Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Oh how I love trials :) (Erin)

Okay, wow. You will not believe that crazy week I´ve had. I love Mexico, yes I love Mexico (Sometimes I have to remind myself of this, especially this week). 

Okay, so last Monday we got home from emailing to find that we had absolutely no water in the house. We have a little machine out front that we plug in to magically get more water, but that didn´t work. We called our dueño (I honestly have no idea what that is in English, look it up, it´s the guy that owns the house we are renting) but he wasn't very helpful. We also talked to our neighbors to make sure they had water and to our mission leader, but no one had any idea what was wrong. So, we lived without water for three days, well in the house. We had some extra purified water, so we used that to wash dishes and bathe in the morning. Yeah, we literally heated up the water in the microwave and showered with it, yay. Remember, I love Mexico. So on Thursday we talked to one of our neighbors and she told us that our nice little tanks of water (one on top of the house and one in front) were both empty and that we needed to call a Pipa (truck with water) to come refill them. We talked again to our dueño, because really I feel like this should have been his responsibility, but whatever, I´m a grown adult.  He told us that he wasn´t going to pay for a pipa because it was probably our fault or some one else´s fault that we ran out of water. Yay! (I LOVE MEXICO). Anyway so we called a pipa, by ourselves and he came and filled both our tanks. Now these tanks are really for emergencies when the city isn´t providing the water, or something. I´m a little fuzzy on the details, but apparantly there´s a water system, but it doesn´t always function, so people have tanks of water for when there´s no water, or something. 

Anywho, Thursday night we had water again, which was just superb and everything went great Friday and Saturday. Yesterday morning though we woke up to no electricity in the house, so we lived without light all day long and then paid that today, because we have to leave our area to pay the light with our fancy intelligent little card that reads the meter out front, or whatever. So we paid that, went to the store and bought food for the week and then as we were getting back to the house I asked my companion if she had the keys. NOPE. WE looked through all our bags and realized they were missing. Now, this is not just for the house. There are like a dozen keys, for the house, the church, and who knows what else. So, yeah kind of really bad that we lost them. We left our food with our oh so kind neighbor and hopped back on a camion to go back to the store. We looked everywhere and asked pretty much every person who worked there and FINALLY one of the nice old ladies found them all! YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, so back to the house. Everything´s great, right!? What else could possibly happen? We met our neighbor out front and she announced that our bomba, that small little machine out front that pumps water, had been stolen. So now we have a nice tank full of water out front, but no way to pump it into the house. Once again, there´s no water in the house and I get to shower with buckets of lukewarm water...yay, I love Mexico.  

So yeah, that´s my adventure for this week. Honestly, I never thought I would have to deal with this kind of stuff here in the mission. My companion and I have been laughing all day long because we really cannot believe this all happened to us in one week. But really, it´s just more opportunities to learn right? In the weirdest and possibly most uncomfortable and inconvenient ways, but hey, whatever, 

I love you guys lots. I will complete 5 months in the mission tomorrow! Crazy how fast it´s going.  We have cambios in two weeks and I´m honestly not ready to leave, well if I do. I´ve been in the same place this whole time and have grown to really love everyone here, members and investigadores. It´s amazing to me how easy it is here to love and serve people. I really have never had an easier time getting to know people, learning to love them and help them. The gospel really is so powerful and I love getting to share it with people. And when they recognize the blessings and start living the gospel for themselves, man, there is no better feeling in the world. I love this gospel, I love my Savior, and I am eternally grateful for his sacrifice. Because of it, I can repent and change every day, knowing that even though I´m not perfect, if I do my best, he will provide everything else. 

bye for now, love you all! 
Hermana Enright

Sunday night miracle (Amik)

