Monday, October 24, 2016

The field is brown and crusty and looks like Texas

FAMILIA!!! As Katie just said to me in an e-mail...I'm a real deal missionary!!! Here are my updates....

First and foremost, I have never been happier. I know that sounds cliché because every missionary says that but it's true. The combination of KNOWING that Christ lives, having a desire toa change/repent, being committed to living the gospel, always having the spirit guide and comfort me, and helping others feel the same is enough to make me the happiest person on the planet. Anyone can have this, you don't have to be a missionary!

Leaving the MTC was kind of sad. I had so many awesome experiences there and met the coolest people. My district was soooo hard to leave but elder mongkeya and faber came to NM so its all good. 

Getting to the field was soooo awesome. I was dead tired and most if the first day went in one ear and out the other, but that night I had one of those experiences when you know the church is true with every part of you. We were driving and the sun was setting over all of ABQ. (look up ABQ NM sunsets...they are gorgeous)...and I couldn't help but think about how real God is. I have always felt closest to him when I am near his creations, and this was no exception. I felt so comforted, and so "at-home". It's hard to describe but I know God loves the people of NM just by seeing that gorgeous sunset. It is evidence of His love for all of His children, and His desire to bless us. And I have a desire to help the people here to be able to look to God and feel the love he has for them. It is as simple as just looking up and seeing the sunset that has been there all along. 

The second day I got assigned to El Paso TX and met my companion. She is THE BEST!!! She is way good friends with John and Lincoln (my cousins) and we figured out I have actually met her before!!! (Side note to Brandon Turner: remember that random music thing at my cousins house? Ya we literally sat right next to my future trainer. Whoa.) 

Hermana Thomson is my soul sister. She has only been out 12 weeks and apparently was so stressed to train, but she is doing a killer job. She is a great example of obedience and faith. Every day we have to rely on the spirit SO much because she is new to Spanish and I am really really new to Spanish. I have grown so much in my testimony of prayer and following inspiration. It is so beautiful and humbling to see the work going forward when we both are so new to this. (Honestly though you would think Hna T has been training her whole life. She rocks.)

My first day in the field we decided to go tracting. We prayed, got out of the car, and she asked me where I felt we should knock. I think God was trying to build my confidence a little bit because there was an amazing family behind the first door we knocked. The spirit was so strong when we talked to them. It was awesome. And I could share a billion other experiences like that just from this first week! It is so cool to be stumbling over Spanish....or even not know what to share about the church, and then have the spirit take over and all of the sudden the gospel is being talked about in Spanish and I don't even know what's going on. It's awesome.

Two awesome highlights to share:

WE HAVE A BAPTISM!! Fist in our area for over 3 transfers. This guy, Ruben, walked into the church a couple days before I got the field yelling "does anyone speak Spanish?" Hna T and her comp just happened to be there and were able to talk to him! I showed up and he had already had his first lesson, but I have helped with the second and beyond. He has epilepsy and a few other problems that make it hard for him to have a job or go to school (he's 22), but he lives with his mom and just enjoys life. He has such a sweet spirit and a huge willingness to learn and follow God's plan. He is so prepared and so excited to be baptized, and we are so excited for him! 29th of OCT!!! 

But last night Ruben got a little to happy about the gospel message and tried to kiss me.....he got me on the cheek. So I have some repenting to do....and tonight when we teach law of chastity we are also going to sneak in some mission rules. Anyway...that's a memory for the books for sure.

THE DAY OF MIRACLES: We call last Thursday the day of miracles because sooo many cool things happened. We started the day with two great lessons and I don't have time to explain those, but they were awesome. Then we went to the church to meet a referral Luis but he didn't show. So we sat down on the grass, next to a fence, to do our language study. I felt the spirit whisper to me that I needed to pray for someone to approach I did. And right as I closed my prayer a head popped over the fence. CHA-CHING. I was blown away. My companinon had to do all of the talking cause I was still dumb-struck. Turns out he is the father of a boy that used to be taught and he wants to missionaries to come back into their lives. DONE.

After that we had a couple more appointments where again, the spirit was so strong. After leaving a baby shower for Emirita (our investigator who just moved into town...the ward threw her a baby was awesome) we decided to try by Cynthia's house even though she is never home. She had only had the first lesson because she was found right before I got here, but apparently she was interested. So as we got out of the car Hna. T grabbed a Libro De Mormon....even though she had already given them one. She said she had a feeling we would need it. 

Well as we walked in we ran into Cynthia's boyfriend. He said he was leaving but would come right back in a few minutes. So we went in and got to know Cynthia and her son. Her son was hard to talk to because he is 10 and has ADHD...can't focus super well. But all of the sudden I started sharing the story of the stripling warriors and he was attentive the whole time. He loved it! Pretty soon the boyfriend came back and he was super interested. We taught the whole first lesson and they were all so engaged. At the end I invited them to be baptized and the boyfriend (Adrian) said....."this is all true, I don't see why not!" HA missions are awesome.

Oh then at church on sunday the guy who stood us up, Luis, came shuffling in to sacrament meeting with his walker! The guy is like 80 years old and decided to get up at 8:30 and come check us out. Whoo!

Anyway...I keep pinching myself because I'm so happy. I still wake up every day a little confused....trying to figure out if dad is making breakfast yet or if Braden, Cole, Seth, and Tanner are coming over... and then I'm like WAIT I'M ON A MISSION! makes me laugh every morning. lol. 

Anyway...that was super long and I got to go.....but that's my update! I love this area soooo much...our ward is awesome...everything is great. Just want to say that none of this would be happening if the gospel wasn't if you don't know, you can find out!


Hermana Jo

(P.S. I saw Spencer Smith! He seems good and happy!)

Dad just hit me with a bunch of here is a P.S. for the group e-mail.

My apartment is sweeeettt. We have the classiest yellow chair and indian print sofa. I get green smoothies every morning so you could say I'm a happy girl. The trip from the MTC to the field isn't important. it was long..tiring...I got drenched in the rain....and I got to call the fam. Also....ya my comp is awesome...just have to say that again. We are best friends already. Ummmm if anyone wants to send me healthy nature snacks I wouldn't complain...missionaries can't afford my usual over-priced organic crap. and I realllllllyyyyy love getting letters (COUGH COUGH SAM AND MOLLY HOW DARE YOU GO TWO WEEKS WITHOUT TELLING ME ABOUT YOUR LIVES) 

oh and PPS shout out to the Rhotons for their AWESOME letters. that was so fun. Mitch and I opened them together at the MTC!