Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wednesday P-day again.

Hey Everyone,

Sorry I couldn't really write last week cause I only had like 10 minutes. Puerto Rico has so many holidays, its a good thing that our p-days will be on wednesday from now on. Thanks for all the emails. Sounds like you had a ton of fun in Spring City sounds like you all had a ton of fun. Wow, that's really cool that you got called to be temple workers mom and dad. I know you will have the most amazing experience. I can't wait to be able to go to the temple when I get back I really miss it. I have always taken for granted that we have a temple so close by. Ab, how did registration go? Did you get all the classes you wanted?

Well things are pretty good here. We are still working with Julio, he knows that he needs to make the decision about whether or not to be baptized but he says that he hasn't received an answer yet. We are just working with him to try and help him with his doubts. He is really confused about lots of things because he has been to so many different churches that he is really confused especially about things like gifts of the spirit and things like that. It's a common problem here because there is so much confusion about religion. Lots of evangelical churches and pentecostal churches. He has visited just about everyone of them. We are also working with Linette still. Wow, she is amazing. We have only been able to visit her once recently. But Hermana Torro told us that her mom had told her that come August she couldn't go to church anymore. Linette told her that she would start helping around the house more cleaning etc. if she would let her go to church. So this last week she has been cleaning, babysitting etc and her mom showed up saturday night with a dress and said this is for you to wear to church. The clothes she wears are a little short and inmodest but her mom obviously recognized taht and bought her a really cute modest dress. So we are praying hard for her. She is so amazing. We have a few other investigators but we are looking a lot right now.

One of the new changes with President Alvarado is that all the meetings will be in english, because he wants those that don't speak english to learn english. It's hard because my companion doesn't speak very much english at all but we are trying to speak in english more and practice all the time. He has asked us to focus on the family and to try and find and teach families not just individuals. We are focusing on the doctrine of christ which is faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the holy ghost and enduring to the end. But we are focusing a lot of baptism. Extending baptism dates during the first lesson has been somethign that has been a little hard for me. I have always thought more on the line of I don't want to baptize people too fast or set a baptism date if they don't understand very much because I don't want them to go inactive right away. I also worry that people are going to be like wait wait wait I just met you half an hour ago why are you asking me to get baptized? So that's been hard for me. I have spent a lot of time thinking about it and praying about it. We've had a few people that reacted that way but we've also had some really spiritual lessons. I know that this is not only what President Alvarado wants us to do but what the other church leaders want us to do it is helping us focus more on teaching with the spirit and helping us know if the people are prepared or if they just want to learn about the church. That happens a lot, people are taking the lessons but they have no intention of every attending church or being baptized they just like to learn. But I know that as I stretch myself and even though I sometimes don't have the most confidence in my teaching I know that as we continue to try and teach more with the spirit we will see some changes. We are already seeing that as we practice teaching it differently there is a different spirit that we aren't just here to convince people that this is the true church but to teach them the doctrines that will help them gain eternal life and not just individually but as a family. Anyway those are some things that I have been working on lately.

Well not much else has been going on here. Hope you all have fun in San Francisco.

Love you all.

Monday, July 19, 2010

New P-day this week.

Hey, So we had p-day changed back to monday just for today because President is going to have a meeting with all of the leaders this week. So I hope everything is great sorry I won't be able to read your emails until next wednesday. Not much is new here since I just wrote on wednesday. Still working hard in Toa Baja. We found a new investigator really awesome on saturday knocking doors in a new area. And for the first time we were able to set a baptismal date during the first lesson. His name is Jesus and he is really awesome. So we're excited. This morning we had our first interviews with President Alvarado. Wow! Amazing. The spirit was so strong and we learned a lot. He is very different from President Martineau but really great. The spirit is really strong whenever he talks or teaches but wow he helped us a lot to know how to work better with our ward. So amazing. Sorry this is going to be really short because it is a Puerto Rican holiday and all the libraries and universities are closed. We had to come to the office to do email but we don't have much time. But I hope everything is going well. Love you all a ton. PS I don't know if you have time any of you but if you want to write my companion Hermana Rodriguez I know she would love a letter she doesn't get very many being from so far away. Spanish or English cause we are practicing english. Just a thought. Love you all!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Visitors From Home

Hey Everyone!
Wow, what a week. Erin congratulations on your scholarship. Wow, I can't believe that. Well I can, but that is just way too cool. I am so proud to be the sister of this year's winner of "The Flying Pig Grade- A, Number One Ham Humor Award." Haha; trying saying that ten times fast! I laughed forever reading that. That is so cool. I'm going to be laughing about it all week. But the cool thing is that they said that they are excited to sell it in their stores. Good luck with reading it on Monday. I'm sure you'll do great. There is a reason they chose your story.  Just be yourself and they'll love it. Wow! And AB! Congrats on your AP tests. So amazing! I hope you get my email in time and I hope it helps you register for next year. Thanks for the photos Rach sounds like things are going good.

Sounds like you have all been having some crazy adventures. Thanks for the pics. So fun. Wow, mom sounds like you should start selling raspberries.  I can't believe you have so many. PS was that picture real? Is that a cookie?  It's really cool. Thanks for sending the skirt. I really like it.  I think I'm good with clothes for awhile.  You are the best!

So that was a huge surprise to see Rob and Cindy at our ward this sunday when they were visiting their son. So crazy that they were staying in Dorado. We were outside waiting for our investigators when I saw them walking through the parking lot.  It was totally unreal. It was so good to see them. I wasn't able to talk to them much because we had a lot of things to do helping our investigatros and coordinating with the members for visits that week. But I was able to talk to them for a minute and it was really good.

