Monday, February 24, 2014

Ornate details.

Cigarette fumes have always been my head's worst enemy. A 20 min exposure leaves me with a dizzying headache for days! Such was the case at the start of this week. I went on an exchange with the sisters in Orange, TX and in almost every home we visited there was a lighted cigarette, last embers left on an ash tray, and a heavy smog-like layer of fumes trapped within the confines of walls. Along with a desire to improve my teaching abilities, I left Orange with a throbbing head pain. The worst thing about this whole experience was that I traveled to the Houston temple the next day: let me tell you, six hours in a car is not the best environment for Sis. Flores with a bad headache. In spite of all this, the Lord was so merciful and through the entire temple session my headache seemingly "disappeared." I was so blessed to be able to be alert and at peace. I love that Heavenly Father cares so much for each of us, that he is willing to let a silly little thing like a headache not becoming a huge distraction for a spiritual experience. <3

At the Houston temple I was also blessed with a surprise! I ran into "Mama Rosie" a member of easily my favorite family from my time in Pecan Park. She and a friend had just decided to go to the temple at the precise day that I was there. Mama Rosie is the member who spent two days cooking my birthday dinner of Mole this summer. I just felt so grateful to be able to see her before I head home.

We had an amazing lesson this week with Richard. Richard was the LA man who we fond about three weeks ago, at the end of my first transfer in Lake Charles. We brought with us the Youngs, a great-strong couple from our ward. They knew Richard well, and offered an outpouring of love. I had thought a lot about Richard, In our last meeting with him he had asked the question, "sometimes I wonder if President Monson ever feels like he's the worst person alive..." I thought about that. I thought about how sometimes I'm hard on myself, we all our. I shared with Richard 2 Ne 4 where Nephi the great prophet laments, "O wretched man that I am!" (2 Ne 4:17). We all have our days where we feel belittled by the world, where we feel like failures, but the trick is to turn it around! Cleave to the Lord for strength.

Also, the Myers family came to church this week! ALL of them. :) & we have set a baptismal date with their daughter for March 22nd. Unfortunately, I will be in California by that time, but I had multiple confirmations to made to me this week that this is the correct date. :)

& for some exciting news, I GOT INTO BYU's MPA program. :) I'll be back at school come Fall 2014. :) 

The Lord is so wonderful!
Sis. Flores

Monday, February 17, 2014

The time we had a visit from a GA....again.

This week my mission perspective was changed completely. Elder Aidukaitis of the 70 came to tour the mission. I had meeting after meeting after meeting. Wednesday was spent ALL day in meetings and I got to return to my beloved Baytown. It was the strangest thing to be in a leadership meeting with missionaries who I had always recognized as the "younger" missionaries. As I sat in MLC I thought, "I can remember when 80% of the people present came out!" It was a shocker. 

E. Aidukaitis served as a second witness simply re-emphasizing what E. Golden had said to our mission months before. However, E. Aidukaitis was more bold, more frank, more to the point. There was no mistaking what he was trying to say. I was so grateful to have still been a missionary, because I thought, "how could I have gone home not understanding these things?" A lot of the points E. Aidukaitis made were things that I had felt strongly about when E. Golden came, but I let other missionaries talk me out of my musings. 

E. Aidukaitis told us of what his mission president said to him when he first arrived to the field, "In this mission there are two rules: 1. You never come to church without investigators 2. You never miss church." He also explained to us that zero is not a goal! We should never have zeros as our key indicator. Our goals reflect the desires of our heart and if we don't desire to baptize every week, then we will not be granted the miracles to baptize every week. 

It all made sense of course. It was an epiphany! Divine Discontent--missionary edition. My views of weekly planning were changed as well. (P.S. I understand that all this will interest no one save the RMs and currently serving missionaries) 

In our leadership meeting E. Aidukaitis had us open our planners to the day before. He then had all of us get up and said, "Anyone who had a zero as one of your goals sit down." Literally more than 3/4 of those present sat down. He also had us flip open to our planners for Saturday (we met with him on Wed) and he said, "As a result of your weekly planning, you should have every hour of every day along with backups planned from Thursday to the next Saturday
." We were floored. I'm pretty sure every missionary with a leadership position had thee longest weekly planning session of their lives. I thought of my trainer! She always felt bad that our nightly planning sessions were long, but nothing could compare to what we did this week. 

