My companions and me
Many photos of my companions and myself with our favorite families from church...
Our favorite bus driver
Buenas tardes! Hello, hi! This past week has gone by super fast!
Monday night we went to an FHE at Centennial park with some members of our ward and Alex Javier. We started late, like always, and so we got to just sit and talk to Alex and get to know him better. He told us that his favorite animal is a bunny, he loves bunnies! He is full of surprises! We finally had our lesson and it was incredible! We shared a message about our purpose in earth and Alex had tons of questions and our members answered all of them for him. It was so amazing to have someone other than us teaching and helping Alex understand the gospel. We ended with snack time and I ate like 3 mangos, they have become my favorite things ever!
Tuesday Hermana Schmit woke up really struggling but she was so amazing and decided to just get out and try and do her best. Well, it just happened to be the hottest day EVER and we missed the bus so we were all struggling! I thought I was literally going to fall over and die! We had to take little breaks every now and again but we finally made it to Alicia's home and taught her about repentance by reading from Alma 36, one of my favorite chapters ever. She is so humble and since she was raised in the Catholic Church, she is finally beginning to understand that she can study the scriptures herself and understand them through the guidance of the Holy Ghost. That's one thing that I am so grateful for is that the LDS church teaches us to study things out for ourselves and receive our own answers to what is true and what is not. We aren't taught things and expected to follow blindly, we are encouraged to take things in, mediate and pray about those things so that we can have our own personal testimonies of each principle. It's sad that some people, due to current events, think that we are not encouraged to ask questions or study things out in our minds, because that's all that we are ever told to do! I have had a LOT of questions throughout my experience in the church and every leader or person I have talked to has first, encouraged me to seek my own revelation and answer it myself, and they are always so patient and so loving! I have never been mocked or have felt ashamed or stupid when coming to leaders with questions.
Anywho, later that day, Hna Schmit received a beautiful blessing from the Elders and one thing they said was, "..this is the last lesson that Heavenly Father needs you to learn on your mission..." Which got me thinking, what's my last lesson I need to learn? I'm still figuring it out! That night we went and had Blue Coast for dinner, our favorite and walked around the shopping center and met so many cool people! We met an awesome family from Mexico that wanted to meet with us but lived forever away! I hate when that happens! We met another sweet abuelita from Mexico that Hna Torres talked to and was able to share a Book of Mormon with her. That's something that I love getting to experience, is Hna Torres testifying that the BOM is a record of her people, her ancestors and sharing it with other Hispanics. We were finally able to meet with our dear friend Victor Manuel that night and had a good chat about the importance of reading our scriptures everyday and how we gain more of the spirit as we take time to do that.
That little boy Justin is totally a Mexican version of my nephew Connor!!! Me and his sister Jaime and him.
Wednesday morning was our last time riding the bus to district meeting! We had a blast talking to strangers about the gospel and seeing our favorite bus drivers! We had an excellent meeting and Hna Torres gave a fabulous training about being diligent! She is the cutest and I was so proud of her! Our ZLs and the GH Elders gave us a ride back to our apt afterward and it was so fun. Elder Peterson and Elder Cottam are the funniest companionship ever! Elder Loveless told us funny stories like how was riding his bike on the street and a van freaked out and swerved in front of him causing him to crash into their hood! Oh missionary stories...Later on we went to Walmart to try and find some people to teach and guess who we saw?? Reina and her mom, Hna Lucio! Since we didn't have the car that week, we weren't able to go to their house and visit them so it was such a tender mercy that we saw them in Walmart! We were able to teach Reina about the BOM and she was super excited to read it! We also met an amazing woman from Vera Cruz who had met with the missionaries before and went to church in Mexico! I love meeting people from Vera Cruz and telling them that my brother lived there for a little but in his mission! I've only met one person on my whole mission that was from Tobasco though!
There are a lot of people here from Vera Cruz though! We had a yummy dinner with the Santiago's that night and Hna S made her own little missionary plan, it was awesome! She wrote down a bunch of people that she was going to contact this week! We met a new friend from Guatemala afterwards who is sooo cool! Such a fun guy! He is ALWAYS on his phone when we come by so it was awesome that we finally got to talk to him!
I love people from Guatemala!
Thursday we were able to visit our friend Silvia from Vera Cruz that we met the day before. It was so hard to teach anything because her kids are so sweet but they are so crazy! We were able to explain what the BOM is and we hope that she starts reading it! She said that her and her husband were raised Catholic but that he wants to change churches. They've also been meeting with the Jehovah's Witnesses for a while but haven't converted yet so we feel like this is the perfect time for them to hear the gospel! We just hope the JWs don't anti them, they do that a lot to people that we teach! I'm so glad that we never enter people's homes or teach the gospel and talk badly of other people's beliefs and try to prove them wrong- it is not what Christ would do! Which is another testimony to me that the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints really is Christ's true church. We walked forever again that day and made up a new game where we call put different colors of cars like Belle for yellow cars, Mike Wazoski for green ones and etc....you get points with each one and the first person to reach 100 gets something from the tienda store that the other two have to buy :) the things you do when you are deliriously walking in the hot sun for hours! We finally made the trek to Alicia that night and they were all in the middle of leaving to Florida! They were all super excited and we were excited for them! They asked if we could all kneel and offer a prayer for their safety, it was a really special experience. That night we were able to teach Alex again and had an interesting lesson about baptism, it was a little hard for him to grasp at first but it all came together! He just thinks SO deep and always has a billion questions, which is great, but half of his questions don't make sense. It's the way that he learns though, he has to ask questions in order to understand something. It's really amazing to watch everything come together in his mind.
