Monday, June 30, 2014

Hit the Ground Running in Jersey City

Transfers seem to be coming and going, but this last one was different: I left my first area, our mission president went home, and the new area that I'm in is completely different.

Driving up to transfer conference was really hard. I was heart broken when we left our house. I really felt like I was leaving my heart back in Princeton. 

I struggled to look forward with excitement to my new area, but I put my full trust in Heavenly Father that my new area would be just as good as the one I was leaving. 

Transfer conference seemed like a blur. Before I knew it, I was standing up in the congregation of missionaries as my name was called and the next thing I heard was "Sister Childs will be serving in JERSEY CITY walking area DOUBLED IN with Sister Jane". 
My New Companion Herman Jane  (Pronounce John) from Mexico

My first thought was, "Wait, I'm getting doubled in???" and next was "Where's that?" Even though I had no idea where it was, I instantly felt like I was supposed to be there, and I was so excited. I sat down and asked Hermana Weinstock where that was, we heard her name "Sister Weinstock will be serving in BAYONNE walking area with Sister Jordan". As soon as we heard that we were both so excited! Both of my old companions, Hermana Weinstock and Hermana Jordan, will be companions! AND they are both in my zone (our areas are right next to each other) called to be the Sister Training Leaders over all of the sisters in our area! I could not believe it. Heavenly Father had answered my prayers.

I had grown to love Princeton and my companion more than I could have thought, but Heavenly Father blessed me with exactly what I needed; a sudden love for my new area and the opportunity to still see Hermana Weinstock & Jordan in exchanges. This experience built my testimony that right now we can't see the big picture, but when we pray and put our trust in Heavenly Father, we'll come to see His grand design. He has His hand in every moment of our lives. Of that I can testify. 

I can honestly say that I love Jersey City as much as I loved Princeton, and I may come to love it even more. We have hit the ground running here in Jersey City and we don't intend to slow down. 

I currently live in a city where everyone smokes, garbage all over the roads, everyone is Hispanic, and no one responds when you say hello as you pass them on the street....and I love it. We are in a walking area, apparently our apartment has mice. We don't have air conditioning so with the combination of sweat and humidity we are always wet, and my hair is a poof ball, but I would not trade this for anything. Not even to go back to Princeton. This is my home. My heart is here now. I could not be more grateful that Heavenly Father put me here. 

Chao Chao
Hermana Childs
New York Liberty Tower across the River from where I live
Morning run

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

One Year Older

Thank you everyone for all of the birthday wishes. My inbox was FULL of birthday wishes today! I am so grateful for all of you! Believe it or not, I pray for each of you and thank Heavenly Father that I know you.
This week. Wow. Where to begin. 
 We'll start on Thursday. Thursday is our usual weekly planning day. This means that we make a plan of action for every investigator, less active, and other lesson that we might teach for the next week. Usually this takes about 2-3 hours to plan, but since we have so many investigators it usually takes us about 4 or 5 hours. As you can imagine, about 3 1/2 hours into it, we needed a break. My birthday gifts had been sitting on the couch and I decided to do a "Mexican Christmas" for my birthday (Hispanics usually open all of their gifts the day before Christmas) with one of my packages. We began opening the box, when all of a sudden our phone rang. We ran over to answer it and saw on the caller ID that it was the Assistants to the President. Hermana Weinstock and I both looked at each other completely shocked. She knew what this meant, but I didn't. The Assistants only call for one reason: doubling out (which means that both of the companions will be transferred from the area). As they broke the news to us I just cried. Hermana Weinstock, who is much more graceful than I am, finished the phone call with a "thank you". My heart was broken. More than ever before. It was hard to get motivated again to finish planning for the investigators that we wouldn't see again. I love this area more than anything. 

The following day, my birthday, began with exercise and gifts. The day then proceeded into a day of extensive planning (when doubled out, you need to write EVERY little detail about every person you teach in your Area Book so that the new missionaries will know exactly how to begin). We spent ALL day in the house. At about 7 in the evening a member called. Hermana Acevedo. She was just leaving work and had remembered that it was my birthday. She wanted to see if we were busy, or if she could treat us to Frozen Yogurt to celebrate. 