I will start off with the reason for the title before I move on.  It was a dark Sunday night and Elder Labarge and I were trying to find new investigators.  So we were park hopping trying the two different parks and a fountain in our area where people tend to gather.  We have had no new investigators this whole week and we really really wanted to find someone.  The fountain we went to had nobody there except an old lady that left once she saw us.  The other park just had little kids so we biked to the last one.  This is where we found the elect.  When we got there there was only about five people at the entire park and two were close to us sitting together at a picnic table.  So we went up and introduced ourselves and asked if they had seen missionaries before.  Vanessa and Daniel, the elect, had and Vanessa actually worked with a few Mormons before and was a friend with a guy that was waiting for his mission call.  So we showed them the Hallelujah video saying that it will be something that he would be sharing on his mission.  We then jumped into the Restoration.  We got to where it talks about Jesus Christ and his Atonement and I asked Daniel something along the lines of how he would feel about having all his feelings of guilt and pain disappear, I forget exactly what I said. And then asked what he was willing to do for that to happen. To which he said "anything". So I introduced baptism and what it is for and invited them both to be baptized.  They both immediately said yes in unison.  After that awesomely spiritual moment we finished the Restoration, introduced and gave them each a Book of Mormon, and got contact info and set up another time to meet.   This was really the highlight of my whole week and it really makes me so glad that I came on a mission.  I really really hope the next few lessons all work out great.

Also, Pres. Dixon just told us an interesting piece of info, spiritual info.  From scriptural knowledge, Nephi actually wrote the book of 1 Nephi some 30 years after his family left Jerusalem and he wrote the book more as an essay to prove a point than as an historical account. And as all good essays start with a solid thesis statement, so did the book of 1st Nephi.  It can be found half way through 1 Nephi 1:20,  the last verse of the first chapter.   "But behold, I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." In the rest of the book he shows how the tender mercies of the Lord always follow those who have faith. Not necessarily saying that if you have faith you won't have any problems, but you get the picture.  He basically sets out to show us how the hand of the Lord was always there for him to help him and his family through the trials of the wilderness and to arrive safely at their promised land. It is encouraging to just to search 1 Nephi looking for as many examples of tender mercies that I can find. They are everywhere.

In a way you could compare life to the traveling in the wilderness that Nephi's family does.   Nephi  spends his time rejoicing in all that the Lord had done while certain others constantly wish that they were somewhere else than the wilderness, or even dead I think in one case, and lamenting that they might have been happy.  It seems they just made the choice to not be happy.  So do you want to be a Nephi or a Laman in life? In the end it is up to you.

Oh, I also forgot to mention that from Monday to Friday this last week two other elders moved in with us.  So we had a six man apartment before the Spanish elders moved out Friday. Also, Elder Nichols and Elder Tagg, our roommates, went with the APs all the down to Borrego Springs by the Salton and got a few cool pictures.

Elder Jorg Klebingat's Mind Palaces (Amik)

The highlight of the week is that we got to have a meeting with Elder Klebingat for about seven hours Friday.  One of the first things that he told us was that neither his parents nor his wife's parents are members.  In fact the way he met the man that introduced him to the church was at an AC-DC/Van Halen concert.  He is also really funny.
But the funniest thing was when he talked about his mind palaces and how he uses them to memorize scriptures so that he always has something to go to if someone starts bible bashing with him when he is on an airplane or something.  He also talked about how he will look around at airports and see someone and correctly guess that they are Mormon.  This was the Moglow that Bayley talked about a lot when she got home from her mission.  

Anyway the first part of the meeting was really about agency and how it was up to us how our mission benefits
us and what happens to us after the mission.  That the idea that we will all just have our spirituality decrease after our mission is a lie, it just depends on how we spend our time after the mission.   One of the things that was discussed was how we need to pay attention to prayers said in our presence.  Because otherwise we are not there and we don't get the blessings from the prayer. The Lord blesses those who prepare.  Only compare yourself to the Lord, that is the only fair comparison. The level of your spirituality after and during your mission depends on your choices.   It is your decision.  One word from the Savior's mouth dispels Lucifer, the devil is limited and given power by God.  This is our strength that is tested.  This time in the mission is the time to prepare and protect ourselves. In the end we determine how much light we receive. It is up to us.  Also, as soon as we try to improve we realize how much work have to do to.  We don't know how mortal we are until we try and be perfect. We also talked about the Law of the harvest. We get what we work for. We reap what we sow. So What are we sowing?   However, we do get credit for trying as Elder Holland said. In the end, the Celestial kingdom will be filled with imperfect people who got nearly perfect by applying the atonement. Anyway one of the things that I got from the conference is to always work for the best and things will work out.  It is always better to self correct. 

