19 August 2013

Week 31 "The week that nothing happened."

Hey Familia!

Hope you have a fantastic week!

I can't beleive it is already P-day. 

This was the first week of the new transfer and I've decided to call this email "The week that nothing happened." We had a good week though! But it seems like we are in the same routine so it does feel like not much happened to us. Anyways, I'll still try to give you some quick updates.

Can I tell y'all some really exciting news! My MTC companion Sister Sasser got her visa! She's been serving in the Virginia Richmond Mission for over 4 transfers and she's heading down to Argentina next week!

Updates from Hermana Rich:

The Church is True. I know it is. 

We are still struggling getting our investigators to church, but we know that we are working hard everyday. We've been able to see a lot of miracles here and that is super exciting. We helped set a date with a family last night. The other sets of missionaries have been teaching them but we were at their house for dinner. He's originally from Haiti, so that's pretty cool. I've been out on my mission for too long though. Last night when we were at their house Brother Xantus (the guy gettting baptized) said he was Haitian. Sister Healey then said, "so that means you from?" And I immediately responed, "Haitia" (but I said it like Asia with an H :/) Woooops. Haitia? I don't know where that came from. 

We taught a lot of RCLA (Recent Convert Less Actives) this week. It was ridiculous, but it has been really cool. We are trying to help a lot quit smoking, it's been a challenge. It's one thing helping our investigators quit, but another helping a baptized member.... 

We had 9 member presents this week! Which is a big deal for us! I remember my first transfer I only had one, maybe two member presents?

Carmen and Ciro haven't been to church yet... so that's a bummer. Neither has our investigator Jazmin who I've been teaching for forever. She quit her job though! But now she has started school...

We did however try and reset a baptismal date with Jesus. He's a character. We got really bold with him the other night and told him that God sent us in his path so that he will be baptized. He is someone that really wants 

Sister Healey got proposed to by Angel last week. He proposed to me first a couple of weeks ago, so I was a little disappointed, but I think they will be happy together. haha. We haven't seen a lot of progress with Angel lately. For a while we took a break from him because he pretty much told us that he didn't want to change at all. However, we felt like the Lord kept pushing us back to meet with him, so now we usually come over and read from the Book of Mormon. Nourishing that seed, I guess. 

The Elders who serve here in Hopkinsville are really... mature? We see them a lot because we cover the same area. Last week before ward council they put a snapping turtle in our apartment and today they put hair gel on our car door handles. 

Kentucky weather is ridiculous. It is pretty much always raining. We had some memorable lessons on people's porches last week.

Did I tell y'all that I ate venison meat loaf last week? I would have been fine if it was just venison, or just meatloaf. But venison meatloaf? After she told us what it was I just kept trying to get it down and not think about it. 

Yesterday at church they did a pretty cool third hour combined meeting on Duty to God. Is that something Cougar is doing? It looks pretty awesome so I hope he is because I think that will definitely help prepare him for the Priesthood and to eventually serve a mission someday!

I hit 7 months last week. That's crazy. Before I know it I will be home with y'all wondering what happened to the time. 

Sorry I rambled a lot in this email. 

I love you. I hope you are all doing well! You are in my prayers.

