Monday, April 27, 2015

9 Sept 2013

I can't say this enough... The church is true. It has to be. There is absolutely NO doubt in my mind that this truly is the Church of Jesus Christ. And there certainly is no such thing as coincidences.. Enserio.
Remember how everyone has been really struggling because of the lack of water? well, we certainly got soaked most of the week. The prayers of the members for rain and for the missionary work has resulted in a thirst that's been quenched--for both crops and missionary work.
Tuesday we had our dinner with the Olson family and had that new investigator and his member wife come for us to teach them. They had taken the initiative to seek us out so we were so excited to meet them. Jose had 3 previous baptismal dates but because he moves around a lot looking for work he has missed all of them! We wanted to meet with him and gauge where he is at so we could set another date... Well, like most days out on the mission field, nothing really ends up being or working out as you have planned. Turns out he doesn't quite "buy the whole Joseph smith story" and does not see a need for the Book of Mormon if we have a bible. The discussion started out pretty rough, it felt like he was trying to find ways for us to mess up--very contentious. I have never prayed so hard in my life, one of my biggest fears of coming on a mission was not being able to answer the questions correctly or just digging myself into a whole, especially when investigators are SO good at knowing the bible. This is where my testimony of Personal and Companionship study come in. Every morning we focus on finding things in the bible that go along with what we are teaching. We KNOW most of the Hispanic population out here is very, very catholic. Through the study of BOTH Book of Mormon and the bible I have only deepened my testimony of the truthfulness of this church. It is because of that that we were able to work together as a companionship and apply what we had studied earlier in the day or even the week. We were so blessed to have taught Jose in Bro. Olson's home, too. I'm thankful for member who have the spirit in their home and are so willing to share that with us and our investigators. Bro. Olsen served in Ecuador (where my companion's mom is from) and he was able to help us by baring his testimony and helping explain how and why we need a prophet today. By  the end of the lesson we were both exhausted and frustrated but we could not deny the spirit that was felt in that room as we testified of the truthfulness of the gospel.
Side note: We were also thankful that Bro. Olson fed us dinner!! You guys will never believe what he made... PATACONES!!!! Apparently they have those in Ecuador too so he surprised us with them because he knew we missed home! You should have seen his kids fighting over them, they love them almost as much as we do!
After that appointment we went with Bro. and Sister Hernandez, they took us to visit one of their non-member friends, he was interested! the only problem is... he's not married but he is living with a lady and their daughter.. Marrying people out here is a HUGE issue. A lot of them are illegal, there is no real way to marry them without proper paperwork... I guess we will tackle that hurdle when it comes! Not to mention we are pretty sure he is still legally married to a woman in Mexico... Oh boy...
After meeting with him  we went over to the Juarez family. they are the "golden investigators" who attend church out of own motivation, call US to set appointments, and all that good stuff. Bro Juarez's mother was going into surgery Wednesday and we suggested a priesthood blessing to help her calm down.. they accepted! (we were also supposed to be on exchanges, I was going to miss the blessing but everything worked out and I could be  there! another miracle...) When we arrived I Hid towards the back of everyone and popped out! I was absolutely humbled by the fact that Sister Juarez immediately gave me a hug. I knew they had wanted me to be there but I didn't know it had meant that much to them. We have really bonded over the time that I have spent here, I want nothing more than to help this family take that step into baptism! They are SOOOOO ready. They know it's true and they are more dedicated than half the members in the ward!! Ah, talk about frustration. Bro. Hernandez was the one that gave the blessing, and to make matters even MORE miraculous, the moment he walked in the home he realized that he KNEW THEM FROM MEXICO. Bro. Hernandez sold bread to them when he was a boy! I have absolutely no doubt that this blessing changed everything for the Juarez family... Bro. Juarez kept talking about how there was no way that this was all a coincidence, that I had been able to attend, that Bro. Hernandez knew his parents from youth... We all replied "there are no such thing as coincidences...". The spirit was so strong in that home! They attended church on Sunday and we have an appointment with them this week...
Wednesday we contacted some referrals that the Elders had given us... turns out they were members.. haha. Talk about awkward! We had dinner at the home of the president of  Relief Society and boy did she spoil us! We went through a whole rack of ribs... We talked with her about what we can do to help the less active members in the area and set up a plan.
Thursday was quite special. We had planned on seeing Jill but she wasn't home... We instead went to go visit some of the elderly and widows in one of the wards. I love nothing more than being in the homes of these members, often it is so long between family visits that they are so excited to have someone come see them. We visited with a man named Goldie. He lives with his daughter and her family, he's had a lot of health issues. He had served 4 missions with his wife who just recently passed away. He was so sweet, really quiet but when he shared something, boy did he deliver.
We visited with some other widows and set up a service with Sister Sundberg to clear off the field next to her home.. .we had no idea that would take us 4 hours...
