Monday, November 24, 2014

Great Week

This week was super cool. I received a lot of revelation and had some really fun experiences. 
On Miercoles I went to Specialized Training with Hermana Vernon. This is where the trainers and their trainees go and have a meeting with the president. It's super fun!!! We enjoyed a nice day together, but missed Hermana Carter. We felt incomplete without her. After the meeting, I came back to Jersey City feeling much better, more refreshed and energized to do missionary work. 

I have been trying to consecrate myself to the Lord again. I am past my 9 month mark and I want to keep going strong, so I have tried to rededicate myself to Him and this work every day this week. I have seen progress, not as much as I'd like, but I can see that Heavenly Father is blessing me slowly. 

Thursday, we went on splits. Sister Carter and Sister Vernon went together for a couple of appointments while I went with a member and taught other lessons. During this time, my companions went to go visit Nicolas. Well....things just didn't seem right. He has completely lost interest in everything and now is back to square one of trying to decide if God exists. It was very sad to see. We have been very prayerful on what we should do with him and during the appointment my companions felt that it was right to drop him. I was sad, but I knew it's what he needed. 

Friday, all of our appointments cancelled on us. We went and knocked on a door to our less active and before opening she yelled, "who is it?" We replied "the missionaries", she then yelled back saying that she wasn't home. It hurt. That night was SUPER FREEZING  and the coat I had on wasn't warm enough. One of the members in our area saw this and told me to come over to her house right away. She then pulled out her warmest coat (a huge bear looking coat) and gave it to me. She said, "I want you to wear this. Your coat isn't warm enough here. Take this and keep it. When you leave this area you can pass it onto another missionary.” I was so grateful. I'm almost positive that coat saved me that night. 

Saturday we spent at Ellis Island. Hermana Vernon was unable to come with us  because she didn't have her badge yet, so she went with the sister training leaders while Hermana Carter and I went to go serve there. It was SO fun. There weren't many people, so the director allowed us to tour the museum and to see the video clips (which are approved by the president) of how Ellis Island came to be. It was amazing. As we walked around, we passed by several members. Some of which would come up to us and talk to us about where they were from, the children they had on missions and how proud they were of them. Haha. I thought of my own mom :)  It was awesome. Other people we walked by made us feel like celebrities as we walked by because they would say, "Hey! There's the missionaries!" or "look! It's the sisters!" hahaha :) I love being a missionary :) :)  

Sunday was probably one of the best days ever. We went on a split with 2 members. We taught a ton of lessons, had just enough time to finish our studies, and we also received blessings from the Bishop. The Zone Leaders made it a goal to be more consecrated this month and one of the ways we will do that is by getting a blessing from the Bishop. This was super awesome for me! It was in Spanish!!!! :) The blessing began and I was promised many wonderful things. I was told that I was doing all in my power and that I didn't have to worry any more. I had done my part. That was comforting to hear. I was then told that all of my friends on the mission will be my friends forever :) Another huge blessing. :) But the most surprising thing was that after the blessing had listed off all of the blessings I would receive, I was called to repentance. Heavenly Father literally told me, "Hermana need to repent." I was baffled. I couldn’t think of a single instance where I had been disobedient that entire week. It puzzled me for the majority of the day. What did Heavenly Father mean? As I thought about it I finally came to the conclusion that I need to repent of my pride. ALL of it.  I have been trying to scrape away the pride that I have through the humbling experiences, and by submitting my will, but I think I have been holding on to a little bit. I am willingly giving this to Heavenly Father now. 

I felt much like Joseph Smith, as even he was called to repent. That alone was humbling. 

The mission experience in general has been one of the best and most humbling experiences I've had. I love it. I'm becoming soft in the maker's hands. 

I love you all so much! Big hugs to everyone!

Hermana Childs

Monday, November 17, 2014

Las Tres Amigas

Hermana Vernon, Me, Hermana Carter

I have the greatest companions in all of New Jersey. 

They are loving, sweet, selfless, oh-so-funny, hard working, disciples of Christ. It is a blessing to be their companion and trainer.
I have learned so much from each of them this week. From Hermana Carter, I have learned how committed she is to being obedient. She is a hard worker. I love her for it. From Hermana Vernon, I have learned the power of trusting the Lord, even in the little things. 

