Monday, August 26, 2013

Members are so Important in Missionary Work


So as you all know transfers were this past week. We had so say goodbye to Hermana Seely which was really sad but Hermana Arcila and I have a lot of good plans for this transfer so we are really excited! We have been keeping really, really busy which has been really fun. One thing that we are trying to do right now is put together a back-to-school BBQ for our branch. We think that it would really help the branch grow closer together and it would be something really fun to invite our investigators and less actives to so they can meet people in the branch! We are thinking about doing it in a week or so, so I'll keep you posted! We are also still trying to set up a Spanish class. We want to do it at the church but since this isn't Utah and there isn't an LDS church on every corner (unfortunately), the church is pretty far away from some people's houses and a lot of them don't have cars. But we are trying to figure it out and it's going to be great!

So I have really sad news. Alex and Alfonzo told us that their parents won't let them get baptized. They told us they don't see the point in talking to us anymore so they want to stop taking the lessons. It took everything I had in me not to cry. I looked over at Hermana Arcila and I knew she was feeling the same way. We just love those two so much and we know this gospel could change their lives for the better and make them happy I just wish they they could see it. But we are not going to give up on them just yet! We are hoping we can talk to their parents and teach them as a family! They told us that they have felt a change inside of them since they have been talking with us so we know there is hope.

In better news, Roci, our other investigator, is doing really well! We invited her to be baptized the other day and she said that she feels really good about it and she will pray about it. She wants us to talk to her whole family so we have a cita with them this next week. She is so great. And she is an amazing cook! She made us these really good cookies that I had never had before and really good tamales. Roci is a perfect example of why members are so important in missionary work. So after the first time we met Roci, Hermana Arcila and I were talking about what we could do to help her and this Hermana in our ward poped into my mind, Hermana Gutierez. She is about the same age as Roci, about 40 and they have a lot of similarities. We called Hermana Gutierez and asked her if she would like to come to our next appointment with Roci. She came with us and it went SO well. They hit it off. So now she comes with us to all of our lessons with Roci and it is so great. Hermana Gutierez is so awesome, she bears such strong testimony to Roci. She can touch Roci in a way that neither me nor Hermana Arcila could. Members are so so so important to missionary work!

Can I just tell you how much I love my tiny branch. There are about 40 people in it and they are all just so great. They are so strong and so involved with missionary work. I love being in a small branch becuase you get to know everyone individually. It's the best. But the bad part is that it's going to be really hard to say goodbye to these amazing people. I hope I don't leave anytime soon.

Anyway thats about it for my week! 

I can't believe it's already time to start school again! I wish all those who are going to be starting school soon good luck! Was the first day today? It was for the people here in Port Arthur. Spencer, Hayden, and Paige, love you guys. Have a great time at school and make the most of it!

Monday, August 19, 2013

I Made It!

So no big deal but my first transfer is over, time flies by so fast!!

So I didn't really think transfers would affect me that much because I am being trained and I knew I was staying with my companion in the same area, but they did! So we got the call on Saturday night that Hermana Seely is being transferred :(   I am going to miss her like crazy. She has taught me so much these past six weeks. And yesterday we got a call from President Crawford. He asked Hermana Arcila if she would accept the calling of Sister training leader for our zone on top of being my trainer! She is so excited and she is going to be amazing. So basically, what you do as a sister training leader is you go on exchanges with all the sisters in your zone to see how they are doing and to give them any advice. Basically what this means for me is that while Hermana Arcila is on exchanges this transfer with other sisters (about 8) I will be on exchanges with their companions. Does that make sense? Basically we will be switching companions for a day and Hermana Arcila will go to their area and I will stay in our area, Port Arthur. And since we are the only Spanish sisters in our whole zone I will be going out with English sisters which means I have to be fluent in Spanish like right now. Haha I AM SO TERRIFIED. But I know that Heavenly Father knows I can do this. It is going to force me to learn Spanish faster but I am so excited and I know this is going to be so good for me. Oh man I can already see all the awkward Spanish moments I am going to have this next transfer. haha It's going to be great!

So I was thinking about this this week...I can't believe I haven't told you guys about Hour of Power! At least I'm pretty sure I haven't. But anyways we have this thing called hour of power every Thursday night from 6:00 to 7:00 pm. It is that at 5:30 everyone in the mission goes to a member's house and teaches them a lesson about faith and then at the end of the lesson we invite them to say the closing prayer and pray that during this hour of power (from 6:00 to 7:00) someone in the mission will find people or a family to teach. So at 6:00 everyone in the entire mission goes out and knocks on doors trying to find people to share the gospel with. It truly is an hour of power. At the end of the hour of power we are supposed to text our results to President and then he sends out a mass text to everyone with all the results added together. 

