Monday, February 23, 2015

God's Hand Is In Everything We Do

I love missionary work. Can I just say that? I could say that a million times over, mean it every time, and not get tired of saying it. I LOVE missionary work. I love being a missionary.

God's hand is in everything that we do. He will micromanage the details of our life if we let him.

He has surely been in the details of our missionary work this week.

We are working with a family from Mexico, the DeAquinos, who's dad is a member of the church, but married a lady who wasn't a member. His dad was a bishop in Mexico, but hasn't been to church since he got married. It's been about 16 years. We've been working really closely with them, and for the first time in many years, Hermano DeAquino came to church yesterday!! I was SO happy. He came with one of his sons who is 6 years old. We then visited them later that night and had a great lesson about the plan of salvation. His wife doesn't want to listen to us, but we have seen miracles with the rest of their family.

The Sanchez family are so incredible. I just love them to death! Lorena and Denise are seeming more and more interested to be part of the church, but they can tell it's going to be difficult to give up a few things (i.e. shopping on Sundays, coffee....). They seem intrigued about the feeling that they have when we come over. I can see it on their faces. They love the feeling and they want to have it with them. They know the only way to have it is by living the gospel, but they can see that they are going to have to give up a few habits. They know it will be worth it though. I'm not worried about them. They are incredible. They have kept all of their commitments thus far, so that's a good sign!

We are seeing a ton of progress with another less active that we are working with. Her name is Mileidy. She's from Cuba and has 2 sons who aren't baptized. She and her husband were baptized 14 years ago, but have been less active for the majority of that time as well because of work. We first started to visit her when I came into the area and have been seeing her about once a week since then. She has expressed that she wants her kids to be baptized, but they all lack the motivation to wake up for church on Sundays. We've talked about solutions on getting her there, but she's pretty stubborn. I'm sure that we'll see them at church shortly. I have a ton of faith in them. Also, for the first time yesterday, her sons joined us in the lesson. We taught them The Restoration (kid style) and had a blast. I think they really enjoyed it and we gained all of their trust.

Hermana Grande was another miracle find this week. She happened to be sitting behind me in Relief Society last Sunday (her first Sunday back in years). We talked briefly, but I didn't bother to ask her name or where she lived. Later, I found out that Hermana Stevens had set an appointment with someone named, Hermana Grande. I was excited, but wasn't sure who we were going to go visit. Thursday night, we showed up to her house and as she opened the door, I immediately recognized who it was. Instant love. I found out she was Mexican. Even better :) We taught there family a great spiritual lesson. She has great desires to return to church. We are going to help her and her family get there, and also help her husband get baptized! She is incredible. We have an appointment with her this Tuesday.

Danny and family are having a hard time. Jenny, his wife, found out she has cancer and has been trying to get a surgery, but it's very hard because someone needs to watch their kids because Danny works all day. For this reason, it has been very difficult to see them. Danny has canceled every single one of our appointment for the past 3 weeks (since he got baptized). We had an appointment with them on Sunday, but when we texted them in the afternoon to confirm he cancelled. Again. I was heart broken. I love them so very deeply, and it hurt me that we couldn't see them. We texted them saying pretty much just that. We told them how much we loved them and that we missed seeing them. We told them that we desired their progress in the gospel and their success in life, but because of Danny's recently acquired job it has been a blessing and a hinderment to their progression. Danny's response then was...."Ok, hermanas, vengan a las 6. No sabiamos." Meanining, "Ok, sisters, come at 6 tonight. We didn't know." We went. The lesson was awesome. My, how I have missed them. We worked something out so that we could see them at a time that won't interrupt their crazy schedule.


We have seen so many miracles. Miracles with the members. Miracles with specific investigators. Miracles on exchanges.

Can you see why I love missionary work?

I know it's not only because I'm on a mission that there are so many miracles, but rather because my eyes are being opened to all of the miracles because I am acting in faith and through obedience.

I LOVE missionary work.

Hermana Childs
Exchange w/ Hermana Jenkins. 

Correlation w/ the Elders. Polka Dots. We didn't even plan this.

Exchange w/ Hermana Mortensen. Haircut time.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Glorious Week!

There is so much to say. So much happened this week.

Monday, I cut Sister Steven's hair. It looks great. Sorry, I didn't get a picture, but you'll just have to take my word for it ;) haha It really does look good though. We tried to do an A-line hair cut, and I'd say it was pretty successful.

