Week 22

Hello all!
This week has been so awesome! a roller coaster per usual. but still great. Well to start off... ALFREDO GOT BAPTIZED!!!! :) Seriously. I cannot even tell you how happy I felt even though I wasnt physically there. I called him on saturday night to tell him how happy I was and before I even said who I was he said, "a la gran hermana california bontia mortensen! Te extrano un monton!" we continued to say that the starts to come out to shine at night and that the sun is sad and doesnt shine and all is dark since i left hahaha it was so great. He was really so excited to be baptized. He made me promise that I will be there when he goes through the temple since I couldnt be at his baptism and so i said okay and then he said okay perfect I will be going through the guatmalan temple... yikes. I gotta start saving up I guess hahaha. I dont have pics of the baptism yet but hermana detrinidad is going to email me some soon.
So, our baptism here in Newark with Marisol got postponed until next sundaybecause your health is still pretty bad. But she still came to church! :) She passed her interview and everything is ready to go for next week :) The members here are so amazing with the investigadores. We have had a baptism here every week since ive been here and seriously the ward comes out and supports so strong for these baptisms. like im not kidding. comida for days. Also here in the ward, the fourth sunday is all about missionary work. so the missionaries are to address the ward. and do a musical number and what not. So being the newbies here in the ward, sister philbrick and I gave a talk. Sister philbrick went up first and oh my word is was so amazing. I sat there just smiling so big. It is amazing to see her progress. She and I are so different but it just works! and I know we got put together so I can learn from her. She got up and start saying that she has always wanted to serve a missionary and know that she is finally here, she is really to give her whole heart to the Lord. I just teared up as soon as she said that! Shes truly so awesome. She gave her talk and then two elders sang and then it was my turn. The counseler to the bishop said that I would need to take what ever time was left over and finish up the meeting. So I got up there, look at the clock and and saw that there was about 17 minutes that I would need to fill. and I had up there was my pmg, and my scriptures and I felt so calm! I got up there, start talked, and it all just flowed out! I talked about the difference between a testimony and conversion. I shared about my own background and my own conversion story. I then talked about Alma the younger and the sons of mosiah and how they were the vilest of sinners. but when they decided to change, and truly had become converted by the power of the angel they saw and through the remission of their sins, there desire was to go out and share the gospel! So if we, as members, really are converted, that means that we too should be trembling at the thought of people we love not having a knowledge of the gospel.
We had a former investigador that we just picked up this week at church and after all three hours (first time at church for the whole time) and seeing his first baptism, he came up to us and asked, what do i have to do to get baptized? The same thing happened with this less active mother we have been working with a lot. during gospel principles, she leaned over and asked me, "what do i have to do to make more covenants in the temple. I want it." THIS is the power of the spirit. it becomes less of us pushing people to do these things or trying to convince them of what they need, and turns into a desire that they truly want for themselves.
okay one more story. so there is this less active family that as REALLY been through it this past year. The husband and two of the three sons were put to jail about a year ago because the oldest son was doing illegal things with his business and the father and other son got put to jail unjustly. When the husband got released because they realized he was without fault, he got super super sick. and now he has to get blood transfusions every other day. He is really dizzy all the time because of his medication and doesnt want to sit in a wheelchair or use a cane because it shows weakness. and he has to eat every 3 hours and they dont have a car so its hard to find a ride to church. those were his reasons for why he hasnt been coming to church. He has kinda of given up and is just waiting to die, since people on the blood donor list have been there for at least like 10 years and they cant find a match for him. his wife on the other hand goes every sunday and is taking the temple prep classes. During the lesson we were having with him, I felt really prompted to promise him that if he stopped excusing himself from the commandments of god and did all he could to prepare himself to go to the temple, Heavenly father would bless him so that the doctors would find a donor for him so that he could live to be sealed to his wife. I felt the spirit so strong. I know everyone in that room did too. He committed to come to church and for the first time in a long time, he came to church. I have such a testimony that the Lord is with me, working right along side me. I know it and its the best feeling ever! I love this gospel and this time i have to be a missionary. asi en serio

member who seriously LOVES dad and remembers him from when he served in peurto rico. she says that everything i do reminds her of him hahaha this was at the thanksgiving party we had. it was crazy! these ecuadorians got all decked out and danced. seriously. sometime i forget im still in the US and i love all the different cultures!
okay so its like little peru over here and the peruvians drink inca kola like its water. the first time i had it i thought it was gross but now i love it. so anywho, it was a walking day and a member gave a this gaint think of inca kola just in case we got hungry hahah classic. 


