Monday, July 29, 2013

I know I say this a lot but...

I don't ever want to leave Pecan Park. En Serio. & I'd really like to think that I'm staying this transfer as well. I really do feel like I could just stay here for the rest of my mission. There is so much I want do here. 

This week I went on two exchanges (Jacinto City & Broadway 1 South) so I didn't get to teach Ashley this week. But, she came to church! We were so excited. She's the best, she's currently in 1 Nephi 19, so she's almost to the Isaiah chapters. Our challenge now is to get Novio to church. Fasting & prayers appreciated. I wish y'all could sit in lessons with her. She's hungry to learn. Unfortunately, I also didn't get to sit with her in sacrament meeting #wardpianist. But, Hna Post filled me in with sacrament meeting commentary. Apparently, Ashley was really excited when a man was about to get the gift of the Holy Ghost. I'm sorry that I really don't have much details from her lessons, not being there kind of makes that happen. 

 An update on Byron. Byron is the teenager we found one day when Hna Post was leading. She stepped one foot away from Byron and another man, but decided we needed to turn around. Anyways, Byron moved! But, he moved to the same apartment complex that one of our solid members lives in. We went over to teach him Sunday evening, but come to find that there are no women living there, so we walked over to our member's apartment and asked kind of last minute if we could have a lesson there. We did and it helped immensely. I think Byron could definitely note the change in what a member's home feels like versus any other home. 

We read with Byron the introduction to the Book of Mormon. He understands how the Book of Mormon is proof of Joseph Smith's call as a prophet, and we committed him to read the testimonies of the witnesses, Joseph Smith's testimony, and the explanation of the LDM. We went over why the restoration is so crucial and showed him a picture of President Monson, and he said, "Hey! I know him!" Byron has visited temple square and apparently had also watched conference before. I think my favorite part of the lesson was when he was talking about temple square, and I pulled out a picture of the Salt Lake Temple. He said, "I loved walking around it, you know because I can't go in," and I said, "yet, you can't go in yet." He replied, "You're right, yet." After Byron left the appointment Hna M (our member) said, Hnas! I'm going to take him to mutual, and to the ward activity! I love when members catch the spirit of missionary work.

And for dessert, a little miracle story that's still in the developing stages. The Last Sunday of last transfer, Hna Post and I were trying to find a Less Active in our area. We seem to have luck finding Less Actives that missionaries haven't found/visited in years. This isn't a miracle less-active find, well sort of. Hna Post and I had a goal to teach 5 lessons that Sunday. We had taught 3 up to that point. Unfortunately, we didn't find the Less Active we were looking for, but as we were leaving the apartment complex I said, "Hna Post let's go talk to this man." We talked to said man who said his name was Nacor, he was a refugee from Colombia, and that his nuera, daughter-in-law, had a LDM but didn't go to church that often. His nuera however was going to be in Ecuador for a week or so. We left Nacor with our phone number, and pamphlets and told him to call us/we'd call him to schedule something with his Nuera. 

Yesterday at church, while I was speaking to some members E. Erickson said, "a baptism just walked in and I think she lives in y'alls area." E. Erickson was kind enough to take down contact information, and after getting the contact information I recognized the address as the place where we met Nacor. Unfortunately though, there was no apartment number, and the phone number went straight to voicemail. Later yesterday evening, I kept thinking, "I wonder if..." So I called the number we had for Nacor. I ended up speaking to his wife, and asked her what her nuera's name was. I realized that was kind of a random question to ask someone, so I explained myself. As Heavenly Father would have it, this woman who showed randomly up at church was the same woman we'd been trying to meet! We still haven't been able to meet with her, but we feel like there's a miracle here waiting to happen! In fact, part of it already has!