How could one not be grateful with companions like that??

We have had our struggles this week, but we have had so much fun over coming together. Our companionship has been transformed into a friendship. 

For example, this month we have really put an emphasis on contacting people in our area. We are struggling with finding solid investigators, so through contacting are putting our trust in the Lord that he will put someone in our path. We have taken contacting quite seriously and have literally opened our mouths and declared the gospel in every moment. 

"...for the time has come that it is expedient in me that you shall open your mouth to declare my gospel; therefore, fear not..."  Doctrine and Covenants 30: 5

"And your whole labor shall be in Zion, with all your soul, from henceforth; yea, you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you. Amen." Doctrine and Covenants 30:11

Sunday morning we planned to pick a less active up for church and take the bus with her. Sadly, she didn't answer the door or the phone when we arrived. We waited a few minutes, knocked and called again, but nothing. We were going to be late to church, so we went to the nearest busy street and flagged down a bus. (Here in Jersey, you don't wait at a bus stop for the bus. You wait along the side of a main road and when a bus comes down the street you wave and they'll pick you up. It's much like a taxi) When we got on the bus, we all sat down. I sat in the front. I have had a goal to bear my testimony on a bus since I got to this area, but as soon as the opportunity arrived my stomach  filled with knots. I knew if I waited too long it would be too late. So with all of the courage I had, I leaned over to the bus driver and presented myself as a representative of the Lord. I cordially asked him if it would be alright if I shared a message about Jesus Christ. He of course spoke Spanish and said that he would love it if I would. I turned around to the bus full of people and began my testimony. My companions were shocked, but smiled at me in support. After I was finished, I closed in the name of Jesus Christ and a few members on the bus even joined in to say "Amen". That simple testimony lead to 2 new investigators! 

I have thought a lot about my calling as a missionary this week. I think my mission scripture says it best:

"Behold, am disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. havebeen called of him to declare his word among his people, that they might have everlasting life."  3 Nephi 5:13

I only have 18 months to declare repentance and invite others to come unto Christ through baptism. These first 10 months have been incredible, and I know that the next 8 will be used to capacity. 

I have loved this work with everything that I have this week...and it feels so good. It's even better with two best friends.

I love my job :) 

Hermana Childs

My Darling Best Friends

Hot Chocolate On A Freezing Day After Teaching Piano

Monday, November 10, 2014

My 17 Miracles

As if I wasn't blessed enough, Heavenly Father continues to show me his love each day here in the mission. This work has brought me so much joy as I've watched others change and as I've seen myself change as well. During the week I have been reflecting back on the movie "17 Miracles" that Hermana Carter and I watched last week. Watching the pioneers battle through such hard circumstances reminded me of what we are doing: walking through freezing weather, persevering through bleak circumstances, but having so much faith in the promises of the Lord. Despite the unwelcoming circumstances, I've felt like I've had my own set of "17 Miracles" this week. 

1.Last Sunday Hermana Weinstock was still in town and needed a place to go to church. The Jersey City ward was close enough to where she was staying and a few of the people she was teaching in Bayonne came to the Jersey City Ward, so she and her mother decided to come to our ward. Needless to say, I was thrilled to see her again. We sat down in the chapel next to a few members, and the meeting started. While the sacrament was being passed, I could help but thank Heavenly Father for all of the companions I have had who have touched my life. In doing so, I smiled. I reached over and gave Hermana Weinstock a hug. I realized that was the first time that we had ever sat next to each other in a sacrament meeting. I am ever so grateful for her. 

2. Wednesday morning the phone rang during Personal Study. It was President. President Taggart had called me a few days earlier telling me that there was a change that was needed to be made in the mission. One of the companionships wasn't working out and they needed a new trainer. He called asking me for my opinion on if Hermana Carter could train. I told him that she was perfectly qualified. She is obedient, loving, hard working, and devoted. I couldn't see any reason why she shouldn't be called as a trainer. With that said, he thanked me, asked me not to say anything to Hermana Carter, and hung up the phone. So, when the phone rang on Wednesday, I already had an idea why President was calling. When I picked up the phone, President asked to speak with me. He asked me if I would accept the call of becoming a trainer again. He said that he and his wife had prayed and felt like this was the best situation for this new missionary. I was surprised, but delighted! I happily accepted and made the necessary arrangements for finding a new bed and study desk to put in our humble apartment. 

