same night!! We were driving towards a potential investigator's house and I saw this man walking on the side of the road and I immediately felt impressed to stop and talk to him. Well being the stubborn and scared person that I am I was like wellllll we need to see this other person and that man could have a gun or something! So I promised that if the other people weren't home that we would turn around and look for that man. Well we got to the people's house and they were super awkward and wouldn't let us in so we went back and I couldn't find the guy on the street but I felt like we should check the corner market. The second we walked in he was standing right there about to walk out! I was just honest with him and told him that we saw him walking and felt like God wanted us to talk to him! He could have easily gotten creeped out but he was just like "Whoa, that's so cool!" We had a really good talk with him about God and talked about the Book of Mormon and he said he wanted to read from one! We left him with a chapter to read and he said that he wants to come to church sometime! I hope that we'll see Lonzo again really soon in church!!
Wednesday we went out with some of our members to do their visiting teaching. They took us to some of the less active sisters that we have never met and it was a wonderful day! One of the sisters lives in a super super pretty old southern house and I could not stop drooling over it while we were there! She said it's a lot of work keeping it clean so we offered to come by and help her and we get to go back this week! I am so excited! I love serving others!!
We had a great FHE with our Spanish group. We had the kids help us build a "tent" out of blankets and chairs and we sat inside it and read from Mosiah where King Benjamin is speaking to everyone while they have their tents faced towards the temple. We read about service and the kids helped us think of ways that we can serve people more! It was really fun.
One more great thing about Wednesday- we had another "theme" day and the them was our moms! We dressed up like our moms and I acted like mine all day, it was so fun! I had my hair in a sockbun for the first time in my life! We love our moms!!!
We had a huge storm Thursday night so we had to go in early that night and it was crazy! At one point when we were 5 minutes from our house I couldn't even see a foot in front of us because buckets and buckets of rain were coming down! We had a tornado warning but nothing happened! Just lots of rain and wind!
Friday night we had our Spanish movie night and it was so great! We watched the Testaments and our investigator Jesus came along with some of the Hispanic members! Jesus has a baptismal date and so we're trying to get him more involved with the members and the movie night was perfect for that! During the movie I kept saying a little prayer in my heart that Jesus would feel the spirit. At the end of the movie when Christ comes, Jesus had tears streaming down his face. The SECOND the movie ended he jumped up and said the movie was good and stormed out of the room! I was stunned because I was getting ready to bear testimony of the Book of Mormon and was not expecting that! After he got himself cleaned up in the bathroom he came back in because Hermana Whitson had a surprise birthday cake for Hermana Stricklin :) The members were so good at making Jesus feel welcome and loved.
Saturday was Hermana Stricklin's birthday!!! I had a whole day planned but wouldn't tell her what we were doing :) Thank goodness for facebook because I set up our appointments with our favorite people for that day without her knowing ;) I made these super cheesy sunglasses covered in paper so she couldn't see where we were going and I drove in circles and took weird shortcuts so she couldn't guess where she was going by direction! We had a surprise Nacho Libre themed lunch with the Ryder family and it was so fun! Then we went to see one of our investigators who wasn't home :/ but we were walking by their neighbor's house and had a really cool conversation with him! He was defending our church to his friend that was there and said the best things about the LDS faith! He then asked for one of our "bibles" (Book of Mormon) and he said that he was really excited to start reading it! Miracle! Then the blindfold went back on and we went to our friend Tiffany's place which she had decorated all cute and she had cheesecake waiting for us :) She's so sweet and not only got Hna Stricklin a lil present but got me something too and a balloon so I would feel special too :) We then had a surprise dinner with Sister Fletcher- a non-active sister here- and she took us out to eat and it was so fun! She is the sweetest thing ever and is a joy to be with! We finished the night at the church for the English movie night- they watched a really horrible movie called the Book of Mormon that wasn't made by the church. It just covered the first two books of Nephi. It was hilarious because they had changed or added some random things into the story of Nephi! Afterwards a member turned around and said, "The book was better!" I died laughing! Our friend Mike who we had handed over to the Elders to teach was there and he loved it! He said that he better start reading the book to find out what happens next! We ended the night feeling bloated from all the food and cake and somehow manged to eat some See's chocolates that someone had sent her! It was a special and fun day!
Hermana Whitson made the awesome cake, with Hermana Strickin
Cute lil Hermana Macario- one of our favorite ward members
Hermana Stricklin opening her birthday package from her mom
Her awesome mask I spent 30 minutes making...
The Ryders singing Happy Birthday
The beautiful cake the Ryders made for her
Tiffany made us feel so special
Sister Fletcher and Hermana Stricklin
Sunday was a MIRACLE!!! We had been trying forever to get Jesus and Sergio to meet each other because we thought it would help them feel more comfortable in church and they finally both showed up on the same Sunday! At first, after sacrament, Jesus said he couldn't stay for classes because his throat hurt but we talked him into staying for at least 10 more minutes. Once we got into class and started talking about the Priesthood he didn't leave! And after Sunday School, Sergio, who usually skips out 3rd hour, talked Jesus into staying and they both went and loved it! We had an FHE with the two of them later that night in the Smith's home and it was so great! Sister Smith is so cute and she made lemon bars and cookies for us! We watched "To this end was I born" and talked about how grateful we were for Jesus Christ and His sufferings and sacrifices for us. They both opened up more to us and to each other and we got to know them better!
I am so grateful for the opportunity that I have to testify of my Savior each and every day. Without Him, I really would have nothing. Without a Savior, life would have no purpose. We would have no way to change and be better and we would have no way to make it back to our Heavenly home. I know that He lives and I know that He is the only way to true and everlasting happiness.
I've been studying in the book of Mosiah this week and am grateful for the countless testimonies of our Savior....
And moreover, I say unto you, that there shall be other name given nor any other way nor means whereby can come unto the children of men, only in and through the name of Christ, the Omnipotent.
I hope that all of you can feel the love of your Savior this week. I hope we can all take more time to truly remember Him and what He has done and continues to do for us in every moment of our lives. I love y'all so much!!!