"Go forward in life with A TWINKLE in your eyes and A SMILE on your face, but WITH GREAT PURPOSE in heart." -Gordon B. Hinckley

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Back Flips, Summersaults and a little bit of CHEERleading‏

Sundays have come to be one of the most love-hated days of the week for me as a missionary. LOVE because our ward members are amazing, we get to take the sacrament, hear pep-talks to energize us for the week through the lessons taught in our classes…and the list goes on. HATE because it is also one of the most stressful days of the week (for me at least). All week long we work with our instigators and menos activos to prepare them for Sunday. We teach them; we help them; we commit them; we love them; we motivate them; we remind them, etc. all in hopes that, come Sunday, they will feel that desire to come to church to be able to find that “Love” part that I mentioned up above. When Sunday comes and our loves show up, Sunday is my favourite and I am excited to continue forward in the week to keep helping them to progress but when Sunday comes and our loves make up excuse or stand us up…it is a little (well actually a lot) discouraging- and that was what happened yesterday. While I took the approach of (p.s: don’t do this at home) wanting to give up, feeling alone and thinking this was too hard, and instead of strengthening my faith to come, indulging in chocolate (in my defence, sometimes it makes the crappiest situations less crappy), the Lord was so aware and taught me, AGAIN, a life lesson about trusting Him.
            In the afternoon we had the blessing of teaching an inactive hermana from our ward. As she expressed to us her trials, I opened up my scriptures to a lovely story in Mosiah 24. It talks about when the prophet Alma and his people were afflicted but through their faith and trust in God, they were able to bare their affliction “cheerfully” with ease and patience. Something that this story teaches us is that the Lord doesn’t answer our S.O.S prayers by taking away our problems, but He does help us out by blessing us with the strength to endure. And if we endure it well, “tomorrow” He will “deliver [us] out of our bondage” (Mosiah 24:12-16). *DING* a light bulb went off in my head: I realized that while I thought that I was sharing this story to help the hermana that the Lord was sharing it with me to help ME. It definitely gave me the perspective that I needed! Yeah, it sucks that our loves don’t come to church every week when they say they will or that I have a lot of responsibility on my plate as a trainer again or that sometimes I don’t feel the support that I need like I would like to, etc. BUT if I am humble enough to ask for strength, Heavenly Father will give me the strength that I need to Cheerfully keep on keepin’ on. And that the key, to do it CHEERFULLY. So that is my goal for this week, I’ll let you know how it goes…but I am learning People, I am learning!
“Therefore…let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power; and then may we stand still with the utmost assurance, to see salvation of God, and for His arm to be revealed” (D&C 123: 17).
            On a happy, my new compañera is wonderful! Hermana Tadeo, from El Salvador. We already have found some small world connections (while I was flipping through some of her pictures). Turns out that an elder that taught her family the gospel, only a year ago, is from my stake! CRAZY Right? She was baptized a year ago and now tells me that being here in the mission field is surreal for her. She is going to be turning 20 this Saturday, (just one day after my best Friend’s birthday- Hermana Coe) so we will definitely be celebrating this week. So far I have learned a lot about Hermana Tadeo: she has 4 sisters and one brother (all are members of the church), she likes coconut ice-cream, her favorite color is pink and she is obsessed with brushing her teeth (menos mal). She is a super easy going, happy and lovely person- that has given me so much strength this week! Heaven knows that I need that. She is also super excited to work hard, and so that is what we will do.
            And one more happy story- Joseline (my love from San Miguel) was baptised on Saturday! After almost a year since we knocked on her door, ten months to be exact. After the service, she told me, “Remember last time you saw me, how sad I was? And now look at me, I am so happy!” She was glowing, absolutely linda. It is amazing that something so simple, the gospel, brings out so much happiness to those who accept it in their lives. And like we learned from the experience of Alma and his people, the gospel doesn’t take away our problems, it just gives us perspective. And moments like Saturday, and a bunch of mini ones like it a long the way, remind me that all of this is so worth it. I just have to learn to be patient during the hard times so that I can keep enjoying the sweet times.
Love you tons and tons!
Xoxox, Hermana North
Picture 1: Hermana Tadeo, my new love

Picture 2:  Lots of Love for Joseline

Picture 3: She's perfect!

Picture 4: Mi chamaqita :) So love her

Picture 5: New puppies! Lalo y Lola

Picture 6: beans beans the magical fruit! jexis made us the most delishious treat! 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Just some Random Thoughts and Updates‏