3. Wednesday afternoon, the Weinstocks had planned to bring back my GPS that they had been borrowing. They were originally going to return it the previous Saturday, but they changed their plans so that they could go visit the Sacred Grove in Palmayra, New York and asked if they could borrow it for a few days longer. Around lunch time they called us to tell us that they were outside our apartment. As Hermana Carter and I came down the stairs, I saw the figure of Hermana Weinstock and her mom in front glass apartment door. Hermana Weinstock's mom quickly turned around and as we came out the door, she said, "Quick, quick! A few last moment missionary pictures as she started snapping her camera." So, I put my arm around my companions and started smiling. At the time, I didn't understand why these said "last minute missionary pictures had to be right then", but as soon as I finished thinking that, I saw 3 people walking around the side of our building. As soon as they got far enough in front of us, I saw Hermana Weinstock! I was so excited to see her, I ran down the stairs and gave her a huge hug, but as soon as I did that. My mind went straight to the person that I was hugging at the door. It was her twin sister!!! They had pulled a prank on us! 

Hermana Weinstock's sister (and two friends) had flown out the night before and surprised her on her way to Palmyra. They then decided to surprise us! 

It was such a fun surprise! 

At this time, it was our lunch hour, so the Weinstocks kindly took us out to lunch. Since Hermana Weinstock, Carter and I all love hispanic food, we decided to treat the other three to some real hispanic food for lunch. We went to a small Mexican food truck on the side of the road and returned to our street and ate it on the steps outside. 

4. Hermana Weinstock's mom, sister, and two friends all wanted to tour Hoboken and go shopping after we had finished lunch.  Hermana Weinstock, still being a missionary, wanted to teach with us. We got ready and headed to a few appointments before having to return and wait for the assistants to bring our new companion. We, Hermana Weinstock, Carter and I, were by far my favorite trio in the mission. 

5. Later in the afternoon, just before receiving our new companion, we met back up with Hermana Weinstock's family again. Hermana Carter and I, being servants of the Lord, wanted to continue to bless the lives of those around us, and so the night before, we planned a lesson specifically for Hermana Weinstock. With all of us sitting in the car, Hermana Carter and I began to testify of the Atonement and the power that it has before and after the mission. Our eyes filled with tears as our hearts filled with the spirit. After all that my "mom" had taught me, I finally had the blessing to "teach" my mom. Saying goodbye to Hermana Weinstock was probably one of the hardest things that I've had to do on my mission. Heavenly Father gave me her because I needed her. She has been a wonderful blessing to me throughout my whole mission. We'll always be best friends. It was a miracle and a blessing to be her companion and to become her friend. 

6. I RECIEVED A NEW COMPANION!!! Hermana Vernon! She is darling! She's 19, from Mesa, Arizona. Loves to dance, read, and play the viola and is fresh out of the Mexico MTC!

7. We became a trio! Three amigas!
8. Thursday we had a really special lesson with Nicolas. He finally seemed to feel very comfortable with his decision. After so much work, we were going to see him be baptized on Sunday! 

9. We had interviews with President and Sister Taggart. In both of my interviews with President and Sister Taggart they expressed how grateful they were for all of the work that my companion and I have done. They said that they could feel how proud the Lord was of me. It meant a lot to me. They also said some other really nice things to me.......but I don't like talking about myself, so I'm not going to say them. :) haha 

10. Ten minutes before the interview, we received a text from Nicolas. He said that he no longer had desires to be baptized and that he didn't want to come to church either. We were heartbroken. We hadn't had dinner yet, so we returned to our apartment. Shortly after, our wonderful district leader called saying that he wanted to speak with us. His council helped us figure out what might be going on with Nicolas. We'll be giving Nicolas a few days before we go visit him again. We haven't given up hope! 

