30 September 2013

Semana 37

September 30, 2013
Semana 37
Are you excited for conference this weekend? I can't beleive that a year ago my entire life changed. It's crazy. I hope you are coming to conference with questions though! That is something that I learned from my first mission president-President McKee (who by the way, I won't be suprised if he is called as a General Authority... look out for it. He is AMAZING). Come with a question and the Lord will enlighten your minds. He wants to answer your questions, sometimes we just have to be willing to come and ask Him for help. I've learned that a lot on my mission.
Wow! So much happened this week and so much happened yesterday. Quick thing that happened to me yesterday: One of my best friends (Dania Frandsen) got reassigned to California for her mission and I talked to her on the phone yesterday at a member's house. (She just went into the MTC last week to go to Brazil on her mission but she got reassigned for her visa) She is living with a member in the english ward here in mcminnville's parents house in California and they were on the phone so I said a quick hello. Do you remember when I wrote you that I also saw her on my birthday when I was at the MTC? THE LORD IS LOOKING OUT FOR ME. I guess Dania is the closest thing that I can get to talking to someone who won't be distracting for me when I'm on my mission. Really, the Lord is looking out for me. I can feel that He is looking out for His children, too.
The other day Sister Jensen and I were doing a role play for Jocelyn (the fourteen year old in the family of Betty and Oscar-- our family that is SO CLOSE to baptism) and I can tell you that I HAVE NEVER FELT THE SPIRIT SO STRONG IN A ROLE PLAY/ I have never felt more love that Heavenly Father had for one of His children than in that role play. The Spirit was magnificent. I will never be able to describe it but Sister Jensen and I couldn't deny what we felt.
Betty and Oscar are SO CLOSE to baptism. We were able to have some members in the ward come over and give them a Priesthood blessing and we made a huge breakthrough with Jocelyn. She said that she felt the Spirit in a way that she had never felt it before. We are excited.
Nolan is turning one this week! Oh my goodness. I can't beleive it. I am going to write a letter today and I hope it gets to him soon, even if it gets late. Has he learned how to walk yet?
We are working with so many people that are so close to baptism, hopefully we can really see somethings happen this transfer. I'm getting super antsy to see a baptism of my own. A couple of weeks ago I found out that Letty (a lady that Hermana Healey and I taught) in Hopkinsville got baptized. I was really sad that the Elders hope there didn't tell me because I really wanted to be there at her baptism. I've been able to help people teach that eventually were baptized, but I still don't feel like I've been able to see a baptism of my own. I'm learning a lot about humility and patience....
Well, I hope you are doing well and that you are being a missionary at home. I love you so much! Yesterday I was looking at a picture of our family in Sacrament. Betty and Oscar's three year old daughter, "Betita" was looking at the picture and we looked at everyone in the family and she pointed to them "Madre" "Padre" "Hermana" "Hermano" (three times) y "Bebe" (for Nolan).... I love you family. I'm so grateful that each one of you is my own.
Please keep praying for me. I can feel them and I definitely need them. I'll keep praying for you, too. Sorry this is short again, but I'm trying my hardest to make sure I'm lost in the work.
Con Amor,

