Monday, July 6, 2015

Departing pics of my last week before heading home!

Lunch in Central Park.

Guess who? American Heritage school choir on tour from my home town.

Tempe Trip with the Castellanos. They received their
endownments and will be sealed soon!

Ellis Island. We actually hiked the statue and toured
rather than worked there. 

Ferry Ride to Liberty Island

The Ladies of Liberty!

Lady Liberty and me! Spreading Spiritual
Liberty to all that Come.

HaHa. We're twins!

The Basilica in Newark. 

Eromar from Elizabeth took us to dinner.

4th of July at a Members Beach House.

Me Despedi. Luz Maria Santamaria her son Adam. 

Rual's Baptism. He was a miracle for us!

I love this guy. He is so prepared. 

Lovely Ladies!

These men from Elizabeth came
to help with our lesson. Most Spiritual lesson
ever.   Miguel Jose, Loren and Henry.

Transferred from Jersey to Utah

Thursday July 2, 2015

It was weekly planning day and also TAC (apartment cleaning) day. Part
of TAC is packing up a few of your things and getting ready for
transfers. Well, I started packing for the biggest transfer that I'll
have since January of 2014. It was a weird feeling. I took a few
minutes to reflect on everything that I had done over the past year
and a half as I found some of my memoirs from funny contacts or things
that members had given me. Haha I've had a good mission.

We also taught Jose Benitez. A few weeks ago we taught him a about the
law of chastity. It has been something he's really had a hard time
with. He wants to get married to his girlfriend, but she doesn't want
to have anything to do with the church. We talked to him about moving
out. That idea broke his heart. Instead, a couple of days later his
girlfriend, Marianna, kicked him out of their house after she found
that he had done some pretty bad things. Well, that whole situation
tore him apart. You could see that the law of chastity was something
so important to him; he didn't want to break one of god's
commandments, but at the same tinker he was torn between the two
things that he loved the most. We talked to him about praying and
seeking an answer. Well, he must have been praying really hard because
on Thursday, for the very first time, Marianna joined in the lesson.

We had just shown up with our member who was going to be accompanying
us for the appointment and before knocking on the door, we bowed our
heads to say a prayer. When we finished the prayer, we looked up and
saw a small woman get out of a car. From a distance, it didn't look
like Marianna, but Hermana Stone has met her a lot more times than I
have and she was convinced that it was her. We weren't sure what she
was doing, so we proceeded to knock on the door. Jose shortly answered
it and we went to go sit at our usual spot at a table in his backyard.
This time Jose was dressed super nice, in nice jeans, a button up
shirt, and his church shoes. Something was up. When we asked. Him why
he had dressed up he said, "oh, I don't know. I just got dressed when
I got back from work and said to myself 'why not wear this'?" We
smiled. :) It was cute. Just before starting he lesson, Hermana Stone
leaned over to ask if we should tell him that Marianna was out front.
When we let Jose know, his face lit up and in English he said, "Oh
Really?? I'm going to get her." Now, there are only two times when
Jose speaks English: when he is under the influence, or when he's
super excited. He was most definitely excited because right after
saying that to us, leapt off the stool he was sitting on and ran
towards the front of his house. When he came back, his face was
nothing but teeth. He was smiling so big that you could barely see his
eyes. Haha. He said, once again in English, "God answer my prayers. I
have prayed that she will come to the lesson with me and now she is
here!!" We couldn't help but smile with him. :) Jose is so awesome.
Pretty soon we saw Marianna walk around the corner and we were sure to
give her the warmest welcome. I'm sure it must have been very humbling
to be in her position to finally accept the idea of listening to he
missionaries after resisting for so long. We didn't want her to feel
bad, so we just loved her :)

The lesson went GREAT. Jose, thought the whole thing just kept saying,
"Thanks, God" in English over and over. Haha. I love that guy. We
taught the restoration and Jose has the BIGGEST testimony of the
restoration, so he chimed in whenever he wanted to and personally
testified to Marianna that the things that we were teaching were true.
It was so incredible go watch. I am so proud of him. I know that both
of them were edified in the process. The restoration is real, and look
what it does to people! It makes them so happy, especially when they
share it with their families. Ah, I love this gospel. :)

Friday July 3, 2015

By far, the hardest day of my entire mission, but also I feel like it
was one of the most rewarding. 

Saturday July 4, 2015

Saturday felt great. It felt like everything was how it was supposed
to be; I was preparing to go home.