Amo la obra misional!
Hnita Flores

Kind of an inside joke. BUT, remember how I said I'm notorious for cleaning area books? Just giving U of H's AB a much needed cleanse... :]
Exchanges with the Jacinto City Hnas (aka my twin Hna Canova's trainees!) It was a blast! It was a little emotional though, there were little pieces of my trainer all over the place. I may or may not have stolen two post it notes with her handwriting on them. #sentimentalvalue

Monday, July 22, 2013

even when it's bad it's good

This week was a bit of a speed bump. But at the end of the day, I love my mission so much, so it makes up for all of it. As long as I have an eternal perspective it's a ok. It also helped that I had a ton of mail this week! Thank you for that. :)  I felt really impressed on Monday to devote more time to studying Christlike Attributes, especially humility. President Crawford is always throwing around the phrase, "humility is teachability." I know it's definitely something to work on. I'm working on fine-tuning everything. We recently (yesterday) discovered that we have Preach My Gospel on audio CDs and so since then we've put them on in the car, pausing when we feel there is a point we like, or we find something to work on. 

During Personal study this Friday I found my new favorite Bible chapter 1 Peter 2. vs 17-21. But I especially loved vs. 20-21. "For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:"

I am not a martyr. This I know, but on the hard days, it's reassuring to hear the above words. I am not perfect, I have many flaws and faults. & I am working on them!

This week we had a wonderful member present with a young part member family couple we are working with, Ashley & N. Ashley is investigating the church, N. is a less active member of 10+ years. N. and his family were a bit offended at church, we are working hard to repair the damage. We took a younger couple from our ward, and they were able to bear powerful testimony of the blessings of the gospel. Ashley is progressing so well. Last night she sent us a text telling us that 1 Nephi 13 reminded her of "scientology and Tom Cruise." It made us chuckle. 

During the lesson, we went over the restoration. We had previously taught Ashley, but not N. When it came time for the Joseph Smith story, instead of reciting it (I don't have it memorized in English) we played the latest Mormon message (origin. on their iPad. It was such a powerful tool! It will be such a marvelous thing when missionaries can readily have this at their disposal. We are working to get N. more enthusiastic about coming to church! We fasted this weekend and tonight we're hoping for a miracle.
-We have a new district! E. Mallard (who was in my district in Pasadena) is our DL.
- We met with Marcos Araujo and he recognizes the spirit, but we just need to connect the peace he feels with the message we share. 
- We're trying to get Byron to meet with us more than once a week because we know it'll help him progress immensely.
-Also, trying something new this week. Putting the pressure on members to find investigators, because sadly, it's a bit difficult to do on our own! Trying to apply creativity in finding through members. 

te amo!

so sorry! All I have for this week is a picture of my transfer 7 planner. Lo siento. BUT, I am going on two exchanges this week! So, I vow to take pictures then!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

part-member potential in Pecan park. (alliteration at it's finest.)

Technically training is over, BUT Hna Post and I will still be companions one more transfer. I was so drained of energy Saturday night (the day of transfer calls) and so when we got the news I literally just plopped into bed. Hna Post was SO excited to still be companions, in the middle of the night she said, "Hna! I'm so happy right now! I'm so happy that we're still going to be companions." I mustered every ounce of energy I could to convey my excitement. It was so weird, I was so excited, but didn't have the energy to voice it. So, yes! Hna Post and I will be together one more transfer in Pecan Park! Hurrah for Israel. It kind of doesn't even feel like transfers are even happening. Our district is changing though, E. Jensen and E.Leiva are both going home (as well as E. Conan from Pasadena!). I also realized this week that I've never been in a district without zone leaders. I love it that way though, I've always been with Elders who really know their purpose, and inspire me to work harder.  

There are so many possibilities in Pecan Park right now! We're currently working with 2 part-member families. The first is Ashley and her boyfriend. Ashley was supposed to come to church yesterday, we were so sad when she didn't. After church we went to visit her and her bf N ( a less-active). Ashley is progressing really well! It was so cute, we taught her on Wednesday about the gospel of Jesus Christ. Ashley has all her pamphlets in this cute binder, and she takes notes during our lessons! She's in 1 Nephi 8 in her reading, and I told her, "I love Chapter 8!" and she said, "Well I loved chapter 7!" We just need to get her bf to love church again. Pray for a milagro.

