Wednesday, January 29, 2014

ice storm.

We had snow this week! SNOW! In Louisiana (For those of you who don't know I was switched to be an English missionary and serve in the highly-coveted only sisters area in Louisiana!!!). We've been having extreme weather lately. In an email today, President Crawford told us to purchase batteries, food that we can eat without power (they're expecting power outages here), and to make sure our phones are constantly being charged. It is a little crazy. On Friday morning we were told to stay inside until about 1pm, but it took another hour and a half for us to be able to leave because our car was barricaded under a layer of ice. My mission dreams have become a reality. Not only have I been transferred to Louisiana, but now I've had snow on my mission too! La vie et bien!

Bro. Ortiz Sr. is doing well! We taught Bro. Ortiz with a member who just got back from his mission in The Dominican Republic, it was such a successful lesson, and Bro. Ortiz Sr. now has a ward friend! We also were able to give Bro. Ortiz a tour of the chapel ending with watching the restoration video, and for the cherry on top, he witnessed a baptism. He still hasn't come to church, but we are working on that! 

While Bro. Ortiz didn't come to church, we did have the family from California I wrote about 2ish weeks ago. :) (See the letter Bienvenue2014.) Some of the family was sick, but while at church Sis. Myers (we'll call them that) was able to have a great convo with a man who served there 10 or so years ago. 

& In other news, Hna St.John called me from Baytown yesterday morning to let me know that Katia (see "Kind of Like a Second Mission Call...) came back from her vacation in the Dominican Republic and is still progressing towards baptism. If all goes well, I can expect to take a little trip to Baytown either this weekend or the next! :) I love that woman, and I will be so so so excited to have a little reunion of sorts with Hna St. John! I love her more than words can express. 

Also, this is the last week of the transfer! Where did the time go? Although, this past transfer was a 7-week one, it seems to have just rushed on by.

I love my mission and you all!
<3 te amo times a millz
Sis Flores

Monday, January 27, 2014


There are so many things I want to include in this email, but they are definite face-to-face type conversations. I'll summarize my lessons ingrained (I'd use the word "learn" but, they aren't things I really learned, just kind of reminded of...) with two stories. 

I finished my grad school application, but I've now started attacking my law school application. I had started applying before the mission, but it just didn't feel right. Applying on the mission to law school is tough, but it's also one of the smartest decisions I've been inspired to take. Last Monday, I took a look at all the paperwork-esque things that law school required and well, it was overwhelming. Tasks that would have been simple in the real world at that point seemed kind of impossible to me. I left emailing on Monday kind of feeling down. It didn't help that we were a little late to Pday activities and were rushing to finish shopping in our allotted Pday time. Before we left our apartment to work however, I simply knelt down in prayer and asked Heavenly Father to help me combat the stress. The funny thing about this whole applying to school things is that I'm not so much concerned about being admitted to law school as much as I am stressed about the applying process. I'm weird. I know. Deadlines just stress me, I've always been that annoying over-achiever who turns things in weeks before a deadline. Case in Point, I had all my classes planned out for college at the end of my first semester at BYU. 

I thought of my mejor amiga this week, because while she thrives in 11th hour type situations, I live through 11 hours of stress. My prayer however was answered! On Saturday I was able to pay for my application fees and was able to feel peace about all of it. Everything seemed to come to me so quickly and naturally, to where now all I have to worry about is obtaining Letters of Recommendation. :) In my hours of personal study this week, I reread D&C 122 and took comfort at these words, "Know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good." (v.7)

What does applying to school have to do with missionary work? Not much! But, I know that Heavenly Father knew that only on my mission would I have been able to deal with the stress of applying. He is wiser than us all!

Second story.
We're currently reading the Acts as a mission and this past week we read Acts 9. Acts 9 basically tells the story of the conversion of Paul. I love how in this chapter we see different vantage points of the same story. The Lord speaking to Ananias, "...enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth." So simple, but so powerful, the Lord answering Saul's prayer by inspiring another man. I found this quote from President Spencer W. Kimball that explains more what I am trying to get at: "God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs." 