Hermana Rich

23 September 2013

Semana 36 Self Defense

Mi Querido Familia,
TRANSFER NEWS: Sister Jensen and I are staying together! We are super excited to stay because we still feel like we have a lot to learn from each other.
Last week at the fair we got to talk to several people at the booth. There was this guy that I talked to for quite a bit of time who looked like he walked out of Duck Dynasty. Well the other day we were trying to contact this older lady we met doing service and instead of running into her we ran into Jerry, the guy I met. Well, we got into conversation with him and he is straightup from the South. Long story, Sister Jensen and I got taught self defense from Jerry. I feel pretty confident that I could throw a good punch now, haha.
It is funny. I haven't really felt like there was that one person I met on my mission who I felt like was the entire reason I went out to this specific plase, but someof the random people that I meet on the street make me wonder. I guess there is something that we have in common that I'm supposed to connect with them about.
We do a lot of service here, so it has been helpful to put a good name out for the church here. I love doing service, not only because it is a break but I love representing the Lord here. I feel like I'm giving something back to him.
Today we also rode our bikes over to the church. It was about a 20 minute bike ride, but I love being able to actually look like a missionary. haha. Like I said, I love riding the hills of TN.
We had 7 investigators at church yesterday and set a baptismal date with this lady named Constance. haha. I'll keep you updated on what happens with Constance, she is sure a character. I love the people from the South who just love the Lord.
Sorry I don't have much more to say. I heard that BYU lost to Utah, that's a shame :/
Working my hardest to keep my focus on the Lord and on the Savior. I just have to keep thinking that I'm doing all of this "BECAUSE I LOVE THE LORD."
Thank you for everything that you do for me family, I love and appreciate you all so much!
Con Amor,
Hermana Rich
"No God, No Peace. Know God, Know Peace."
"God is like oxygen. You don't always see it, but you know it is there."
"God will make you the man that your dog thinks you are."
"What if Jesus was only as committed as you are to him?"
"I did the math and you need to stop here."
"He died for you. Are you living for Him."
"Excercise: Walk with God, Run from the Devil."

"Faith is like a muscle. The more you exercise, the stronger it gets."

16 September 2013

Semana 35 The Lord Loves his Children

September 16, 2013
Hola Familia!
Hey Family! Hope you are doing well!
I'm still enjoying good ole TN. It is such a special place down here. I absolutely love it here.
This week we have been doing the Warren County fair. The English Elders here worked the fair booth all last week and we came on the evenings. We have received about FORTY Spanish referrals from it. So cool! The booth had these surveys at it where we asked people to fill out four simple questions about what their interest would be in learning about the gospel. This mission has been having a lot of success with these surveys and I'm super excited to be serving in an area where I can be apart of it! It's been an amazing way to find a lot of prepared people.
I've also been doing another "40 day fast" like I did in my first area but this time I'm focusing on a lot of different things. Sister Jensen is doing it, too and the blessings are amazing. We have so much more power in our lessons because we are a lot more worthy of the spirit. I have never had more powerful lessons than in the past couple of days. It is amazing. Definitely one of the best things about being a missionary. I know that my setting apart and ministerial certificate give me authority, but living worthy of the spirit gives you power.
 My companion Sister Jensen is awesome because she is so willing to be obedient and want to do the things the Lord expects of us. My whole mission I've either been the greenie, trained the greenie or greenie busted (which is being someones first companion after they have been trained.). It is awesome. I'm already one of the "older sisters" in the mission just because I came out right as the wave of new sisters were coming in, but it is such a blessing to still be around the fire of missionary. I still feel like I have that fire and I hope I never lose it. Can you believe that we are getting TWENTY new sisters this next transfer, then after that ANOTHER TWENTY? So cool! A lot of them are English, but still it will be cool to see the mission change even more.