The other part-member family we're working with is la Familia Araujo. In May in the post, "Mission Moments" I wrote about the Hour of Power miracle we had. We met a man (*Marcos)  who was baptized 18 years ago, and at the same time a member I knew from Pasadena 3 had just so happened to randomly be at his house. (The member didn't even know the man, he was simply buying a car from them). Marcos originally told us he couldn't meet with us because his wife didn't want us to come over. But, we went back a couple of weeks ago and they let us right in. Last night we officially taught about the restoration to Marcos and his wife. It clicked for them! Marcos' wife after learning about Prophets told us, "so it's like the President and his cabinet, so a prophet sends you to teach the people." Apostasy also made sense to them. Apostasy is sometimes such a hard concept for people we are teaching to understand, but it clicked for them. We went over the pattern of Apostasy and helped them to understand that a Restoration was necessary, and what more a restoration with a prophet! 

Hna Posts' teaching is getting so good! I have seen a major jump in improvement in just this week. I love training, I really do. Speaking of training, I spoke to Hna Tonga last night (my first trainee) and she's training again! :) I definitely changed a couple of things this second time around, and I feel so much more confident about how better prepared Hna Post is to lead. She's also been a rockstar with leading on exchanges. She's had to lead on 6 exchanges, maybe more, some of them with English sisters. I tell her this all the time, but just like the Lord knew I'd be a sister training leader, he also knew she'd be my companion, he knew she could do it!

- Milton is 50/50 on the LDM, he said, "I can't say that's it's true, but I also can't say that it isn't." He's in 1 Nephi 14, but has also been jumping around and reading other things in Alma, 3 Nephi, etc. 
- We saw Byron again yesterday. He's the teenager from Provo. Oh it was such a gratitude-filled experience. Byron lives with about 5 other people, immigrants. People who are just searching for a better life. One of the men Byron explained, "when we're here we want to be in Guatemala, but when we're in Guatemala we want to be here. It just feels like we don't belong anywhere." Hna Post and I walked out of there feeling so much more grateful for all that we have. 

*name has been changed
te amo!
Hna Flores

Sis Hyde & I! Sis Hyde is leaving the mission this wed. :(
E. Limb, E.Ho Ching, Sis. Hyde and I at the mission home after MLC (Missionary Leadership Council). 
The Zone Leaders invited us to a 4th of July barbeque. Super Patriotic. :)

Monday, July 8, 2013

this is what eternity feels like...

The happiest moment I have had on my mission happened this weekend. But before I get to that...just before emailing, we set a baptismal date! I mentioned two weeks ago about meeting Ashley--the young woman who was the girlfriend of a less active young man in our ward! Remmber how I mentioned that I saw the image of my companion and I knocking on her Mother in Law's door? She is progressing so well, and she agreed to prepared to be baptized. We extended a date, but just realized that we also have to somehow throw a wedding in there. She explained that she felt such peace as she read the plan of salvation pamphlet, that she is likening herself to the Book of Mormon (she wanted to highlight 1 Nephi 3:7, but didn't know if it was okay to mark scriptures :) ), and she is working with her boyfriend because she wants them all to go back to church. It was a wonderful lesson. And this story is very similar to the one I'm about to mention. I will elaborate on the abovementioned story at another time. 

This Saturday, our ward asked us to help clean the chapel. While we were cleaning Elder Jensen told me, "I got a call from California! Morgan (E. Hatch) is coming for a baptism." I asked who's baptism and he informed me that it was Hna Carrasco's daughter-in-law from Pasadena. I was instantly filled with frustration. The first thought that popped into my head was, "Another person Heavenly Father? Another person that we had to hand off got baptized?" I am definitely NOT immune to negative thoughts, I asked Hna Post if we could go to the bathroom, and I offered a prayer. The prayer wasn't instantly answered, but towards the end of the day my thoughts had changed from the above mentioned to, "How grateful I am to be a part of that miracle! What a blessing from Heavenly Father to be a part of that experience!"