This week we started teaching a girl who i'll call Andrea. Andrea is from Southern California and is a freshman/athlete at McNeese State University here in Lake Charles. We received Andrea's information from the referral system, she was being taught over winter break in California. Andrea's boyfriend is actually a member of the church. We were able to get in touch with and speak with the missionaries who were teaching Andrea in California, and it was such a testimony building experience for me to piece together all the pieces of the puzzle to speak with missionaries who had been working with her before. The Lord's plan is so perfect. Andrea actually came to church this Sunday and we have a lesson with her tonight as well!

In other news, we have started teaching Bro. Ortiz's father. (IT FEELS SO GOOD TO TEACH IN SPANISH! I secretly/ not so secretly want to attend the Spanish ward when I go home!) Dionicio (Bro. Ortiz Sr.) has been accepting everything we teach him, the only issue is the language barrier, our stake president suggested however, that we speak with the ward about organizing a Spanish Sunday school class so that he can partly hear the gospel in his own language. 

Things are picking up here, and we have been blessed for our diligence and our obedience. I love this gospel with all my heart and all of you!

Sis Flores

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Lago de Charles?

To say that I miss Spanishland is an understatement. But, I know that this is where Heavenly Father for a "wise purpose" needs me to be, at this place, at this time. I don't want you all to think I'm depressed about it, because that's not it at ALL. I still feel like the missions luckiest Hna for being sent to the highly coveted area of Lake Charles. 

Yesterday before church started I spoke with Bro. Ortiz. Brother Ortiz is the most inspiring man I have met here in Lake Charles. He loves the Lord, and he loves his fellowmen, and that love is reflected in everything he does. Brother Ortiz was baptized in Mexico close to ten years ago and then eight days later came to the United States. Since then he has attended church in the sole ward here in Lake Charles. Brother Ortiz doesn't speak hardly any English, and can't really understand it either, but he attends without fail because of his belief in the restored gospel. 

I sat with Bro. Ortiz during sacrament meeting, and felt prompted to ask him if we wouldn't mind my translating for him. He said, "I would like that very much!" And so I did. I am by no means the world's best translator, especially when speakers use quotes from general authorities with highly educated English vocabulary, but I can get the message across. It was such a small and simple thing, but I felt so blessed to my father in Heaven that I could help in a small way.

Brother Ortiz brings all his Spanish materials to church and in his himnario he has a sheet taped with all the English hymns and their Spanish counterparts, and so we sang together--In Spanish. We came to learn that Bro Ortiz's father lives with him, and that in the past he had investigated the church, but it was kind of difficult because the missionaries didn't speak Spanish. As fate (or Heavenly Father) would have, one of my companions and I do, so we set up a time when we go by and teach Bro. Ortiz's father. Bro. Ortiz also told us he is going to speak with a cousin who lives here to see if he and his family wouldn't be interested. The Lord works in mysterious ways, doesn't he? Brother Ortiz also gave us some leads on where we could find Spanish speakers in Lake Charles.

I spoke with the Bishop after church and apparently there are headphones that I can use in the chapel to translate! My companions and I were reflecting on something, we've been trying EVERY method of finding, but nothing really has come of it. So we though, perhaps we've been praying for the wrong kind of people, maybe the Lord wants us to seek out Spanish speakers? Now, this by no means means that we're going to abandon the work with English speakers, but perhaps we've been going about things the wrong way... Solo Dios sabe.

To top off my Mexican Sunday, we had dinner with the Cliffords. Sis Clifford is actually from Mexico, she has thee cutest accent, and she made Enchiladas for dinner! Divine. This was my first Mexican meal in 4 weeks, it was a dire situation. Heavenly Father loves us, it's true. Pray for Spanish Speakers!!!!