Tuesday, we had interviews with the President. I was really excited to have my interview with President Taggart. I didn't have any particular reason, but all day I was feeling really excited. When I got into the interview, I felt so much love from him. I'm really grateful to have President Taggart leading the mission. It took me a little while to love President Taggart as much as I loved President Jeppson, but I can clearly see why President Taggart is here. He is a God serving man. It was just special to talk to him. It was the closest thing I had to talking to an earthly dad, and it felt great :)

Wednesday, I was on an exchange for the majority of the day, but when I returned to my area we went to go teach Miguel. We taught him about The Plan of Salvation, but this time it had a different twist on it. Miguel has been preparing to go to the temple since he got baptized 6 weeks ago. He had prepared his own names to take to the temple. This time when we taught The Plan of Salvation, it seemed like all of the pieces started to click-eternal families, baptisms for the dead, the restored gospel, priesthood authority, temples, and watching him make that connection was inspiring. By the end of the lesson, when we reminded him of the temple date on Saturday, you could tell he could have jumped out of his seat because of how excited he was. Now, Miguel is a very shy, 32 year old father of 6, and isn't the type to just jump out of his seat and shout for joy, but I think if no one was around, that day he just might have. ;)

After Miguel's lesson we wanted to do something really special for our other recent converts, Danny and Isaac, and their mom, Jenny. Valentines day was coming up, and mom had sent me a package with some paper hearts from Hobby Lobby. Sister Steven's and I had already prepared the hearts with little messages earlier that day, so that we could tape them on their door. Well, we had a blast doing it!
Heart Attacking our recent converts

 We thought it was something really simple until we got a text from him later that day when he had gotten home from work.

Danny came home exhausted from work, and to his surprise saw his door decorated in hearts. He walked in and called his wife to come see. She had been inside all day and the decorations came to a surprise to her as well. She was so surprised and happy that she cried. Anthony and Isaac shouted because of how happy they were. Danny's text deeply thanked us for the act of love, as if it were something extravagant. I sure love their family. They come from such humble backgrounds and my heart just leaks with love for them. They are wonderful. It was much more of a treat for us to show our love for them, than it was for them to receive a few paper hearts.

Thursday, we had a really special lesson with a new investigator named Leonardo. He struggles with drug addictions and seems to be very depressed. When we came over, however, he seemed to perk up after a while. We told him that the gospel repairs lives. He looked at me and said, "Is that why you are so happy?" I smiled and simply said, "yes". We have a lesson with him later today. I'm very excited to see the Atonement work in his life. I already love him a lot.

Friday, wow. Friday was something incredible. Earlier in the week we had set a lesson with one of our members, Hermana Realpe. The night before, we had planned to teach her about the Atonement. I testify that nightly planning is inspired when you make it so because that is exactly what she needed. She doesn't have a very good relationship with her husband. She doesn't have very many good things to say about him. It breaks my heart to hear and see something like that, but as we started to talk about the Atonement the spirit flooded their home. During the lesson I was reminded of something that Sister Stevens had learned in her personal study that she shared with me during comp study. I asked her to share it in the lesson. It was exactly what Hermana Realpe needed to hear. Tears rolled down Hermana Realpe's cheeks as Sister Stevens told her story about her less active dad. I testified to Sister Realpe of the truths that my companion had spoke and then told her that the commitment we were going to leave with her, was to better her relationship with her husband. I told her that we didn't know what the best way to do that was, but she did. She turned to me and said, "you were supposed to tell me that. I know that's what the spirit needed me to hear". Everything I said in those moments came straight from the spirit. It was amazing. We all left the lesson feeling much better. And best of all, as we were leaving her husband walked up to the door with a bouquet of flowers. Her response was telling him how much she loved him. I know that the gospel repairs relationships. It's the most powerful antidote there is.

Saturday, we had the MOST INCREDIBLE LESSON DAY.  We took our recent convert, Miguel to the Manhattan temple! It was the most incredible day. Miguel came prepared with his family names, his suit (that he wore to his wedding....SO CUTE!) and the BIGGEST smile on his face. He was ready. He was ready for this day, long before I met him. The trip to the temple was great. We had a couple members drive us, and then once inside, everything was perfect. You can only imagine how much happiness was in my heart.

Manhattan Temple, Beautiful isn't it. A Sanctuary in a world of chaos.
Miguel's Temple Day

Then, Heavenly Father blessed me with another miracle. Members from my Jersey City ward were all visiting the temple that day! Now take that happiness that you imagined before and times it by 5. It was glorious.