Week 21

THIS WEEK WENT BY SO FAST. seriously. This whole mission needs to slow down. a ton. I cannot believe its already the middle of November! There are Christmas lights everywhere and its just all going way too fast. Also, major blessing is that I think I am adjusting to the cold relatively fast. Everyone is hoping that snow will come soon because its so stinking cold without snow. So hopefully it comes. My companion and I just have to snuggle up and laugh at our ridiculously red noses and our patheticness when we try to write with numb fingers hahah but oh my word shout out to my mom who sent hand warmers. it changed my whole life. We had a recent convert team up with us one night and he was freezing cold and I handed him a hand warmer and he looked at me like I had just picked off a fruit from the tree of life and gave it too him hahahah he kept saying, "de verdad, este cosa es un milagro"

soo good news!!! we are going to have a baptism!! There was this women who was a church our first week there and he had been dropped because she had a bad experience with the elders and was not progressing for months now. she called us over and said with tears in her eyes that she knew from the second that she saw our faces that god sent us there to teach her. so CLEARLY we set up an apt with her. She has a ton of health problems and unfortunately she just went into the hospital this morning so right after this we are going to go visit her. But our first lesson with her, we just straight up asked her why in the world she hasn't been baptized yet! She replied that she loves the church and members and she knows she needs to be baptized one day but shes just not there yet and a ton of reason why she couldn't do it. So we asked her why she thinks she needs to be baptized. She replied that it was to become a member of our church. I grabbed her hand and told her that baptism is for so much more than just that. That we are baptized to be able to enter into the reino celestial and live in the presence of heavenly father for eternity. there is no other way! The spirit came in so strong that tears came to all of our eyes! We knew it was true. after a pause I asked her, "okay Hermana, que va a a hacer?" or "okay, what are you going to do" and she quickly replied, well I will prepare myself for next Sunday to be baptized. how remarkable! That the spirit can change us in just seconds if we let it.

This week was seriously so amazing. We have hardly no other progressing investigadores and our zone set a competition for who will get the most contacts this month. oh my word did it light a fire in us. especially since we are the only sisters. so theres like 9 companions ships and we are in 3rd place so stay tuned folks. Its has been AMAZING so see how easy it is to contact. there are always opprotunities (well its getting harder cause no one wants to be outside) but its been amazing to see how many people the Lord puts in our path. We have so many potentials and new investagadores from it. but yeah so we are making a goal for about 20 contacts daily. at the end of the day, my voice is almost gone from talking so much but I just love it!

Oh and this week we went to Ellis Island!! so amazing and interesting. we volunteered in the family history section where people went on computers to find their ancestors that came into Ellis Island from other European countries. You could totally feel the Spirit of Elijah when people would say, "I found her!! I found my great grandma!" We to take a tour too and learn about the voyage and how Ellis Island operated and wow it was horrible. It made me so grateful to my ancestors who left their countries so that I could be born here and enjoy all the blessing of a free country.

Oh one more thing. We had the Primary program in church this week and how my word the spirit was SO strong. I couldn't keep myself from crying when the kids starting singing, "Yo Trato a Ser como Cristo" It made me miss my family a ton! especially my primary aged brothers. Also, "Las familias pueda ser eternas" got me good. #emotional hahah I love this work and I wouldn't want to be anywhere else.

pics from ellis island. HOW CUTE IS MY HIJA?? I just love my companion. The Lord has blessed me with the sweetest best comps.


Week 20

wow I cannot believe its already been a week! I feel like I say this every week hahah but yeah its going great over here in Kearny!! Its interesting how getting juked in a walking area is like way different than when your in a driving area. because when you walk ALL the way over somewhere and you just wanna sit down and teach someone but then they are home and its just like way more heart breaking than getting back in a car and driving to your next apt hahah but asi es la vida.

