February 20, 2018

Jason Lasagna

Dear Friends and Family,

Thanks for all of your prayers and support! It is very reassuring to know that there are people there waiting for me when I get home. Sometimes everything before the mission feels like a dream. People call it the mission veil. 

Please everyone remember the importance of regular accounting to God. People have told me a million times on my mission to account to God each night for what I've done but I've had no idea how to do that. Now I'm at the end looking back and wondering if I've done all I can. I am finding the reassurance that I yearn for, but it's made me think about how I don't want to have this feeling at the end of my life regarding final judgement. Repent on a regular basis. Find out your standing with God. Do what you need to know that you're good.

Stories!

On Saturday we OYMed to Jason Lasagna. He had a super cute puppy that kept him from chatting. But he ran inside and got his Book of Mormon. He had read only 1 page, the page where Alma 18 starts. He has been to church all over southern California. Every time we see him he makes us laugh. I am looking forward to his baptism. Yesterday during our lesson, he suddenly turned around and started cooing at a raven that was still at the very top of the light pole!!! 

Crazy fun life:) Love you all!

Photos of her apartment




Hermanas Stickel, Sleight and Ruelas living it up at Denny's!


February 12, 2018

Ironico (plus Homecoming info)

Carmen's Homecoming information
Date: March 18th
Time: 9 am - 12 pm 
Lunch will be served after church at our house
Place: 2040 Brentwood Drive, Idaho Falls, ID 83402
* If you need a place to stay, contact Robbie 208.589.2022 

Dear Friends and Fmaily,

I love you so much! Thanks for all of your love and support!

I have left myself 0 time to type, as usual, and I hope that I can put something here worth reading. 

I really want to become a good gospel teacher. Like, phenomenal. I think that my mission has been a  good start, but something that I am looking forward to studying more in depth very soon is the pattern of teaching of the Master Teacher, Jesus Christ. He was bold, kind, and clever. He asked questions and perceived needs. He never passed up an opportunity to teach, and He taught in a way that all who hoped He was the Son of God could understand what they needed to progress. May each of us model our lives and teaching after His perfect example. 

Stories!!

Mario continues to refuse to be baptized, but he loves church, and he is reading the Book of Mormon! He missed his appointment Saturday night because his family wasn't ready on time, but the next morning when they wanted to skip church, HE wouldn't let THEM! Go Mario!!

We met Maria and Raul and then accidentally met Mirna looking for them (I lost the address). But Raul called us every day for 3 days to tell us he was coming to church, and lo and behold on Sunday, there they were!! He said something to the effect of, "Look at what we've been missing out on." Love it! 

Jason is a 17 year old who we knocked on his door last week and he literally asked where we were going after this life and when we answered with the Book of Mormon, he said he had a whole new world of questions open up to him! Yay!!

Love you all, have a great week!!

Carmen and her companions eating pupusas

The background of the sign has a serious message of Christ's love while the Post-it note collection is from the family. This note happens to be a poem from a dog, "roses are gray, violets are gray, everything is gray, give me a treat." and Carmen recited it to a dog she saw later while knocking doors which caused her companion to think she was depressed. That's just our family sense of humor! 

Carmen's wild hair on a grand adventure and an avocado chair for relaxing. 


February 6, 2018

Fechas!!

Dear Friends and Family,

I love you! Thank you for your love and support. You are wonderful people:) 

There were so many miracles this week! What a testimony builder of faith. For my future missionary readers(if there are any), never EVER stop expecting miracles. Always believe in God's ability to change hearts and believe that He is preparing people to be baptized in your areas, present and future. It makes a big difference. It is not a hoax! I promise it's not. I thought it was, but it's not. Applying this to real life for my 

Destiny was a referral from the Elders when they came to knock in our area for a little ratito. She had rescheduled for a whole week later, but we went, and she was so awesome! She is looking for the religion for her. She is looking for God. When she finds what she's looking for, she's willing to do whatever it takes, including be baptized! 