Later that day we had an appointment with Raul, our last
before he was going to get baptized the following day. It was a great
lesson, but had a rocky start. Before we had even really started the
lesson their dog, Melly, kept sneezing. Once, earlier in my mission, I
had learned what the word for sneeze was and to try to practice my
spanish, I attempted to recall the word I had once known, but had
accidentally changed it for a word that meant something much
different. The word for sneeze is "estornudar" but I said "desnudar"
meaning...well.... It doesn't really matter what it means. After I
said it our investigator looked at me and said, "what??". I had no
idea what I just did so I just said, "sneeze? (In English)" and he
just shook his head laughing. Well, there you go folks, I've been out
for 18 months and I'm still not perfect at Spanish. Haha. Even the
best of us still make mistakes. Trust me, the rest of the lesson went
a whole lot better. It was actually one of the most spiritual lessons
I've had in my whole mission. We all left splotchy faced and puffy
eyed because of the tears of gratitude for the blessing of the gospel
in our lives. It was such a wonderful feeling to know that Raul was
well prepared for baptism and that the gospel meant so much to him. He
said he closing prayer and while expressing his feelings, his tears
welled up and choked on his words because hey we're not enough to
express how he felt.

Even though we had other plans for the night I did not want to leave,
but there was a member that was waiting for us. So, we left and headed
towards Long Branch where one of the members from the English ward
lives. This member had called President Taggart and asked that all of
the missionaries in his ward and the Spanish branch could come to his
house for the Fourth of July to see the fireworks from his balcony.
President Taggart said yes and gave all of the missionaries permission
to stay for the whole show, but leave right after and be back in our
apartments at 11:00pm. Well, it was one of the coolest firework shows
that I have been to. The member's house was right on the shore,
literally, and the fireworks were being launched almost directly in
front of where we were. It was amazing. Watching them was really
peaceful. I just felt like it was where I was supposed to be and that
the conclusion of my mission was supposed to be happening right now.
The whole day was incredible. It just felt right.
We got home and we were completely exhausted. Delightfully
exhausted. :)

Sunday July 5, 2015

Well, Sunday was one of the greatest days that I have had in a while.
We arrived to church early to prepare the baptismal program and got to
sit and talk with Raul for a few minutes before sacrament started. The
pianist was gone, so I was asked to play the piano. That was a tender
mercy for me. I have missed that since I moved from Elizabeth. The
Branch president also had me start testimony meeting by inviting me to
share my testimony. What a great blessing to be invited to share my
testimony. Haha, I felt like Moroni getting up there and giving my
last testimony to the people. There was a returned missionary who was
visiting from Utah who followed me. I met with him after and asked for
advice in the transition back home. All he said was, "good luck". Haha
During class we snuck out to print off all of the programs and prepare
for the baptismal service and I heard my favorite sound, the loud thud
as gallons of water filled a baptismal font. I stopped by the font,
opened the doors, and smiled. What a huge privilege it has been to
extend the baptismal invite so many times in my mission and to also
see that font be filled so many times; filled with water, but then
also filled with my brothers and sisters who then are filled with the
The baptism was incredible. We started out by me playing the wrong
hymn. Yes, two awkward moments in the same weekend, but we went with
it. Haha. I just smiled, laughed, and said, "oops".
The spirit carried the rest of the service and brought tears to many
people's eyes. It was wonderful. When Raul came out of the water, he
was so smiley. :) His smile was so big that he was nothing but teeth
as he walked around for the rest of the afternoon. His happiness was
contagious. I'm going to miss that little 5 foot tall Mexican.

There was a lunch at Raul's family's house after the baptism. He is
related to almost everyone in the branch in one way or another, so it
was almost like a family reunion at the baptism. We know that he'll
have plenty of support when we leave.

Our last appointment of he day on Sunday night was with Jose Benitez.
When we were weekly planning last week we were thinking of someone who
would really be able to connect with Jose and give him the support he
needs and while praying about it an idea popped into my head. Loren,
one of the members in Elizabeth, would be perfect. So, I gave him a
call and he said that he would be glad to come down and help with the