We have had some pretty remarkable experiences this week. So we have this investigador named Estuardo. I think I talked about him a little last week. He is albino.... its that so cool?? He didn't tell us that but I did a project on albinism in like my junior year and so im certain he is albino. its crazy because he has super blonde hair and light skin and light eyes but he doesn't know a word of English. ANYWHO, we texted him between our appts to remind him to read the intro to the book of Mormon and he said that he only read a little and that he would need us to explain it. okay and just background on estuardo. hes super sassy. and kinda a punk. but I don't let him have it don't even worry. so we thought, oh gosh, maybe he doesn't know how to read and hes just too embarrassed to say anything or maybe he doesn't even want to read it at all. and then we go to ask him about his reading. and he looks at me and explains the first like 6 chapters of nefi PERFECTLY I KID YOU NOT. and then he smugly said, yeah I like to read. I just wanted to worry you guys. but like come on that's so great that he read! so we asked him what he thought about the book and he said that he thinks the book is definitely from god but he doesn't want to get baptized again (because he was already baptized catholic) because he doesn't want baptism to be like a broma or something that he takes lightly. So we are meeting with him soon and hopefully as we explain baptism, he will have a date for baptism!!

Also, this ward that I am serving in is AMAZING. so many solid people. literally, ward council was full. EVERYONE was present. and they give so much time to the missionaries and delegate people to hermanar our investigadores. its truly amazing to watch and be apart of the behind the scenes. Its truly amazing to how the lord magnifies our efforts everyday. I am 19 years old people, have lived a pretty easy and sheltered life and people call us and to come help them and honestly I have NO IDEA what to say to them or how I can help them, but the lord helps me know what to say and what they need. For example, we had a less active call us that we have been trying to get a hold of. She said that this has been a terrible day and nothing is going right and she needs us to come over now. So we went over and her electricity got shut off and she was crying because she didn't have the money to pay the rent and was scared they would be homeless and that day she had seen a little 11 year old girl get hit and killed by a car and as we were with her, he husband called to tell her that he just had gotten in a car accident. Like WHO IN THE WORLD AM I TO SAY ANTYHING?? that is like the worlds worst day. and she didn't know what to do so she called us. All I could think to do was put my arm around her as she cried and scratch her back and I don't quite remember what we talked about or what scriptures we used, but the spirit was so strong. she came back to church this sunday with her daughter. and shes called us everyday since. I just love her and I know that the love I have for her is just a fraction of the saviors for her. What a blessing for me!!

Keep the prayers coming! I need them more than ever. Espicially when its cold and I forget my umbrella :)

week 19

First of all, I recieved the cutest notes from the girls in the Young Womens in the Irvine Stake and my leaders and it just made me love and miss my second family over there like no other!! Definitely a great start to my week :)

