Monday, December 2, 2013

Week 34 (Dec. 2, 2013 El Talar, Argentina)

Dear Mom, 

Katelyn is speaking of Joel's accident on SR 18 last Saturday.  He fell asleep while driving home and totaled the Saturn by hitting an oncoming truck.  He miraculously walked away from it all.
You have me in tears with that experience that Joel had. My heart as well is full and I don´t really even know what to say except thanks to Heavenly Father. Que cosa. I am so glad that he is okay. I just wrote him earlier without knowing what had happened. I can not imagine and do not want to imagine what could have happened. What a special spirit he his. I can feel it. He surely was protected by Heavenly Father and His angels. Thank you for letting me know about that mom. A miracle for sure that he will always remember and that will strengthen his as well as our testimonies of the love of God and the promises He keeps. Wow I am still in awe. I will surely be saying a prayer of gratitude for that. 

So for your questions, YES! YES! YES!  Evelin Elisabeth Rodriguez was baptized yesterday! And there is another story to tell about that. So we went to go visit her on Thursday I think it was and we were so excited to talk about her baptism and all that and so we get there and she looks at us all seriously and says, "I can´t be baptized this week because I am on my period." We coudn´t believe it. I was crushed for the THIRD time to hear the news that her baptisms yet again needed to be postponed. But we didn´t give up there. Not sure if you know but Argentina doesn´t have tampons. But my comp brought some and we offered her one and she said that they hurt her and can´t use them and doesn´t know how to use them in the first place. Great. So then we asked her when she started and she told us two days ago. That was the light at the end of the tunnel ha. We knew that if it was God´will, which it was, that her period would be over by sunday and that she could be baptized. So we talked about preparing everything on Sunday just in case she had ended and that we were all going to pray super hard and sincerely to receive this miracle. So that is what we did. We have to tell our zone and district leaders if a date for baptism gets changed and things like that so I had to call Elder Wade (district leader who is from St. George but went to Desert Hills and is SUPER amazing!) what had happened. He is the youngest child of 6 BROTHERS and didn´t really understand everything as you can imagine. He asked me if there were any "solutions" to that problem and I explained it to him but he still felt like we could do something. I had to hold in my laughter when he asked me isn´t there something she can use, like some type of diaper? Haha it was pretty funny. And really I am probably making it sound super immature and childish but promise it was not. My comp on the other hand was a little dramatic and teenagery about it ha. She is a goof. But no Elder Wade was super sincere and innocent and it wasn´t even weird to explain because as a missionary that is going to happen and we are adults so it was fine. Just a little funny at that one part. Poor Elder Wade haha. So anyway, we did pray lots for her and even mentioned that we would do anything to have her be baptized on Sunday. We called her Saturday and she told us that she had stopped and was going to be baptized on Sunday. Our hearts rejoiced! It was so special and I know that Heavenly Father heard and answered our prayers. We have received so many little and big miracles this week and I do not feel worthy of them! I don´t know what we are doing to receive all of these blessings but all I know is that i want to work hard and diligently in order to be worthy to have them. God is so good. You know when people say that God has a sense of humor? Well I guess he does because guess what happened? Sunday morning I started my period and was not supposed to start for another two weeks. Now that is pretty neat I would say ha. Who knows if it had anything to do with Evelin but if it did, I am more than happy to make the sacrifice ha :) Everything went great on Sunday and it was a great service. She will be confirmed this Sunday! The thing is though, that her husband is not a member and is actually an avid member of a different church. So if you all could pray for his heart to accept the message that would be wonderful. We want to see them enter the temple together and have an eternal family! That would be the best. 