We had been in contact with him during the week to make sure that he
could still come out with us. Sunday after church he called and said
that he had a surprise for me. When he showed up to the appointment I
saw him and was super excited, but when I looked in his back seat I
saw Miguel Chico and Henry Romero, two of my recent converts. I don't
know if there was more shock or joy written on my face in that moment. I
hopped out of the car and ran to greet them. Man, I love those guys!
Loren just laughed as he watched my reaction to seeing Miguel and
Henry. I had gotten transferred just before Henry got baptized. Seeing him now was like seeing a whole different person. He had cut his hair, shaved, and was wearing church attire. He just sparkled.
I was so happy that they were all there to help support Jose in this lesson. When we all sat down for the lesson, the things that we had planned didn’t feel right, so we thought to have a testimony meeting. We started with Miguel and circled around until we ended with Henry. Even Jose bore his testimony of the Restoration and the Book of Mormon! It was so incredible. I loved it. The spirit was so strong and afterwards, Jose thanked each member from Elizabeth for coming down. He said that he had felt the spirit so strongly and knew that he could rely on them for support. It was an INCREDIBLE lesson. We all left with huge smiles on our faces. I’d say that it was a pretty incredible day!
Well, that’s all from Red Bank. I’ll be flying out of New Jersey on Wednesday destined for Utah. I am heartbroken to leave the mission. Missionary work means everything to me. The gospel has become who I am. I live it and I love it.
Even though leaving New Jersey is probably one of the heardest things that I have had to do this far, I have had a reassuring peace confirm that now is my time to go home (even though I have fought my hardest to stay). I feel like Heavenly Father has something else planned for me, and just like I tried to be willing enough to listen to the spirit and be in the right place at the right time on the mission, I know that Utah is the right place and now is the right time for me to be there.
So, I’d like to bear my testimony one last time as a missionary:
Yo se que la Iglesia de Jesucristo de Los Santos de Los Ultimos Dias es la iglesia de Dios establecida aqui en la tierra. Es necesario que seamos parte de ella porque no hay otro modo en como podemos usar la expiacion de Jesucristo. Yo se que necesitamos vivir con fe, y al hacerlo nuestras vidas se enriqueceran, nuestro testimonio se convertira en la conversion, actuaremos en acuerdo con los otros principios del evangelio y convenios que hemos hecho, y que sentiremos de que Jesucristo y Dios nos conocen a nosotros. Yo se de que el arrepentimiento es como alineamos nuestras vidas con la de jesucristo. Yo se que el arrepentimiento sea duro, pero vale la pena. El bautismo no solamente es un ceremonio, es un acto de nuestra fe y que tambien es cuando hacemos un convenio con nuestro padre celestial. Yo se que nuestro padre celestial es fiel a su lado del convenio y que siempre nos bendecira si guardamos los mandamientos. Yo se que es crucial que nos sentamos el espiritu santo porque al sentirlo somos purificados. Es el papel del espiritu para guiarnos, consolarnos, y purificarnos, y por eso lo necesitamos sentir todo los dias. El perserverar hasta el fin podria parecer como una tarea, pero si seguimos fieles y sentir el espiritu, sera mas facil y cuando llegamos al fin, nos diremos, “era de valor”.
Yo se de que un dia nos pararemos en frente de Dios para rendir cuentas de lo que hicimos con nuestros dias en la tierra. Yo quiero que el Senor me diga “Bien hecho, hija mia. Te amo. Ven y descansa conmigo en mi reino.” Yo hare todo lo necesario para merecer esas palabras y para estar siempre con mi padre celestial.
Yo le amo a mi padre celestial. Yo se que el vive y que con su hijo jesucristo él reina la tierra y los cielos. Yo le extrano y no puedo esperar a verle. 
Ha sido una bendicion para servirle en la mission de New Jersey Morristown. Que gozo me dio para representar a su hijo, jesucristo, y caminar en sus zapatos por 18 meces. Ahora que Dios me ha mandado para otro lugar, me quedare fiel y hare lo que el quisiera que haga yo. 
Les comparto estas cosas en el nombre de Jesucristo, Amen.  

Hermana Childs

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

It's been a crazy week!

This week we got to go to the beach!!! :) I was so excited! I had always wanted to serve part of my mission (preferably only one transfer) near the beach. It was so beautiful. We had a blast while we were down there. They had a really fun board walk where I bought a few fun things to remember New Jersey and the hispanics. We played on the shoreline finding sea shells and letting our feet get wet. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. 

The next few days followed and were packed. Because we now have the ipads, the headquarters of the church have asked us to put our whole area book into the ipad so that we can use the new applications of "Daily Planner" and "Area Book Planner" on them. They are really effective tools, but if any of you have ever seen a missionary's area book, you know how much information is in there. President Taggart wanted all of that in before Saturday night. It was crunch time. To update them, we needed internet and we don't have access to that in very many places, so the majority of the time, you could have found us at the church. After studies, the beginning few hours of the day were spent in the chapel updating. When we could, we would leave for an appointment, and be back at it later that day. 