Hello hello from... KEARNY NEW JERSEY!! I feel like i am in a completely different mission. so crazy. SUPER city. like super super city. oh and also, fun fact... its a walking area!! just in time for the snow... yay... i love it... its refreshing to be in the nice little briskness right? (working on positive thoughts) hahah no but really its such a blessing in a way because when it snows, we will still be able to go out and go to work!! instead of being stuck in our apartment with nothing to do. Speaking up apartment, we live on the 7th floor like right next to a big street so still getting used to loud cars at all hours of the night. AND you can see New York from our apartment! We are serving in the Newark zone and the only sisters in this zone!! because newark is kinda super sketchy but our area here in Kearny seems pretty mellow. Its really interesting because almost everyone in this area is from Peru or Ecuador which is so different from my last area where everyone was from Guatamala. I love learning about all these different cultures.
OKAY ABOUT MI HIJA. Shes is so sweet!! I just love her so much. Her name is Sister Philbrick. She is from Utah and the oldest of six like me!! When they announced us and put us together she said, "The only thing I told president I wanted was someone who was a hard worker, and I just now that we are going to go to work. Ive been praying and praying for you!!" I was just like... oh my, could I have gotten a better trainee?? Shes very new with spanish and I can see a lot of how I was in her. She just wants to be fluent and perfect now! but it will come with time.
Its definitely different for me being the trainer here because my two other companions that I had before were like born and raised speaking spanish and always knew more than me, but now that I have an American new comp, Im the one that knows more!! I have seen the Lord helping me in ways like never before. Not once has there been an instance when I didn't understand a phone call or something during a lesson. MIRACLE. and speaking of miracles... we have seen SO many. Particularly last night. we had a few people cancel on us last night and it was very cold and windy. Like your eyes are tearing up windy. So obviously no one was outside! So I felt really strongly that we just needed to stop and pray. We needed to promise the Lord that we would knock every door and this giant street if he would just give us a new investagador. Sometimes I feel very helpless because I am the trainer here and I don't even know what to do sometimes because I dont know the area. But when this thought came to my mind as we prayed, I knew it didnt come from me. So we went to work knocking doors. Well as we were walking up the street, we went to walk up some stairs to knock the next door and there was a women all huddled up sitting out sit smoking. poor Sister philbrick almost screamed because she nearly stepped on her hahaha. so we began talking with her and explaining to her who we were. we got to know her and turns out she has an 8 year old son who is her motivation for everything. We began talking about how families can be eternal but it only depends on if we do our part here in the earth. She gave a day to meet with her again before we even asked!! and then we left her with a prayer. There was our new investagador.
I was reading in Jacob chapter 7. this is where the multitude is like all becomes converted because the Antichrist, Sherem takes back everything he said about there being no Christ and they all fall to the ground. in v 22 Jacob says that he had requested this of the Lord, and the Lord has heard and answered his prayers. Tears came to my eyes as I read that!! Because I, like Jacob, know that the Lord hears and answers my prayers.
I have never been more emotionally, physically or mentally tired in my whole life, but nothing is better than crawling into my warm bed aboslutely exhausted knowing I worked hard with the Lord. 

sister detrinidad's and my pumpkin that one the contest (yes sticks for teeth because we lack in carving skills)

Hermana Philbrick!!

Hermana Stone!! she came in with the new missionaries and shes a friend from BYU!
She is also from Katy, Texas and Dad met her before she left to go to NJ

New York from my apartment :)

Week 18

okay so turns out that im getting TRANSFERRED!! Leaving this area is going to be so sad espicially because its my first! I had I feeling I was leaving so I may or may not have teared up saying good bye to the ward members and investigadores. Seriously its amazing how easy it is to love these people. 

On thursday, we went about our day as normal and we went home, did nightly planning, prayed to close and then we opened our eyes and we had a missed call from president taggart.... when the mission president calls you your heart just kinda drops a little bit. So then after fighting about who was gonna call him back (hna detrinidad won because she pulled the foreigner card and how she cant speak english when she gets nervous) I called him back and he extended the call for me to be a TRAINER! and so I accepted and my comp was all like, "I TOLD YOU I TOLD YOU" and then he asked if he could speak with my comp and I asked her to be a trainer too hahahaha after we hung up we just started at each other for a long time. and then we started crying a little bit feeling really sad that we weren't going to be companions for another transfer. 

The next day we had a training meeting at the mission home and wow the feelings of inadequacy were so real. President said that the trainer he had in his mission is the reason why he stayed on his mission and the reason he is the mission President he is today. I thought about it and the influence a trainer has on the trainee is HUGE! I learned SO MUCH from Sister Boudesocque and in my mind I still ask myself, "what would sister boudesocque do?" It is pretty nerve wracking thinking about how I will train in an area I don't even know and possibly with someone who knows less spanish than me but every time I start thinking about those things, the spirit quickly reminds me that its time to start living what ive been teaching and confiar en el senor con TODO mi corazon. It's amazing how much I already love my little hija and i cannot wait to meet hertomorrow!! 

Okay so this week was so awesome!! Finished off the last week of this transfer strong. So my least favorite thing in the whole world in missionary work is to knock doors. And one day one of our appts juked us and we didn't have enough miles to go and drive away to try someone else. So we just got down to work knocking on doors in this apartment complex. We were knocking for a while without much success and finally someone answered! She was Mexican and had darling cute little kids. We told her who we were and she said, "When can you come back!! I need your message in my life!" so that was really exciting. We have met with her two times since then this week and she is someone who is just so prepared. She told us that a few years before, when she wasn't married and didn't have children, a friend gave her a book of mormon and she hadn't ever even opened it and now she said that after she read the intro, she couldn't put it down! we talked about how we have the book of mormon and when we talked about jose smith she said she had the chills and knew that it was the spirit testifying to her that it was true. Its people that this that make knocking doors worth it!