Also, on another note, that night we were at a park and started to talk to a few people.  We taught the Restoration to this big group of people.  We gave them each Hallelujah cards, well must of them, they all lived outside the mission though so we hope that they will look into it more.  Also, one of them was trying to catch us in our words and stuff, but he eventually stopped, kinda. 

Anyway, this morning we went and played soccer when it was all cool out for about two hours and I am emailing late because we Just finished a two player game of monopoly.  Elder Labarge won with almost 7000 dollars of Monopoly money.

Have a great week!  And enjoy the trip up to Idaho!!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Baptisms! (Erin)

Hey there wonderful people!

    It has been a crazy week and it`s going to get even crazier. We had a a special zone conference with a member of the seventy, Elder Salina. It was incredible and I loved the way he taught. No paper, no powerpoint, nothing, just the scriptures. Our mission president and his wife spoke first. Every now and then Elder Salina would interrupt and have us look up a scripture that would help us understand something better or that applied to the other talks. His talk was about love, but he mostly taught about our Savior and how without his sacrifice, we would not be able to be saved. It was very profound. He told us that no matter how much he loves his wife, he cannot save her and so his job as her husband is to help her draw closer to Christ, because it is only through Christ that we can have eternal life.  This really hit me, because no matter how much I love the people here that I am teaching, no matter how often I visit them, re-read the folletos with them, recommit them to simple things, I cannot save them. Only Christ can. My job here really is only to testify of Christ, to bring the Spirit and the gospel into people´s homes. To teach them how to do the simple things for themselves, so they can understand the purpose of life here, so they can feel the love Christ has for them and how they can demonstrate that love in return. 

We had a lesson this past week with our mission leader and I love listening to him teach, he really is amazing at it and can apply the lesson directly to the needs of the investigators. We were teaching about the Atonement and he said that the only way we can apply (activate? I forgot the word) the atonement in our lives is through baptism. Without baptism, the atonement does nothing for us. I had never thought of teaching baptism that way before, but hey, now I´m going to. 
Andros and Erika are getting baptized this Saturday! This time for sure. It`s only been like 3 months since we first invited them to baptism. Of course they each have had stuggles and problems that have made the wait a long one, but I feel like they are really ready and it`s going to happen. I will dunk them in the water myself if a have to! Haha...but seriously. We have another investigator named Laura Irene. Her baptism is in a few weeks and she is progressing so fast. I love watching the gospel change lives and the feeling in the homes of those who truly desire to change and grow. I don`t want to leave! I could literally stay all day and teach them everything. Laura attended a baptism with us last saturday and started asking all these questions for her baptism and was telling everyone the date of hers. Haha. I love her so much. 

Hermana Ferniza and I get along great. She is pretty crazy, but I love it. She really makes this work more fun. The other day we were reading the scriptures in English (Because she wants to learn English) and she read the word "naked¨" and asked me, "What does that mean? Como servilleta (napkin)? No because those didn´t exist back then, what is it?" Haha. She makes me laugh constantly. And then my laugh makes her laugh and we end up in fits of laughter that are super hard to stop. 