Hermana Acevedo
It was fun to get out of the house and actually spend some time with members. Hermana Acevedo has been the biggest blessing to me as a missionary. She treats me like her daughter. She has helped me grow and has been exactly what I needed. I'm going to miss her very much. 

I love all of the members and investigators in this area more than I thought was humanly possible. Hermana Weinstock and I have made an effort to visit every single one of them before we leave. 
-One benefit to getting doubled out is that you know that you are getting transferred 4 days early. This leaves time to let everyone know that you will be leaving and to make appointments to meet with them one last cannot imagine how many dinner appointments we've had ;) -

La Familia Arriola

Abraham and Enemias Alejandro

Yanira and her son, Christopher

Edgar Ramirez
Concepcion Conde and her niece Abbi

Hermana Cajas and her son, Ricardo

Hermano Pinto, the branch Mission Leader

Madlyn Martinez.

Hermana Rivas

It's a good thing we know about The Plan of Salvation, and that we'll meet again. As hard as these goodbyes are, I know I'll see them again. I know I was sent here for every single one of these people. I have seen such a change in them while I've been here. I will miss them dearly. 

Hermana Childs

Monday, June 16, 2014

Jacob 1:7 "For we labored diligently..."

Never in my life have I worked so hard. Never. 

Two weeks ago, all of the missionaries in our zone were called to give service at a multicultural event. At this event, people from ALL  Hispanic countries came and displayed their culture for all to see. There was dancing......

Food (of course).....

Exhibits, vending, and music..and we were in the middle of it. It was like being in Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Argentina, Mexico, Peru, Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, and Guatemala all at the same time. Needless to say; I was in heaven.

There is something so special about these people. I LOVE them. We were there to serve, but every once in a while they would allow us to take a break and participate in the activities. During one of our breaks, my companion and I went to watch some of the dancing. I just fell in love with it. I got chills as I watched each culture displayed in dance. At the end of the day, I came to the conclusion that I am moving out of the country and never coming back! I love these people too much. I want to be with them forever! Sorry, Mom. 

The next few days were accompanied by TONS of rain. One day was our walking day, the other days so much rain to even see while driving. Streets were flooded; cars were trapped; I gave my umbrella to the elders; shoes, hair, skirt, shirt, all soaked; but the work still went on.

Then came our temple trip. Waking up at 4 to get ready and pick up the other missionaries by 6, drive to Newark to catch the train...

Then take the subway...
And enjoying the hustle and bustle of the New York streets,

And then finally, inside the doors of the Manhattan New York temple...silence. 

The Manhattan, New York Temple is the perfect illustration of 'living in the world but not of the world'. Outside the doors of the temple the streets of New York are as loud and boisterous as all of the movies depict, but once you walk inside the first set of doors, you have entered in 'holy ground'. The noise and stress of the outside world is gone. 

There are no words for my experience inside the temple. No words. I walked away feeling the love of my Heavenly Father. It was an experience that I will not forget. 

After our session was over, I went to fulfill another one of my dreams: eating "street meat". Literally one of the best hot dogs I have ever had! 

And then....I had to try more. A Greecian sandwich....a Gyro!

Only in New York can you walk down the street and, within less than one block, find authentic food from 6 or 7 different countries. So good! 

As if we weren't blessed enough, later on in the week we had all-mission-conference. We played games, performed skits, and were spiritually fed as we listed to the testimonies of President and Sister Jeppson. In two weeks they will be going home and we will receive a new mission president; President Taggart. Hearing the testimonies of these two wonderful people impacted all of us. They have touched each one of us personally and helped us become the missionaries that we want to be. It will be hard to let them go. 

Here on the mission, things change more rapidly and forcefully than I thought. New mission president is coming, transfers, I'm out of training, our investigators are changing (some for the better and some not), and all of this makes the mission life very challenging, but one of the things that I am learning is that through the craziness of life, God will never change. He is our constant and we can depend on Him for all things. 