The highlight of this week happened yesterday, and it was the happiest moment I have had on my mission. Last minute, I was asked to play the piano for a stake youth fireside. We went, and I felt so antsy, so not right that after I played the opening hymn I got down from the stand and went with Hna Post to make phone calls. When we came back I saw Hna Carrasco the very woman who's daughter-in-law got baptized. She was sitting there with the bishop and his wife from Pasadena. I asked if I could sit with them. I took Hna Carrasco's hand and just sat there. Hna Carrasco said, "Hna Flores! My daughter-in-law got baptized!" As I held that woman's hand, and heard those words come from her mouth, I was filled with a love, a happiness, and a joy that I have NEVER felt before. I looked around at the members that were there from Pasadena, and the impression came, "this is what heaven and eternity is going to feel like." Happy isn't a sufficient enough word to describe the feeling.

After the fireside, Hna Carrasco gave me a hug and proceeded to tell the bishop from Pasadena the back story behind Ana's baptism. Hna Carrasco and I had been planning for weeks on how to get Ana to listen to the message. For some reason, at the time Hna Carrasco had only been feeding us, the sister missionaries. We would plan family home evenings, and ways that Ana could listen in. One Monday, Hna Tonga (remember my first trainee?) and I came over for dinner, and we saw Ana before she had hidden to her room. We started talking to her, we got to know her, etc. After dinner was over, we invited her to hear the message. We shared the first part of the plan of salvation. It was precisely the lesson that Ana needed to hear, there were tears as Hna Carrasco bore testimony to Ana that night that she loved her so much, and that she only invited her to church out of love. The love felt in that lesson so many months ago was so strong. Hna Tonga and I taught Ana twice, but we knew that because she wasn't in our area, we had to hand her off to Elders Conan and Hatch. It was a tough experience for us, we had already handed off to the English elders another person who later was baptized. 

As Hna Carrasco told Obispo Forrero this story in her own words I was in tears. I was so happy! She hugged me and said, "Hna Flores it had to be you! You had to start things off. And I am convinced that if Elder Hatch wouldn't have been in Pasadena, you would have been the one to have taught Ana." I was a mess at hearing these words! A mess! Bishop Forrero stepped in and said, "Missionaries never know the full extent of the work they do. Sometimes you just plant the seeds, but you'll never know just how much you did, " he then said, "You need to come back to Pasadena. You tell your Mission President that I am requesting you back in Pasadena." What missionary doesn't want to hear these words? Oh I could have hugged that man! I am in tears as I write this. I will NEVER forget that night, that experience. I can go home from my mission happy. But, I know I have so much left to do here. And if that was the joy that I felt from teaching someone twice. I can't imagine how I'll feel when I see someone to baptism again. How great shall be my joy.

I love my mission. & I love you!

- I went on exchanges with Sis. Ochsenbein and Sis. Hansen, and we may or may not have completely organized their area book, area map, ward list, etc. I'm notorious for keeping organized area books. 
- We had a mini miracle. We were trying formers in an apartment complex, Hna Post led this week. We were leaving the apartment complex and had two options: walk past people or not to walk past people. Hna Post took one step in the walk-not-past-people direction, but then she took one step and said, "No! We have to go this way." We went and met Byron, a 17 year-old who just moved from PROVO,UT!!!! He called out to us. It was such a mini miracle. And, we're starting to teach him. 

p.s. last week of the transfer. Exchange calls are this weekend! The only thing better than staying in my area would be going back to Pasadena. :) <3

E.Davis' fortune from a Chinese buffet. 

Liliana, one of my favorites from pasadena works at said buffet. I just heard someone scream, "Hna FLORES!!!"

The area I "work" in is known as the "East-End." Kind of like East Los. What is it with Mexicans loving to live in the east part of town?

