Friday, August 23, 2013

Hna Post y Hna Flores growing up in Pecan Park.
1. 10 person lesson. Teaching a 7th day Adventist fam about the restoration.
2. Our successful, "Al otro lado del cielo" ward activity.
3. Listening to the relief society practice singing, "A child's prayer."
4. Getting bit by an ant and having my foot swell up, then soaking it in apple cider vinegar = house smelling FOR DAYS.
5. ZLs asking me to make a program for their bautismo, printing BUT not having a dollar bill --> getting copies for free.
6. Mosiah 2:41 Hna Post's fav scripture. 
7. Figuring out whether we're teaching how to count, algebra, or calculus to investigators. 
8. STL roadtrips to kingwood. 
9. "I Hate that you're always right."
10. Checking with E. Sully
11. Finding Ashley
12. Impromptu batismal musical number.
13. Making plans for the movie we're going to make one day. 
14. "Hey! We're having a conversation!"
15. Mini missionary sleepover. 

(It's weird that this list is so tiny, when I've been with Hna Post the longest! But, we were too busy to note things down! life was crazy.)

I've learned that the best way to look at my mission is through God's perspective--an eternal perspective. I served for 4 transfers (about 6 months) in Pasadena and now 4 transfers in Pecan Park. I'm being transferred! I have no idea what's going on. Hna Post and I made an executive decision to not answer any "transfer texts" or phone calls. This much I know, wherever I am sent is where my Heavenly Father needs me to be. 

Pecan Park has been a training ground for me. These have been the hardest 4 transfers yet, but I've also felt a greater happiness, gained a greater capacity to love, had a greater amount of patience, and been given a greater portion of humility. I was studying a talk earlier this week, "Humility is Empowerment." There was a simple sentence that was shared, "Humility and gratitude are the twin characteristics of happiness." I know this to be true. When I recognize my weaknesses, admit that I have been lacking humility, then I receive strength, I receive revelation. Humility is the essence of Godly power. I found this scripture this week, D&C 136:31-33.

31 My people must be tried in all things, that they may be prepared to receive the glory that I have for them, even the glory of Zion; and he that will not bear chastisement is not worthy of my kingdom.
32 Let him that is ignorant learn wisdom by humbling himself and calling upon the Lord his God, that his eyes may be opened that he may see, and his ears opened that he may hear;
33 For my Spirit is sent forth into the world to enlighten the humble and contrite, and to the condemnation of the ungodly. 

I am praying constantly for humility--praying so that I can have the spirit that is so essential to missionary work. This is not just something that is unique to missionary work; It will benefit me for the rest of my life. We are taught as missionaries to always leave our areas better than we found them. I can say that I have done that. I cleaned out and organized our area book, met EVERY member in our area, visited Less Actives that hadn't been visited in Years, left a baptism prepared for next weekend, and two more amazing GOLDEN investigators. Yesterday at church was the best farewell I could have imagined. Hna Post pointed out, "Hna, so many people that were at church today wouldn't have been there without your influence." Anna G, Maria M, Maria R, Byron, Rocio C, Rocio's brother and wife (they attended the English ward!). My heart was so full. But, I'm reminded of a scripture from the Book of Mormon and I echo Ammon's words:

11 ...I do not boast in my own strength, nor in my own wisdom; but behold, my joy is full, yea, my heart is brim with joy, and I will rejoice in my god.
12 Yea, I know that I am nothing; as to my strength I am weak; therefore I will not boast of myself, but I will boast of my God, for in his strength I can do all things; yea, behold, many mighty miracles we have wrought in this land, for which we will praise his name forever. 

I am sad to be leaving the people I have grown to love, but I know I'm leaving them in good hands! 

Ashley: We had left her with Alma 32 to read and she circled v. 17, 18, 21, 26. We began the lesson asking the first two baptismal interview questions. We are trying to help Ashley gain a testimony of the LDM, and Joseph Smith being a prophet. I told Ashley, "Our Logic isn't God's logic" and shared Isaiah 55: 8-9, and John 5: 32, 34, and 39. Mormon messages are our new best friends and we shared with Ashley, "Waiting on the Road to Damascus." She knows it's true, she just needs to recognize that she knows!

Byron: Totally getting baptized this weekend. I love teaching him! We teach him in member's homes, and it has been the greatest experience ever. We had dinner last night with him at the Zamora's home and taught the last lesson on fasting. Byron is so ready to make the changes in his life! Also, just a plug for lessons at member homes, found this quote from this April's GC. 