Alright mom I need to tell you some other things about this week before my time is up. Maybe I can do it fast haha. As missionaries we have weekly goals. One of them is lessons with a member. Our zone leaders told all of us that 15 should be our goal. Well the first week in Talar Hermana Fullmer and I only had 5 lessons with a member. It was awful I know and I am embarrassed to say it but that is the truth. We didn´t really know any members the first week so it was hard. But anyway, two week ago or my second week here, we witnessed a miracle and actually had 15 lessons with a member. It was that week that our elders were pushing it and making sure we were going to get it. On Saturday two weeks ago we only had 9 lessons with a member and one one day of the week left. Sunday we put our daily goal of lessons with a member as 6 in order to make 15. It was going to be hard but we knew that this number of 15 came from God and that we could do it. We had a member scheduled but 5 minutes before we were going to leave they texted us and said sorry but they couldn´t come. Well that really stinks. And it happens quite a bit actually. We looked at each other and wanted to cry and then my comp says to me, we need to say a prayer right now. So we knelt down and offered a prayer and after the prayer a name came to my mind. It was a less active hermano who was 19 named Tabare. He had never helped us before but his mom said that sometimes he could. We called him and he said sure, I would love to help. So many miracles mom, so many miracles. We offered a prayer of thanks and left to go get him. And that day we had 6 lessons with a member. I am really learning of the power of grace on my mission. Jesus Christ´s grace and atonement allowed this to happen. We tried our best and he provided the rest. Yes we had to work for it, but it was Him that gave us the blessing and allowed it to happen. I know that the grace of Jesus Christ really is a strengthening AND enabling power. So I wanted to tell you that miracle and also one that happened this last week. So once again our goal was 15 lessons with a member and just to be short in writing, we ended our week yesterday with 26 lessons with a member. Oh my goodness I can´t explain how content and happy and grateful I am. Our first week- 5. And our 3rd week- 26. That is 21 more lessons with a member. I am sure that you probably are not sure what number is good and what is so so. I know I didn´t even have a knowledge about this goal at all before my mission. But I just wanted to share that because it has helped me see God´s hand in our lives and had really helped me develop a stronger testimony of faith and prayer. We really didn´t do too much to receive this great blessing. We just prayed each time we didn´t have a member and Heavenly Father provided us with someone each time. I still can´t really believe it! The strength that God gives us when we are trying our best is something great. I know that He provided us with the members and helped us to find people to teach with these members. Each and every little thing that happens is part of God´s plan and I know that we have been blessed! 

So here I am starting this email again on the 2 of December :)  

We have had some amazing experiences these past two weeks and I am so excited to share them with you all! I hope that as you read, the spirit will testify to your hearts that Heavenly Father knows and loves us and has a plan for each one of us, His children. This experience happened two weeks ago. We were walking to a house of a less active to go and visit her and a women walking with her kids stopped us suddenly. The first think she asked us was where our church was. We both looked at each other (my comp and I) and had a big smile on our faces! We gave her the address and asked her if she was a member. She told us yes but had been inactive for 17 years and had never gone to church since then. She was baptized with her family when she was young but after the death of her father she ended all contact with the church. We talked to her for a while and found out that she has 6 children, none of which are members of the church. Three of them are older than 8 years old and their names are Eric (14), Alex (12), and Lisandro (9). Her three youngest are girls. She told us that she wants them to be baptized! We asked her if she was going to be coming to church on Sunday and she said that yes, she wanted to finally go. We talked about the plan of salvation for a little bit and testified to her that it was not a coincidence that we crossed paths, but that God made it possible because He wants her family to be eternal and live together forever! We set up a return appointment with her and continued on to the less active members house to find her not at home. Natalia and three of her kids came to church that Sunday. After 17 years of not going to church, she came. I think this was one of the best moment on my mission so far. I don´t think there are words to describe how me and companion felt when we saw this daughter of God returning to church after 17 years. My heart is full of gratitude for this special experience that God allowed us to be a part of. But the happy story continues! :) We met with Natalia that week with ALL of her kids and to make my ramblings short, we committed two of her boys to be baptized on the 15 of Dec! Alex did not accept baptism this visit but we returned a few days later and asked him again and at first he said no once again but after explaining baptism and what is is and testifying to him, we asked him again and he said yes without hesitation! I did not think it was going to be that easy but have learned from this experience that when we testify of truth, the spirit will touch the hearts of the people and will help them know that these things are true! At first when Alex said no it was very hard, like it always is when people reject the invitation to be baptized. But I was not going to leave that house until he felt like he should accept! I cannot remember the things we explained to him exactly. I just remember that the spirit was something great and helped us say what Alex needed to hear in order to have a desire to accept. What a special sacred experience! So now all of her boys have a date to be baptized on the 15 of December and it is going to happen! It is the greatest feeling in the world to be teaching a family! I love it so much and want to see this family accept the Gospel and become an eternal family! We have already seen changes in each of them and are praying that everything will work out. God really made everything possible in order to help us meet this family. The amazing thing is, Natalia told us a few days ago that she never leaves the house to just take a walk with her kids, but that day that she met us she had a feeling to do it. And we were going to a less actives house who ended up not being home. We just needed to be in that path to meet Natalia! God is all knowing and His power is great! The people that are ready to accept the Gospel will come to us when we are trying our best and doing God´s will! I know that God answers prayers! I have seen His great love and power through this experience and I am so blessed to know this special family and help them receive Jesus Christ and His Gospel in their lives! I will keep you updated! :) :) 