Can I tell you about a few of the people we are teaching?
Jodi and Leo: They were a golden family that we got from a church hq referral and we have had some amazing lessons with them. She is American and he is Mexican and they have a 5 year old boy. They just barely texted us a few days ago that they are going to be going to church with someone else. HEARTBROKEN. We feel like they might have been antied.. we are praying and hoping that we will be able to get in a lesson with them. The hard part is I know that they felt the spirit in the lessons that we taught them. We were really blessed to have super focused lessons with them and I know that they know that the church is true. I'm afraid it is more of a Social Conversion v. Doctrinal Conversion. :/ I sure hope it pans out...
Betty y Oscar y Familia: SUCH AN AMAZING FAMILY that sister Jensen and I are privileged to teach. A family from Mexico with 3 girls. We had an amazing lesson with them last week where the Spirit was undeniable in every place of the room. They have had all the lessons but there is something holding them back.... we don't know what it is. They want to be baptized as a family and we can tell that that is something really important to them. Their 14 year old daughter Jocelyn seems the most hesitant.... we are trying to focus our attention on her and have made some really amazing breakthroughs, but we can tell that there is still more that she needs. She is Cougar's age and I can tell how strong "friends" play a role into an 8th grader's life. It is really sad because I can really tell that importance of having good friends at that age... We are hoping and praying that they are ready soon. Another concern that we are worried about is that all of their extended family is Catholic. I know that that is a major obstacle for a lot of the people we are teaching who receive a spiritual witness that it is true, but are worried what others will think.
Erika: SO AMAZING. This could potentially be a 3 generation LDS family. Her daughter and grandson are already members and she goes to church every week. Erika's mom lives in Honduras right now and she is waiting on her mom to come up her before she gets baptized. The hard thing is her visa got rejected until October so we have no idea when she could make it up here.... Again with her we can tell there is something deeper holding her back and we are thinking it is her fear that her mom won't approve of her getting baptized. Erika is so amazing and special. She knows the gospel is true and believes it so much. Her and her daughter Isabel are also teachers so it is really fun being around them.
Do you have any ideas for what could help our investigators?
I can't even describe to you how special this branch is down here in McMinnville. The branch is small and a lot of the members are English members who speak Spanish, but there is such a love for all of the people here. I've loved serving in an English ward, but now I feel like I'm getting more of what my mission call asked me to do: Preach the Gospel in the Spanish Language.
Transfers are next week. If I get transferred I will have only been in the area for 4 weeks, but I've been so incredibly grateful for the time I've been here. Like I told you in my last couple of emails: I know that the Lord is in the details and that He is looking out for us. This area was literally an answer to my prayers! We have so many progressing investigators and always have an investigator coming to church every week. Now we are just working on helping them act on the testimony they already have so they can be baptized soon...
Thank you for all of you who decided to read my whole email. I ranted a lot, but I hope you know that I love the mission. I've finally been out long enough to look back and recognize the challenges that I've faced and the ways that it has been hard, BUT I know that the Lord has been there for me during the past 8 months.
He loves his children and I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I've had to be able to see the love He has for them. My eyes have been lifted and my heart has been touched to see and feel how much He loves then.
Con Amor,
Hermana Rich