Hermana Rich

12 August 2013

Week 30

Week 30
August 12, 2013
This week it will be easier for me if I send forward you my weekly email to my mission president because it covers a lot of the same things I would probably like to tell y'all anyway.
I can't wait for you to read about Carmen. I seriously love her so much. She is such a sassy Puerto Rican lady. She has been living in the United States for about 10 years now and this is the first time that missionaries have found her again. And of course, Sister McNab and I (my first companion in this area) found and started teaching her boyfriend (/husband, they pretty much act like husband and wife, but we will need to work on getting them married....) our first transfer here. I will always be so grateful for the opportunity I had to meet Carmen because it really testifies to me that there is a purpose for Hopkinsville Spanish to be here even though we haven't had any Spanish baptisms yet. The Elders and us have been tag teaming teaching a lady named Letty and she is supposed to be baptized next week, so we are really excited about that. She is definitely prepared and her son just got baptized yesterday!
We still love Sister Carlisle like we wrote y'all last week. She is sooooo cool. I hope I always stay in contact with her after my mission. It's funny that on my mission I have gained a lot of new grandparents, most of them through the members we teach. Like I said in my email to President Andersen, we are experiencing some major breakthroughs with the less actives we are visiting. I'm glad that I'm able to see the fruits of those labors if anything. There was one lady who I never met for 2 and a half months who I kept calling and knocking on her door. Then last week, guess who came up to me and asked if we were the Sisters that kept coming to her door? SISTER DORVIL. And guess what? She is an RM who spoke
She is also from the Bahamas! And Letty is originally from Bermuda! I'm still trying to keep a list of all the people I have been able to share the gospel with that are from different countries. It's so cool! I never would have thought that this place would be such a melting pot!
Also, remember when I told you all about Angel?  Well, we ahve been teaching another one of his uncles and his wife. THEY ARE SO AMAZING. I love this entire family from El Salvador. I can't even describe it. A couple of weeks ago Sister Healey and I were thinking we needed to start seeing Angel less because he made it so obvious that he didn't want anything do with changing and eventually becoming baptized. Sister Healey and I wanted to stay focused on our purpose-- instead of just visiting with him all the time-- we wanted to make sure that we were focused on those who were ready to change and accept the restored gospel. But throughout the week we kept having this nagging feeling like we needed to go back and see him. I don't know why, I'm really not sure when he is going to change or want to change, or his whole family for that matter. They love the Catholic church. They are a very special family though. I can really tell. I can tell that Heavenly Father is very mindful of them and that is why He keep sending them back to us. Have I told that we are also teaching Angel's uncle and aunt? They are so amazing. I feel the spirit everytime we go over and there and visit with them. And they know that Joseph Smith was a prophet. I'm not sure if they are ready to change from their Catholic beleifs, but it is definitley a start.
Letter to President Andersen this week:
"President Andersen!

Miracle Mail from Hopkinsville Spanish Sisters! We are both so excited to stay in this area because we both feel like we have got some unfinished business to take care of here. Also, here is a MIRACLE.

When I first came into this area I met this cute, sweet man from Mexico. We met him tracting trying to find an old potential. His name is Ciro and everytime we met we could only sit on his front porch because his wife was gone in Puerto Rico for the summer. He was always super nice, but we got to the point where we were only meeting him every so often until we could meet his wife as well. WELL his wife came home Puerto Rico last week and called us and asked when we were coming over. On the phone she called us "Hermanas" and everything. Then when we went over to the house she hugged us and embraced us, kissed us on the cheek like they do in Puerto Rico and when we sat down with her she told us she was a baptized member! She was baptized 30 years ago and was an active member in Puerto Rico for three and a half years!!!!!! We were dying we were so happy. At that point Ciro was in the room so the only thing I could think of to do was to teach the Restoration again. We taught it and Carmen remembered a lot of it. When we gave the first vision she was crying so hard. The Spirit was so strong. I have never felt it more strongly on my entire mission. You could not deny it! Carmen remembers and she knows it is true. She knows that she needs to come back. We told her that it was "un milagro" that God sent us to her again. She knows that. We committed Ciro to be baptized. He was pretty hesistant, but she said that she knows he will get baptized. It will just take him some time. She said that when he would call her in Puerto Rico he would talk about us. Ciro will be a tough egg to crack, but I have no doubt that this is a decision these two are going to take together. Carmen could not deny her feelings abou the power of Restoration and the testimony of the Prophet Joseph.
President, it was amazing. I have no doubt about it. I've been easily discouraged here in Hopkinsville wondering why we aren't seeing success in the form of baptisms, but I know God has his children here that he is mindful of. I feel so priveleged to share this message of the Restoration with my long lost brothers and sisters, especially in the Spanish language. These people need to hear this message. Carmen is going to be our main focus this next transfer. Heavenly Father is ready for her to come back and to take Ciro with her.

