Thursday, February 21, 2013


Hola everyone!  I can't believe it's the end of another transfer.  Transfer calls came on Saturday night, so the big news is out... Sister Jensen is being transferred to Utah. :( Sad day.  I will be staying in San Mateo for transfer #6, and my companion will be.... SISTER CAMARILLO!  Yes, my trainee is coming to join me in beautiful San Mateo.  I'm really excited.  :D
This week was a good week.  It's been a little crazy with transfers and 3 exchanges, but it's been really good.  I think I've said this before, but I'll say it again.  Being on a mission is great for the Spirit, but not super good for the body.  But it's the best and I wouldn't trade it.

We started teaching a brother from a part-member family on Monday.  We're so excited! He's always been friendly to the missionaries, but very avoidant, so we were really excited when he decided to join our family home evening lesson last Monday.  We're seeing him again tonight.  This is such a great family and I can feel that Heavenly Father has so many good things in store for them.  The brother is the owner of a restaurant, so the time commitment and being able to come to church is going to be really tough, but we have faith that things will work out.  His wife has an amazing testimony of the gospel, and we can already see how her example is shaping her family.

The other highlight of the week for me was the lesson we had with David last night.  I've written about David, a recent convert, several times because the experiences we have with him are always so spiritual and powerful.  We've only been able to meet with him one other time this transfer, so we were relieved to be able to have a lesson with him finally.  We met at the bishop's house again for a lesson on the Holy Ghost.  I was so happy to hear David talk about how his perspective is changing and how Heavenly Father is giving him experiences to help him draw closer to the Savior.  I see a lot of parallels between David's situation and the lessons I need to learn for myself.  I feel blessed to be able to know him and see the process of his conversion as I go through my own conversion.

This morning I took some time to set some personal goals for the next couple of transfers.  I feel blessed to have at least 5 more weeks, hopefully 11, here in San Mateo.  I feel like this area really has my heart.  I've learned so much here and grown in so many ways.  It's been an experience that has been unexpected, but exactly what I need.  I've at times felt discouraged here because the work is so different and the challenges are so unlike the challenges of other areas.  I'm really excited for what is to come, because I know it will be exactly what the Lord wants it to be.


Wowwwww!!!  I've been trying to remain calm as I've read your emails this week, since I'm in a public library, but I'm having a hard time containing my emotions.  I'm so excited for Sister Croft! That was a completely unexpected call, but I can also see how it is absolutely perfect for her.  My guess was an Asian mission, but not Thailand Bangkok.  And while I would have been able to accept the Lord's decision to send Sister Croft away before I got home from my mission, I am so happy that I'll have a month to spend with my hermanita before she goes off to serve the Lord.  Get ready for some intense companionship study, sister!
Happy Chinese New Year!  I had forgotten it was Chinese New Year until I went on exchanges with the Chinese Sisters.  We had plain white rice on Saturday night to celebrate, if that counts.
The reason we had plain white rice on Saturday night is because I came down with the Norovirus (Google it if you dare) over the weekend and couldn't eat real food.  I was on exchanges on Friday and started to feel really sick, then was sick all of Saturday.  It hit me really hard and really fast.  It's frustrating to be sick, because I wanted to go out and work, but I was advised by the nurse to be considerate and not spread germs around while I was still contagious.  This transfer Heavenly Father has definitely been teaching me the very hard lesson that I need to take care of myself before I take care of others.  I got a blessing on Saturday afternoon and by Sunday my fever was gone and I got the green light to go back to normal work.  Thank goodness!  The power of the priesthood is real. 
We had zone conference this week and it was so good.  I love zone conference because it's always so powerful to be in a group of missionaries.  It's so powerful to feel the spirit of the work and the spirit of the missionaries who are striving so hard to do the Lord's will.  We had a great training on finding that really opened up my perspective.  I need to focus more on the principles and promises that the Lord has given us to be able to search out those who are prepared for the gospel.  I realized that even if someone we find doesn't get baptized or doesn't turn into a long-term investigator, that doesn't mean they weren't a "prepared" person.  I was getting frustrated because I felt like we weren't finidng people who are "prepared."  In reality, many of the people we talk with every day really are prepared to accept the gospel, and the interactions and lessons we have with them are experiences that are also preparing them to receive the gospel, even if they don't choose to accept it right away.  It was a good faith-building reminder.
I had a good experience on an exchange this weekend.  Even though I was as sick as a dog, we taught a really great lesson to a less-active sister in a different area.  We started off talking about what she'd read in the Book of Mormon from Alma 32 about faith, and then started talking about the sacrament.  The sister I was with shared her testimony of the importance of attending church, and then the sister we were teaching asked me about how I feel about the sacrament.  I was able to share some experiences that are pretty personal for me, but that I felt would help her.  At the end she sort of taught herself that she needs to go to church, not just to attend, but to strengthen her relationship with the Savior.  As Derek has said in the past, missionary work is about being real with everyone we teach.  When we're real and sincere, the Spirit can testify.  The same thing goes for situations in "real life" off the mission.  When we're open and honest, the Spirit can be there to help us and to help others, whether they're less-active members, active members we home or visit teach, or someone who isn't a member of the church. Try it out!
Yesterday Sister Jensen and I saw a lady driving in front of us get a flat tire.  We followed her to the gas station and my awesome companion and I changed her tire for her.  She was shocked that we knew how.  She asked us where we learned how to change a flat and I sad, "my youth group at church" and Sister Jensen said, "Family Home Evening."  Awesome!  The gospel is true, and the programs of the church are inspired. :)
Well, I'm not sure what else to share from this week.  My companion is going home in just 9 days. :(  I'm super sad, but also excited for what is to come.  Our area is growing in so many ways, and I can feel the attitude of the ward continuing to change.  I think Sister Jensen has helped MY attitude toward the ward to change as well, definitely for the better.  There are good things ahead.
This week was really good.  It was pretty challenging because I felt like there were a lot of things on my plate and I wasn't sure if I'd be able to handle it.  Heavenly Father has of course given me a lot of opportunities to repent for my lack of faith and to once again remember that He is in charge and He will of course take care of everything as long as I'm trying.  President and Sister Meredith told me about a conversation they had one day.  Sister Meredith was feeling a little overwhelmed and she asked President, "Do I get points for trying?" He took her by the shoulders and said, "That's the ONLY thing you get points for!"  It's totally true--we'll never be perfect or be able to meet everyone's expectations, but we can meet the Lord's only expectation for us--that we do all that we can.  That's how He blesses us.