We accidentally knocked on Mirna's door looking for Maria. (nice one, Hna Sleight, but on her street and the 2 next to it, everything looks exactly the same!) She is also willing to be baptized, and she loved to read and she prays every day! When we asked her to put church on her baptism calendar, she drew a cute little church house and herself going to church on next Sunday:)

I had this feeling that we should knock on a door again because we had met our investigator there, but he told us he didn't live there, and we haven't been able to make contact, but then instead of him, we found Jason! Jason is 17 and he wants to know about what happens after this life. We read from Alma 40:11 with him and then shared the restoration. He is willing to be baptized and he told us that he's got a ton of more questions now that he knows the truth!

I love you all!

Elder Rivera, Hermana Talbert, and me. We were all trained in the same branch and Hna Talbert went home last week, so we took one last pic.

THe new trio! Ready for bed:)

Porto's! Hna Stickel, Sister Burns, Sister Keller, Me, Hna Ruelas​

 

January 29, 2018

6 weeks

Dear Friends and Family,

Thanks for your love and support! I love you all!

I'm going to start with a story. I met this man in my area named Jose. He reminds me of my Uncle Evan AKA super cool. He joined the church 15 years ago with his family, but since then has had a lot of doubts form in his mind, and now he's quite far from being an active member of the church. When we stopped by to visit, he expressed a ton of doubts. I was able to remember about 7, and I deep studied them. The hardest one was, "Why do politics exist with some bishops?" That's my rough around the edges translation from Spanish to English. Basically, he didn't like that his former bishop would let him into the office to talk whenever he needed to, but his new bishop tried to teach him how to make an appointment with the executive secretary, and he felt less important. I couldn't find much on it in the scriptures, but the Spirit led me to President Eyring's talk from the priesthood session of the most recent general conference. This was special because I had never read or heard it before, but I felt the Spirit guiding me to it. It was perfect! It taught me as well. We shouldn't expect our leaders to be perfect because they're mortals, but we should trust that they have a right to revelation from God, and if they mess up, we don't need to spread that around. We can take it up with them and God. I recommend the talk. 

Stories!

We had some missionaries come to visit our area and knock doors for a couple of hours. We found 4 new investigators that day! One of them was a family. It was the very last door we knocked on. 

The day before, I lost the keys to our bikes. All 3 keys to all 3 locks. Nice one, Hermana Sleight! To keep it brief, we had to leave KO early to get our back up keys and get the bikes before the key thief came back in the cover of night to steal our bikes! The last door we knocked before we left had a super cool new investigator behind it! He's 1/2 Armenian, 1/2 Salvadoranean! And he's interested because he's seen a Mormon Youtuber! 

Mario is really cool. I sent a picture of him about 2 weeks ago. He doesn't want to be baptized, but he can see that we're helping his family follow Christ. He keeps all of his commitments except he misses church 2/3 of the time, but I'm really happy for him. 
What was something unexpected that happened with you? WE didn't expect to find anyone Spanish from the BOM experiment BUT THEN somebody had the bright idea to go to the soccer fields on a Saturday morning. #foundem


I love you so much! Have a great week everyone!

January 22, 2018

7 weeks left

Dear Friends and Family,

I love you! Thanks for your support. I need it now more than ever.

Faith a principle of power and action. Faith without works is dead, but one of our (the missionaries of the great CASFM) favorite scenes in the New Testament is one where Christ says, "If thou canst believe, all things are possible." It is possible to do all the right, obedient things without believing, and when we do, miracles slow to a halt. A believing heart together with faithful works are required. 

Stories!

CASFM is working together with the Book of Mormon experiment. Google it! It's so cool! It's all about how the Book of Mormon speaks for itself. Basically we go "incognito" dressed like normal people without nametags and invite people to read a page of sacred religious text. We actually are very interested in measuring the feeling that they get from reading a random page of the Book of Mormon without knowing prior what book it is from. It has been interesting you could say. Still most people don't want to give us the time of day. Then there are people who do the experiment but aren't interested, and those who love it until they hear what book it is. 

One woman I met last week talked to me for about 20 minutes before I could get her to do the experiment. She told me that Jesus had told her that that day she would meet a woman who would talk to her about sacred things. She knew it was me, but did she want a copy of the Book of Mormon? Haha, no. Good try though. 