The glorious beginning to a day had a glorious ending with the Sanchez family. We taught them the Restoration. The spirit was so strong and our comp unity was impeccable. MY heart was touched because of how strong the spirit was. We invited them to be baptized. They were a little hesitant. They wanted to see how it was first. We committed them to come to the baptism next week to see how it is. They agreed.
I already know they are going to say yes :)

Sunday morning, it was crazy. Satan knew we were up and moving and so he was too. The Sanchez called to tell us that they weren't' going to come to church. They had to do their shopping and things that they couldn't get done during the week. We made a few calls, found them a ride to church, and saw them right on time. :)

Ah! I love this gospel. I love being on the Lord's side :)

Being a missionary is the greatest :)

Hermana Childs
So cold it hurts to smile. Hungry for gyro food truck.
Tanner Snow's Sister serving Ny, Ny South mission
Eromar and Catalina treating us to Applebees
V-Day package from Annette

Monday, February 9, 2015

A Heart Too Grateful

What an amazing week.

Monday, we went to the mall for a zone activity. This is the country's third largest mall in the USA. It is HUGE!

Zone Activity at the mall

In front of one of the stores at the 3rd largest mall in USA

My goal was not to spend anything while I was there. Did it! Almost didn't. haha

It was super fun to spend some time with the zone and have some "girl bonding time" with my companion. She's awesome :)

Tuesday, I had an awesome exchange with Sister Rigby. She's an English missionary, but knows quite a bit of Spanish, so she was really helpful in lessons on the exchange. She is darling. I really grew to love her. That's my favorite part about being a Sister Training Leader, being able to be with so many missionaries, help them, and just love them. She's having a really hard time right now and at the beginning of the exchange I wasn't really sure how to help her. I kept a prayer in my heart though, that through out the exchange I would know what to say to help her. At the end of the exchange we had our evaluation, where we just sit down and talk about what we learned so that we can take it back into our proselyting areas, and it was probably one of the most inspired evaluations I've ever had. I felt Heavenly Father put the words into my mouth. They felt perfect coming out. In the middle of the evaluation, she stopped me and said, "that was exactly what I needed to hear. I know that Heavenly Father needed me to be on this exchange with you." It was nothing that I did. Through several missionaries being obedient and following revelation, a miracle happened. I am just grateful that I got to be a part of it.

I probably say that every time, but it's true!

Wednesday, so many miracles happened. We finally got in the door of a less active who has been avoiding us for a little while. She knows that we have been trying to see her, but seems to always find something to put in the way of our appointments. Well, Wednesday she finally let us in. We had a wonderful lesson with her about the spirit. She mentioned that she misses feeling the spirit at church. She wants her kids to go and learn and feel, just like she did, about the restored gospel, but when we asked her why she is waiting to come back, she didn't give us a very clear answer. It's ok though. I know by the end of my time here, she'll be coming back to church with her two sons!

We also taught Danny, on Wednesday, for the first time after his baptism. He is amazing. I sure love him and his family. They are inspiring. When we followed up about his baptism, he just looked at us and said, "I know this is true." I just about cried. I was so happy. Words just can't explain. In the time that I have been here, he has changed from a man who didn't have much interest in being baptized-more in just learning about the church and what we believe, to a man who will follow the Lord wherever he may direct him. As Danny was sharing his testimony with us, I felt the spirit so strongly. He is going to be a great leader in the church one day.