This past week we had 114 return appointments which is the highest it has ever been! So that's what I will be doing every Thursday night from 6:00 to 7:00! If you guys would like I would like to invite you to say a prayer every Thursday at that time that someone in the mission will be lead to someone ready to hear the gospel! I know that every prayer counts and you can make a difference. And we will be praying together at the same time so that will be cool too :)

Also a fun fact! The reason that we do it at this specific time is because every Thursday night at 6:00 the prophet and his apostles go to the temple and pray for the missionaries! Man being a missionary rocks.

So we are teaching Alex and Alfonzo about every day now. It is getting close to their baptismal date and that's when Satan starts working his hardest on people. And Satan is working really hard on them right now. They are both so nervous to be starting school and they just keep telling us that they forget to read and pray because they are so caught up in school starting. But yesterday we had a lesson with them and we told them that's when you need to read and pray the most. When you are stressed, sad, worried..Heavenly Father will help you if you put your trust in Him. 

So I got a really big compliment this of our less actives that we are teaching asked if I was Hispanic. WAHOO! Best compliment I have every gotten. haha Okay, not really but I was very happy about it.

Also I'm really sorry about not sending a lot of pictures I need to take more! That will be one of my goals for this next transfer. But I do have a really funny video of a dog chasing me so I will try to send that to you haha.

A miracle happened this week! It was actually during hour of power on Thursday. We knocked on this one door and a man about 40 years old answered. He told us that he already had a church he was going to and he wasn't really interested. Then we just started bearing testimony to him and the spirit was so strong. He let us in! His name is Hector and he and his wife have four super nice and cute kids. We taught them about the restoration of the gospel and then at the end we had a kneeling prayer. He said that he felt something different about us so that's why he let us in his home. It's amazing what a simple testimony can do.

Anyways I love yall with all my heart! Thank you for all your love and support. I can feel all of your prayers!

Hermana San Juan

P.S. I got a new name tag, I think you all are really going to like it. I will send you a picture of it next week, but I will give you a hint.......what did I sign my name as in this e-mail.......?  :)

Birthday cake for Hermana Seely

With members of Katelyn's branch. Note the harmonica player - at all times. 

P-Day Bowling
Love the shirt!

The results of dancing in the rain.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Busy Week

This week was a busy one! 
So last Monday we had zone p-day and it was SO fun. A member in one of the wards in our zone has a giant backyard with an obstacle course, a lake, and a huge field so we all went over there and they had this whole thing set up for us. First we split into teams and those were the teams we were in the rest of the day. Then we played a game of flag football and that was a blast. Then we did this thing called the wounded warrior. So each person on every team had to reach into this bucket and pick a colored bottle cap. There were 10 people on each team, and in the bucket there were 10 bottle caps, 8 silver and 2 red. If you picked silver you were a carrier and if you picked red you are the person being carried. And if a Sister picked a red one we had to carry two Elders becuase Sister can't be carried by Elders that's awkward. But luckily for us the two skinniest Elders on our team picked the red bottle caps! So what we had to do was, as a team, carry these Elders through this really hard and long obstacle course. The Elders that were being carried had to act as if they were dead, they had to be completely still and limp, they couldn't help us at all. This activity was my favorite for sure because it was weirdly spiritual. No one knew how hard it was going to be. Oh man it was hard. It was about 100 outside and everyone was sweating bullets.. including me..TMI? But it was such an amazing experience. The man that was in charge of the activity told us to think about the Savior and about the pioneers as we were walking the trail. I don't really know how to explain it very well but the spirit was so strong. I thought about what the Savior and the pioneers went through alot during that long, hot, hard walk. 
Then on Tuesday we had zone conference. President and Sister Crawford spoke to us and it was just so inspiring. President Crawford is such an inspired man, I am so lucky to have him as my mission president. 
Then on Friday we finally moved out of our apartment yay! So the Elders in our district came over and helped us move all of our stuff out and take it to the other apartment. There was SO much stuff in that apartment. Missionaries have been living there for about 20 years so you can imagine how much random stuff was just piled up everywhere. But we are finally all moved in so we are happy! 
Saturday was a fun day. One of our less actives that we are teaching right now had a baby shower on Saturday so we went a little before it started and helped her set everything up and make decorations and stuff so that was fun! It was a great finding activity. We got a couple of return appointments with people so it was great! 
We are meeting with the boys now about 4 times a week and just preparing them for their baptism on the 31st! They are getting so excited and they are so ready. I'm so happy for them, they are great kids. Also lucky for me, my companions let me teach the whole law of chastity to them yesterday so that was great! haha but it actually went fine and wasn't even that awkward so yay!
So by the way before I forget..Chalice and Jamie congrats on your adorable new baby girl Sunny Cherie!! Oh my goodness she is cute. Grandma St John sent me some pictures in the mail..ADORABLE. And her name makes me so happy. I want to hold her so badly, but I'm sure Paige will hold her enough for the both of us haha :)
And also Paige, Dad sent me your talk! Ahh it was so good. I am going to print it out so I can read it again. I'm sure you did such a great job. Love you Paigie!
Okay so before I have to sign out I want to tell you two hilarious things that happened this week. 
So on Thursday night at about 1 A.M. I was apparently having a dream that there were bugs all over my pillow. Hermana Arcila told me that she woke up to me sitting straight up in my bed just saying, "oh my gosh! oh my gosh!" over and over again. And at this point she was freaking out a little bit and was like "Hermana St John what's wrong, what's going on?" And I was just like "oh my gosh oh my gosh hold on oh my gosh!" and apparently I grabbed our phone and started shinning it on my pillow. And then I started to wake up and I told her that I was having a dream there were bugs on my pillow and I thought they were everywhere. haha We were laughing so hard and we still haven't stopped laughing about it. haha It was so weird. 
So other quick story. Yesterday we were walking around our apartment complex trying to find this apartment that the elders gave us as a referral and we saw this Indian woman walking around so we said hi to her and started talking to her but she didn't speak any none. But she started beckoning us to follow her so we did and she took us to her apartment and told us to sit down. haha We were a little afraid at this point. But she was really nice and gave us juice and cookies and showed us pictures of her family. It was a different experience that's for sure! And then just out of the blue she shouted "Church!" and she ran out of her apartment and got in someone's car. haha So we decided that was our cue to leave. Oh good times, good times.
Anyway I love you all so much and I am so grateful for all of your e-mails and letters! This Church is true I know it with all my heart.
D&C 24:8    Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days.
Hermana San Juan