Te Love You, 
Sis. Flores

Mexican dresses and really gross americanized-mexican food. Looks can be deceiving!
My shoes are dented in from 16 months of crossing my legs while contacting. #missionaryproblems

Wednesday, January 8, 2014


I remember stepping into the MTC and thinking, "2014. That's forever away!" And yet here we are. I have always been a lover of "new." New years. New school year. New semester. New area. New clothes. New notebooks. New journals. There's something exciting about facing the unknown! I am now working my way through the third year in my 10 year journal. I noticed that for the past 3 years I have welcomed in the new year in different states: California, Texas, and now Louisiana. We've been talking a lot about resolutions in my companionship. I have my resolutions written down in the above mentioned journal and it was rather funny to see the transition in my goal setting.

Instead of New Years Resolutions, I seem to have made a list of Life Resolutions with 2014 being the year to kind of lay the foundation for what I want to be a lifelong pursuit of spiritual progression. 

1. Pray daily 
2. Daily scripture study specifically the Book of Mormon
3. Attend the temple once a week This is one of those after the mission goals. I WISH I could go once a week here! Sadly, I have to resort to 4 months. 
4. Family History Sundays Once again, after the mission. I am obsessed. Either I'll work on my personal family history or I'll index. Specifically Spanish names! There are so many Spanish records that need to be sorted. It's not even funny.
5.100% Visiting Teaching I refuse to ever miss a month of Visiting Teaching. My mission has just completely converted me to the need for visiting teaching. 
6. Write missionaries weekly. All of my companions will basically still be on their missions for MONTHS after I go home. That's what happens when President pairs you with nothing but greenies! I'm so excited to see them transform and to hear from them. I have already promised all of my companions packages and weekly updates galore, complete with pictures. As missionaries we crave photos more than anything else! 
7. 100% tithing No ifs. ands. or buts.
8. Go out with the missionaries once a month. I would say weekly, but I figure that will be hard to do when I move to Provo...

I love the feeling of rejuvenation that just fills every day of January! Firsts, starts, beginnings, fresh, these are just some of my favorite words.

The work has picked up in Lake Charles. We found several less actives that we can work with this week. We met a Part Member family and felt impressed to talk to them about We came to find out that this family is SUPER into family history and so we are returning this week to show them the ropes and the wonderful new website that the church has created. We also met a Less Active family from Rialto, CA. I love Californians, you can just tell. One of my favorite quotes from this week was from John, another less active from California who said, "Oh, it's hard to get a Cali girl to leave California." True statement. I'm never leaving! Anyways, back to the LA family. We got them started on their Book of Mormon reading and have been sending them text message challenges to try and motivate them. Call me cheesy! 

There are good things that are happening here. Also, It's been confirmed by my President. I'm looking at a March 19th departure! President explained that he had to call Salt Lake to get my dates figured out. It was kind of a tricky situation. So glad that I still have 2 months to serve the Lord full-time! But, don't be surprised if I never come home. :)

With Love,
Sis Flores

oh, p.s. Feliz dia de los Reyes Magos!!!

New Years Eve! Sis Muñoz and I are holding Blue Bell's Mardi Gras King Cake flavored ice cream. King Cake is Louisiana's version of a Rosca. (The bread that Mexicans eat today! January 6th Dia de Los Reyes Magos). :)

The only thing missing from our church are cool signs. When are we going to get signs??? :]

This week I became official.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Woots down deep.

Our area is a bit deadbeat right now. Sister Muñoz and I came into the area to find that truly there was only one investigator, years worth of unorganized paperwork, differently color coded maps, in short: a mess. Nothing like a fixer-upper! Literally, this has happened cada vez that I've been transferred, so it's nothing new to me! We are currently doing a combination of visiting every person on our ward list in our area, checking up on former investigators, and following up with old media referrals. Day in and Day out. 