I love you guys lots. I love this work and I love my Savior. I love the plan that God has for all of us. I love teaching it and watching the spirit change lives. There´s a scripture that talks about how there is none better then he who layeth down his life for his friends, or something like that, but I love it. I gave up my personal plans and life to come here for these people, for the friends I would make and the lives I would change and I don´t regret it one bit. This is the best kind of service there is, to share something so wonderful and important that can change lives so completely and can bring an eternal happiness into the homes of families. 

okay, that`s all for now!
Hermana Enright

The Fort Collins temple looks awesome!! (Amik)

Anyway, yes, the smoke did make me feel at home.  

Also, this last week was really good. Wednesday we as a zone all went to the temple for a session.  Elder Franz and I were last ones to leave to get dressed after the session cause it just feels so peaceful in the temple.  So the pictures are of the temple trip. 

Saturday Elder Labarge and all the leaders went to a leadership meeting in Redlands with Elder Cook of the Seventy. So I was with a Spanish Elder from each of the two Spanish wards in the area.  We biked and did work in the Spanish ward area, that covers our ward as well and visited a few people in our ward.  It was almost cut short when I, at some point, ran over a screw that completely busted my tube so we are going to try and replace that today.  The screw was about an inch long, maybe a bit longer. 

This apartment is now a four man since the Spanish elders' apartment flooded, a pipe burst.  We moved them in after the temple trip 

Anyway, In this mission we sometimes get to the point of decision where we must decide if we are going to focus on the next decision or the next decision.  We all make mistakes because we all have weaknesses
while weakness itself is not a sin it can lead us to give up and then just continue in sin.  Like Elder Holland said last General Conference "the best part of the Gospel is that we get credit for trying."  But yes sometimes our weaknesses lead us to sin, and sin requires repentance to purify us again. Sometimes when we hear about being perfect as God and Jesus are, it is overwhelming because we feel as if we can never get there. We really are not there until we are safely dead, but it is our striving to get there that the Lord is looking for; our never giving up. "Never give up, never surrender!!"  If we keep focusing on our last bad decisions we will continue to slip again and again.  In life move happily and freely to the next decision. That is when the Atonement of Jesus Christ begins to become beautiful in our lives; when we use it to propel ourselves forward;
toward becoming more like our Savior. There is a saying: "Don't look behind you, you aren't going that way." The Savior said it more poetically when a woman was brought to Him who was taken in adultery. The Savior calmly cleared the room of her accusers and then in John 8:10-11 it says "When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee? She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more." The Savior does not condemn or criticize the woman. He looks into her heart and knows that her repentance is sincere and then He asks her to "Go, and Sin No More." The real trouble is when it is not sincere.

(Erin Aug 22)

I am hot and sweaty casi every single day and I hate it still, but that´s okay!

Oh and also the other day we were helping the other sisters here set up for a baptism, but we couldn't figure out how to get the water to work and one of them said "we should get the elders, because we are hermanas and don`t know how to do this stuff." Yeah, that upset me and I told we could totally do it.

Okay, so I kind of ran out of time doing a bunch of extra little things and reading everyone`s emails...but I LOVE YOU ALL! So much, you don`t even know. Some days  I really miss you guys, a lot. But this work is slowly getting easier to handle, including Spanish and my new companion makes this work a lot more fun to do. I don`t really know why, she`s just so funny and energetic. We have a lot of work to do this week because out of all the 10 fechas bautismales we had last week, all but one fell through due the fact that almost no one goes to to church! That and a few people have some serious problems with drugs or smoking. Ugh.

Okay, love you all muchísimo.  
Hermana Enright
I will send pictures next week!

Fire? Fire!!!! Fire!!!High on the mountain top!!!🔥(Amik Aug 22)

This last Tuesday we went to district meeting.  For district meeting the sisters drive over to our apartment with the other sisters following them, then the sisters go together and we go pick up the other Elders and head over to the church.  When we went to the church building it was clear skies, not a cloud in sight.  After district
meeting, we came out and saw this...