We have a couple of progressing investigators who know that Joseph Smith was a prophet, the biggest obstacle that we are overcoming is helping them recognize that this is the true church of Jesus Christ becasue a lot of them feel really content and happy in their Catholic life.

President, we have been able to "find those that will receive us" but I feel like we are struggling to find people who are actually searching for the truth of this gospel. They will receive us as missionaries and they love us as their friends, but its been hard finding those who are ready to change.

We did find an investigator named Jesus who is seeking. He is seeking what is God's will. I know that if he is really and truly sincere that he will be baptized. I just know it. I'm not sure if I will be able to see his baptism, but I know it will happen. We could really use some help with him getting him to FOCUS. He likes to talk the whole time we teach him
Then there is Jasmin who is one of the most prepared people I have met on my entire mission (and she actually found us, not us finding her), but I think Heavenly Father is still trying to teach me about patience. She has been working a lot so we have not been able to see her or teach her as much as we would really like to. I really hope I get to see it happen with her President!

Thank you President for all you do! I'm so grateful for you and your lovely wife! Interviews were very edifying, I'm so grateful for that. Thank you for reminding me that Heavenly Father will suffer me to come to this area so that I can even just find the "one lost sheep" who is prepared right now to accept the gospel.

Also, we are seeing some amazing breakthroughs in our less active work. They are coming back! Sister Carlisle is just one of the many blessings we have been able to experience while I've been here. Although it is discouraging our Spanish investigators still are not making it to church, we are having a lot of English returning members! The ward is going to grow so much!

We love and appreciate all that you do!

Sister Rich"
The Lord is blessing us. I'm so grateful for that. I feel like my faith has been tested a lot here. I have really doubted whether or not I had a lot of faith because I didnt feel like we were seeing miracles, but all of the missionaries around us were. It is hard to accept that we can still be successful missionaries although we aren't having the baptisms like we would like too.
Before I go I need to share my testimony of the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that my testimony about him and the work he did has grown so much for me on my mission. We have to share it everyday but I finaly feel like I can bring convincing power to my words. We have had a lot of investigators who have questioned the validity of Joseph Smith and I feel like it all cumulated for me when I recited the first vision for Carmen last week.
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet called of God. I know that he saw God the Father, and the Son Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith was called to be the prophet that would restore the Church of Jesus Christ on the earth in these Latter Days. I know that although he may not have been a perfect man, what he did to bring about the Book of Mormon and the sacrifices he made were perfect. He was a man called of God and he gave his life to seal his testimony. I feel priveleged to know that I had ancestors who beleived his testimony, sacrificed what they had because of their beleif, and walked along side of him. I am so grateful for the testimonies of my ancestors because it has brought me to where I am today.
We also had a lesson with our investigator named Larry last week and I cried after we shared the first vision with him. It had no affect on him and he was solid as a rock during it. I cried becasue I knew that story was true and I was so excited to share it with my brother, but he wouldn't beleive me. How could something that I knew so strongly to be true have no affect on someone else? It was hard, but we made it through it.
Thank you family for all of your love and support. Thank you for your prayers. Sometimes I wonder why I'm not more discouraged while I'm out here. I wonder why I haven't reached my breaking point yet, but I know that that is becasue y'all are praying for me. Somehow I find the strength to continue to "preservar hasta el fin!"
Con Amor,
Hermana Rich

05 August 2013

Week 29: Slugs, Artists, Mirrors and Flirting

Week 29
August 5, 2013

I hope y'all enjoyed that title. It pretty much sums up this week for us. 

First of all, MIRACLE YESTERDAY. We still haven't had any of our Spanish investigators at church, but a less active we have been working with came to church AND bore her testimony. It was amazing. Sister Healey and I couldn't even hold in all of our joy. 