So it looks like I am going to be hangin’ with the cows for a couple more months. I am staying in Quimey (Hermana Reyes went to San Miguel, equally as good! Lucky duck) and what came as an even bigger surprise is that I am going to be training a greenie again! AND to make things even better, she is going to be Latin (I love Latin compañieras). One of the elders here told me, “People are going to start calling you Eve, because you are the mother of many!” haha. But really, I have been in tranning/ tranning for my whole mission, but I am embracing that blessing with all of my heart and am excited to take on this new adventure with my new Latina love.
This week we saw so many miracles from the Lord as he blessed us to be able to see so many of the people that we have been working with, over the past 3 months, come to church! Hermana Reyes and I worked so hard, and the fruits from that labor were much enjoyed. My new compañiera and I have a lot of work to do to make sure that they keep on keepin’ on, but I know that they will be able to do it with just a little push from us as they strive to do the little things (reading their scriptures, family prayer, etc.). Something that helped us out a lot this week was the members of our ward. They were key! You guys don’t even know (or maybe you do) how equally important your influence is in the lives of the investigators and the inactive members. If you want to do something good…then look for the missionaries and HELP THEM! Together, miracles can happen. That is my testimony as I saw those miracles happen with the ward members this week.
p.s: Have I mentioned that I love Quimey! We have the best ward, and a lot of primary littles. I think that they make up half of our attendance each week, about 110 people. It reminds me of the Ladera Ranch wards. So fun! Sunday is not Sunday without the noise of all of the littles running around and playing with their toy cars.
Much love to you all!
Xoxox, Hermana North
“Hear the Word of God and Do It” –Luke 8:21
Picture 1:  Hermana Jenifer and her babe, Viciente. (another innactive that came to church)

Picture 2: loquras with Katta (our innactive that came to church!)

Picture 3: tree climbing will never get old for me

 Picture 4: la familia Parra- super Rad family from our ward. 

Picture 5: gallons of icecream that a love from our ward brought us on monday night

Picture 6: gallons of icecream in my tummy on saturday morning (it didnt even last one week...it was a Hot week! dont judge)

Picture 7: balancing books on our heads for shade

Picture 8: My love hermana Miriam- she cooks yummy food that makes my stomach smile

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Confessions of a Shopaholic‏

HAPPY NEW YEAR PEOPLE!!! It was so weird celebrating Christmas and News Years during summer break. It is so HOT every day, plus there was a fire the other day whose smoke has ungraciously added heat to this heat…but that’s not me complaining, I am loving this sun soaking up season. So how is the snow Utah loves? And what about the tourist free beach California loves? Well, to be honest, these past couple of weeks has been super duro [hard] for me as a missionary- menos mal [good thing] that I am a missionary. The good thing about having bad days as a missionary is that you have to try really hard to keep it that way. As I pass through sad or hard times there is always something that we teach, or my compañiera says or something an investigator shares, etc. that brings peace back into my heart. And as the Lord as been testing me, His spirit has given me the strength that I need to endure and BE HAPPY.
            New Years Eve, for Hermana Reyes and me, was unforgettable! In the AM we made some super RAD contacts on the micro [bus] that actually live in our sector (my absolute favorite) and before lunch we bought a GINORMUS, AVATAR sized watermelon to celebrate the new year (after carrying that home our arms were shot- we planned on that as being our workout for the day). President Cook gave us the “commandment” to be home by 6 PM that night, because some of the sectors here are dangerous during the holidays, so we didn’t get to visit a lot of our loves that day. But Hermana and I had a lot of fun together, seeing that it was just the two of us in the house. At night, Hermana Yesse and her hubby and their little came over and SURPRISED us with dinner- chicken with a heavenly mushroom sauce (I am obsessed with mushrooms now) and papas duquesa (potato balls). It totally made our night. Also our neighbors, aka our ward mission leader and his wifey, brought us carne from their BBQ (we so love our ward!). So we had a little bit of everything and half of a watermelon. We counted down to the New Year (me being half awake of course!) and now I can hardly believe that one whole year has past by and almost a whole year since I became “Hermana North”.
            So this week we have been working a lot with our investigator Belen (18 years old). I don’t remember if I have mentioned her yet, but she is the elder’s recent convert’s daughter. We actually met her knocking doors in our first week here in Quimey! When she came out to open the gate, to our surprise, she said, “Are you guys Elders too?”  But we actually didn’t start teaching her until about three weeks ago- on her request. She is super smart and has a ton of questions for us when we teach her, which is a good thing because that means that she actually wants to learn. We have been having a lot of fun teaching her with her family. They are hilarious! Laughing with them makes me feel like I am with my crazy family back at home. On Saturday, she was super excited to show us some things that she bought that morning. She came out with six new dresses and said, “Help me pick one for church tomorrow.” AHH! That melted my heart. (If you didn’t know, it’s kind of a BIG deal when our investigators come to church). Also when we asked her about how her scripture study was going she said, “I have been reading everyday, but I only couldn’t read yesterday because I was at a friends house. But she had a Bible so I read that instead.” When I heard this, I jumped out of my seat and gave her a high five; and there may or may not have been a high pitched scream in there too. It just made me so HAPPY to hear that she is really sincerely looking for an answer from God AND keeping the promise that she made to read her scriptures every day. If we want something from God all we have to do is ask Him and act upon the faith that we have to receive what we are asking for:

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

I am nervous for this week because we find out about cambios [transfers]. I have my fingers crossed that I can stay here in Quimey a little longer. I’m starting to fall in love with everyone here, but I have faith that whatever happens is what will be best for me and the people, even if I think that I staying here will be the best thing.
I LOVE YOU ALL! I hope that your Christmas and New Year was lovely.
Xoxox, Hermana North
picture 1: skeleton grafitti

 picture 2: It took up our whole fridge

 picture 3: Sunrise from our window

picture 4: 2014! Happy New Year

picture 5: FHE with Belen and the crazies

picture 6:We ate a whole watermellon in 2 days.

picture 7: Hermana Yesse and her fambam