Also one of our investagadores salvador came to church! He is so funny and I just love him. Also mexican. when we invited him to be baptized his eyes got all watery and he started laughing and said that it was like god himself extended the invitation. anways, he came to church and he wore his best suit and had is bible and book of mormon in hand! There is no happier feeling than seeing your investagadores at church. 

I just have such a testimony that we cannot do anything without the spirit. those are two people who have felt the spirit so strong during lessons that they are acting and desiring to learn. If i don't teach by the spirit, I cant do anything! I cant train, I cant speak spanish well, and cant find people to teach. I am grateful to be a part of this work. Pray for me and my hija!! 

Week 17

oh my word. so i am already freezing cold. this morning was 45 degrees and i couldn't believe it because i was certain it was like 15 degrees. It seriously is so humid that you can feel the coldness in your bones. And everyone keeps saying this weather is NICE. sorry everyone but this colder than december in california! So this week was really good! We really saw miracle after miracle. Ive been in this area for almost 4 months now and we finally found this less active lady that we have never seen before! she was outside cleaning her car and i just love my companion because before we even say anything hermana detrinidad goes up and gives her the biggest hug and they are just talking about this mexican singer that shes listening too and im just like um.... should we ask what her name is first? because at first i had no idea who she was! after talking for a little bit outside she invited us to come in. We had a really great lesson with her and she totally opened up to us and started crying. That is something that I love about my companion. it doesn't matter who it is, she just loves them. its funny because im not a very like touchy walk up to strangers and hug them person but i am certainly becoming one hahahah that happened with two other less actives that we have been trying to get a hold of this week as well!! (we have a TON of less active). I remember before the mission thinking that I would feel accomplished by the number of people i baptize. but the fact is that right here in this area, that it not what is needed. This area that i am serving in use to be a ward but for the past seven years has been brought down to a branch. We are really trying to zero in our efforts on our less actives and inviting them to come back and we are definitely seeing a difference. 
Okay so Alfredo update. We had a good lesson with him and our ward mission leader hermano pinto was with us and alfredo ended up telling us that in order to come to church on sundays, he has to get sundays off and find someone to cover him. and so he still hasn't found someone but he is sure there are many people that would be willing. he then said that he wouldn't be able to come to church next sunday but the following sunday he can and thats his baptism. so yeah we will see what happens. he honestly could have been baptized over a month ago but esta bien also during that lesson Ricardo (his son who served a mission and would always come out with us as a team up during the summer) came home during the lesson from like maryland or something and told us that he wasn't going to church anymore because he was working. I couldn't believe it! Thats the biggest trial for me as a missionary. Just about everything is out of my control. And people like alfredo are very passive. and I am the opposite of that. Imagine how our heavenly father feels!! He has power to do anything he wants to. and yet he lets us make our own silly decisions and learn for ourselves what is right. the only thing i can control is whether or not i follow the spirit. I truly do feel like I am learning to recognize it more and more everyday. Hermano Pinto told us after the lesson that it was a blessing for him to see the spirit working through us and he felting stronger during that lesson than ever before. I think that was exactly what i needed to hear because honestly after that lesson i just wanted to cry a little thinking about how we were probably going to have to move alfredo's date again and how i didn't know what else to do and how ricardo, who was suppose to baptize alfredo isn't even going to church! But when hermano pinto said that, I felt so calm. Like I am doing everything i can do. And that's all I need to worry about. Because as long as I do everything I can do, the Lord does the rest. So this is probably all over the place but yeah. Thats all I can think of for this week! Love you all! 

background story on the pic. okay so we were in trenton this morning with a less active and this big eyes are on this old empty building so we were like oh thats cool lets take a pic... then we went to cvs and to flu shots right by and this guy was like, "oh hey those are the girls that were taking pictures with the eyes of trenton" yup. we're awesome. so embarrassing.