Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Buenas Cosas en Baytown.

There are good things happening in this little place. It never ceases to amaze me how many people are connected in some form or way to the church. Just a roundup for this week.
Julia C.: Julia was found by English elders during the Hour of Power. She didn't necessarily have a connection with the church, but her Sister-in-law, Claudia, had met with missionaries in the past. Julia gave us Claudia's information and we paid her a visit. Unfortunately, Claudia's husband isn't too keen on her meeting with missionaries, but we put her name in the area book so that missionaries in the future can give her a try.
Violeta G.: Has a son who is actually currently serving a mission in Peru right now! Violeta doesn't have a strong religious background and so we are using the building blocks to teach her, object lessons, pictures, one-verse scriptures. The works.
Rumaldas.: The Rumalda's randomly came to church last week with their family who are members in Cypress, TX. We haven't had a chance to teach them yet because of work schedules, buthow wonderful is that? Their family drove all the way to Baytown just to show them where the local church was and to attend with them.
Katie A.: We found Katie during Hour of Power. (We've since passed her on to the English Elders) Katie's grandfather passed away earlier this year and he was a member of the church. Katie was really close to him and was commenting on how it was going to be strange to have celebrate her first birthday and holiday season without her grandfather.
Mirna?The reason for the question mark is we contacted Mirna? through the phone. Our district leader has developed the habit of calling us whenever he and his companion come into contact with a Spanish speaker. Mirna? actually has an uncle that is LDS and has a copy of the Book of Mormon because her uncle has spoken to her about it before.
Katrina.: Katrina is another interesting story. Katrina's friend living in Pennsylvania found our branch President's number and called him. Our branch President has been inviting Katrina to church and this week she came to our Branch's thanksgiving party as well as church. Hna St. John and I are hoping to meet with her today.
We had zone conference this week and President Crawford counseled us to , "be lights not judges." Light has actually been my study topic for the year. We are counseled to be lights in the scriptures so that others may recognize our good works and glorify our father in Heaven. There are so many people that we can be "lights" too. I had kind of a neat experience this week.
I've decided when I go home I just want to volunteer and help kids with their homework, seriously, no greater joy. I was working on my grad school application at the library when I heard a mother whispering to her son, "Luchador de derechos hermanos." Her son was trying to translate the phrase but semi-unsuccessfully. I made my way over and spent an hour helping Rodolfo translate his Mexican Revolution project from Spanish to English. No greater joy. Rodolfo's mom, noticed my tag and we chatted for a bit about missionary work, the church, and just what exactly I was doing in Texas and left her with a pass-along card. Just a simple act. It doesn't take a missionary badge to go about doing good.
I feel so blessed to be a missionary, so blessed to be able to serve the people of Baytown. I feel spoiled sometimes by all the goodness my life has, and I know that it is all attributed to the gospel of Jesus Christ in my life. I love love love being a missionary, especially of the Texas Houston East variety. :]
With love,
Hna Flores

Classic. A generations photo, just because we'd never taken one. Pasadena for Zone Conference. So good to be home. :]
Last week, Elder Tolman (car coordinator) told us Golden Girl looked trashy, this week. ABOVE AVG. simple joys in life.
Twin day. Photo with Sueyzen Fong, a young woman who is always willing to come out to lessons with us.
Hermana Power en La Rama de Tejas. Hna St. John, Me, Hna Mellor, Hna Ochsenbein.
Companion love.
Lastly, my Mission President is Captain Moroni's doppleganger. NBD