We worked super hard and actually finished!!! It was a miracle!! :) 

We have seen a lot of progress with one of our investigators, Raul. We found him not too long ago. He was a referral from our Branch Mission Leader. We meet with him almost every day in the Branch Mission Leader's house. The spirit is always there and often times we leave with tear filled eyes. He is so special. He is running towards baptism. He is on date for the 11th of July, but we are trying to move it up to the 5th because he leaves to Mexico shortly after. 

Jose, well.....he broke my heart this last week. We stopped by on my birthday to see him and we could tell that something was up. He had left the appointment because of a phone call but after 20 minutes of leaving us to talk with his neighbors we started to wonder what was really going on. We decided to check and see if everything was alright. We found him arguing with his girlfriend. The night before he had messed up pretty bad. He went to a club, got drunk, started to use drugs again, and sold everything he had to buy more drugs. He even sold his phone. When he told us I was crushed. He had been doing SO good. Just 2 days before we took him out to get ice cream and were talking about the priesthood and how he wants to serve a mission. Words can't describe how I felt that night. 

The next day he called us and asked us for help. He got kicked out of his house and was now homeless because of the decisions that he had made. There was nothing that we could do, so we called the Branch Mission Leader. 

Things are slowly being patched up with him. He lost his baptismal date, but we are working on getting him another one. He came to church for the second time yesterday and said that he has "really repented". My heart still hurts. 

It's been a really crazy week. 

My departing temple trip is tomorrow and I will be staying the night, with another sister, at the mission home. I'm really excited to spend time with the Taggart family. 

This week, I have also been invited to go to the temple with a family that I served in Jersey City. They will be getting their endowments this weekend and will be sealed shortly after :) 

I am so happy for them. :) 

I love you all. 

Hermana Childs

The BEACH! Part of our mission here in Redbank.

Free Breakfast at Mumford's Restaraunt.
One of the best restaraunts in the state. 

My birthday cake. Ice cream cake.

Updating our area into the ipads at the church.
Took all day. 

Monday, June 15, 2015

Memories Might Fade, But The Friendships Are For Eternity


This week was super great and super difficult.

Last Monday we didn't have a PDay because we found out that the date that Sister Palmer and I would be going to the temple with our recent convert had to be changed because of the member who was going to take us all. Sister Palmer called Sister Stone and I on Monday morning telling us that we were going to the temple the upcoming Saturday, which meant that we would have to have our PDay when we went to the temple (temple trips take place of PDay), so after we finished emailing, we went back home, had lunch, and finished studies. We made a plan for the day and were about to execute it, but I had noticed that Sister Stone wasn't doing so well. She seemed sad and frustrated. I thought it better to take a few minutes and talk about it. Well, we did so, accompanied by peanut butter frozen yogurt. It was nice :)

Tuesday, we were on an exchange with the Sister Training Leaders. It was interesting to be on the other side of the exchange. We had an AWESOME day. I stayed in the area with Sister Quinlan, an English speaking missionary, and we saw so many miracles. It was so incredible. We contacted people on the street who had met with the missionaries before in Mexico and they were interested in listening to the missionaries again. We had great lessons with all of our investigators, we worked in perfect harmony with the members, we gained everyone's trust, and we felt so happy doing it. It was the perfect day. 

Wednesday, we once again saw the fruits of our labors. I know that planning is inspired, and I'm grateful for the decision we made to follow our plans from the night before. A few days before, we had set an appointment with one of the members here in Red Bank, but because of the exchange, the driving time and other circumstances, it seemed like we were going to have to cancel the appointment with this member. Sister Stone thought that it would be alright to cancel and move to another day, but I'm glad that we didn't. We showed up right on time for our appointment with her and as soon as we entered, we knew that the lesson that we had planned wasn't the right the right lesson to teach, but we still didn't know which one was the right one. We began to ask inspired questions until she finally opened up. She told us that she had been having some marital problems with her husband and that they hadn't spoken in almost 3 weeks. She said that her son no longer wanted to be a part of the church and that she was thinking that it would just be easier to stop trying and not go to church anymore either. Well, when we showed up, we talked to her about what helps us get through hard times, (it was interesting because the last conversation we had was about getting along with your companion), talking it out, counseling with the Lord, and the scriptures. We shared a Mormon Message with her and left the spirit and some hope in her home. I know that is exactly where we needed to be and at the right time. What a blessing it was to be an instrument in the Lord's hands right when it was needed. 

