Thursday, June 4, 2015


6/2/15  Missing In Action”
I am so sorry for not being able to update you on how I have been
doing. You probably think that I am missing in action. ;) Quite the
contrary. I couldn't have been more the work of the Lord
that is ;) I'll give you a brief summary of what has been going on the
past couple of weeks.

Monday 11 May 2015: It was probably one of the funnest PDays that I
have had in my whole mission. We ran to finish all of our errands
super fast and then emailed just so that we could finish everything to
go play sports with the Zone. In our zone there is a HUGE park. It's a
couple of miles long and wide and we got together to play soccer. In
the middle of the soccer game, it started to rain. It wasn't just any
rain storm either. It was a huge New Jersey rainstorm. The rain was
coming down so hard that we could hardly see. We played in it for a
couple of minutes and decided that we should leave. The storm cleared
up as soon as we got to our car and so we went back out to play. The
rest of the game was super fun. It was really slippery, but we had a
blast. We left early to go home and shower before we needed to be at
our appointments.

Our first appointment was Juan. It was the day after he got baptized.
Wow. If you ever want to see a completely changed person, just go look
at my friend Juan. He so white and sparkly...he was pretty much a
walking temple. :) He was so happy to see us as well. He couldn't stop
thanking us. Wow. Words just can't express those types of feelings.
They are heavenly.

After leaving the appointment with Juan and feeling the spirit burning
inside of us we then went and taught Carlos. Carlos is another really
special investigator to me. He is Dominican and a part member family.
Teaching him has changed us and changed him as well. As I have told
you before, he didn't used to want to listen to the missionaries.
Then, after the elders got transferred the bishop wanted the sisters
to visit him. And my oh my have we seen miracles with him. He is so
close to being baptized we can feel it. He's just sticking his toes in
the water. Now we just need to get him into those white clothes and
get him an interview. He is progressing so much! He reads, he prays,
he does family prayer, he just needs to come to church! He'll be
baptized very soon.

Tuesday 12 May 2015: We have the most amazing prepared investigator
named Marisel, from Uruaguay. She keeps asking us questions on what we
are about to teach her. She wants her kids to be involved in the
church programs, she committed to come to church on the 17th (the
upcoming Sunday) but wasn't able to. She loves what we teach her and
will be the greatest convert.

Wednesday 13 May 2015: Wednesday was actually a pretty hard day for
me. As I'm sure you well know by now, I LOVE Elizabeth. This has been
my dream area since the MTC and I have soaked up every single minute
here. I LOVE the people. I would do anything for them, but sometimes
the agency of others hurts you...especially when you love them.
Wednesday afternoon we went to see a less active named Benita. Now, we
have worked super closely with Benita. We've prayed super hard for her
and done everything possible to help remove the obstacles that might
be keeping her from coming to church. Well, as we were sitting in her
house, teaching her the plan of salvation, we taught with such
sincerity and power of the spirit that it was impossible to deny that
the power of God was present. When we invited her to come to church to
partake of the Atonement of Jesus Christ by taking the sacrament she
said no. My heart shattered in that moment. It hurt. Not because she
was rejecting me, or the invitation that we had extended, but because
I know exactly what she is rejecting. It hurt because I also love her
and want the best for her. We walked out of the appointment pretty
sad. Then, later in the day, we went to the Sosa's house. Now, this family
is super special to me. They are a less active family, but it has
always been my luck to teach them, because my companions were on
exchanges the days that we went to see them. I feel like they are one
of the reasons that I was sent here. The lessons are always filled
with the spirit. This time, we taught them about tithing. Tithing
didn't seem to be a problem for them, but we tried to focus on the
principle behind tithing: faith. Well, when the lesson came to an end
and we invited them to come to church they said that they wouldn't be
coming. They said that they had a soccer game that they wanted to go
to. That too also hurt. It was just a tough day.

Thursday was great and Friday I was on an exchange with Sister Irvine.

Now, Sister Irvine has been thinking about going home since she got
here to the mission. She is an incredible missionary who knows how to
touch people's hearts. She has a gift to help others feel special. She
makes me feel good when I am around her, but she has been struggling a
lot with her health since day one. She averages 2-4 hours of sleep
every night. She usually doesn't even get 4. And as you can imagine,
missionary work is pretty rigorous. You have a pretty tight schedule
and the physical demands are pressing. She is a fighter though. I love
her a lot.