We're still teaching the Roblero family (Edgar and his daughters).  We had a great lesson this week on the Book of Mormon, and Edgar definitely has real intent and wants to know it's true.  They attended stake conference this week and it went well.  Evelyn and Stephanie's only complaint was that they wanted to go to Primary.  That's a great sign!

Several of you asked about the Super Bowl.  Man, the Super Bowl... it was astounding to see how many people were watching it last night.  We had a lot of people reject us at the door because they were busy watching the Super Bowl.  It was frustrating, for sure, but I kept trying to think about how their attitude will change once they get another chance to hear about the gospel.  I imagine some of them will be a little bashful down the road for having closed the door on us (especially because the Niners lost, haha).

So... I took a leaf out of Derek's book and injured myself again this week.  I feel really silly.  I dropped a curling iron on my calf (I know, it seems impossible... but it happened).  It got a huge blister and was super gross, but it'll heal just fine.  It's in the shape of a heart if you turn your head sideways!  Cool.

I'm so grateful to be on a mission.  This week has been a little exhausting.  I'm not sure why.  Last night as I was interrupting Super Bowl parties, I was hit by the importance of what we're sharing.  Even if people don't recognize it at first, the gospel is for them.  It's for me too.  I need to exercise my faith and repent every day.  I can't wait for Sunday so I can take the sacrament and feel the peace of the Holy Ghost as I think about the Atonement.  I'm so blessed to know that the gospel has been restored.  I'm blessed to have a wonderful companion that's working hard even though the end of her mission is near.  I'll be sad to see Hermana Jensen go home in 2 weeks, but I'm grateful for the wonderful example she's set for me.  Heavenly Father has blessed me so much!

bruises and miracles

This week has been full of AMAZING things.

I think the highlights definitely came over the weekend.  On Saturday after ending an exchange we met with our new investigators at the visitor's center.  It's a dad, Edgar, and his two girls, Estefani and Evelyn.  The bishop and his family came as well, which was perfect.  I don't know if they were paying attention the whole time, but Edgar and his two girls seemed to really feel happy.  They've had a lot of struggles in their lives.  The girls' mom passed away about three years ago and they have a little brother that still lives in Guatemala who hasn't been able to come to the U.S. yet.  I realized at the visitor's center that it's really the feelings of the Spirit that make the difference for people, not that they immediately have a perfect understanding of all the doctrines that make eternal families or repentance possible.  The Spirit was definitely there at the VC and we're so excited to keep teaching Edgar and his family.  The girls are 11 and 7.  They remind me of Chastity and Alaska Aviles when we first started teaching them!

