Saturday, October 13, 2012

We had our first day of crisp scarf and cardigan weather yesterday. It was glorious to feel as if we were blanketed with cool breezes. I love being able to see the seasons change. The only thing certain about life is change.
   Change is a miracle and it's a blessing to witness change, especially the change that comes from the gospel of Jesus Christ. While I may have only been out in Texas for two weeks, in this short period of time, i've seen change come into the lives of the people our trio is teaching. Sometimes the change is rapid within one lesson that we teach other times it's over a period of time. Change through Jesus Christ is a miracle, and it's been a blessing to see it firsthand.
  Victoria is reading the Book of Mormon! She's been having challenges with it though. Her Husband has been telling her that there is no evidence that the Book of Mormon is true and her Father has been telling her that there is no need to be baptized again. Victoria has seen change though through the power of prayer. She has felt peace, security, and she is just glowing when we come and visit her now. Victoria came to a session of conference as well with one of the members in the ward, Maritza. Maritza's been the BIGGEST help, we are SO thankful for her. She and Victoria are new bffs: they chat on facebook and call each other all the time. We would be seeing a lot more success if every member of the church fellowshipped this way.
   Change came over rapidly as we taught Carolina too, a member referral, about the restoration. It was so great to watch as the magnitude and importance of our bold declarations set in. We testified that this was the true Church, the same Church that Christ established on the earth. Carolina was really pensive and quiet as she meditated over what we said. She said she knew she had to find out if what we are teaching her is true. "There has to be something for you to leave your families and give everything up for 18 months of your life." 
   The last investigator I have to report on is Juan. He seems like he's STRAIGHT from Long Beach he keeps it real and is so ready for a change in his life. It's funny, the confusion people have about our faith: that we "pray" to Joseph Smith, that he became rich from what he did, and that he wrote the Book of Mormon all about himself. It was so fun for us to clarify things for Juan. To teach him that our church is centered on Jesus Christ, that we are grateful for the sacrifices of the prophet Joseph Smith, but that we don't worship or idolize him.
   Juan wanted to jump right into the story of "Mr. Smith, John Smith, or Juan Smith" (Juan confused his name a couple of times. But we knew that for him to truly understand our message, we had to go back to the times of Jesus Christ and help him understand the role of the Savior on earth, help him understand the authority of God and explain how there was an apostasy, truths were lost and Joseph Smith restored them. It was amazing to just in the course of an hour see Juan understand, to see him change and become reverent as he understood what exactly our message was. He kept saying, "I need to read this Book." We clarified that the Book of Mormon didn't contain the stories of Joseph Smith's experiences, but told the story of prophets in the ancient Americas who rejoiced, prophesied, and believed in Christ.
  Juan got really quiet and said, "that makes sense." WE changed his understanding of the Church completely and invited him to conference to hear the words of a living Prophet. We showed him pictures of the First Presidency and the Quorum of the Twelve and he said, "They just look like normal businessmen." I explained that they are normal, that they had real lives, that they worked, but now were retired and their main purpose was to testify of Christ. 
   When we started our lesson, I asked him why he had wanted/decided to meet with us? (We were visiting his mother who is less active when he said, "Can I ask you guys something? How old are y'all?" and what we were doing as missionaries and whether we could meet with him). Juan said that we seemed sincere, that we seemed perfect, happy, and glowing, and that there was an aura about us. He noticed the difference and noticed the difference in his Mom as well. He said that he recently had made a pact with God to change for the better and that maybe our coming over to visit his Mom was God's answer for change...
 I don't know if the word change describes the transformation we see accurately, but it's marvelous.
 Family, I thought about all of you during General Conference. Especially during President Monson's historical announcement of changing the ages of missionaries. We were all shocked in Texas. I calculated and we can see new, younger missionaries as early as March! It was also bittersweet as I realized that because of this change, I probably won't see my brother Devin for the next three years. I know this change was inspired, I know it. Friday night my companions and I were talking about what a blessing a mission is, how it fortifies you, and blesses you, how you learn at an accelerated rate. We had just been talking about how much we wished more girls would come on missions and partake of the blessings. Be careful what you wish for I guess. My heart was doing summersaults as I realized how many people and generations will be blessed by this single change. I most likely will be training a handful of these new younger hermanas and I am SO excited to meet them! I love my mission and I love you.

p.s. My two favorite talks were
"I'm a Mormon. I know it, I live it , I love it."
& Elder Russell M. Nelson's 
"Ask the Missionaries"
pretty sure we're making P-day shirts with those phrases. :)
Family, did you REALLY have lunch with the general authorities in between sessions?
If so, I am one jealous Hermanita.

I ran into my amiga from Living Legends Katie Bair at the MTC. Maybe I ran into her more than once... :)
This is really late, BUT this is a picture of my and my MTC Branch President, President Tyler. I love that man!
Sister Wenzel and I were assigned to sit on the very last row in our very small plane on the way to Texas.
Houston, I have arrived!

All the sisters that arrived to the mission on the same day! :)

Sister Wenzel and I were roommates for the first night, and just happened to have matching pajamas. YES!

                   Our first day as a trio! Hermana Maughan in the middle and Hermana Canova on the right. 

                               Nachos from Las Fuentes, the place that I said reminds me of Mom's cooking.

             Hermana Canova and I at the Barbeque place I told you about last week. :) They loved us there.

Our picture at the corner of Crawford street. :) taken by devout Mitt Romney supporters, my dad would love them.

                                            The inside of a Freebirds bathroom, they go all out in Texas. 

                                           We all wore blue and white one day, didn't even plan it that way.

                                         Post our first zone meeting, I've been converted to chipotle.

                                                      General Conference day!

Remember how I said Victoria came to conference? Well, she brought one of her twin sons to conference and he was a little bit rowdy. Hermana Maughan and I super wanted her to feel the spirit so we took him right outside the door for a session and gave him my colored pencils to draw with and the cookies my mom sent in my greenie package. It was like nursery. Don't worry we didn't break mission rules, we weren't along with kids, the door was open! Victoria's son isn't pictured here, but we had others join our little party.

                                       Thanks for the jungle cookies mom! They were put to good use! :)


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