As you center your home on the Savior, it will naturally become a refuge not only to your own family but also to friends who live in more difficult circumstances. They will be drawn to the serenity they feel there. Welcome such friends into your home. They will blossom in that Christ-centered environment. Become friends with your children's friends. Be a worthy example to them.
  One of the greatest blessings we can offer to the world is the power of a Christ-centered home where the gospel is taught, covenants are kept, and love abounds. -- E. Richard G. Scott

Invite non-members to your home! That is my plea as a missionary. 

Maria: Loves church. We just had a lesson with her. Slipped in a lesson on Pday shhh! She has felt the spirit, seen the changes in her life. She came to church wearing a skirt I gave her! It's a skirt I bought but had never worn, it fit her perfectly. I'm so sure, I bought it just for her. Maria is a golden investigator. Her daughters are constantly sharing their budding testimonies with their father. Maria believes that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, she believes in the Book of Mormon. We just need now for her to be married, so that she can be baptized and receive all the blessings of the atonement.

Juana: Such a sweet woman. She learns slowly, but she invited us for lunch at her home and made flautas. They were delicious! We taught her prayer, she cried when she told us about how she felt so honored that we were eating with her because for her it was as if, "el santisimo" (Jesus Christ was eating with her. :) <3

I feel so blessed. I have loved everything about this area! And as if all this week's happenings weren't enough, Heavenly Father slipped in two more surprises. 
1. I got to see my trainer! I almost had a heart attack! Oh it was so good to see her. I wish I could have had more time to just talk to her. More time, that seems to be what I need on the mission. always.
2. I got a second letter from my friend from high school. When E. Golden came, I got a letter from a high school friend who said she wanted to learn more about my church. I got a second letter this Tuesday. I had Hna Post read it to me while we were driving home, and almost lost it. I kept saying out loud, "SHUT UP! ARE YOU KIDDING ME!" My amiga, met with missionaries! She met with missionaries, and I got an email from her today saying that she went to church yesterday, and was invited to be baptized. My heart is so full I don't know what to do.

Pecan Park has been so good to me! I can't wait to see what adventures/experiences I'll have in this next area!
I love missionary work.
I love the gospel.
I love all of "y'all."

Hnita Flores

Maria & Hna Pamatz. Mom, the dress I am wearing is a gift from a member. :) You always seem to notice if I'm wearing new clothes. 
The district in front of the famous Broadway, "Dios es Amor" sign. Missing E. Erickson, he got called to be AP!

Friday, August 16, 2013


Thursday, August 15, 2013

haby burday tu you!

I am a little sad that I only have one birthday on the mission. & I am happy to be 23! :] It just feels like a solid age. I felt so loved by Heavenly Father, and so loved by the members. It kind of felt like a farewell of sorts, but quien sabe? Solo Dios. 

My birthdays have always begun with a healthy dose of stress. I recognized it though, last year mi mejor amiga got pulled over on the way to the temple. Talk about stressful. It all worked out though! I had a birthday lunch with my district at "El Pappaturro," a Salvadoranian restaurant. It was actually the first time I had had popusas my entire mission. The Zone Leaders were nice enough to buy me a bolsa of hot cheetos puffs. 

I had a birthday dinner at la Familia Marun's. They definitely take the favorite family award. :) Hna Pamatz spent two days cooking my birthday dinner--Mole. This isn't your let-me-take-my-can-of-dona-Maria-and-put-it-on-chicken-and-call-it-Mole. This was the real deal. I've never been a mole fan, but this birthday meal changed EVERYTHING. I have been dreaming about this Mole all week long. I asked Hna what ingredients the mole had, she mentioned: animal crackers, orange juice, chocolate, peanuts, garlic, avocado leaves, just to name a few. There was also rice that was scarily similar to cafe rio's lime and cilantro rice. Oh, it was definitely the best meal I've had on my mission. The Marun's went all out, and Maria (nuestra investigadora) called me to ask what kind of cake I liked. My heart was so happy all day. 

As far as missionary work goes. I brought my 10 year-journal to emailing so that I could sufficiently explain how wonderful everything has been over here in Pecan Park/the Broadway Zone.

-I went on exchanges in Galena Park again, this time with Hna Tonga's trainee Hna Snow. She was so sweet, and we got to ride bikes, the weather was pleasant! The Galena Park Hnas live in a trailer, so it's always an adventure to go over there. 

-We finally met with Ashley. It had been 2 weeks. And we found out, she doesn't hate us! There were just a series of events that made it really hard for us to see her (e.i. phone breakings, us not knowing her schedule, our note to her getting lost).

-Had a couple of great lessons with Byron. We have to push his baptismal date back though because he didn't come to church this week! We had set up a ride, but he woke up late, and then his self set up ride fell through. I love teaching Byron though because he "gets things." 

