Monday, February 24, 2014

There's a NEW girl in NEW Jersey

Hello from the East Coast! 

This is the most amazing place! It's like living in another country, but I'm actually here in the United States. I already think that it's the best mission in the world. I am so sorry about not having the chance to update you last week. 

My trip began Monday morning, at 3 am. I left the Mexico MTC and boarded a plane destined for the Dallas airport. In Dallas, the other missionaries and I all stopped for lunch because we hadn't eaten since 3 that morning. The first American food in 6 weeks. So good. Then, from Dallas to New Jersey, I sat next to an Evangelical Priest and talked to her about the gospel for all 3 hours on the airplane. I shared with her my testimony and asked questions about her religion. As I pulled out a Book of Mormon to give to her she said, "Oh, you better keep that one. I don't think I need it. I think I already have one". haha. First rejection. We continued talking until the plane landed, but before we got off the plane she handed me her business card for her church. She said, "Here's my card if you ever want to get a hold of me". I graciously thanked her and said, "Here's my card as well", as I handed her a pass-along card. ;) I explained the website on it and told her to visit. I didn't meet my goal of placing a Book of Mormon, but I gained a great experience from talking with this sister. 

Once off the plane, I was picked up by the mission assistants (APs) and, with the other missionaries, taken to a plaza in downtown Newark. One of the assistants, Elder Harris, explained that every Monday night some of the missionaries get together and sing hymns in the plaza as a way to spread the gospel. What a great idea! Well, the joke was on me. Once we got to the plaza, we were assigned a senior companion from one of the more experienced missionaries. We began singing "Called to Serve" and once we got to the chorus, "onward, ever onward", our companions took off running and told us to keep up with them. Right then and there we began proselyting in the streets of downtown Newark. What an amazing experience! I saw miracles happen with people I just met. The first 5 people we talked to all were interested in the gospel. After we had talked to our 5th person, I turned to my senior companion and asked if people are always that open to the message of the gospel. She said, "No. That was a miracle." I know that the Lord placed those people in our path for a reason. All we had to do was open our mouth and share what we know! 

From Newark, we drove to the mission home where we were able to meet our mission president. I love my mission president. He is an answer to so many of my prayers. He and his wife are some of the most amazing people I have ever met. To help you understand that I'm not just biased I'll explain. President Jeppson was in his early teens when his brother went through a traumatic car accident which took a toll on his family. A few year later, his dad committed suicide and left his mother in a very desperate situation. As he was preparing to go on a mission, he began having a pain in his left leg. He made it to the MTC, but was only there about half of the time because he was constantly in the hospital due to this pain he was experiencing. The day before he was to go out in the mission field, the doctors found a large tumor in his leg and decided it was best to amputate. After much time, and receiving a prosthetic leg, he served a full-time mission. Since then, he was married, has had 5  children, one of which died before the age of 7. Now, he is on his second mission, he has sung in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, he is the only mission president in the world who is also a Patriarch, and his son-in-law is Alex Boye. He truly is amazing. 

The first night in New Jersey, they didn't have enough beds at the mission home. Two other sister missionaries and I volunteered to stay at the apartment of some other sister missionaries not too far from the mission home. They only had two beds to offer, so I volunteered take the couch. That was probably one of the nicest couches I have ever slept on....that or maybe I was extra tired from being up since 2 in the morning. haha. Either way, Heavenly Father blessed me with a really good sleep because I needed it for the next day. 

The following day we had several meetings and then went to transfer conference where we would meet up with our trainer. All of the trainers and all of the new missionaries had a meeting together. At this point, none of the new missionaries had been assigned a trainer yet. During lunch, the mission president, his wife and the assistants prayed to know who should be the trainers for each missionary. Ever since I got my mission call I had been praying for a good trainer. prayers were answered. 

My companion, Hermana Jordan (pronounced hor-dan) is from Bolivia. She is 21 years old. She is a convert to the church and has the most amazing testimony. I LOVE her. She has enough faith to move mountains. It is a huge privilege to be her companion. 

