Well my email time is a lot shorter this week so I’ll just share a quick story.
It’s about one of the investigators we just re-found last week. His name is Jorge and he’s 22. Before we lost track of him, he came to church with us once and we gave him a copy of the Book of Mormon, but we didn’t have a chance to explain what it was. So when we found him again last week we gave a short overview of what it is and where it came from, and left him a chapter to read (3 Nephi 11).
We saw him again earlier this week and taught a lesson about the first principles of the gospel (faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end). He had read the chapter and really liked it. He said he read it late in the night when he couldn’t sleep by the light of his cell phone. We left a chapter to read about faith (Alma 32).
He texted us that night and asked for a chapter about prayer. He had already read Alma 32… all the way to chapter 37! He said his favorite was 34 though.
We are so excited that he loves the Book of Mormon so much! He really notices the Spirit that he feels while he’s reading it. I know this book is true. It’s the word of God and has great power to change our lives. As I’ve read this book I’ve strengthened my testimony that the Savior lives and that God loves each of us SO MUCH. I know that He gave us the scriptures to help us find greater happiness and peace as we journey through life’s ups and downs and inside-outs. I’d say that’s the thing that I’ve come to learn the most so far on my mission: that God loves us so much and that’s the reason for EVERYTHING that He’s done. Everything He’s done is for our benefit and so that we have the best chance we can to return to see Him again.
Los quiero mucho! Que tengan una Navidad MUY feliz! I love you! Have a very merry Christmas!
Hermana Deryk Howell
Santa came to our ward Christmas party:
Our Zone at a multi-zone conference:
Well we had a couple of miracles this week!
First off, there’s this house we’ve been going to periodically pretty much since my first transfer here. We knock on the door, and even usually hear people inside, but NOBODY EVER OPENS THE DOOR. But we keep going back because one of the families in the ward keeps telling us that this lady needs us to visit. She’d been taught in the past by missionaries, but got offended and stopped investigating.
WELL, last Sunday at the Stake Nativity Festival (which was super cool in and of itself), we SAW HER and her kids! So we set up an appointment to go see her Monday evening. When we went she wasn’t there. But we came back on Wednesday- and she still wasn’t there. But we did meet with her cute little old mom and had an awesome discussion and gave her a Book of Mormon. She was super sweet. When she found out I was from Idaho, she asked me about all the different ways I cook potatoes. I had a hard time explaining “steamed” in Spanish, but she got it I think. Haha. We have an appointment to see her AND her daughter on Tuesday after the kids get home from school.
We also re-found another of our investigators, Jorge. He came to church once and then kind of fell off the face of the earth. Turns out everySunday since then has been a family member’s birthday and so he couldn’t come to church. But he’s done with school for now so he should be easier to get ahold of. While we were there, his mom invited us to come over Christmas Eve for tamales. She’s super nice- hopefully she can come to church with us too!
And I saved the best miracle for last- Zoya and her brother Anthony are going to get baptized! We stopped by on Saturday and talked about some of the commandments. Then we went over the baptismal interview questions to help them realize that they were already super prepared to take the step of baptism. The Spirit was super strong and they both said they were ready to be baptized this next week! We just need to talk to their mom so we can set a date that she can come because of her work. We planned out the program, with who to ask to give the talks and everything. We are SO excited for them! We just need to help their mom get up in the mornings to get them to church on time. We’re planning a good “keep the Sabbath Day Holy/Sacrament” lesson this week.
Love you all so much!
Pray for and expect miracles!
PS- One more thing. People here are SO GENEROUS. Sister Beck mentioned to some of the Relief Society sisters that she loves tamales. The next day the RS President called and told us she had some tamales for us at her house. We stopped by to pick them up (we had to hurry to an appointment) and I was admiring her nativities from Guatemala… and she just GAVE some of them to us! I tried to protest, but she insisted. She’s just so nice. And that’s how EVERYONE is! (Last Sunday, Sister Beck complimented a member’s tie and he started to take it off right then and there! We convinced him that we didn’t need a tie, though. Haha.) It’s such a wonderful part of the culture that I want to be able to bring back with me. :]
Pics- My wooden Guatemalan nativity, Sister Beck’s clay Guatemalan nativity, and the crazy Christmas light house we saw on the way to an investigator’s house.