11. One of the members in Union City, Marisol, is a frequent team up for all of the sister missionaries. She is preparing to serve her mission in California and reports in 21 days! Yesterday, we were at a dinner appointment at her Aunts house when she showed up to pass out invitations to her farewell. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner and lesson with all of them. On the way out, she offered to drive us to our next appointment. She struggles with many things and has a hard time expressing herself. She has told me that she doesn't trust many people, but she said that she feels comfortable telling me. As we were driving, she confided in me how she was feeling about her mission. I feel like she is one of the reasons that Heavenly Father kept me in Jersey City. 

There are so many miracles that I can see happening here. Everyday is full of them! If we are willing to look with an open heart, we'll find that God blesses us in every moment and in turn we will find joy. 

The hard times come and go, but the things that stay with you, the ones that you'll always remember, are the times when you took a moment to notice how much the Lord has blessed you. 

I love this work and I love you all. 
Sending my warmest hugs, 
Hermana Childs

Monday, November 3, 2014

Spirits walking the streets

Well, she's gone. Hermana Weinstock has left the mission...kind of.

Tuesday before transfer conference Hermana Weinstock and Hermana Duke picked us up for lunch and we had a lunch appointment with the missionaries. haha. We found a local taco truck and had a picnic in the car before they dropped us off to our next appointment. It was awesome. We were laughing so hard that I thought all of the filling in my taco was going to fall out and I'd be left with just a tortilla.

I was sad that I missed transfer conference where she gave her "dying testimony", but I felt like I needed to stay in my area that day, so I sent my camera with some of the other missionaries so they could film it.

Her mother came to pick her up from the mission home on Wednesday morning before they headed off to visit all of the areas that Hermana Weinstock has served in. Bayonne (neighboring cities with Jersey City) being one of the last.

Saturday afternoon we got a call from the Sisters Weinstock (Hermana Weinstock -still a missionary- and her mom) saying that they were in the area. They wanted to stop by and say hi, also to return my GPS that they had been using for the past few days. We had appointments for the rest of the night, but they were able to team up with us and we had the most powerful lessons with our investigators.

Our investigator Veronica, who has been taking the lessons for 10 years, was brought to tears by a simple testimony of the priesthood and our less active, Hermana Calcano, felt the power of faith. Enough to help her come back to church and have desires to work towards the temple and to receive her endowments.

I love this area and this work so much. I have been constantly striving to love more and to focus the source of my love on the Savior. As I love the people more, I want to do more for them. And as I do more for them, I get tired, so you can imagine how tired I have been, but something that I learned from Hermana Weinstock, is that the Atonement is an enabling power and that it is powerful enough to overcome anything, including tiredness. I testify that it works. The Atonement is the most powerful thing that I know.

On Wednesday a lot of our appointments cancelled, so we contacted people like crazy. It felt so good to spend our time introducing something so amazing to someone who had never heard of it before. Not very many people accepted it that day, but I know that the spirit was present in each contact that we had and I was spiritually edified.

I also received the packages from Mom and Dianna! They couldn't have come at a better time. We had been out all day in the freezing rain, contacting, but when we got home, Hermana Carter and I both had packages from home to open. What a treat!

Thursday and Friday (the day before Halloween and of Halloween).
Halloween is definitely spooky here in Jersey City. The house decorations and spirit of Halloween is taken very seriously, but there are two spirits that decided to take a different twist on Halloween. With the Spirit of God burning like a fire, and a "Halloween costume" on, we touched many spirits. 

I dressed up as a "pumpkin" and Hermana Carter was a "cheetah". :)

After we had been out spreading the gospel for the majority of the day we needed to come home. Halloween and the day before are two of the most dangerous days here in New Jersey because of gangs, so we had to be in our apartment early those days. The mission president authorized the whole mission to watch an authorized church video on Halloween if we so decided. We decided. Hermana Carter had never seen "17 Miracles" before, so that was our movie of choice. After we had finished all of the missionary work that we could do, we pulled out the ice cream and watched "17 Miracles". It was so powerful. Even though the circumstances were dark outside, the spirit beamed out of our little apartment. It ignited a new fire in me to do missionary work.

I am sorry I don't have much time, but I loved this week. I loved loving everyone and I love being a missionary!

I love you all!

Hermana Childs