This is the story that I sent to my mission president, so I figure I'll just copy and paste:

"Yesterday Sister Healey and I had one of the BEST Sundays we have ever experienced in this ward. We have been visiting this less active named Sister Carlisle and on Saturday night she asked us if she could follow our car to the church building, so she could know how to get there. She was a really active member when she lived in Franklin and went to church in the building right next to the temple, but she hasn't been to church since she's lived here in Hopkinsville- and that has been a couple of years. After she followed us over to the church we said goodbye and said "See ya tomorrow!" but she told us "I'm not promising anything." WELL the next day we were heading into the church building and saw her shaking hands with the Bishop. When we passed by the Bishop he told her that he had never met her, but had the prompting to say "Welcome home." 

Well, fast forward to sacrament meeting we sit down next to her and I had the prompting to go up and bear my testimony. When I came and sat down again she gave me a hug because it was a pretty emotional testimony for me where I bore my testimony about the Plan of Salvation. Then you know those last five minutes of sacrament meeting where no one wants to go up and everyone just sits there in silence? Well, imagine our surprise when Sister Carlisle got up! Sister Healey and I were just about going to die. She bore her testimony about how for years she had avoided the Elders, then one day the sister missionaries and "Sister Pam" came to her door and she answered. She also talked about how coming back to church was like "coming home" and how grateful she was when Bishop told her "Welcome home." Later Bishop was asking us how much he should push with her. We told him that she had told us once that she was someone that needed her own time and not to be pushed.... then he said he chatted with her just as she was leaving the building. He told her that he would take things on her time, but she just responded "Bishop, I'm back." WE ARE SO EXCITED. 

We get so many false promises about our investigators or our less actives coming to church so we are so grateful when others are able to make the leap and actually be there. We have such a big place in our heart for Sister Carlisle. She is amazing. 

It's funny President. I feel like I haven't been able to see a lot of the "success" that I would like to as a missionary, but when I get those miracles that are small and are tender mercies, it makes everything else so worth it. I can't explain it. I think the Lord wants me to learn a lot of patience and gratitude. I guess I have to recognize and be grateful for all of the little things before I can see that BIG MIRACLE that I'm looking for. 

The church is true. I know it is. I can't deny it. "

Oh and Sister Carlisle is a super talented artist and author. When she becomes famous someday I will be sure to let everyone know that I met her when I was serving my mission in Kentucky. It's funny, I feel like I'm adopting a lot of grandparents here in Kentucky. I think it fills the hole I have to still have grandparents of my own that are living. They are all amazing and they have really touched my life. 

Oh, and slugs. The other night after companionship prayer Sister Healey and I were getting in bed and it was already 10:30... when she notices this baby snake in the corner of the room. We spent about ten minutes examining it when we realized it was a gigantic slug (okay, maybe it was only a couple of inches.) It was a funny night trying to get rid of it out of our room and we were super over-dramatic about it. Sister Healey is going to have a blast once she makes it to Argentina, isn't she? haha. 

Mirrors... remember my Nacho Libre story last week with the corn field? Well, I guess I have awful luck with this car because last week we were driving through some pretty intense construction and we were driving past those big orange construction barrels. Then you know, all of a sudden this giant orange barrel comes and hits the side mirror and then runs away.... haha just kidding it. I hit a construction barrel going about 40 miles an hour and nicked the side view mirror. The only damage I did was take out the mirror part of it though... I guess I hit it just right? Hope y'all enjoy the picture I will attach. 

And flirting. We feel like we have so many investigators; and we have some really good relationships built up with them. I still feel like I have the "greenie" faith and hope that all of the people we meet are in some way prepared, but I'm getting pretty tired of teaching all of these young hispanic guys where we feel like there is so much potential.... but no, they just want to flirt with you and never make any commitments like coming to church :/ We're not sure what we are going to do with our investigator Jesus :/ 

I love you family! Sorry this email is so short, but you are all champs! 

Con Amor, 

Hermana Rich