Between all of our fun activities that we've had over the past 2 weeks, Hermana Weinstock and I have been working harder than ever. We have still been trying to teach as many lessons as a 'normal' week (one without traveling, conferences, trips, meetings, etc.), contact as many people, study harder for our investigators and put more of ourselves into our work...and haha. I have a sticky note on my whiteboard in front of my desk that reads, "Did you work your hardest today?" It has been my motivation for this week. I have been able to come home every day and answer that question with a firm, YES. It feels good. Tired, but good. I wake up every day at 6:30 and don't even have the energy to get off my knees after I pray, but when I ask for the energy, it comes. Heavenly Father is helping me.  I am seeing more miracles everyday. I love it. 

There really is nothing better than being a missionary. 

Sending my love, 
Hermana Childs 

Thursday, June 12, 2014


Anybody up for a touchdown?!

I love this place!
Me and Hermana Weinstock at Princeton University

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Heart Broken. Broken Heart.

Princeton University

My heart was broken this week. It was broken a few times actually. Last week everything was going perfect, we had 2 solid investigators on date for baptism, we were finding new investigators like crazy, people were accepting baptism and had such enthusiasm, but this week didn't have the same results as last week.
Late Thursday night one of our progressing investigators, Ulises, called us at 10:20 (10 minutes before bed) to tell us that he didn't know if he was going to meet with us anymore. He said that he had something that he was so ashamed about, but he didn't want to talk about it right then. Because curfew was close, we sent an appointment for the following day, just to talk and build his faith and get him re-excited about his baptism. The next day at our appointment, we shared a scripture, talked for a minute to see how he was doing, and then brought up his concern, but he wouldn't talk about it. He kept saying that he needed more time. Thinking that he'd just have to think about it for another day, we asked him for an appointment on Saturday. Saturday came, he still wouldn't talk. We could see that things weren't going so well. Something really was bothering him. We were running a little behind, so we scheduled another appointment for the next day, Sunday. Sunday wasn't any different. We called him in the morning to see if he could come to church with us. He had the opportunity, but he told us that he had too many things to do. Boom. Heart broken. That night, we met with him again and talked about his feelings of baptism. He still desires it, but something is in the way. We aren't sure what yet, but we are praying and trying that he will open up so that we can help him. 

Our other progressing investigator, Marisol, was set on track for baptism. Everything was lined up. She has a testimony of every point of the gospel, we've given her almost all of the lessons, all that she needed was to come to church. She has been to church enough times to be baptized, but hasn't been in the past 2 weeks. We don't just want baptisms, we want converts, so we needed her to come to church this Sunday so that we could trust that she would continue to come after her baptism. Church started at 11:00am. We waited, and waited. The sacrament was passed. Still waiting. The first talk was given. Nothing. Hymns were sung. No sign of her. Finally, the closing prayer and still no Marisol. My heart was completely broken. She had been telling us all of that week that she would be there. Nothing could stop her. She had told her boss that she would no longer work on Sundays because she needed to be at church, but something got in the way. After sacrament, I asked Hermana Weinstock if we could go on a walk for just a minute. Tears were waiting to come out. Right as soon as the church doors closed behind us, tears trickled down my cheeks. As I was talking to Hermana Weinstock, a phrase from Preach My Gospel came to my mind. It says something along the lines of, "..occasionally you will find disappointment. You will grow to love those that you serve. You will desire their salvation. You will be sad when they don't keep their commitments, but you will not be disappointed in yourself." It's true. I was sad because I love her and she is important to me, and I want nothing but the best for her. 

After both of these experiences this week, my heart that was broken lead me to have a broken heart as I prayed to my Heavenly Father for help. I was humbled and realized the reality that everyone has their agency. They can choose to live on the right hand of God. We have that same agency, and our daily choices produce the same results in our Heavenly Father; when we don't come to church, or are unwilling to repent, He suffers and is sad. I'm sure His heart is broken too.

Sure, this week was frustrating, and yes, I was a sad, but I have faith. I have faith in the future. I have faith that Marisol and Ulises will be baptized. I have faith that our Heavenly Father has a plan for us, but we need to be humble enough to trust Him. And with this faith, "I can do all things". 

Hermana Childs
Hurdling the obstacle in Princeton with the Book of Mormon