After transfer conference was over, our apartment was 2 hours away in a city called Plainsboro. The whole way back, we conversed only in Spanish. It was amazing. I had no idea that I knew that much Spanish! The gift of tongues is very real and I am so grateful for it. 

Since that day, I have grown to love more than I ever thought I could. I love my companion, I love the Latin people that I get to associate with, I love the Spanish branch that I attend, I love the food. I love everything. 

As mentioned earlier, I live in a town called Plainsboro. This town is very close to a city called in...Princeton University. I get to proselyte at Princeton University! I feel smarter already ;) haha For those of you who have never seen/been to Princeton, this school is AMAZING. The campus is BEAUTIFUL. Beyond any that I have ever seen. It is very odd though. On one street you have Princeton University with it's beautiful campus and extravagant buildings, and then two streets down, where I spent most of my time proselyting, there is extreme poverty. To give you an idea; take the average college apartment living room and kitchen cut it in half...and place 3 families living in that area. 3. My heart breaks every time I go into one of the investigators homes, but what heals my heart is the faith that some of these investigators have. Holy cow. I have never seen such faith in my WHOLE life. These people are special. I love them so much. Words. Ah. No words can describe how much I love them. 

Living in New Jersey is like living in a different country....but it's the BEST! 

I love you all so much! Big handshakes from this Jersey girl, 

Hermana Childs

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The best of the CCM.

Meet Elder Escobar. My favorite latino. He´s the greatest!

Adios from the CCM

My time here in the CCM has been one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I have been blessed with the most wonderful companion, the privilege of attending and singing in the dedication of the CCM, a stronger testimony, and continuous witnesses of the Lord´s hand in our lives. This will be my last email from the CCM because... I LEAVE FOR NEW JERSEY ON MONDAY!!!! I am SO excited. I feel like I could cry with excitement because the time is finally here! I am going to be utilizing all of the knowledge that I have and bearing my testimony to those who´s hearts have been prepared to hear the message of the restored gospel. I AM SO HAPPY! 

Several amazing things have happened this week! First, the dedication of the CCM. This Sunday, we had the amazing opportunity to have Elder Dallin H. Oaks come to dedicate this wonderful place. The whole day buzzed with excitement as each missionary prepared for the dedication. Hermana Warren and I got to sit in the front row! Because we were in the choir, special seats were reserved for us! What a cool experience! Then, we were able to share our testimonies through song as we sang. It was amazing. Elder Oaks gave a wonderful talk on using Preach My Gospel and making extra efforts to find more people to contact. Preach My Gospel has become one of my favorite books. I love to study it and read it. During his talk, Elder Oaks said something that I loved. He said, ¨You missionaries are younger and much more is required of you. You are equal to that task.¨ Ah! Such power! Also during the dedication, they showed a film of some missionaries doing...well...missionary work. It will be broadcast all throughout Mexico. I´m not sure if it will be online, but if it is, watch it. Hermana Warren and I got to be in it! 

Another cool experience. I got my hair cut in Mexico. So sweet. Yes, I know. I just cut my hair before the mission, but hey, how many times can you say that you got a hair cut in Mexico? haha I just got a trim, but I´m pretty excited about it....AND I got to practice my Spanish with the beauticians who work here in the CCM! I think it´s a win win ;) 

Miracles have happened in our branch this week. We got a new district with 6 hermanas and 4 elders. I LOVE them. I have spent most of my free time helping them adjust to the CCM. By the third day, many of the sisters, and one of the elders had talked with the CCM presidency about going home. Hermana Warren and I thought it might be a good idea to talk to each of the sisters and see what their needs were. Even though it´s part of my calling to take care of the hermanas, I only feel like I´m paying it forward. The previous sister training leaders were always so welcoming and set an amazing example of what powerful missionaries look like. Hermana Warren and I have prayed and fasted this week for these missionaries, and after much prayer of their own, these missionaries have all decided to stay. Only more evidence of the Lord´s hand in our lives. 