Just after getting off exchanges on Saturday morning we went to our
interviews with President Taggart. Words simply cannot express how
much love I have for President Taggart. I know he loves me too. In
interviews, we only have 15 minutes with him and after we had started
with a prayer and talked together for a few minutes he said, "I wish I
had an hour to talk to you." I did too. We talked about how I was
doing as a Sister Training Leader. I told him that I loved it. I was
so happy where I was and that my area was rocking and rolling. Before
we finished he asked me if I had any questions. I looked at him and
laughed a little. I said, "well, yes. Am I getting transferred?" Haha
he laughed too and said "now, why would I tell you that? :)" I told
him that my heart was fully invested and that I just needed to know if
I needed to start saying goodbye. He looked at me and lovingly said,
"I want you to always be in a position where you will never say
goodbye to these people. Keep in touch with them. Always be their best
friend. There shouldn't be any goodbyes in the gospel." He's right,
but I knew what that meant for me. Before concluding though, he
expressed that he knew I could continue in the calling for 5 transfers
even though it hadn't been done before. When the closing prayer was
said, I looked him in the eyes and told him how much I loved him. He
pulled me in for a hug. I can feel how much he loves me. It gives me a
glimpse of how purely and perfectly my Heavenly Father
loves me. I really can feel it...and it's a lot.

Sunday 17 May 2015: We had the most incredible lesson. So, Saturday
afternoon we received a referral from for a man named
Charlie. We passed by his house later that night to contact him, but
when he opened his door he told us that he was on his way out, but
that we could come back tomorrow. Well, Sunday after church we walked
right over to his house pretty excited for what we thought was going
to be a new investigator family. When we entered the house and started
the lesson it was much different than we had expected. We asked what
got him interested in the church. His response was given at first with
a sneaky smile. He said that he already knew everything about our
church (this can either be a good thing or a bad thing so we were a
little bit on edge). He continued to tell us that he is an elder, he
has the Melchezidek priesthood, and he served in several stake
positions in El Salvador. Years ago he came to the United States
looking for a job. When he arrived, he began to look for the same
church that he attended in El Salvador, the Church of Jesus Christ of
Latter Day Saints. Upon finding one, he entered, and was unwelcomed by
the greeting saying that he wasn't welcome there because there wasn't
a congregation for Hispanics. When he arrived, Elizabeth's population
was  mostly white and only a few Hispanics. Now it is quite the
opposite, you can hardly find a white person. Well, his experience
hurt him so deeply that one of his brothers of the church didn't want
him there that he felt that he had no choice, but to attend another
church. For the past 8 years he has been attending the Evangelical
church where he met and married his wife. Up until the last 8 months
or so he has been going there, but beginning 8 months ago, he and his
family started passing through some really hard times and stopped
going to church. Because of his good friendships with the members of
the Evangelical church he expected them to "mourn with them that mourn
and comfort those that stand in need of comfort", but it was quite the
contrary. It seems that no one from his church has reached their hand
out to help them, the result of which has hurt him again. But the good
news is that due to this incident he has been compelled to return to
look for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints again. For
this reason he had been calling and calling the church trying to
contact someone with no luck. Until finally he looked on
and requested a visit from the missionaries.

Now, imagine being the two missionaries who walked in thinking that we
were going to be teaching a new investigator. To say the least, we
were shocked. But more than anything we were thrilled that one of our
brothers had taken the first step to coming back. We taught him about
the restoration of the gospel of Jesus Christ and the walls of his
home shook with the spirit. It was a beautiful moment.
Because it had been a while since he has gone to church, he has asked
that we treat him like an investigator, but his family is officially
investigating in the church.
It is wonderful how even though he felt alone, God was just preparing
the way for him to come back. Even though it seemed that no hand was
being stretched out towards him, God's hands were always open, warm,
and welcoming. It is an honor to teach him and help him in his

The day continued to be wonderful because for the rest of the day
Loren, the young man that we are trying to get on a mission,
accompanied us for our appointments. It was so awesome to see his face
and eyes light up as he taught with confidence the restored gospel. He
has what it takes to change someone's life. I have seen it.

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