Well mom I had some other neat experiences to tell you but this was the greatest one. Honestly though, my heart is so happy and grateful. A FAMILY MOM, WE ARE TEACHING A FAMILY!! I have been waiting for this my entire mission and I just cant thank Heavenly Father enough. This scripture describes how I feel, "Now have we not reason to rejoice? Yea, I say unto you, there never were men that had so great reason to rejoice as we, since the world began; yea, and my joy is carried away, even unto boasting in my God; for he has all apowerball wisdom, and all understanding; he comprehendeth all things, and he is a cmerciful Being, even unto salvation, to those who will repent and believe on his name." Alma 26:35. 

Love you so much mom and thanks for everything that you do! I was not able to write dad back :( I will next week. Tell everyone that I love them all so much and am so happy to hear that all is well. Thank you for your support, love, and prayers. I know that we are seeing miracles here because of you all and the things that you are doing! Happy December!! :)

Con Amor, 
Hermana Syphus 

Why good day Mom! I am here once again and just on cloud 9 after reading yours and dad´s emails. I just get so happy reading what has been going on and I love it so much. So much news and I want to respond to it all! I LOVE the pics! Wow I am so happy to see that Brett and Braden are dating! She is such an awesome girl and a great friend of Kortnie´s. She has always liked Braden and so I am so happy to see that it is working out! And Nathanial as well! She is sure beautiful that´s for sure! How neat :) I am very happy for him. Now is it Erik and Shaun´s turn wouldn´t you say?! Goodness I really sometimes get sad thinking about how they are not married yet because they will be such amazing husbands and fathers and their time is ticking. I just want them to enjoy that time of their lives and I know how much they want it too. I need to start praying for that specifically more. Nik is going on a mission!!!!! Wow greatest news ever!! I have been hoping and praying that he would decide to do it and am so happy that he has! Tell him that I am so proud of him and that I love him so much! Georgy Porgey or however you spell that haha, look so cute! What a fun activity for them to do. Sis. Hymas is such a gem and really knows how to love and care for the little ones, just like you :) I miss those boys so much. Dad looks great as usual haha :) Man I just love him so much. I can´t really even see his face in the picture and still I looked at it and got teary eyed. What special angels I have for parents. De verdad. I rarely think about when I get home, but I have to admit that sometimes I still think about giving dad a bug hug when I see him. That makes my heart feel good. And of course I think the same about you. Mostly I just want to see your face because it really is one of the most beautiful things. And I am being completely serious. I can just see you right now as you are reading this, laughing and denying what I just said about you but it is so true mom. Man I just love you and dad so much.

Do you already have the secret names picked out for Christmas? 

Sorry I didn´t answer all of your questions last week. I think you mentioned something about really liking my companion of something like that. Haha yes I really do like my companion. I am finding more things our about her each day but she is great. We work hard together and she is not a stress ball like me so that has helped tremendously. She helps me stay calm ha. And she has great faith in Jesus Christ and what He can do. I have learned this from her and it has been a blessing serving with Hermana Fullmer. :)

Me and Hermana Fullmer (she's from Idaho)

Was there anything else that you asked that I didn´t answer? 