Thursday was probably the coldest day I have ever experienced on my mission.....and it was walking day. Humbling. It is truly humbling to be representing the Lord and walking in the freezing weather. It was a pretty rough day. The people we had taught weren't very nice that day. We had been yelled at and rejected in every way and on top of that, it was cold enough to kill. Our last appointment of the night fell through, and our back up was about a mile away. The back up we had planned was a former investigator of ours who had been lost after the holidays. We weren't able to get a hold of him for weeks, so we dropped him. Well, after walking a mile in the freezing weather, and praying for a miracle, we arrived at his house and knocked. And knocked again. Then the doorbell. Nothing. We waited for a minute or two, and then decided to head off. We were planning to stop by the grocery store on the same street to buy some ear muffs so that we could walk home in less pain. After walking a few steps away from our former investigator, Carlos,'s house, we heard someone call out to us, "Mis hermanitas!" It was Carlos! He was just walking home from the grocery store on the other side of the street. We was carrying his groceries, so we ran over to help him. He let us in and we were able to talk to him for a bit. It was so good to see him! I'm pretty sure every cell in my body was smiling to see him, I care about him a lot. It broke my heart to lose him the first time. After we chatted with him for a bit, it was time for us to head back. We set another appointment, and promised to talk soon. It was a huge miracles for us. We would have totally missed him if he didn't call out to us. We were too focused on not slipping on the ice. After all of that praying for a miracle, and walking in the freezing weather, just talking to Carlos for 5-10 minutes to definitely worth it. I'd do it all over again. I bet that is what heaven is like....working and working and working and you might not see the results of your labors in this life, but they will all be worth it in the next.
So Much Snow...and FREEZING!
Saturday, we had a quick Sister Training Leader meeting at the Mission home. It was amazing, but I ate gluten and definitely paid for it later that night. I love being a Sister Training Leader. Really, I just love being a missionary.

Miguel is progressing incredibly. We are taking him to the temple this Saturday. The best Valentines Day gift that anyone could have ever asked for! He conducted his very own family home evening last night after we showed him how to do one a week ago. They love family night. And I love them!

I only have 1 minute left, but this week has been awesome. Hard, but awesome. Heavenly Father always seems to make things work out. He's great :)

I love you all. Have a great valentines day!


Hermana childs
NJMM for Life!

Monday, February 2, 2015

You Look Best When You're Dressed In White

It looks like I have a lot of catching up to do because of illness the last two weeks. I am feeling much better, almost perfect! Between the stomach bug that has been passed around and eating something moldy 2-3 times this past week, I feel very blessed to feel this good right now.

New Jersey has been such a fun place to live in the past little bit. The weather has been like nothing I have ever seen before. We have had so much snow that the whole state has been in a "State of Emergency". Everything seems to be shut down. They will shut down all transportation systems, grocery stores, driving will be forbidden because our cars are buried in snow, or it is too dangerous to drive as the rain freezes before it hits the ground. It's really remarkable what Heavenly Father has created. Personally, I think the earth looks better when it's dressed in white ;)

It has been beautiful to see all of the changes that are happening. There are even many changes that are happening in the mission. On Thursday I was privileged to go to the Mission Leader Council where Brother Donaldson (the Mission President when District 2 was filmed, and also the Church Missionary Chair -or something like that) and Brother Stevenson (the Provo MTC Missionary Trainer) were present. They both gave instructions on how we as leaders should be applying the Atonement of Jesus Christ and how ALL of our work revolves around the Atonement of Jesus Christ. As Brother Donaldson spoke, his words were riveting. I felt a burning in my chest that I haven't felt since the MTC. It was amazing. In 9 hours, he walked me through the first three missionary lessons and applied them personally to me, simply by rooting them in the Atonement of Jesus Christ. If he could do that with a missionary and teach me how, I am positive that I can do it with my investigators. I came to realize and love my Savior even more than I did before.  I felt lifted. Because that's what the Atonement does.

I forgot all of my notes at home, but I'll bring them next week. I want all of you to know exactly what I felt.

Just a side note. This came to my mind this week and I just want to share it. The Atonement isn't just freedom from sins. The Atonement means looking up and moving forward. When we have faith in the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we don't look back. That thought came to me, and it's something I needed. I hope that it can help you as well.

I don't know why, but I just can't stop testifying of the Atonement. I think it's because I've seen the change in myself throughout my mission. I have been refined. I'm proud to say that. I have been purified through the Atonement of MY Savior. I am proud to say that HE IS my best friend. There is no one that I would rather converse with, counsel with, or confide in.

One of the things that has brought me great joy is to know that some of my dearest friends has chosen to follow the example of the Savior. 

Danny  and Isaac, his son, were baptized yesterday afternoon. It makes me so happy to say that.
Danny had been up all night cleaning his house in preparation for the visit of his mother-in-law. He texted us at 11:00pm telling us that he didn't think he was going to come to church, but that he would be at his baptism. In response to his text, we told him that he knew what he needed to do.

Sunday morning, we asked a member to give him a call "just to invite him to church". Well, Heavenly Father provided a way that the member gave Danny a ride to church, even if they did show up a little late. It was a beautiful day.

They truly look best, when they are dressed in white, don't they? 

Sending my love,
Hermana Childs