-Maria (fam Marun's friend) is amazing. I have discovered on the mission that one of my talents is definitely counseling/advice giving. I think it comes from being a logical thinker. Maria's daughter Itzel was not too happy on my birthday. She told me she had actually packed a maleta (suitcase) because she wanted to runaway. I helped her to see that her mother does love her (she was jealous because she had seen her parents play with her sisters). She sobbed as I encouraged her mother to list reasons she loved Itzel. Oh, it was such a toughing moment. And my heart was so full as Itzel exclaimed, "me duele mi corazon." She was feeling the spirit as she hugged her mother and realized that in fact her mother loves her very much.

-Had an amazing exchange with Sis Wenzel! (We came out together, and were the outcasts from the group we came with. We were the only two who didn't have sisters from our district here). Sis Wenzel and her companion are English speakers working in a predominately Hispanic community. It gets a little tough to find investigators at times. So we put into action on exchanges an idea I came up with Hna Tonga in Pasadena. We first went over to the Spanish Elders' apartment, asked them for a ward list, and then went to visit their members and asked for referrals. It worked so well! We were able to set up two Family Home Evenings and an Hour of Power for the sisters with a Spanish member as well. We're getting creative over here with our finding in Tejas. Now if only, I could get bursts of inspiration for my own area!

I love my mission.
I love feliz birthdays.
I love the people who make up my mission.

Con Amor, 
Hna Flores

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Blue Bell

Sunday, August 11, 2013

11 months.

Today marks 11 months!!! & it truly has felt like 11 months. There are so many experiences that I have had that have molded me into the person/misionera that I am today. When I first got to Houston, I remember hearing the testimonies of departing missionaries and they all expressed that the time had just flown by. That night, I prayer to Heavenly Father and asked him to make it so that my mission wouldn't go by fast, and wouldn't go by slow. Ultimately, I just wanted to feel satisfied. 

It was hard to feel like a "missionary" this week. A lot of my time was spent thinking about other issues that effect missionary work, but aren't missionary work. Let's just say that STL has it's pros and cons. Being in a leadership position is tough, but I know that the Lord is using these experiences to refine me somehow. 

I attended MLC (missionary. leadership. council.) this week, and we had the neatest experience. We were sitting in a circle discussing the needs of the mission, concerns, and what not. It kind of felt like we were in a ward council setting. The subject of Preach My Gospel was brought up and how we could help the missionaries get into preach my gospel more. I brought up the fact that, we never really use preach my gospel in zone conferences or district meetings, maybe the presentations that we see were taken from Preach My Gospel, but it hasn't always been a focus. 

We changed that. After that, every concern about missionary work that was brought up, we were listing pages from Preach My Gospel. It was so inspiring, and it something I definitely want to use on exchanges with the sisters. 

Also, a bonus of MLC I got to go on a full day exchange with Hna VanLeeuwen. It helped to talk openly with her about e v e r y t h i n g. Leadership can be a lonely place when you don't have a companion that's going through the same things as you. I went on an exchange with Hna Van at the beginning of my mission, and since that point I knew that I wanted so badly to be her companion. I learned so much from my exchange with her! Also, transfers are in 2 weeks! So start thinking about predictions, am I staying or going? :]

Byron came to church this week! He is preparing for baptism on the 17th of Augustt. We really need to be on him about reading el LDM though, he's a smart kid. We have been teaching him in the homes of members which has helped greatly because of the spirit we are able to feel so much stronger. This week, we've also been working on finding through the members, we're really trying to put an emphasis on Family Home Evenings that members can invite their friends too. We found one woman this week, Maria through working with Familia Marun. She has such a sincere desire to learn, and it's a tribute to finding through members vs. finding through knocking. Cada miembro un misionero!

Te amo, 
Hna Flores

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dear Companions, thank you!

I went on an exchange with Hna Tonga this weekend and it brought me full circle. I needed that exchange, we both needed that exchange. I had a revelation on this exchange of how perfect my mission has been, how things perfectly fell into place, how each companion has prepared me for the next, and how they all have prepared me for my call as STL.

Hna Canova prepared me for Hna Tonga. Hna Canova was always so nervous to talk in lessons. I remember a critical point in that companionship were the two exchanges Hna Canova and I went on with English sisters, and the other 2 exchanges I went on with Spanish speaking sisters. My trainer was secretly a Sister Training Leader, she had to go on emergency exchanges, and organized the entire Hermanas exchanges. Those exchanges were slaps in the face because they helped me to realize what I was lacking, I had to lead on those exchanges, and talk for 99.9% of the time. Those exchanges were critical and helped me to grow up REAL FAST. I watched my trainer more intently after those exchanges, and I worked on perfecting my teaching and leading. & this helped me prepare for training Hna Tonga. 

Hna Tonga love her to death, but she refused to talk. She helped me to grow up even more. My teaching had to become the teaching of a sister who's been out a year in the matter of one day. I had to learn quickly to be bold, to cast my fears aside, to get creative in finding, and learn to hold my own. I also began to learn how to teach a companion and lead by example. 