This week has been pretty good. We are still teaching Julio. He didn't come to church this week because he accidentally slept in. But we had a good lesson with him on thursday, although it was pretty crazy because he told us some crazy stories and got really off topic.  We were able to figure out what he needs. The last few lessons he has told us these weird stories that have to do with what he thinks are gifts of the spirit and he told us some weird things like how he has had visions and the gift of tongues (very common here with lots of different churches). So this last lesson we talked about prayer and what the spirit is, because we realized that he is so confused.  He doesn't know what to think because he has a whole life-time of experiences in different churches and everything we have taught is really jumbled in his head. He has been searching for God his whole life and along the way has become really confused. He just needs to ask directly and then wait for the answer. Tonight we are going to teach him-focusing with this goal in mind. We'll see how it goes. He has a lot of potential.

We have also another investigator, Linnette, who has been coming to church with the Torro family. She is amazing! She is reading the Book of Mormon and when she has a question or doesn't understand a word she writes it down and looks it up in the Guia de las escrituras or she calls Hermana Torro and asks her. She wants to get baptized but her parents are not too excited about her going to church. Her mom is rarely at home and won't let us come by unless she is there. It is almost impossible to visit her but we know that if we can just keep getting to know the parents and get them to gain confidence in us we will be able to teach her more regularly. She fasted on fast sunday even though she didn't come to church. She told us that it was really hard becuase she was on vacation with her family and everyone kept offering her food. Hermana Torro later told us that she fasted with the purpose of having her parents be more open to her going to church and listening to the missionaries. She is so amazing!

So... funny experience this week. Haha! Well we are teaching an older couple named Luz Divina and Angel. Well mostly we are teaching Luz becuase angel doesn't really understand much. Angel is pretty crazy. He is this really old guy and he likes to sing and he recites poetry and he likes to talk a lot. His wife told us he is in the early stages of alzheimers.  It's pretty crazy cause sometimes he tells us random stories and we have to try and get back to the point in the lesson. And he really likes to give us food. Well they gave us food and then he brings out this little pound cake that was in this tinfoil tray. Then he hands my this huge knife. I mean huge!It's like a butcher knife (well maybe not a butcher knife but imagine the biggest knife that mom has in the kitchen) and he tells me to cut the cake. So as I start to cut this little cake with this giant knife he yells "wait!" So I am sitting there with the tip of this giant knife in the cake, wondering, "What in the world?"  I don't know if I should pull it out or keep going so I just left it there the tip in the cake. He grabs a guitar from behind the couch and starts singing, "Happy Birthday to You!" in English. I wish I had a picture becuase I can just imagine my face and my companion said it was priceless. Here I am knife still raised with the tip just barely in the cake completely confused while Angel sings me happy birthday in his loudest voice possible with a thick Spanish accent. Never mind that my birthday is in March. We were laughing so hard. Anyway just a random funny story I thought you might enjoy. Love you all.  I hope you have the best week ever!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The mission is combined...New Name

Hey Family!!!

Thanks for all your emails.  Thanks for the photos its sounds like your trip was a lot of fun or should I say trips. You are all so outdoorsy now! Wow, I'm going to have to get into shape to keep up with all of you. But it sounds like a lot of fun. I'm glad you got the bike thing figured out, Mom, that's sort of funny. Sounds like you are keeping really busy. Keep me updated on all your fun things.

Well this week was pretty good. We are no longer the San Juan West Mission just San Juan. So weird! (you could change it on my blog for my address if you want or figure out how). Who knows where I will end up next transfer on the east side or even in one of the small islands. Guess we'll see. We met with our new president this week and it was amazing. Definately amazing! The spirit was so strong. We talked a lot about the family and focusing on the family in our teaching. It's weird to see a new president and things are definately going to change with how we do things here in the mission but having a Puerto Rican President is just what this mission needs right now. We are supposed to extend a baptismal invitation with every first lesson that we teach.  That's been a little hard for me becuase sometimes I don't feel comfortable extending an invitation to be baptized to someone who just listened about the church for the first time. Its different but it also is changing the way that we are focusing our teaching and that's good. Sometimes its a little uncomfortable.  For example we extended an invitation with this older couple. They had given us juice and we taught the lesson.  I extended an invitation to be baptized when they received an answer that these things were true and then they just sat there and stared blankly at us for a few seconds then the husband got up and said "are you finished with that?" and without waiting for the answer picked up the empty glasses and then he walked into the kitchen and then walked back and completely changed the subject and started asking us about what we liked about Puerto Rico.  So it can be awkward sometimes but that's what you got to do right? But we are really excited because we have found some really awesome people this week. We just have to get them to church and they'll be golden. Last week we received a reference from a woman in Florida who is Puerto Rican and was here visiting her mom. She called the mission office to find our number and then invited us to an FHE with her neighbor Carla. We had an awesome FHE talking about the family. Things are good here and I know that its just a matter of time before we can help our investigators start progessing towards baptism we have some really amazing people that we are working with.

My companion is awesome; Hermana Rodriguez. She is from El Salvador, that makes companion number 2 from salvador. She's so humble and has such a strong testimony. She's awesome and I know we are going to have a great transfer together. I am learning from her a lot already. Well anyway love you all a ton.   Sorry I wish I had more exciting stories to tell. I'll write more next week.

Photos: Me and President and Sister Martineau their last day.

Me and some of the sisters in our mission. My new companion is on my left, the one with the black button up shirt.