Thursday, was a long awaited day for us. We were going to teach our investigator, Jose, about the Law of Chastity. Jose has been living with his girlfriend who is 12 years older than him for almost 2 years. He has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, so we used the Book of Mormon to teach him the 10 Commandments. When we got to adultery, he asked what that was exactly. We didn't have to explain it twice. He understood perfectly and it sunk deep into his heart. He was heart broken that he had been breaking God's commandments without really knowing. We talked to him about making plans to begin living this commandment. We asked him to talk to his girlfriend about it and said that we'd follow up the next day.  

Friday night came and we went to visit Jose. He said that he was distraught all of Thursday night, but he talked to Marianna, his girlfriend, about it and said that he had decided that they were going to get married. We felt really uncomfortable about that because she doesn't treat him well. We then retaught personal revelation and asked him to pray about it. We told him that whatever he decided, he had our support. 

Right after his lesson, we drove up to Elizabeth to stay over at the Sisters' house because we had to leave at 5:45 in the morning to get to the temple on time. Right as soon as we drove into Elizabeth, even though we were 25 minutes away from our house, I knew exactly where we were. My heart sank. I was home sick for Elizabeth again. I remembered how much I loved Elizabeth. I wanted to visit everyone again: the Sosas, Loren, the Castillos, our new investigators, the Hererras, and everyone else, but I knew that I couldn't. "My area" was now Red Bank, and we needed to get back to our area as soon as possible. 

We got to the sisters' house and slept wonderfully. We woke up super early the next morning to be at the church by 5:45 to meet up with the Corzos, the members who were driving us, and the Castillos. When I saw the Castillos, I dropped everything I had and ran to give them a hug. Wow, how I love them! The ride to the temple was awesome. Sister Palmer and I caught up and we all shared past jokes that we had laughed about when I was back in Elizabeth. It was glorious. There couldn't have been a happier missionary in all of New Jersey. 

The temple was just as magnificent. It was incredible to see Juan getting baptized for others even though his knee was hurting him. He is such a trooper. :)  

Afterwards, they wanted to spend a couple more minutes with us before we all went our ways, so they asked us to come to lunch with them. We too were hungry, so we agreed. It was fabulous. Good food and good friends makes a good time. 

This is what the mission is about; bringing souls to our father in heaven and bringing them to the temple. Even when you've left an area and people you love  it seems like your experience there was just a puff in time and the new missionaries come and take your place, it doesn't even matter because they are where they need to be, planted firmly in the gospel. The times that you share with them will always exist. The memories might fade, but the friendships are for eternity. 

I love these people. I love being a missionary. 

Hermana Childs

Exchange with Sister Quinlan my STL. She's awesome!

Temple trip with Castillos Family. 

I found this sign funny.

Monday, June 8, 2015

How Soft is Your Soil?


In the Parable of the Sower there are three different places where the seed of testimony is cast.
1. Stony Ground
2. Thorny Ground
3. Good Ground

As we know, those who were cast among the stony ground took up no root. It was cast among the stones " where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: but when the sun was up, it was scorched, and because it had no root, it withered away." Then there were "some [that] fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit".But lastly, those that "fell into good ground ... brought forth fruit" in various measures. 

Many of the people we have met may seem like they have been cast upon stony or thorny ground, but little did I know when I first got my mission call, that I was also getting called to be a professional gardener and sheepherder. We are here to transplant the seeds currently in the "stony" and "thorny" ground into good soil. 

The soil here in the gospel is the softest. The soil in New Jersey is fertilized. The soil of the hearts of our investigators is well prepared and being watered. 

We have an investigator named Jose who has the softest soil that I have ever seen. Jose is 21 years old, he is addicted to marijuana and drinking, he is currently living with his 30 year old girlfriend, and he is self employed. The sisters found him a week before I got transferred here and he has such desires to feel the spirit. 

Once at a family home evening with our branch mission leader, the spirit was so strong, he stopped and said, "do you feel that?" When we explained that he was feeling the spirit he said, "I want to feel that forever." It's been amazing to see how susceptible to the spirit. 