Hna Tonga prepared me for Hna Arcila. When I left Pasadena, I hate to admit it but I thought, "I won't have to be the leader. I'll have a companion that's been out for a while." I was even more excited when I was put together with Hna Arcila because I thought, "A Spanish speaker! Our companionship won't be uneven." But from day one, it was clear that it wasn't going to be as I imagined. I still remember that first day when we went to go teach investigators. I was the new Hna and we hadn't planned, we hadn't studied, so I figured I would follow Hna Arcila's lead. But, Hna Arcila hadn't really ever been "trained." She was transferred after 6 weeks with her trainer, and had been put with a new companion every transfer after that. I had to help Hna Arcila transfer. 

I learned with Hna Arcila to be less selfish. Whenever Hna Arcila was frustrated with herself, instead of getting mad about how the lesson hadn't gone as I envisioned I would just say, "Hna Arcila. What's wrong?" It would open her up, she would express her feelings and any of my frustrations left completely. Hna Arcila would ALWAYS tell me, Hna Flores! You are training me." I learned from my time with Hna Arcila how to nurture and care for a companion. [*Update on Hna Arcila she's now training!!! :) ]

Hna Arcila prepared me for Hna Post & Hna Dedrick. I knew that I was going to be needed to train again. So "re-training" Hna Arcila helped me see what I was going to change training the second time around. I realized what I as a trainer needed to teach/focus and emphasize so that my companions would become successful missionaries. I still remember transfer calls. I knew I was training two, but then to also be called as a sister training leader! In the words of my Mission President, "Yikes!"

In all honesty, it was a blessing to be training two, it divided the work and it made it so that I could teach a principle and then observe. Hna Post and Hna Dedrick were so different and had different challenges, but it worked. It wasn't a challenging companionship at all. The challenge there was seeing Hna Dedrick go. :( We grew so attached to her, and it broke our hearts to say goodbye!

Hna Post is a wonderful person who sometimes forgets about how wonderful she is. It's been challenging, but the Lord has preapred me so perfectly for this companionship, for my responsibilities as STL in just the right way. 

On my exchange with Hna Tonga this Friday-Saturday I just cried. I didn't realize how much I had missed being her companion. She has become my best friend on the mission! :) And, it helped me feel like I was making a difference. She is an AMAZING missionary. She apologized for never speaking in lessons, but if you could see her now! I felt like the world's proudest parent/hermana (PUN INTENDED). I was so happy with her on Saturday, and we both cried when we realized we had to leave each other and go back to our companions/our areas/our responsibilities. She and I kept saying all day, "I needed this." And I did too! I needed that exchange. I needed to feel like something I am doing is right. 

I realized this week that every companion I have had has prepared me for the next. Had I not been trained with Hna Canova, I wouldn't have been prepared for Hna Tonga. Had I not trained Hna Tonga, I would not have been prepared to re-train Hna Arcila. Had I not re-trained Hna Arcila, I would not have been prepared to train Hna Dedrick and Hna Post. Had I not had to counsel Hna Dedrick as best as I could with her decision going home, I would not have been prepared for dealing with so many sisters' individual struggles.

All these situations combined have helped me serve and know how to help the Sisters of the Broadway zone as well. I was worried at first that I wouldn't have the confidence of the sisters. My numbers and my physical evidence of hard work aren't that promising, but I feel as though I am gaining the trust of the sisters. One sister tells me every time she sees me that she's praying we're companions, another has told me that she's so excited to go on an exchange again (we've been on 2 so far since the beginning of our missions). My heart was touched deeply on Sunday as I saw another sister come up to me open her heart, cry, and just ask for help/go on an emergency exchange. This is hard. But I have seen this week as I have reflected on my mission evidence of, "Whom the Lord Calls, He qualifies."

I am so grateful that the Lord has planned out my mission perfectly. I had to be trained by Hna Maughn aka STL zero. I had to learn from her. In a non biased way, she was literally the best Hermana/Sister of the mission at that time. There is a reason President had such confidence in her to make her the first sister to train two at a time. :) My heart is so full. I am so excited to see who I am paired with next, because I know that the Lord will use the experiences we go through together as preparation for the rest of our lives. 

My mission is changing my eternity. :]
Te amo times a millz,
Hnita Flores

This graffiti may or may not have been drawn by one of our current APs
We had get Dairy Queen blizzards! In honor/memory of Valentines day.
MORGAN!!!! So good to see mission friends, but so strange to call them by their first names!
Never let missionaries play with your camera. 
Can't remember if I ever sent this, but the "historic" first ever TEXAS HOUSTON EAST missionary leadership council.