Love you :) 

Oh ya! Hernan´s last name is Sanchez :) :)

And about Clel hahaha. Iva Lou is such a sweet heart. I love her. Tell her not to worry about me and Clel because we are fine haha. It has just become weird or unusual I guess I should say, to always talk talk talk about him. I hate to say this but I got a laugh out of what she asked you, if I still love Clel because he still loves me. Don´t tell her I thought that was funny. I just can see her saying that and think it´s cute that she is worried about that. But yes I still love Clel. Or at least I think so haha. It is just a little weird saying it right now. When I have time I write him and tell him that I love him and it is a little weird but it is true still so Iva Lou shoudn´t worry. Poor thing! 

Kambree is so funny!! She is going to marry Tyler I just know it. That would be the cutest couple ever if you ask me! And we will see about Dev Dev haha. You mentioned that kam went black friday shopping with Char and her mom. Well I kinda missed not doing that with her not going to lie! In fact, my comp asked me what we did for thanksgiving and I told her and then told her about balck friday shopping with my sisters and how i was going to miss doing that with them! That is honestly one of my favorite parts of the year for some reason haha. Tell Kam and Kendyl that I thought about them that night and missed it too but am excited to go next year with them! And just to let you know, when I say miss things it´s not in a distracting way. Of course I still miss things from home but I am my happiest here on my mission. I can still miss things and what to be here at the same time :) 
That is so cute I love it!! I was thinking of something if you didn´t have it already but Smurfs is a great one! Oh yes, I will let you know about the member lessons thing. And Shaun is dating Katie Wall! That is great! :) So happy for him! 

So to answer your question about the member lessons, we have these things called key indicators. It is in preach my gospel ch. 8 if you want to read about them :) Seriously, if I would have read pmg (all of it) before my mission, that would have given me a much greater understanding about what missionaries actually do! PMG ch. 8 will help you know what I am talking about if you have time to read it :) But I will explain as well of course. One of the key indicators is "Lessons taught to investigators with a member present" or in other words, "lessons with a member". I am just so used to saying it like that that I didn´t even think about what it actually sounds like...teaching members like you thought. Sorry about that! We try to teach as many lessons with a member present as we can each week because when we have a member, it helps our investigators know other people and they receive another testimony from an actual member other than a missionary. It is so much more powerful when we have a member with us and I have developed a strong testimony of member missionary work by seeing how much this really helps! Maybe you have heard of going on "splits" with the missionaries? Well that is pretty much when a member goes with them. I did not have any idea before my mission that this was an actual goal for the missionaries each week and each day for that matter. But it is! That is why after my mission, I am going to go out with the missionaries whenever I can because I know how stinkin´ hard it is to find a member who is willing and who has time to do it! It is difficult sometimes to find a member each day for the entire day but like I said last week, Heavenly Father honestly has blessed us SO much. Sometimes we have to have two or three members each day, and sometimes we like specific members with specific investigators because we pray about it and Heavenly Father helps us. We also have to coordinate when and where we are going to meet them and how long they can do it and sometimes it is just complicated and hard, especially in spanish haha. But I really can´t complain because we have received so much divine help and the strength and tender mercies that Heavenly Father has given us have been incredible. I will never forget these special experiences that we have received on our missions. And this past week we had 21 with member present. Not as good as last week but we still made our goal which was 18! Did I explain that okay or do you still have questions about it? 

Oh and for the names I was thinking that I could send you the names of investigators, less actives, recent converts here on my mission that I have seen change through Jesus Christ and His Atonement and then I could write a small explanation about the change they made or how they came closer to Christ and after you tell the family who they are on Christmas morning you could read the explanation of who the person is and how they came closer to Christ. :) It´s a little weird probably but that is just something that randomly came to my mind one day haha. But do what you have already because it is great and probably more fun for the kids! :) 

Yup that counts :) You all should do it!!!

And mom I really didn´t want to take away the smurfs idea! You are too nice to reject my idea and I knew you would do that! But listen, I will send you some names but you really do not have to do it okay? It was just an idea. I have to get off now though so I will do it fast. 
Thomas, Marcelino, Evelin, Linda, Natalia, Hernan
Umm I need to think more and have to get off so can I send you the rest next week? Sorry! :/

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