December 27, 2016

Navidad y todos los Milagros

Dear Friend and Family,

Thank you so much for all of the extra gifts and messages I've received from you this Christmas season! Your constant efforts are really appreciated. I'm so thankful to have such loving people in my life.

On Christmas Eve during studies, a thought crossed my mind. We celebrate birthdays, not to celebrate the birth of our loved ones, but to celebrate their life. We don't say, "Hooray! X number of years have passed!" We say, "Hooray! Look at all you've done in X number of years!" Celebrating Christmas is about celebrating all that He's done since that night at least as much as it's about celebrating that he was born. And what has He done? He's made it possible for each of us to progress, to feel God's love, and to have joy despite the mistakes we make. Every day in this mission, He's worked miracles, and I've gotten a front row seat. I'm so thankful for the role he plays in my life and yours.

We had some miraculous finding experiences this week! P-day got postponed, so we knocked out on a Monday. The Spirit gave the following impressions: "We should knock houses, not apartments like we planned." "Go to Shangri-La." "Go to Nathan Hill" "Start knocking in this direction" "Ask about this..ask about that" "Don't ask for a return appointment. Ask to sit down and start teaching." That's how the Spirit works, and I didn't realize why except that it would be a miracle. That's how we found Eric. He's already accepted baptism, though he won't commit to when, and he's meeting with us for a church tour on Thursday. I've never met a more promising New Investigator. 

Maria and Yessenia and Landon are on date! I wish there were time to tell, but I'm so excited for them to start progressing toward baptism! 

Love you all! Happy New Year! [insert plug for making personal and family mission plans here]

Hermana Arenas y Carmen
Isn't this cute!

Dale! Dale! Dale! I learned the Pinata song at this Nochebuena party! 

P.S. from Mom-when we talked to her at Christmas, she was doing really well, our sweet happy Carmen who has figured out that it's harder than she expected but willing to do it all the same! You could tell that the people who were around her loved her. We were so glad to have that call. 

December 19, 2016

La Mayordomia y El Espiritu

Dear Friends and Family, 

Merry Christmas! Thank you so much for all that you do to support me! Your prayers, packages, letters, and all else you do are important to me!

This week I learned an important lesson about charity and stewardship. As a missionary, I get revelation for my investigators. I didn't realize that it was happening until it wasn't. In planning, I get thoughts to the mind and feelings to the heart as to what I should plan to teach my investigators. In lessons, I get thoughts to the mind and feelings to the heart as to what I should do and teach in that moment. I get help with discerning their needs. I get direction as to what doctrines they need to understand. Without it, I would have a really tough time helping anyone progress. That's why my lesson with Yajairah last week felt so strange. She was progressing, and she had real intent, but I walked out of the lesson puzzled by the lack of Spirit that I felt. Last night, we passed her off to the English speaking missionaries, and the lesson went wonderfully. She started praying about a baptismal date. She listened and understood. Sisters Garretson, Shelly, and Keck are perfect for her. It was really hard to let her go. I love Yajairah. She's now a dear friend. But I don't have stewardship over her anymore, and I would rather she progress with them than keep meeting with us. I'm going to miss her though...

What else! We got to attend a session at the L.A. temple this week. By some crazy circumstances, we got to ride down with Sister Risser from the Canyon Country ward. She is wonderful! She told us stories about growing up in the Depression on the way down, and stories about her kids on the way up. When it got slow, she turned up the MoTab, and she and I sang along. Hermana Arenas and Hermana Peck(from the ward) listened intently because they only know the hymns and primary songs in Spanish. I think that's beautiful. I learned a lot at the temple. I'm glad I got to go. I love the Celestial room. It's hard to want to leave. But there's work to do in Santa Clarita!

I'm sorry I forgot my camera cord this week. We had a fun time giving service at Operation Gratitude last Saturday! We got to assemble packages for veterans and servicemen. I like the feeling of giving service. I like the feeling of such organized work. I just walked along with 2 boxes and people put things in them. Then someone took them from me at the end to tape them up. Around and around I went! It was great! 

We found an awesome investigator for the YSA Elders. His name is Miguel. He is living here even though he's only 18 and from Vegas. He loves his family a lot, and he believes in God primarily because he's still alive today. I think that's awesome. We taught the last half of the plan of salvation and left the restoration pamphlet with him. I can tell he really loves his family, and he really wants to get closer to God for the right reasons.

Yes, it's cold! It gets down to 50 here! I have to bundle up for knock out! 

I love you all, and I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas! 

Hermana Sleight

December 12, 2016

Bienvenidas Hermana Arenas

Dear Friends and Family, 

Thanks for all of the love and support you send! I love being a missionary!