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

4 Hnas 4-4-4 for Baybertyyy!

We are fueling Hermana Power in Baytown. Our Elders were flushed out and we now have four Hermanas serving in our little rama de Tejas--Hna Mellor and Hna Ochsenbein. Hna Mellor and I came out to Texas on the same flight and Hna Ochsenbein has been on her mission for 10 months. We didn't get a picture this week, but soon se lo prometo. It's been so great to have Hnas in the branch with us, the ideas have been flowing and we are all so committed to the work. It's all around good. We're both (companionships) inviting members out with us on almost a daily basis. Because the Elders left, Hna St. John and I are now covering a semi-sketchy street in our area known as N_____ (Just for confidential purposes, I'll mention the street as "N street". The Elders used to cover that area, but we're now teaching an investigator living there and a family visiting with realtives walked into church this Sunday and they live on that street as well. We'll be taking a couple of trips to N street. My philosophy is this, after living 22 years in Compton, CA, what's N street?
Speaking of sketchy places. Hna St. John and I had to spend two hours last night knocking in one of the most sketchy areas of our area. The reason, well to make a long story short, Hna St. John had forgotten to fill the car up on Saturday with gas and being Sunday (sabbath day holy) we had no choice, but to knock for two hours in the sketchiest part of town. I was a little ticked, but we are blessed with moments like that to learn patience, right? Some good came of it! We found two potentials, set up return appointments, and had a member present lesson afterwards.
Esmeralda and her husband both came to church on sunday! Although, not sure if I updated y'all that she wants to wait till after her delivery to be baptized. Especially since the baptismal date we set is when the doctor informed her that she could possibly go into labor.
No other "big" news except for the fact that Hna Mellor is also an STL and I will no longer be going on exchanges with the Liberty Hnas, but instead will be exploring Mont Belvieu this transfer. :)
Hope y'alls weeks are filled with sunshine! As for Baytown it's been foggy and humid, perfect combination for mosquitos which I'm sarcastically really excited about.
With Love,
Hna Flores

A member blessed us with gift cards to Texas Roadhouse. First timer! That's how I spent my veterans day. :]
Just a cute note I left over a not-so-nice sign.
                                                     Cute animal picture. Because I had to!
Also, just realized practically every photo, I have a braid in my hair. I'm a missionary who's hair gets frizzy in humidity. THE WORST.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Staying in Baytown & a little miracle story.

I have never been more excited to not be transferred. So last friday Hna St. John and I went knocking on a little tiny street in Baytown. We knocked into this woman and she answered the door in a costume.This was strange considering it was the day after Halloween, but she had a Halloween party to attend. She told us we could come back. Typical door contact nothing really exciting. After MLC, Hna St. John and I tried her, it was one of those awkward encounters: we get out of the car, she pulls up and comes to grab her mail. She told us to come right in.
We walked in and talked about normal conversation things (her sons football practice, Halloween, the weather). As we started talking to her she said, "Oh I have a sister that goes to the church on Purple sage." My thought, "great, she's confusing us with another church." To clarify things I asked, "Your sister is Mormon?" She said, "Yeah, my sister and my brother. Actually my brother is getting sealed this weekend...." We asked her what she had thought when we first knocked on her door and she said, "Well. First I was embarrassed because I was dressed up as a devil and answered the door to y'all. [so funny!] Then I called my sister to ask if she had sent y'all." (She didn't this was pure Heavenly Father)
Anyways, it was amazing, we explained what a temple was, what a sealing was, and she said, "You know, my sister tried to converts us years ago, and I didn't understand. But, she wanted us to get sealed! She invited us to church because she loves us." Meanwhile her son 9-year-old Rolando is interjecting in the background, "I want to get sealed! I want to get baptized!" As we were heading to our dinner appointment we left Alejandra (we'll call her that) and her son Ruben with pamphlets. Ruben grabbed the pamphlet and said, "I'm keeping this in my room and I'm reading this EVERYDAY." Hna St. John and I were bewildered. We were positively beaming as we walked to the car and as soon as we stepped into Niña de Oro (our car) we started screaming and looked at each other and said, "Did that really just happen?" There also might have been some Wicked playing in the background of my mind. :) We had a return appointment Thurs, but it fell through... Don't worry, there are too many connections/coincidences for us not to go back.
I feel so grateful to stay in Baytown for at least 5 more weeks. I am enamored with everything about this place. Yesterday we were in PEC and I was just filled with gratitude to be serving with the strong leaders of the Texas Branch. We reported on a less active we had visited, one who didn't even live in our area (long story) who's mother had passed away, and without delay our branch president turned to his counselors and said, 'What time today can we go visit this brother?'" The branch is changing it's vision of hastening the work of salvation and I'm so blessed to be a part of it. Oh yeah, 5 more semanas in Baytown!
Te amo,
Hna Flores

Familia Carvajal. Hna is one of my favorite cooks in the branch!
The cutest puppy ever. at a potentials home. I'm obsessed with the furry friends of Houston.
planner for last transfer. plus the shnazzy carpet from the Baytown library.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Daylight Savings--Not a Big Deal.