In an effort to get our companionship in a "bring investigators to church mentality," we knocked doors right before church. The church building is actually in our area, so at 9:00 am, we were out talking to people and inviting them to church. I loved it! It helped me to have even more of a missionary mentality at church. I truly believe that because we had put forth the effort to invite people to church we were blessed with the miracle of Bro. Ortiz Sr coming to church. And I was impressed to sit by two women who I didn't recognize. One of the women was a member visiting from Arkansas, the other was her mother who came to visit and lives in our area! :)

I love that I can constantly improve as a missionary. I love how challenging it is, and weird as it may sound I love that we can never be complacent with our efforts. 

Hope you have a challenging week!
(I mean this in thee nicest way possible)

Sis. Flores

p.s. The ancient computer I'm on is being dumb and won't let me upload photos. :(

Monday, February 10, 2014


Yes, I made the subject of my email a line from your classic Mormon missionary movie. :) While I'm not companions with an Elder Rogers, I am companions with Sister Rogers. She joined our trio in Lake Charles & it was such a smooth transition, I feel like she's been here for weeks! Sister Rogers is a cute little red-head from South Jordan, UT. She's been on her mission for about 10 months, loves musicals, carries an 8oz tub of Chick-fil-A sauce (pre-mission job), and says "ruddy-tutti" frequently. We love her.

I think part of the reason why this transfer transition went so smoothly, is because we had appointments lined up, we had people to teach! Within two days Sis. Rogers had met everyone we are working with. This week we saw:
Andrea: We finished the plan of salvation with her. She has started with her away games and isn't here over the weekend. She is still having a hard time recognizing the spirit. Her Boyfriend got his mission call this week! We really feel that we just need to help her understand the Atonement, and especially how we learn about the Atonement through reading the Book of Mormon.

Myers: We had dinner with the Myers this week! (Family from California) They made this delicious Turkish dish with rice, pork, and a sauce that reminded me of tzatziki (greek-yogurt based sauce). It was so delicious. I love that family! They apparently came to stake conference yesterday, but we didn't get a chance to see them there or say hi! They also answered our Book of Mormon texts that we've been sending them to keep them on track and they already read their assigned reading! We are so excited to keep working with them.

Bro. Ortiz Sr: First off, President Crawford met Bro. Ortiz Jr at stake conference and I served as interpreter. President had read our emails about Bro. Ortiz's example and really wanted to meet him. Bro. Ortiz Sr had a great lesson at the Clifford's home (our sole spanish-speaking family). He also told us that this week he's planning on coming to church. He is reading his Libro de Mormon daily and we (more like me now that my other Spanish-speaking companion is gone) are trying to help increase his faith in Jesus Christ.

This past transfer meeting was such an emotional one! It was the strangest thing to watch all the Hermanas that I came to the mission field with bear their "final testimonies" over the pulpit in the Kingwood chapel. I especially shed a couple of tears when Hnas Canova and Arcila went up. In a silly way, I was grateful that I could somewhat be part of the program and lead in the music. It was such a powerful experience to lead a strong force of missionaries in "Ye Elders of Israel." Such a priceless moment.

At transfers President encouraged us all to, "make this the BEST transfer of your mission." I am determined to do just that. I am not fearful about going home, I recognize that it is just another page turning onto a new chapter of my life. I am excited to be the best member missionary and become anxiously engaged in the hastening of the work back home.

I love you ALL!
Sis Flores

p.s. My Tia Maria wrote a story about my friend Steph's baptism!

My mission Hermana (we were trained together) went home. :( Love her to pieces!
Next time it'll be Sis Wenzel & I's time to go
Una Obra Maravillosa.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spirit Promptings & Preparings

Sis Johnson, Muñoz, and Flores let the good times roll in Louisiana. 
1. "He went to jail when I was born, that's why I want to baptize him."
2. Spoon monster strikes again!
3. Finding area books/teaching records in every crevice of our apartment.
5. Sis F: "I pray for my husband daily." Sis M: "That's so good! I pray for him sometimes."
7. Sis. F: "What's that?" (pointing to a man's tattoo.) Tattooed man: "Psychadellic Eye of Ra."
8. Should I say, "Brother Lance T....?"
9. Gud murnin!

The spirit is simply splendid. There were so many spirit-inspired moments incidents and promptings that took place this week. Just to list a few:

.Pentecostal man.
I'm not sure if I emailed home about this, but around Christmas time, my companions and I were at a gas station when a man called out to us and asked if we were Pentecostal. When we walked over to him and explained that we were missionaries we initially thought, "golden contact." But, it became more and more apparent that he merely wanted to Bible bash. :( Anyways, this week I was looking through my planner and saw that I had written a note to myself about him. I thought, "hmmm. I wonder how that man is doing?" No joke, that day we ran into him as we were filling our car's air with tires. Unfortunately, he still wanted to bible bash.