Fontana Zone

Cambios (Erin Aug 17)

Okay, I officially finished my training.  I left  Hermana Sanchez at la capu this morning and picked up my new companion, Hermana Fernica. She is wonderful.  A convert of  2  or 3 years and and lived in Utah before her mission.  I love listening to people`s stories of their conversion. Casi everyone here is a convert and they all have amazing stories and pictures with their missionaries.  I can`t believe I get to be part of this work, to bring the Gospel into homes and help people change their lives.  Tomorrow  I get to go with some investigators (Andros  y Erika)  to the Registro Civil, so they can offically and legally get married!!!!  FINALLY!  And their baptisms are this coming Saturday. It has been hard work getting them to this point, but they have changed so much and definitely will be baptized already converted to the gospel. 

In this area, Xonacatepec, there is so much work to do. Last week Hermana Sanchez and I visited part of our area that we have never been to before, way out in the boondocks.  But it was amazing, the people there literally have nothing, but their faith. We met a lady who`s husband had died a few years ago. She started crying when we introduced ourselves. This to me is amazing, people here trust us so quickly with their history and their problems. We taught her about the Plan of Salvation and in the end she told us that we reminded her of when Christ was on the earth and ministered to the people, comforting them.  I started crying!  She really knew that we were representantes de Jesucristo. In that moment I knew that I was doing what I needed to be doing. 

Oh, another miracle!  On Saturday we went to a baptism de las hermanas de Torres, another area. We had some baptism clothing for them, but we didn`t have an investigator to take with us.  When we got there we decided to contact  outside the church and see if we could find someone. After 4 people, we met this lady who agreed to come to the baptism, just like that. We gave her a tour  of the capilla  and taught her a quick lesson in the chapel. We felt the spirit so strongly!   She accepted a baptism date and even came with us to church the next day!!!!!!!!  But guess what, she`s not in our area! So we gave her information to the hermanas en su area. WOW. 

I love teaching the gospel. I`m not perfect at it, but I know that if I teach with the Spirit, the people I am teaching can know for themselves that is  true and can feel the  spirit in their home. Even when I explain things weirdly or when my Spanish is way messed up. 

I love you all! Sometimes I`m still so surprised I`m in Mexico, but yesterday ,when we were walking back  to nuestra casa, I felt  at home. I know part of this area like the back of my hand. I`ve only been here for 4 months, but there are people here that I love with all my heart, even if  I can`t understand them perfectly all the time.  We went  to a members home for la comida yesterday  (we had Chiles en Nogada, which are super delicious, seriously look it up).  and they were so wonderful and kind and hilarious. Almost everyone is here.  And the food is usually always amazing! I just love it here.  

Okay, bye for now!
Hermana Enright

We at the baseline ward like to live at the edge. Literally at the edge. (Amik Aug 17)

I have moved to the Baseline ward on bike.  And it is hot!!!!  I have been drinking so much more water.  It is like nectar.  I am companions with Elder Labarge, who is district leader.  We have three sets of missionaries in the baseline ward.  Two of these are training groups, one of which are sisters.  Also, this area pretty small now, the way we split is that we take the west side of the ward, while the other Elders take the east side and the Sisters cover the whole ward since they have a car.  Anyway we live and work at the very edge of the mission.  If we go past an extra block we are in the Rancho Cucamonga mission.  Also, we are in a pretty nice apartment for just the the two of us, with our own washer and dryer.  The last apartment I was in had a washer, but no dryer so we had a clothes line that we dried our clothes on. Also, the first day we biked nearly ten miles.  So the bike seat hit a lot for the next few days. 

Thursday night we went and contacted a potential. It turns out that the guy did not live there, but the lady who answered was very excited to see us and talked about how she was so glad to meet us and how happy she was that we were going about doing the Lord's work. She then talked about how hard must be facing rejection.  She then rejected us. It kind of puzzled us. 

We have this big community church that a lot of people go to in this area.  It is huge! We call it the great and spacious.  In fact just a few days ago we went to see an in-active member that turns out to be one of the many pastors at the church. The main area that we work in is a housing complex and we cover a bit more.