Today´s P-day was really fun. As a branch, we got together and played kickball for an hour or so, and then Hermana Warren and I invited all of the Hermanas over to make Valentines cards for each other. I love spending time with each of these sisters. I have been so blessed to be surrounded by wonderful missionaries who support each other here.

¨A marvelous work is about to come forth among the children of men¨ (DyC 4:1). I can feel it. I am so happy to be a part of it.

I am so thrilled and so grateful to be one of the Lord´s servants. My heart is His. I am committed to this wonderful work. I have my testimony written on my heart and my sleeve for everyone to see. 

I can´t wait for the new challenges and experiences that await in New Jersey. I already love the people and love the language. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! 

See you back in the States, 

Hermana Childs 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Missionary in Heart and Mind

Can I just say ¨I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY¨? This is the most fantastic thing I have ever done. I love everything about it. My heart wants to explode with how much I love this work, the gospel, and dedicating EVERYTHING I have to my father in heaven. I have only been a missionary for a little less than a month, and I already never want it to end. 
This Sunday, yes, THIS sunday, the CCM is going to be dedicated. The whole CCM is being prepared for this special event. All of the buildings are being repainted, all of the trees and bushes are being trimmed, everything that needs a-fixin´is being fixed, and the whole place is being raised to a new standard of perfect....not to mention that everyone inside the walls of the CCM are anxious for this special event. The spirit is present every where you go. What an amazing place. 

This week, Hermana Warren and I had the BEST LESSON yet. I may or may not have said that before...but this time, I really mean it. haha ;) We have been teaching one of our investigators, Daniel Fernandez, and we weren´t having very much success. He was progressing, but VERY slowly. We have been praying so hard for the Spirit to guide us in knowing what will touch his heart. Well, ask and ye shall receive! During the lesson we felt prompted to ask, ¨cree que el Libro de Mormón es verdadero?¨ His response was, ¨...tal vez¨ (...maybe).  ¨Quiere saber?¨(Do you want to know?). His answer was yes. We then took a leap of faith and asked, ¨ahora?¨ (right now?). He looked surprised and happy all at the same time. ¨Sí¨ was his response. We then said that prophets have promised us that if we ask with real intent, we can know for sure if the Book of Mormon is true. We then asked if we could say another prayer in the lesson. We asked Daniel to pray, and pray specifically that the Book of Mormon was true. We promised him that he would receive an answer. *Pause* What? We just PROMISED him that he would receive an answer. That is HUGE! But, I knew Heavenly Father would testify. *Resume* So he prayed. His prayer was tender and heart felt, and after the prayer was over, we sat in silence for a bit...his head still bowed. After a while, he turned his head upward and looked at us with tears building in his eyes. We asked him how he felt. He said ¨bien¨. We prodded a little more asking him to explain his feelings. He had felt the spirit, and he knew that the Book of Mormon was true. Since then, our lessons have been going great! We are now teaching him and his two brothers, Alejandro and Eduardo. 

I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Today my district had the wonderful opportunity to go to the temple. Wow. I LOVE the temple. There is no place on earth that I would rather be.  Though the Mexico City temple is closed for a while, we were able to feel the wonderful spirit just by being on the temple grounds and being inside the visitor´s center. What a huge blessing it is to make covenants in and know of the blessings that come from the temple. 

Mexico City Temple

This blog doesn´t have enough space for everything I want to share, nor do I have enough time, but  I do want to share one more thing with you. YO SÉ que la Iglesia de Jesucristo de los Santos de los Últimos Días es verdadero. Yo sé que Jesucristo y Dios viven. Yo sé que si tenemos fe en Jesucristo, estmaos bendicir con milagros. 

I have my testimony written on my heart, and I´m ready to share it with everyone. 

I love you all. 

Hermana Childs
Hermana Warren y yo
At the Mexico City Temple Visitor Center