.Sis Muñoz switcharoo.
Sis Muñoz is leaving Sis Johnson and I. As President put it, 'it hardly seems fair.' Not only is she leaving however, she is going Spanish! I kept telling her this weekend, "YOU TOOK MY SPOT! HOW COULD YOU?!?!?!" :) Jokingly of course. Last Monday I felt impressed to email President about Sis Muñoz' Spanish-speaking abilities. I explained to him that she was fluent, and if he needed to, he could switch her to Spanish. For you see, we have about 7 Hnas leaving the mission this Wed, with only one coming in. So in an effort to not have too many areas close down, I felt I should suggest it. 

I also emailed President to ease his worries about Sis. Muñoz not liking being close to home. When President first called me to let me know that he was sending me to Louisiana, he told me one of my companions had to come here, and that I would understand what he meant. Sis Muñoz is from Houston, but awaiting her visa to Brazil. President was worried that she might not like serving so close to home, so he sent her the very furthest he possibly could. 

Saturday night after the transfer call came, Sis Muñoz and I were reflecting on this whole transfer out loud and she said, "isn't this perfect!? Heavenly Father sent me to Louisiana so that I could be with you, an Hna and so that we could teach Dionicio and have experience teaching in Spanish." Sis Muñoz made the observation that perhaps President's being worried about her being close to home was actually inspiration to send her far away to Louisiana so that we could be companions in English-land and yet still teach Spanish speakers. The Lord works in mysterious ways.& I guess I should be referring to her as Hna Muñoz now. :)

.The most fulfilling LA lesson.
All this week I kept feeling that we needed to visit a certain LA woman. This LA lives in the projects here in Lake Charles, she can hardly read and has a son who is VERY hyperactive and I believe has ADHD. We went to visit and I felt impressed that we should tailor our lesson more to this LA woman's son, we'll call him Matthew. Matthew live in his own little world, he believes that he is from another planet, he calls it, "Iron-man planet." :) He was telling us rather excitedly about what his planet is like how there are spaceships, and super powers. I asked him if he prayed and he showed me how they pray on "ironman planet." He went into your classic, meditation rafiki-esque pose and was silent. I wasn't sure where to go from there, but I thought, we can teach this boy. "Matthew," I said, "could we teach you we pray on the planet that we're from? Can we show you how we talk to God, and get spiritual powers from him?" Matthew was so excited, and even though he had outbursts every now and then, we taught him how to pray. :) It was one of the most fulfilling lessons of my mission.

.1 Nephi 4:6.
We taught Andrea this week and as we asked about her Book of Mormon reading she said, "I felt something while I read this verse. I felt like God was giving me direction." I shared with her how this verse had been best friend's grad school motto. (Thanks Daniela!) 
"And I was led by the Spirit, not knowing beforehand the things which I should do. Nevertheless I went forth..." (1 Nephi 4:6-7) We also shared with her a video from MormonChannel about feeling the Spirit. So wonderful!

.Finding RB.
Yesterday we made a huge discovery! We found that there were several people on our ward list living in our area that had been mis-color coded on previous' missionaries maps, and therefore we hadn't tried to visit them. We tried to find a particular man named "Kent." When we came to where Kent lived, we knocked on the door and a shirt-less man answered, "Oh hi sisters! Oh, let me put on a shirt. I don't think the Lord would want me to talk to you like this." When he came back we spoke with him so normally. We assumed that he was Kent, when we addressed him as Kent however he said. "I'm not Kent. I'm Richard. I've been trying to figure out who Kent is?" Turns out this man was a lost sheep! A man who's name was on the ward-list but without an address, and he was found by looking for another man who apparently no-longer lived at the location Richard was currently living. Amazing. I have no doubt that we were led at precisely the right time to find this great man.

The spirit is so real. I love seeing it guide us everyday as a companionship. I love how I've grown in being able to recognize its voice. I am so sad to see Sis Muñoz go! We will miss her dearly in our trio, but I am excited that I still get to have one more companion! Una mas! :) That will bring my total to 12. 12 compañeras. The more the merrier no?

Te amos!
Love Sis Flores.

Lake Charles has these alligators dotted all through out the city and painted in different ways. We found a boy scout alligator painted with Merit Badges! ohhhh yeahhhh.