Another miracle this week was that we had 5 people at church yesterday.  We had Laura and Jonathan, from Argentina, come to church.  They're so amazing.  We met them this week and they both accepted the invitation to be baptized at the end of the first lesson.  They're so faithful and so eager to have more happiness in their lives, and they really have the intention of finding what God wants for them.  We also had Edgar and his girls at church, which was great.  They loved Primary. :)

We were amazingly blessed to find a lot of new investigators this week--more than I've ever found in one week in this area.  Sister Jensen said it best--the Lord seems to just be dropping people into our laps.  We're so grateful for all of the many miracles we've seen this week, and we want to keep working hard for those miracles to continue.

The lowlight of the week... I sprained my ankle on Wednesday.  We went out in the morning to go for a run and I stepped off the curb wrong and sprained my ankle.  The pictures look more gruesome than it really is.  The bruising was really bad and it was swollen for a couple days.  I was on crutches for one day, but then my armpits were hurting more than my ankle, so I gimped around for a couple days.  The pain is totally gone now, and just the bruising is left. :)  I can jump around and walk all day on it, so I've experienced a miracle of healing. :D  Sister Jensen is a CNA so she took great care of me.  She takes great care of me every day, whether I'm injured or not, so I'm in good hands.

great week!

So, the first miracle of the week--we're teaching Liborio again!  And he has a baptismal date!  His work has calmed down a lot and he has a little more control over his schedule, so he'll be able to keep meeting with us.  We read from Alma 7 with him and I asked him what his thoughts were regarding the Savior and what He wanted him to do.  Liborio said, "Baptism is a promise we make when we're grateful for Christ and want to change our hearts and be like Him."  A great answer!  He's very sensitive to the Spirit and I know the Lord will help him to be able to prepare himself to keep his baptismal covenant.  It was a great experience to teach him again. I was on exchanges with a sister who doesn't speak Spanish, but when I had her teach a certain point, she came up with a scripture that was exactly what Liborio needed to resolve some of his doubts and accept a baptismal date.  It was a miracle and yet another example of how the language of the Spirit is really the only language that really matters.

We also had a powerful experience with Flor, the mother of Raul, a kid in our ward who was baptized just over a year ago.  She came to church 2 weeks ago with Raul and had a great experience.  Last week I felt impressed to take her a copy of the DVD "To This End Was I Born" (the long version of THe Lamb of God).  Last night we watched the DVD with her and asked her how she felt.  She said she couldn't explain it, but that she knew there was a lot she needed to learn.  In her prayer at the end of the lesson she told Heavenly Father she was going to put as much as she could on her part so He could help her.  She is a great person and has amazing faith, and is the key to helping her family accept the gospel.  We're so excited to be able to be teaching her!

We also had a cool experience in giving service this week.  We were driving and saw a stalled truck in the middle of the road underneath a busy bridge.  Sister Jensen noticed that there was a Hispanic lady sitting alone in the car with a little boy.  We parked our car at the mall nearby and ran over to go see if we could help.  They'd run out of gas and the battery was dead, and her husband had left to go find a gas station.  People were all staring at her from their cars but nobody was helping her!  Sister Jensen and I told her to put the truck in neutral and we started pushing from the back.  We were totally moving forward but then she put on the brake and told us she didn't think we'd make it.  We lost our momentum and realized we needed help.  A cop came to flash his lights behind her but couldn't push the truck or give it a jump.  Hna Jensen was a champ and called some elders in the area to come help out.  Between the Tongan Elders and us, we pushed the truck around the block and to a parking lot like it was a Matchbox car. :)  The lady was so happy and gave us a huge hug at the end.  Haha, it was funny, she said, "I was praying to God that someone would help, and then you showed up!  Now I can give the money I was going to use for the towtruck to my church!"  It was a moment where once again, it was just right to simply serve her, and not force our message on her.  We invited her to look up and find a chapel in her area, and she said she was on her way to her church that night, but would tell people there how nice we were and what good Christians we are. :) Not a bad result!

I love you all so much and I'm so grateful for all of your support.  I love thinking about all of the wonderful things you're doing.  So much has changed in all of your lives since I've been on my mission, and it's all so good!  I'm so proud of all of you. :)  I know that this gospel is the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.  The blessings of the gospel I see in each of you are a testimony to me that the plan of God is a plan of happiness.  I love this gospel and I feel so blessed to share it with so many people each day.  I love you!  Have a good week!