We have a deal with him to meet with him every day at 7 o'clock pm. It was his idea. We have faithfully kept this compromise and after meeting with him for 3 weeks, he is a completely different person. 

One of the first lessons that the sisters taught him was the word of wisdom. Ever since then he has been trying to stop his addictions. He loves the Book of Mormon and knows of the power that it contains, so to help him stop smoking and drinking, he reads the Book of Mormon while doing it. He said once that after he had lit his cigarette he pulled out the Book of Mormon, and before he could even bring the cigarette to his lips, he felt the power of the Book of Mormon and put it out. 

Now, if that isn't awesome enough, this week he had a really hard experience....and we weren't able to see him for 5 days in a row. He got super drunk and made a lot of mistakes. He was kicked out of his house by his girlfriend, and had many other horrible things happen to him, but all of which softened his heart. We came back to meet with him 2 days after the experience and he said that he had been clean from drugs and alcohol for 3 days. He said that was the cleanest that he had felt in a long time. During that lesson I received the strongest spiritual impression that I think I've received my whole mission. I was instructed to teach him about fasting. We started to describe what a fast was, and before we could even really get into it, he said "I want to do that. I'm going to start right after the lesson." Woah. And he did. We supported him all the way through it. During the lesson we watched "The Hope of God's Love", a Mormon Message by Todd Sylvester and it brought tears to his eyes. We felt the spirit so strongly that even tears were brought to my eyes. I felt such pure love for him. We started our fast together that night. We told him that we would drive home, have our dinner (because we hadn't eaten all day), and we would call him at 9:00pm and we would start our fast together. 

We went home, we ate, and at 9:01pm he called us and said, "I'm ready, hermanas." We knew it was going to be hard for him to fast, so we called him the next morning at 7 (another one of our deals to help him with his addiction) and asked him how he was doing. The first thing that came out of his mouth was, "I'M SO HUNGRY!!" Haha We all got a good laugh out of that. It had only been a few hours and he was already starving :) We too were hungry, but we were doing this together. During the rest of the day we sent him scriptures to keep him going. We even called him at noon to see how he was doing. Once again, he told us how hungry he was, but because of his faith, he was determined to finish the fast. 

Later that evening when we saw him for our usual appointment, he had his scriptures in one hand and a sandwich wrapped up in the other hand for after the lesson ;) We smiled. We knew how hard this was for him, but we knew that God had helped him with his fast, and would later bless him because of his faith. The lesson was, once again, incredible. The power of God is a real thing. By the end of the lesson, it was time for us to end our fast, but when we told him that he could, he said, "I no longer have desires to eat. Feeling the power of God has taken away my hunger." Then he joked about how he could keep fasting until the following day. 

He is awesome. :) 

We found out that during the hardest parts of his fast, when he was working in the hot sun, he found out that you could put the Book of Mormon on audio and listen to it, so he plugged it in and listened to it all day long. He testified that it helped him get through his fast. 

Isn't that incredible? He depended on the Lord so heavily. I know that the Lord, in return, will bless him richly. 

The soil is soft here.  His soil, Jose's, is some of the softest I have found. 
He will be baptized on the 5th of July. I know it. Pray for him. Not because he needs it, he's got the faith of Moses, but because we love him and we know that things will be hard for him in the next couple of weeks. 

Now, if we can find people like that, with soil so soft, what have we "my brethren" against softening our hearts and making our soil as soft as Jose's?

How soft is the soil of your heart?

Hermana Childs

Me and my new companion Hermana Stone

FHE at the Luna's home. (Branch Mission Leader)


Thursday, June 4, 2015

M.I.A. Photos

Hermana Palmer and I. Last time volunteering at Ellis Island.
So Windy. We had so much fun. It was a good time!

Benita! She's the one that I make Sweat. haha. I love her.
She came to church!
La Familia Sosa. 

La Familia Chicos. 

La Familia Castillo. 

Eromar and Catalina. 

Last day at Juan's restaraunt. 

Memorial Day Zone Picnic with my Zone Leader, Elder McFarland.

Meet Sally. We're best friends.
Miguel's restaurant. Best restaurant ever. Se llama "los primos"

Some of my best friends in the mission, STL's!!!
Hermana Mortensen, me, Hermana Dubon,
Hemana Monson

After transfer conference with Hermana Stevens.
She's going home.

Camp Evans where me and my new companion,
 Hermana Stone do service in Red Bank every Saturday.
We are cleaning up from Hurricane Sandy still.