Monday, August 5, 2013

God's Light is Real!

Hey hey!

Another great week has gone by. One sad thing did happen this week though. The girl that we met the other week (Viany, the one who wanted us to help her paint her room) dropped us. She did it very nicely and was so sweet about it. She just told us that her whole family is Catholic and that she is comfortable at the church she goes to now. I never knew that it would be that hard to have someone drop you. My heart was a little broken. But I feel planting seeds is just as important, she may not be ready to accept this gospel yet but she can in the future.

So now for some good news! The boys have a baptismal date, August 31! Man I wish you all could meet these boys they have taught me so much. They are only 14 and 16 years old but they are so mature. They have been through a lot and its amazing to me how much strength and courage they have. Sometimes I feel like even though I'm the missionary the people we teach or talk to teach me the most. Being a missionary is such a great blessing.

So we are teaching a young mom and three kids right now. Her name is Olga. I can't remember if I told you about her or not. We found her when we were walking to an appointment and she was outside cutting her bushes and we offered to help her. We have taught her twice already and I really think it was meant to be that we found her. I will never forget our first lesson with her. We taught her about how God is our loving Heavenly Father and about how this gospel blesses families. We asked her if she would say the closing prayer and she was SO nervous. She had never really prayed before, especially not out loud in front of other people. So we taught her how to pray and we told her that you're just having a conversation with your Father, he loves you unconditionally, he will not judge you, and he is always waiting to hear from you. And suddenly something clicked inside her and she said the prayer. The spirit was so strong, it was surrounding all of us. That was such a testimony builder to me that Heavenly Father loves us and he knows each one of us individually. His arms are always stretched out towards us, no matter where you are at in your life. There is power in prayer.

So on Wednesday I had new missionary training and then on Friday we had zone conference so basically I'm feeling really inspired! New missionary training was great. It was so fun to see Hermana Shannon again we had a lot to catch up on. She was like "You're probably really surprised to see that I'm still here."  Oh man she cracks me up (but yeah I was a little surprised haha). But I really did miss her, it was good to see her!

Oh, so this is fun! Me and my companions are trying to set up English classes every Wednesday night for our investigators, people in our branch, or really anyone who wants to learn English! We are really excited about it. It would be a great way for our investigators and people in the branch to bond! Plus it will help me out with my Spanish as well!

Anyway, I think that's about it for this week! I love all of you and thank you for all of your letters and e-mails! They really do make all the difference, I have the best family and friends ever!

I just want to leave you with a quote from President Uchtdorf that I read this week and really liked. It says, "God's light is real! It is available to all! It gives life to all things. It has the power to soften the sting of the deepest wound." I just love that quote. It is filled with so much hope and especially with being a missionary I have seen that this quote is beyond true.  


Hermana St John :)