We had dinner at the home of Luz, one of the members from the Spanish ward in Raft River. She made the most delicious tacos I have ever had! They were good, but boy where they spicy. She blended up WHOLE jalapenos and served the tacos with it. If only you guys could see these people laugh at me... Why don't they ever warn me!!!?!! Apparently I was bright red, but the tacos were so good! so much for SLOWLY building up tolerance to these things...
We had an FHE planned with the Hutchison family. We were so excited to teach them because Bro. Hutchison is a re-activation and they went through the temple this past month! they are such a great family and have been working so hard on being obedient. Unfortunately, we know that there is no Testimony until after the trial of faith.... they have had a lot of trials come their way that I think have rocked their faith a little bit. We taught them about the importance of staying strong, having faith and enduring to the end. We also taught about the power that comes behind counting your blessings, from the smallest to the biggest! That sort of re-focuses everything back into perspective and we realize how good we really do have it!
Friday was a CRAZY day. We have been blessed with Ward Mission Leaders in ALBION! We have not been able to go out there much because it is pretty far. We have needed some major help to go out there and no one had been called to do so. We had previously tracted out in the area but everyone was pretty cold. Our WMLs took us out on Friday morning and showed us where everyone lived and pointed out the houses that were in need of us! it ended up being a list of about 30 potential investigators, and in one town that's about 70%! We will be going back this week to start working in that area, we are so excited! In Raft River we had almost all of our appointments cancel so we took the time to visit some of the less active members of the ward. We visited with the Lavander family. Sister Lavander is AMAZING, she takes care of her handicapped older sister. She had 3 other sisters home with her making Christmas gifts! they totally reminded me of Tina and I, it was so funny.
Saturday we had our 4 hour service project, and wayyy too much time on our hands after that. We had our English Daily Dose classes all ready to go... and no one showed up. It was quite the frustrating day for us... Saturday night we got the most glorious text we have ever received... it was CARMEN asking if we could take her to church on Sunday!!! We had appointments Tuesday and Friday with her and she didn't show up to either and here she was asking to come to church... Talk about a roller-coaster of emotions! Of course we said yes and got everything worked out for Sunday morning. We were to speak in that ward anyway so it was perfect!!
Sunday was absolutely hectic but such a good day! We met up with Carmen in the morning and she followed us out to the church. I was beyond nervous, I thought something was going to happen and she would back out or SOMETHING. My poor companion heard of about 100 different scenarios that I kept coming up with as to why she would not go to church, but she did :). She mentioned she had worked late the night before so she was only planning on attending one hour (these cursed wards start backwards!! with RS first and Sacrament last....) we told her that was fine but we were praying that she would want to stay until sacrament meeting. I don't think we have prayed so hard for the teachers and members of that ward... we wanted everything to work out well! As much as I love the Spanish members of the ward I KNOW what kind of crazy things they share during lessons... I was praying nothing like that would come up! and it didn't. The RS lesson could not have gone any better, it went so well that Carmen wanted to stay for the next hour! Since they don't have gospel principles classes we hoped that Sunday School wouldn't be too much but Carmen did so well, she even participated!....and stayed for sacrament meeting!! She was so tired and hungry but she said she could do one last hour. My companion and I had to speak so we took turns sitting next to her. Sister Martinez was so nervous to sit next to Carmen, she was worried she might have questions that she couldn't answer, not to mention it was her first talk on the mission field! But she did really well, even her talk was really well prepared! I know without a doubt that Carmen felt the spirit, things could not have gone any better! We were truly blessed with that miracle. She enjoyed it and let us set an appointment for her for this week, we are hoping her new job doesn't keep her from seeing us.
We had dinner at the Bake's home. They went all out for us! they even had a little musical number put together that I DEFINITELY caught on camera, so be looking forward to that! The Bake kids are adorable, they just love missionaries and missionary work!
Sunday night we had the Daily Dose classes because some of the Spanish members requested to have them since they didn't go on Saturday. We were worried no one was going to show up but we were blessed with yet another tender mercy... We had 11 people there! 3 new ones that had been invited by one of the non-members that comes to the lessons! They are all so eager to learn and I know that as we start and end with prayers, as we help them accomplish something they need, their hearts will be softened and they will be more willing to hear our message... in Spanish :) haha.
Sorry that was SO long! this week truly has been incredible and I am so happy today is p-day because I am EXHAUSTED. Today should be pretty fun though, we are going on a hike and we were invited by Luz to go milk some cows!! haha it's going to be so interesting... I can't wait to show you those pictures next week.
My thought for this week is: there are NO such things as coincidences. We are sons and daughters of a Heavenly Father who loves us, adores us! We may not be able to see what is ahead but He CAN. If we do our part, if we live worthy of receiving blessings and exercise our faith in those times of trial, we WILL be blessed. I know that without a doubt. I encourage you to find the miracles that this week will bring, those miracles that Heavenly Father has been waiting to give you.
I love you all! The church is true!!
Hna. Calero

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