M.I.A. continued

Monday 18 May 2015: Even though it was a Pday we had a lesson in the
morning with our progressing investigator, Marisel. She loves the
gospel. She is golden. After the lesson with Marisel, we went to Hermana Realpe's house where
we were going to get our nails done. We had originally planned on
being there for 1-2 hours because we were both going to get our nails
done, but when we arrived, Hermana Realpe said that she likes to take
her time. She also said that because she wasn't a professional it
would take a little longer. So planning on 1-2 hours turned into
planning on 3-4. Well, long story short, it our whole Pday, 7 hours to
finish our nails. Haha on the plus side, our nails look very pretty,
but I don't know if I'll ever get my nails done again. ;) For that
reason I didn't get to email that week.

Tuesday 19 May 2015: All Mission Conference where we got iPads!!!!! It
was an all day training that was more focused on the spiritual side of
using the iPads than on how to actually use the iPads. We were so
excited to use them. Later that day after traveling back from the All Mission Conference we
stopped by to visit Juan Castillo who was at the ward family night at
the church. After talking to him and on our way out we ran into the
Elders Quorum President, Hermano Corzo. When I told him that I might
be leaving the area, his usually smiley face straightened out a bit.
He said, "I hope the President doesn't take you away. You are a really
excellent missionary. You love the area of Elizabeth more than any
missionary that I have seen. The president's will might not be the
same as mine, but I know that wherever you go, you will be blessing
the lives of all that you encounter." I smiled. I am so grateful for
these people. They have changed me. He was right. I love these people,
probably more than I should. The people of Elizabeth might be the most
loved in all of the New Jersey Morristown Mission.

When Hermana Grande, the wife of Juan Castillo overheard that, she
came and hugged me and said that she hoped it was not so. She said she
would cry if I had to leave. I knew I would too.

Wednesday the 20th: was my last day serving at Ellis Island with
Hermana Palmer. It was so fun. The wind was crazy that day. While
driving back from Ellis Island, I also got to call some of the less
actives that I reactivated in Jersey City: Enrique Chavez, Hermano
Maquilon, Fernando Mendoza, and la Familia Carrera. Oh how wonderful
it was to talk to them! Our relationship is as though I had never

Friday 22 May 2015: I had my last lesson with the Sosa family. I had
just been feeling that is was going to be my last with them. We had
one of the most powerful lessons ever with them, which is saying a lot
because I have always felt the spirit so strongly in the lessons with
them. We had felt impressed to teach them about the Sabbath Day. After
they had fed us, the kids started squealing and contention started up
in the room that we were in - even Satan knew of the power of the
lesson that was coming. We sang a song, prayed, and started the lesson
even though the contention was still present. As we continued through
the lesson, the spirit took over and the kids settled down. Their
family isn't keeping the Sabbath day holy. Soccer and rugby games have
become priority on Sunday mornings. They know better, so we taught
them with love...and boldness. As we spoke to them I literally felt
like we were speaking with the tongue of angels. The words flowed off
my tongue while the tears rolled down my checks. I love this family. I
feel like I had a connection with them before in the premortal world
and that's why I'm here. And in the lesson I could feel how torn they
were between their natural man and the things of God. I could tell it
was a huge sacrifice for them to say "we'll make church a priority".
They were in tears as was I. The spirit was so strong. I know that we
were in the presence of angels.

In the morning of Saturday the 23rd I received the greatest text
message from one of the families I used to teach in Jersey City, la
Familia Castellanos. They wanted to notify me that they had finally
made it to the temple. They had just finished doing baptisms for the
dead in the Manhattan temple. While I was there in Jersey City, we
worked hard with them to be able to go to the temple. We are now
seeing the fruits of all of our labors. They have plans to be sealed
before I leave the mission and have told me firmly that I have to be
present in their sealing. I love them :)

Also, another miracle that happened on Saturday was that the bishop
had asked all of the missionaries in the ward to go through the ward
list and divide it into our own areas, then to go through the list and
visit all of the members and less actives and find out who still lived
there and who had moved. Well, at the beginning of our day, we had a
full day with set appointments in every hour except maybe one or two.
We had to have the list finished before the following morning to turn
into the bishop and we weren't sure exactly how we were going to be
able to teach all our lessons, leave on time, and contact all of the
less actives. So, before leaving our house we prayed for a miracle,
that somehow we would be able to contact every single less active on
our list (our area was the biggest so we had the most members). During
the course of the day, either our appointments cancelled on us, or
they weren't home...all of them. So, we finished just in time at 9
o'clock contacting all of the members except for 3. We were amazed.
It's kind of a funny miracle because we didn't get to teach any of the
lessons that we had planned, but we know that we did what He Wanted us
to do.