As we've used the Christmas initiative to teach the gospel, I've learned an important principle of missionary work. Testimony is key. Teaching the restoration is key. LighttheWorld is great, but the way to get people to listen is to invite the Spirit and testify of our unique message. That's how I've found to most success. I invite each of you to testify of the Restoration as you share your #LIGHTtheWORLD experiences over the next 13 days. 

My new companion is Hermana Arenas! She is wonderful! She is from Mexico, but she's lived in Utah since she was 3. She is pretty quiet, which doesn't usually bother me. I can fill silence just fine. I think part of the reason she's my companion is that I need to learn to step back and let my companion speak, and she's perfectly willing to let me teach a whole lesson. I'll be working this week on making sure she teaches at least as much as I do. 

What else is new? Oh, most of my area! The branch changed from 3 companionships to 2. It mostly makes sense. We're definitely busy though. There's plenty of work to do! Would you like to meet some of my new investigators?

Carmen! Yes, I'm teaching Carmen! My first name is shared by many women in this area. At first it really threw me off. In fact, Carmen took us to Costco on my first P day in the field, and every time someone would say her name, I thought they meant me. Not so much anymore. I'm pretty used to people calling me variations of Hermana Sleight (Hermana, Sleight, Hermana Sleight, Hermana Slate, Missionary, etc.). Anyway, she's from Mexico. She's a great friend to the missionaries, but she's been investigating for a long time without coming to church. She told us she wants to figure out why the Book of Mormon even exists, and she also happens to be in 2 Nephi 29 in her Book of Mormon reading. Hooray! 2 Nephi 29 is the boldest explanation of why the Book of Mormon exists I've ever read! She's going to love it. We're teaching her tonight.

And I think I've mentioned Yajairah before. She's got finals this week, and when we taught the Holy Ghost, I told her he knows everything, even math, science, etc. and that was exciting for her. Seeing her excitement helped me see the reason for teaching to people's needs. Her brother, Gian Carlo who we call Gio, is also investigating. What I love about it is that at our last lesson, his mom told us she's comfortable at the church they're already going to, but he came to church yesterday, and he explained to us yesterday why he's going to try reading and praying about the Book of Mormon. I know that he and Yajairah can gain testimonies of the Book of Mormon. They're going to be such great youth in the branch!

I love you all, and I'm thankful for all you do for me! This has been a wonderful Christmas season so far, and I expect even more to come!

Hermana Sleight

December 5, 2016

Bautismos Me Pongan Nerviosa!

Hi Friends and Family!

What a big week! I hope I can tell you all that happened in what little time I have left myself!

Listen! That's the lesson of the week. Listen to the Spirit. Listen to your companion. Listen to your branch leaders. Listen to your investigators. Listen to the people you meet. But always listen to the Spirit. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care. 

Let's see, what happened this week? Oh yeah! Pedro and Jesus got baptized and confirmed! I was so nervous! It's all worth it though. Jesus was so nervous about the water and baptism, but he only had to go under once, and he's been smiling ever since. He got confirmed yesterday, and last night we helped them decorate their tree. While we were visiting, he said, "The Holy Ghost is my best friend." "He makes me feel happy.", and "The Holy Ghost is going to go with me to surgery tomorrow!" He also read 20 pages of the Book of Mormon that one of the women in the ward gave to him as a baptism gift. I'm so glad Jesus got baptized! The gospel makes us happy!

We have a miracle family. We got a referral from the English sisters for a woman named Rosa, but when we knocked on her door on Thanksgiving, Yajairah answered. Turns out no one named Rosa lives there, but we contacted her anyway. Turns out her mom and grandma are inactive members whose records never made it to this ward. She's really excited to learn about the gospel, and last night we had a super strong Plan of Salvation lesson with her, her parents, and her brother. Of course they want to be together in the Celestial Kingdom! They're really happy to be invited into the community which is a ward/branch. I hope and pray that they will be in the temple before I finish my mission. 

Pedro's baptism was supposed to be Saturday, so we announced it that way on Sunday. Then his work schedule changed, so he couldn't make it. We knew he was ready though, so we just bumped it up a day! We had kind of a small turn out as a result, but Pedro gets it. Covenants are between himself and Heavenly Father. Who comes to watch doesn't really matter. 

Transfers are tomorrow, and I'm going to start training! That means I'll most likely be in Santa Clarita for 12 more weeks! I would love and appreciate advice on training because I'm really nervous! I constantly remind myself that the Lord can do His own work, and if He says I can, He'll provide the grace to train this Hermana and handle area that's just been added to ours. I'm excited for all that is in store for me! I appreciate your prayers! 

Happy Birthday to Danielle! I'm so proud of my little sister! You're doing great!! Love you babe!

Thanks for all of the love and support! I love you all! Don't forget to #LIGHTtheWORLD everyday!