Friday was the 4th of July! Flor and Jaime picked us up that morning and we went over to make Sopa de Res with them! It was so fun! The soup was super yummy! Flor made Horchata out of seeds and it was sooo yummy! I am so excited to go home and try and make all of these things myself! We had an interesting talk with them afterwards. They really really love us coming over but they don't want to act on the things we teach them. It's so hard to explain that it's not US that they enjoy so much, but the spirit they feel when we are there. Hopefully they start doing the things we ask them to like praying together and reading from the BOM so that they can feel that spirit when we're gone. We just love them so much! We had an interesting weekly planning afterwards. I felt overwhelmed and I was super tired from the sugar in the Horchata and accidentally fell asleep :) whoops! Hna Schmit was pretty bothered by it and we had an amazing experience as we talked about it afterward. My feelings were hurt because I have done all I can to be patient with her weaknesses and she's not always patient with mine. Now I'm not sharing this to say that she's impatient or a mean person- because she's quite the opposite! But as we were talking, I couldn't handle my feelings and went in the other room to cry and think about the situation. I felt prompted to sing a hymn and found myself singing "A Poor Wayfaring Man Of Grief" and as I got to the end I could barely finish because I just wanted to burst out in tears. In that moment I truly felt my Savior with me telling me that it was going to be okay. I also realized that Christ was the most misunderstood person ever. People rejected and killed Him BUT HE STILL LOVED THEM. I immediately felt so bad for making Hermana Schmit feel bad and I began to learn that we need to forgive others and love others as the Savior would. I found great strength and peace in the scripture that says, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." I can't completely connect the dots for you of how it related to the situation, but it was a really spiritual and strengthening experience.
I learned more about the Atonement that day. Hermana Schmit had a similar experience and later apologized and then I apologized and we apologized a million times to each other and everything was alright again! We still love each other more than ever! Our poor Hermanna Torres probably thinks we are crazy now! The Lord really opens our eyes, hearts and understanding when we choose to have open communication with the ones that we love.
That night we saw Alisa for a quick second and afterwards walked to the tienda (store) to get some yummy Mexican junk food to chomp on that night since we had to be in by 8! We made sopa, drank our sugar filled sodas and chowed down tons of Cheetos! The tamarindo Jarritos is my new favorite beverage! Too bad it's loaded with sugar and I shouldn't be drinking it! We fell asleep listening to our crazy neighbors setting off fireworks for two hours!
Saturday we had such a fun time helping out at the pantry! Hermana Schmit and I finally got our honorary Pantry shirts and felt so special! I'm going to wear it every Saturday after the mission! I love the people there so much! We spent most of the day walking but made it to Alex's finally and were able to teach him the Restoration. It was incredible!
We watched the restoration video and the spirit was really strong. He told is that he MIGHT come to church which kind if broke our hearts but guess what.....
He came to church on Sunday! It was such an amazing fast and testimony meeting. So many of the youth shared their testimonies and some really incredible members did as well. There are so many amazing examples in that ward. Hermana Schmit and I went up and shared our testimonies and it was a really sweet experience. It was hard to get any words out because I was so overwhelmed by the Spirit. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to do that and to do it in Spanish. I love this language so much. We ate at the Hernandez home after which was such a treat! Hermana Teresa and her daughter Carmen are such good examples of what a member missionary should be! Hermana's son Nestor just left on his mission and we were talking about how much a mission changes us! I am so grateful for my mission! After that we went and said hi to Daisy who wouldn't let go of us and hugged us so tight! She is the cutest.
They were all leaving for work so we are planning to go by another day. We had an INCREDIBLE lesson with Alisa that night. The Spirit was so strong that we were all crying. We sang her " Lead Kindly Light" and it took everything I had to not break down and cry in the middle of the song. I am so grateful for the Atonement and how it can truly change our lives. Completely. I am so excited for Alisa to take the step to coming back to church and letting The Lord change her into the person she wants to be. The Elders came in as we were leaving and gave her such a gorgeous blessing. Afterwards she just started laughing and crying. We didn't know what to think at first but then she shared with us that Heavenly Father shared with her the person that she will someday be, she saw a vision of her future self and it was exactly what she needed to see. She said that she finally feels like she has the courage and the motivation to go forward and make some big changes in her life. It was incredible as all of the missionaries testified to her that The Lord needs her, He needs her to share her story and that she is going to be amazing! She told us beforehand that she needed to know that God was going to be with her every single step of the way and as the Elder was finishing her blessing, I felt the room fill with a concourse if angels. I could never describe what I felt but I shared with her that God would be by her side the whole time and that He has sent down His angels to be with her as well. I know that there are so many people on the other side cheering her on and supporting her at this time. She has been a huge part of my mission. We ended the night teaching the restoration to our friend Jose and it went really well.
He shared that his grandpa had told him that there was a lot of confusion amongst all the religions and that the restoration made so much sense. It was incredible to see him believe in it so strongly by the end of our visit!
I just want you to know how much I love my Savior and how much I love His work. I am SO blessed!