Cactus... yum! Fried snickers, even better!

No joke we just eat cactus in this mission, haha. I thought you would get a kick out of a cactus picture, haha. Have you tried it yet, cause it is pretty nast. I think I'll stick with some grits (which I tried for the first time last week, and the week before that: COW TONGUE)

 The next one: Please enjoy me and sister jensen teaching away... (this picture was not posed.... just kidding, but I still love it)
Oh, and we just go to fairs on this mission, really, I love the South! 
We have been working at our fair booth all this last week and we were right under the grandstands. Can't say I didn't sing a lot to some of the country music they were playing. Live bands? YES. Karoake? Okay.. it was pretty bad.... 

Also I would send you the picture of us eating fried snickers, but my companion and I look pretty nasty in it, so I will save your eyes from that one..
Hermana Rich

15 September 2013

Random Photos from the Mish

My two favorite members from Manchester where I started my mission. I LOVE SISTER ANDERSON AND SISTER COLLINS. They were so good to me when I was in the area a couple of months ago. We ran back into them at zone conference and I was so excited to see them!
Going to the Temple with Hermana Jensen
Doing service when we were on exchanges for a few days. Hermana Jensen and my former companion Hermana McNab are in the picture too!
Tortillas con Lubia (our investigator)

Semana 34 Biking the hills of TN

Hola Familia!
Yesterday I gave my first talk in Spanish since I've been in the mission field! I bore my testimony last week in Spanish but yesterday 5 minutes before sacrament started the branch president here came up to me and asked "Are you ready to give a talk?" ha. He was serious. 
We set a baptismal date last week and they still haven't been to church yet. I love setting baptismal dates, but it is so hard to see the fruits of those labors. I think a lot of the time a person will go through several dates before they actually commit.
There will be lots of new English sisters coming into the mission this month so they have been getting more and more strict. It's been fun getting to know our district out here a lot better. We are the only sisters in the district, so my campanion and I have really been feeling the need to lead out of example.
We went to the temple on friday. It was so nice to go! I can't believe it has been 6 months since I went last. In a lot of ways I can see how I have changed, but I also feel like I'm definitely not where I want to be yet... so I'm grateful I have 10 more months to get to where I want to be.
We have been doing a lot of fairs out here in my mission where we have people take these surveys and then we go out and contact them. This last weekend we went to help some missionaries in Crossville, TN contact their referrals. Man, I love the South. Every house but one we contacted was a trailer... haha. Also, we met this guy named Si who looked like he was straight up out of Duck Dynasty. Duck Dynasty is a huge thing out here, too. It's crazy. I think I'll be pretty in to it when I get home from my mission, haha.
This week we didn't have a car so we were biking and walking a lot. This has been my first area where I have really had to bike but I'm really grateful for the opportunity. At the end of the day we are so gross and disgusting, but I'm grateful for the sense of fulfillment that we feel when we come home. PLUS we had some really cool finding opportunities come out of it. 11 new investigators! That is a big deal for us! But seriously, these hills are pretty brutal. Hopkinsville was really flat but McMinnville is suuuuupper hilly.
A couple of cool stories:
Last week we did some service for a member by helping train his German Shepard. We put protective gear on our arm and had the dog come and attack us. Pretty crazy.
Mom! When I went to the temple I met an Elder Jorge Jimenez that went to Provo high school. He is fresh into the mission field but he completely remembers you! He asked for your email. I will have to forward you a picture next week.
MIRACLE: Remember how I'm serving in an area right next to where I started my mission? WELL technically we are the Spanish Branch for the stake so yesterday the sisters in Manchester said that they were going to bring a family of 5 to our branch here in McMinnville. When they brought the family guess who it was?! MY FIRST INVESTIGATOR EVER ON MY MISSION: AURA?! Do you remember me writing yall about her? She is from Guatemala and has a million kids. It was amazing to see her at church. I remember when I first met her I had so much greenie fire, but then we kind of lost contact with her and I was eventually transferred. What do you know though, she came to church yesterday and said the lesson in sunday school was an answer to her prayer. AMAZING. The Lord is in the details and I'm so grateful I was able to see her come to church. I love McMinnville a lot, but if the only reason I were to come to this area was so I could see Aura at church... it might just be worth it.
The Lord takes care of His children. I know that. I haven't been able to see the entire process of meeting and investigator to when they are baptized, but I still know that I've been able to fulfill some kind of purpose in each of the areas I've been able to serve in.
 I'm going to try and work on writing things down during the week to write to you, sorry this email is so spacey.
I love you! Keep praying for me and for the people I'm able to meet out here and teach. Missionary work is such a roller coaster ride of emotions all the time... I can't even describe it. I think this will mentally be the hardest thing I've ever done in my life especially as I'm becoming more and more aware of my weaknesses. Thank goodness that we can repent with rejoicing and rely on the Atonement in our lives!
I love you all! Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks for all the personal emails, sorry I can't write to you each individually more.
Con Amor,
Hermana Rich

02 September 2013

Semana 33

2 Septiembre 2013
Hola Familia!

Mi primera semana en McMinnville. 

Wow! McMinnville is definitely a place of miracles, I feel like there are a lot of good things that will be happening here and I also feel like I am getting the numbers that I deserved in Hopkinsville. 

In a lot of ways we feel like we will be reaping the blessings that the other missionaries sowed. 

I think it is funny how missionary work works like this, we all get transferred around but we somehow continue the work.

The Lord doesn't need the missionaries, but the missionaries need the Lord. 

This week I ate cow tongue! It was actually my first day here in McMinnville and I'll admit it really wasn't that bad. 

It is funny serving in McMinnville being a Spanish Branch. I feel like the work is so different. I love it though, but the dynamics are super different but there is definitely a more humble spirit here because we all have to be friends.

Last Friday we got a Church Headquarter referral and when we went to go and contact it. SET A BAPTISMAL DATE! FAMILY OF THREE. 

It was my first church hq referral and Sister Healey and I would pray about getting one in Hopkinsville, but then we never did.... of course my first week with Hermana Jensen and I we got one. 

Sorry this is short, there are other missionaries waiting to email, if I can I will write more, but love you and hope to hear from you soon!

Hermana Rich