Monday, July 1, 2013


Maybe it's just because I'm currently serving as a missionary, but does anyone else feel like the church is SUPER focused on the work right now? I felt so blessed to watch the broadcast (The Work of Salvation) yesterday. I wanted nothing more than for every member of the church to be watching that broadcast yesterday so that they too could catch the wave of missionary work. I felt like I was watching a 21st century high tech version of General Conference, but even better because it was all about la obra misisonal! You can watch said broadcast via :) I felt so blessed to be a missionary yesterday. It has been the biggest blessing, and the most exciting thing to have been here to see how missionary work was, hear the age change announcement on the field, see the rush of missionaries, and now see missionary work go digital! I was talking to Hna Post and had I gone on a mission a transfer earlier or later, it just wouldn't have been the same. Blessed and grateful are the biggest understatements. 

Elder Christoffel Golden of the 70 (he spoke in this past General Conference) came to tour the mission, and we had a special zone conference in Pasadena. I cried as I was driving through Pasadena to get to the chapel, it was so bittersweet to see how very much closed that chapter of my missionary life is. Elder Golden was so bold, direct, and to the point. He told us we could do more, in a loving caring way; but he also didn't sugar coat anything. Elder Golden emphasized exactly what I had been studying last week/ what my letter was about last week. I knew that I had been prepared by the Lord to receive his counsel and apply it to myself. Elder Golden also went deep doctrine on us, explaining the importance and the significance of our work citing the pearl of great price, and the war in heaven. Let's be real, whenever the Pearl of Great Price is involved, you know it's going to be good. The best thing about that day was that after the meeting I got a letter from a high school friend who I hadn't spoken to in about 5 years! I was puzzled because the return address was from a state I knew my friend didn't live in. The letters contents filled me with golden rays of sunshine!

-I went on exchanges with Sis Stofferahn. A new sister missionary from Ogden, UT. It was so great. I left her with the motto, "Make everyone your best friend." We worked on her contacting skills. Going from, "Hi were missionaries. We have a message about Jesus Christ would you like to learn more?" to "Hi! What was the best thing about your day?"
-Sis Stofferahn and I went on a great run, knocked into people who were fake nice to us. When we switched back we found our companions soaking wet. The poor things looked as if they had jumped into a swimming pool! I wish I had taken a picture. There is nothing quite like Texas rain.
- On the first day of Summer (June 21st) Hna Post and I decided to ride bikes. We have so much more appreciation for Elders now! I don't know how they do it everyday. It was so hard! I was sweating and dehydrated. Thank the heavens I had packed frozen waterbottles in a cooler. It was manna from heaven!
- Remember the less active woman from last week? Hna Perez? She read the first 6 pages of the LDM for the first time ever (& the LDM for the first time ever really) and had an amazing experience. She was like, "I KNOW this book is from God! It's beautiful, all the things it says!"
-We invited Milton to be baptized, he still hasn't accepted a date! We're planning on teaching him about the importance of church this week.
- Saw Blanca and Luis. They're back from a vacation to Mexico. I had a really great experience with them! They're 7th day Adventists and always ask about why Sabbath day is on Sunday, and the answer just came to me. I explained that Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Mosaic law, that before the Sabbath was for more sacrifices. But, our savior resurrected on a Sunday, isn't that what the Sabbath is all about? Remembering him?
- After the broadcast the English Elders gave us a referral for a family. We contacted them, and had a wonderful lesson. For part of the lesson, it was strange, I felt as if I was there, but not there. As if I was observing the lesson almost. They had great questions though like, "Why did God choose Abraham and Moses?" Answered with Jer 1:5. "And what happens in times of Apostasy?"
-We tried visiting Brenda & Joaquin yesterday after the broadcast, and turns out they were having a family barbeque! We were instantly invited. Oh I felt like I was at home: family story time, chistes, yummy food, etc.

I LOVE Tejas (different from Texas, Tejas refers to the people, NOT the place.)

Te amo times a millz, 
Hna Flores