I have never really understood the concept of inactivity. It just doesn't make sense how someone can go from temple worker/institute teacher to completely inactive. We've been talking a lot about how important daily scripture study is how it's something that I pledge to do for the rest of my life. Just as easy it is to follow Christ and His example. It is also easy to take that first step and decide to not do a daily study of the Book of Mormon, or to not kneel in personal prayer, or to not attend church. I shared the following scriptures with a less-active we visited this week:

"And thus, if ye will not nourish the word, looking forward with an eye of faith to the fruit thereof, ye can never pluck of the fruit of the tree of life.
But if ye will nourish the word, yea nourish the tree as it beginneth to grow, by your faith with great diligence, and with patience, looking forward to the fruit thereof, it shall take root; and behold it shall be a tree springing up unto everlasting life.
And because of your diligence and your faith and your patience with the word in nourishing it, that it may take root in you, behold, by and by ye shall pluck the fruit thereof, which is most precious, which is sweet above all that is sweet, and which is white above all that is white, yea, and pure above all that is pure; and ye shall feast upon this fruit even until ye are filled, that ye hunger not, neither shall ye thirst.(Alma 32:40-42)

I love that first verse especially, if we are not constantly nourishing the tree, how can we expect to pluck fruit? My companions and I have talked about how at times before the mission we would take "spiritual binges" we'd read for hours in the scriptures to make up for a slew of days that we had missed. The gospel doesn't work like that. Our Heavenly Father has us depend on him daily. Everyday is different, with different challenges, different circumstances. We are beings constantly changing! 

Have you ever noticed how many tree references there are in the scriptures, and throughout all facets of the gospel really? I made a brief list of tree references in church yesterday: Lehi's dream, Alma 32, Adam and Eve and their trees, Family trees, the Allegory of the Olive Trees, the Sacred Grove. Basically: we love trees. The Holy Ghost brought to my remembrance yesterday as I was pondering on this concept of trees, a CES Fireside message that I had heard shortly before my mission: Stand in the Sacred Grove by Elder Mariln K. Jensen. It's a great message, and if you have the chance, study it! 

In my current calling as a missionary, I'm striving to strengthen the roots of the ward that I'm assigned to. I have a garden to tend to! It reminds me of a dream my mother had a couple of months ago while I was still serving in Pecan Park.She wrote:

"Hi I had a dream about you last night! You were in your apartment and then you came out. You started to walk down the stairs and I was at the bottom of the stairs. You started to tell me about your beautiful garden. You were growing all kinds of vegetables. You were doing such a great job of planting seeds and making this garden grow. The garden was covered up with a blanket and I asked why. You said, 'the seeds don't grow as fast as in California, Mom! You really need to nurture the seeds here in Texas. There is harsh weather here. Lots of obstacles that can make the plants die or not produce fruit.' Your garden was beautiful and it looked like you were taking great care of it."
Oh Hispanic Mother dreams! How I love them!
Lake Charles is no different from my other areas! There is a great work to be done, before we can plant the seeds, we have to tend to the weeds (unorganized records!), add some fertilizer (contact tons of potentials), and then plant away, and nurture.

My grandfather Jesus Quesada was an amazing gardener and I frequently think of all that he did to tend gardens. I can always remember his happy humming of church songs. I can still see him dressed in his blue jeans, cowboy hat, and musky brown jacket tying young trees to sticks for support. It makes me smile!

As for the title of the post, There was a song I always used to sing with my brother Ezra when he was a toddler, "Each of us is a flower, growing in life's garden." Part of the chorus talks about watering and caring for the roots of the plants. Ezra would always say, "woots down deep" instead of "roots down deep." Oh the memories.

I love being a laborer in the Lord's vineyard. Even when it seems like the harvest is forever away. I love Louisiana!

Sis. Flores

 With the district at Cotten's burgers. I'm determined to try every great burger place in town!
Only 362 days till Christmas!
Christmas dinner at the Maylin's. We played too many rounds of Monopoly Empire to count!