Confession: Hna St. John and I spent Halloween listening to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir's Christmas CD Rejoice and Be Merry. Halloween was a mission-wide de-Junk day. We were given a couple of hours to deep clean the apartment and get rid of any kind of junk in our apartment. If there's one thing I've discovered about myself on the mission it's how OCD I am. I can't properly function if things aren't neat, clean, and organized. This explains why I've had to color code and re assemble every area book and ward list where I've served and had to contribute a car area book. It just feels good to be organized, you know?
I learned something this week. I studied in-depth prayer and faith and how the two correlate together. I love the quote from Pres. Hinckley found in Preach My Gospel, "The trouble with most of our prayers is that we give them as if we were picking up the telephone and ordering groceries--we place our order and hang up. We need to meditate, contemplate, think of what we are praying about and for and then speak to the Lord as one man speaketh to another."
So I came to this conclusion. Prayer is communication with God. It's not an emergency hotline, it's not a rote action, it's not a place or time where you negotiate with God. Prayer is a time to counsel with God, to ask for help with sincere real intent, really intending to do our part to help ourselves and to follow and accept the council we receive, understanding that ultimately God knows best. In my prayers I try to say, "Heavenly Father I am considering this. Is this correct? What should I do?"
I love the scripture found in Alma 37:37, "Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good; yea, when thou liest down at night lie down unto the Lord, that he may watch over you in your sleep; and when thou risest in the morning let thy hear be full of thanks unto God; and if ye do these things, ye shall be lifted up at the last day." <3
We set a baptismal date with Esmeralda this week. We're hoping that Dec 7th works out! Esmeralda is also due in December, so we're hoping that that doesn't complicate things. Esmeralda and her hesband are doing so well with their reading of the Book of Mormon, they are well on their way to 2nd Nephi. We are also currently working with a man who we'll call Jaime. Jaime came to church last week, but our appointment with him on Halloween night fell through. We visited him last night. We were using the Resotration pamphlet to explain the steps of prayer and asked if he had one still. He said, "No, I gave mine away." Hna St. John and I were caught off guard. "You gave yours away?" We were puzzled. "My friend at work, Victor, he was really interested in what it had to say, so I gave it to him." We could contain our laughter. It was just unbelievable. Here we are trying to get members to share the gospel with others, and our investigators are doing it so willingly, without really being asked!
Yesterday was the end of Daylight Savings. For some reason I've been dreading it. I don't know why it seemed like such a bigger deal this time around, it was really putting a damper in the day. It is the worst when you're a missionary to have appointments fall though in the dark, it seems as if no one will answer the door for you. Hna St.John and I were knocking when I saw out of the corner of my eye a little garden rock that had the following scripture on it, "This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it." It changed my day. I thought, "Hna Flores! Why are you being so silly! Missionary work is still Missionary work no matter how dark it may be!" I have a goal to commit that scripture to memory. Anytime the dark bugs me, I shall rejoice in the day.
Our Ward Mission Leader's son returned home from his mission this week, and there was a soiree held in his honor on Saturday and he was presented with his missionary plaque (you know with your mission scripture, map of your mission, and your photo). Anyways, I just thought, "How grateful am I to be a missionary! A representitive of our Savior Jesus Christ." I know I've said this before, but my mission really is my favorite.

With Love,
Hna Flores

Hna Lisyanskaya and I on exchanges in LIBERTY. Pumpkin cheesecake courtesy of a less-active who took us out for dinner.
May or May not have had burgers 3 days in a row. Not even worried about it. Burgers are an essential food group.
Just a stray cat we found in the streets. We affectionately named her, Taza.