Another thought it was all wonderful and "recognized" the story from the Bible (This is especially popular regarding Nephi and the boat vs Noah and the arc, any time Adam and Eve are mentioned, etc.), and was all on board to let us publish her page but when I said Book of Mormon, she said, "I can do this much, but I can't sign.", and sped away. 

But then I met a Spanish YSA from Canoga Park named Raul who offered to buy me a taco(should have said yes. I'll never get to try those tacos! They're just outside my area and don't open until P day ends). He loved it and asked for the missionaries to bring him a copy. That's what we come for. That's what makes it all worth it. 

Between Saturday and Sunday Knock Outs we got kicked out of 4 apartment complexes including one young man who filmed kicking us out. I'm sure he will present it as evidence before the judge if we ever come back. But suertamente, Carlos is interested in the Book of Mormon, so we'll be invited back soon:) 

I love you guys, I miss you a lot. Have a great week!

January 16, 2018

Me faltan 2 meces! Quien cuenta?

Dear Friends and Family,

Thanks for all of your love and support. It is sustaining me as I miss my home and family more each day. 

What a special day this is! Today we have had the opportunity to sustain our new and beloved prophet and President of the Church, President Russel M. Nelson! I thought it was very representative of the Lord that in the press conference following, they stood up against pressure to change, and held true to the commandments of the Lord. God has spoken, and his servants cannot change His law. However, we all have a responsibility to love. Any person who is falling away needs love. May we hasten to care, to listen, and to sympathize before we counsel.

Stories!

About 4 weeks ago, I left the English Book of Mormon we were supposed to be delivering in my bike basket, so we walked all the way back to our bikes to get it. We OYMed to Fernando, and he's due to be baptized this Saturday in the English ward! He needs your prayers. This is a very delicate time for every convert! If all goes well, pictures will be coming next week.

THe same Elders that are teaching Fernando introduced us to Jose! He's cvooll.. More next week..
.

Love you!

Mario Martinez the older came to church Sunday! This is his daughter, Eliza, with him, me and Hna Maw.
The missionaries in the Buena Vista ward! We took the picture on the wheelchair ramp so we'd all the the same height.E Wride, Hna Maw, E Stoltz, E Rivera, E Nelson, Me, E Gibbons, E Leishman


I bundled up for the rainy day with.... bike shorts, tights, socks, shoes, shirt, undershirt, sweater, sweater, coat, raincoat, scarf, gloves, hat!



January 8, 2018

Triste, y Emocionante!

Dear Friends and Family,

Thanks for your love and support! It is very encouraging to know there are people who remember me while I'm a missionary.

I was very sad to hear about the passing away of President Monson. I hope to keep his example of selfless service in my mind forever. What a great life he has led! 

I reviewed a talk that kicks all missionaries' behinds called "A Consecrated Missionary" by Tad R. Callister. Then I read the talk by Elder Holland on becoming Perfect  - Eventually from last conference. It was a very complimentary way to decide to rededicate to the work, but not beat myself up about my mistakes. I've definitely made mistakes, but that's not out of the ordinary for anyone.


Stories!!

I usually don't write about the hard drops, but they happen. This week we had a lesson with Mario where he tried to tell us that he feels that all religions lead to God and that the Book of Mormon and the Bible are like Jumanji - AKA the Book of Mormon is like the Bible. It's been really hard to see him slip away after so many strong spiritual experiences, but this isn't what he wants anymore, and we've had to say goodbye. 

Last Tuesday, we received a referral for Gabriela from Mayra Hernandez Sanchez, a missionary in Riverside. I was surprised when it finally clicked in my head. Hermana Hernandez was my MTC companion! What a wild ride this has been. We taught Gabriela for the first time on Thursday, and she liked it so much that she called Hermana Hernandez's mom and asked for us to come and teach her husband! Well, we'll be doing just that:) It's time for this family to become eternal. 

I love being a missionary!

 Socks and a new outfit for Christmas!

And a sweater from Nana that matches the new outfit!