Sunday 24 May 2015: This was the anticipated day of the week. It was
the last day of the transfer and we were all anxious to get the
transfer text. I couldn't wait though, so I went and talked to the
assistants. Haha (they go to the same building, but are in the English
branch). Usually they don't tell you if you are leaving or staying,
but surprisingly they said something this time. I talked to Elder
Maddox, he knows how much I love Elizabeth, and in response to my
question of if I was leaving or not he said, "All you have to know is
that your next companion needs you a lot. She needs your example of
hard dedicated missionary service. We know that you are the one that can
help her." I felt punched in the chest...for two reasons. One, because
I now knew the answer that I had been assuming since my interview with
the president, but this time it was for sure and my heart had broken.
And the second reason was that I felt a new responsibility, to help my
next companion...but I only had 6 weeks.

My feelings were mixed. I was grateful to know a little in advance so
that I could take pictures with the ones I loved, but on the other
hand I was sad knowing that it'd be a little while before I'd see them
again. (I say that because eventually one day I'll have to come to New

The next two days were spent reminding everyone how much I love them,
even though they didn't need a reminder. I went to see Juan Castillo
and his family. That was a hard lesson for me. I told them at I was
going to be leaving for a little bit, and at first they thought
that I was going to be on an exchange, but when they told them that
I'd be getting transferred we all started to cry. I love this family.
They asked me to return on Monday because they had something that they
wanted to get for me.

Monday the 25th was Memorial Day, so again the libraries were closed and I
couldn't email, but it gave me more time to visit. We passed by the
Castillo's as promised and they had bought me some gifts. They were so
cute :) Hermano Castillo wasn't there because he had to work, so we
passed by his work and he fed us even though we were headed off to our
Zone Memorial Day picnic. Even though I will be getting transferred,
I'm not worried about seeing their family again. We'll be taking him
to the temple soon enough.

Monday night we were called to go to the Fear Buster, an activity
where the new missionaries come fresh off the plane and we take them
out to go contact people in Newark, New Jersey. Well, all of Monday I
was feeling pretty ill. I claim it was my body rejecting the fact that
I was leaving Elizabeth, but we weren't able to go to the fear
buster because of that. By the end of the night, I was super ill. I
didn't think I was going to make it to transfer conference the next
day (which was kind of ok with me. I didn't want to go anyways). So, I
went to bed early, woke up the next morning, was still super ill and
slept for a little longer.  Then around 8:30 some of the sisters we
cover called us and needed our help getting ready for transfer
conference. So, I pulled on a skirt, and hopped in the car, still
super sick with a fever. We helped them out, came home, and I still
had to finish packing. I was praying that I'd be able to make it to
transfer conference in one piece. We pretty much threw everything in
my suitcases and then got in the car and took off.

All of transfer conference I was so sick, but forgot it all when I
found out who my new companion was..... Hermana Stone!!! I love her

I am now in my new area of Red Bank. The people here are incredible.
I'm back where the grass and trees are. It's different after serving
in the city for a year. EVERYTHING is green. It reminds me of when I
was back in Princeton, but now I'm farther south. Red Bank is very
different though. Red Bank has a lot of money, the people here are
very wealthy...even the Hispanics are pretty well off. They don't have
a ton of money, but they are much better off than anyone in Elizabeth,
Jersey City, or Princeton.

I know the reason that I got sent here is inspired, that the people
need me here, but I know that my companion does too. She has many many
strengths that the Lord can use. I'm just here to help her realize
them and become a dedicated servant of the lord.

Six weeks is short. Really short. The way I feel as I come to the end
of my mission is as though I am running out of air. I keep breathing
and my body gets more tense as I try to breathe more, but the air gets
thinner and thinner. I am trying to be prepared for what comes
next...Utah, but I can’t even force myself to think about it. My body
and mind are so in sync with missionary work that I can't take them
out. I've prayed for help to be able to prepare myself, but to be
honest, my prayers have lacked "real intent" and a "sincere heart", as
Moroni instructs, and it's probably because it's not a real desire of
my heart.

I'm down to 6 weeks. I'm just going to say it straight: I don't like that fact.

The mission is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me.
I LOVE being a missionary.

Hermana Childs

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