I turned 21 this week! Super weird. Haha. Thanks to everyone who sent me birthday wishes!
There’s a member in our stake that has all the missionaries in MoVal come to his house for breakfast the first Saturday of every month, and everyone sang to me there. It was great and super awkward. (Isn’t that the best part of birthdays? Sitting there while everyone in the room is singing at you and you’re all “Who am I supposed to look at? Should I sing too? Is the song almost over? Oh nope, they’re singing ALL the Primary songs…”)
Later a member took us out to lunch at Polly’s Pies and bought us a pie to take home and eat later.
It was a pretty good birthday. :]
I also did some missionary work this week. Haha.
Zoya and her little brother Anthony are progressing… even though they didn’t come to church OR to the Christmas broadcast. Their mom is an inactive member and their ride. We just need to help them get out the door in the mornings. They’re learning a lot and are so READY… except that they don’t FEEL ready. We just need to get them excited about taking this step. They have a baptismal date for the 17th (Zoya picked it) but are starting to get a little bit of cold feet.
We also have been teaching a guy named Francisco. He’s a friend of a member in one of the English wards that some of the Elders referred to us. He’s super great and loves everything we teach him. He has such a strong faith and feels the Spirit very strongly. Unfortunately his family isn’t very supportive. They tell him “You’re already old. Don’t you already know what church you belong to?” He’s said his wife and mother-in-law are being particularly difficult. We’re going to focus this week on finding him some really good fellowshippers.
We found a new family this week, Rocio and Chris. They lost a son to a car/bike accident about a year and a half ago, and have a lot of questions. We’ve started teaching them about the Plan of Salvation and hope we can teach with the Spirit and help them find the answers they desire and the peace of the Savior and that we can help them overcome this trial and prepare themselves that they can be reunited with their son after this life.
I’ve come to realize more and more how much love God has for each one of us, His children. He is so aware of us and our needs and longs to help us and bless us. All we need to do is reach out and take His ever-outstretched hand and trust in Him and in our loving Savior, Jesus Christ, in order to allow Them to help us and bless us in this journey through life. I’m learning how my purpose right now is to help people know how to take those steps of faith that will allow God to pour out His blessings upon them, and as I exercise more faith in this work, I’m blessed as well.
I love you all so much!
What a fun week we’ve had! It’s been a little tricky getting lessons though, since everyone and their dog has had family over for Thanksgiving. We did find some new investigators and got back in contact with one that we kind of “lost,” so it was a great week. :]
ALSO we had Thanksgiving this week! The ward mission leader, Hermano Rivera, and his family invited us over. If you remember, I taught and baptized his stepdaughter, Rocio, with Sister Dicarolo. It was great to see her and her ADORABLE daughters again. Sister Beck and I spent most of the dinner singing Old Macdonald and the Eensie Weensie Spider with them and letting them put stickers on the back of our nametags. They’re so freaking adorable! Both of us forgot our cameras, but luckily Hermano got one and we had him send it to us.
Then on Saturday, Hermana Salas had us come over and do “service” for her. We helped her set up and decorate her Christmas tree! It was so much fun- also, she has more Christmas decorations in her house than I’ve ever seen in any one place. It was SUPER festive! Haha. She turned on all the lights and music for us too. Hermano said all the decorations scared him because there was always something moving just out of eyesight.
Sunday was Testimony meeting, which is my FAVORITE in this ward. Everyone is so excited and willing to go up and share their testimonies of Jesus Christ and the restored Gospel.
We also got to visit Mayra, our recent convert, a few times this week. I just love her SO MUCH! We talked about getting a temple recommend to go do baptisms for the dead and taught her how to have family prayers every night before her girls go to bed. She has such firm faith that God will provide for her what she needs. She is such a strong and wonderful person. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know and love her like I have!
This was also the last week of the transfer, which means… CHANGES! Kind of. I’m staying here with Sister Beck- which is awesome. I was crossing my fingers for that one. Elder Higgins is leaving so Elder Romero will be our new District Leader. His companion will be… ELDER BLOMFIELD! Our friend from the MTC! We’re super excited to see him again. This should be a super fun transfer. 😀
Love you all tons!
Also here’s a picture of our favorite street demonstrator.