Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Week 31

Squished on our way to Church with Hermana Cortes, Antonio, Zimmerman & Green!

Hola Hola Familia y Amigos!

Spiritual experience! 
So, I really liked Elder Andersen's advice he gave us about miracles and about praying more specifically to find people.  Hermana Pichiule always talked about how the Brother of Jared, when trying to figure out how to provide light for his ship, gave the Lord something to touch.  He was the one that gave the Lord stones. He didn't just sit back and do nothing about his problem-he acted!  So with this idea in mind, Hermana Zimmerman and I decided to set a goal for her training, and we decided that we would pray for what we think the Lord wants for the people here in Cabo Rojo.  After a lot or prayer and pondering, we received our answer, we need to find a family of four. Two parents and two children.  With this, we have been praying every opportunity we can to find this family.  On Saturday, we were contacting all day and we were praying to know specifically where to go, which houses, and where this family that the Lord has prepared to receive the gospel is.  We started tracking and we found not just one, but 3 FAMILIES of four, and some had more than four members of a family!  It was truly a miracle and we gave many prayers of gratitude in return to our Heavenly Father who guided us to these families.  We are so excited to see what the Lord has in store for these families and for us as His mouthpieces to declare the gospel.

Ivette and Nicole - We haven't been able to see them for about a week and a half now.  Nicole is really sick and so every time we call to see if we can set up an appointment, it has fallen through because Nicole is really sick.): They haven't come to church lately for that reason too, so we're hoping we can see them this week.  I was struggling to figure out what to do to see if they really had the desire or if we should stop visiting them for a little while and see what happens.  As I was pondering this thought one morning, we got a random phone call from our Zone leaders, asking us about them - I don't believe that phone call was random at all.  I explained their situation and they gave us a lot of good advice!  It was an answer to my prayers and I am excited to put their ideas of having real intent and prayer and fasting into effect with Ivette and Nicole.
Priscilla: We haven't seen her either. I am not sure if she has any interest any more, but we are not giving up, I will keep you updated.
Josue: We called him last week and his wife answered and asked us who we were.  We said we were missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and that we wanted to share a message with them.  She hung up right after that. It was a bummer, but that's how it goes sometimes, so on to the next one.
Eleanor: We tried calling her too, but no answer. We will keep trying!!
Jeanina: We actually met her mom a couple weeks ago!  She owns a small spa place in the plaza and we are going to go by and see if we can teach her and Jeanina!
Edgar Irrizarry: HE WAS SO COOL!  He is one of our miracle families we found on Saturday.  He is probably in his 40s and has a couple of kids, I think 4 kids.  He is really nice and works with young people at the local Boy Scouts Troop with his son, and he is also in the Navy!  He had a very warm spirit about him and was very respectful.  We are going to see him on Tuesday.
Kaycha: Also one of our miracle families!  She is in her late 20s and has two kids and is married.  We asked her if we could give her a card and after getting to know her a little bit and explaining more about who we were, she asked," could I have another card for my husband? He loves these!" I almost dropped all of the cards I had because I got so excited - haha!!  She was so pero so genuine and nice.  We don't get people that nice that often so it was super cool.  We are going to see her this Saturday and are overjoyed! 
Jorge and his son: So right after we met Kaycha we were walking out of the street and saw this 12 year old boy on a bike and we said hi to him and asked if he wanted a card.  He told us that he could tell we were American and that he wanted to speak English with us, so we did - haha!  He is very intelligent and he loves anything about God and Jesus Christ and is Christian.  We asked him if we could meet his Dad to ask permission if we could stop by, and his Dad was really nice and open to us coming by and teaching them!  Another one of our miracle families.

My New Companion, Hermana Zimmerman is the CUTEST THING EVER. She is from South Jordan, Utah           (Almost all my companions have been from Utah!) and is so, so, so, so, so, great!!  She is so nice and eager to learn!  She is learning Spanish, ALOT faster than I did.  It helps that we are now living in a house of four, with Hermana Cortes from Mexico, and Hermana Antonio from the DR.  They all are so amazing and I already have seen a HUGE difference in my Spanish.  I surprised myself with how much I actually knew, and I feel very confident and comfortable when I am speaking the language. The Gift of tongues is REAL!!! Hermana Zimmerman is taller than me (shocker) and is just the best. 

Me and my  New Companion Hermana Zimmerman at Church!

Being a trainer is kind of really stressful, but so far so good!  There is a program called 12 weeks and adjusting to missionary life that we go over everyday to help her learn how to be a missionary and what to focus on.  I will lead the lessons until she can understand the language a little better and I am responsible for helping her learn the language, and basically, prepare her to train if she was needed to right now (no pressure haha!!)   I have a LOT more respect for any parent in the world (especially my parents, because I was difficult at times) as I am now responsible for helping take care and mold Hermana Zimmerman's mission.  It's a lot of pressure at times, but I thought of my parents and how they helped raise me and how scary that might have been at times, but I know that through Heavenly Father's help, all things are possible and will work out!! :)

OH, its Jade's baptism this week!  I am so, so, so excited for her!  I was asked a couple days ago to give a talk on Baptism in church and I was thinking of her the whole time.  It was cool to see that I didn't need to write everything out, and that I could prepare in depth with scriptures and a game plan of what I wanted to talk about, and the rest came from my heart, and I didn't have any problem speaking the language.  So that was cool!!

I LOVE HERMANA BIRD!  Her and Hermana Santamaria are home from their missions now and that's crazy to think about. I am glad you got to talk to Hermana Bird, and that you got to see the video of her and I singing in Spanish - yay

Today we have a zone activity! pictures will be sent next week.

I love you all very much and appreciate your prayers and support!  

Te Quiero Mucho,

Hermana Green

Always fun getting to see Hermana Josie

Three Generations!  Hermana Josie (My Trainer) me, and then Hermana Zimmerman!

My Cute Relief Society in my Ward in Cabo Rojo.  We had an activity on Saturday Night for Women's Conference.

Hermana Green & Zimmerman making home visits.

Visiting One of my Cabo Rojo Family Members Brother Waddy Ortiz

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week 30

My Cute Cabo Rojo Family Cindy, Waddy, Alex, Hermana Green & Pichuile

Hola Family and Friends,

First off, I cannot believe I will have 7 months in the mission this Friday!  Time is literally F L Y I N G. The mission has been the hardest, and most rewarding thing I have ever done in my entire life.  I have grown to love the people of Puerto Rico so much.  I love being a missionary because of the person I have grown to become through following the Savior's example, being obedient to the commandments, and truly living what I believe.  For those wondering whether or not to go on a mission, I say, 100% do it.  You will never regret it!  The Lord will mold you into something you cannot even begin to imagine for yourself.  I am a living witness of this.  I love the gospel and the joy it brings to not only my life, but to the lives of others.  Thank you for the never-ending support and love and prayers. It truly does make the difference. 

Boy do I have news for you!  So we got transfer calls last night, and I AM A TRAINER NOW!  This is crazy!  I feel so excited, nervous, and humbled all at once.  Hermana Green is getting a greenie!  Thanks to Mom and Dad, you both have molded me to believe that I can do anything I put my mind to.  I know that, "whom the Lord calls, the Lord qualifies" and that every trial and everything that gets thrown in my way is for my growth and experience.  I am so beyond excited to start this new adventure and meeting my hija (trainee) tomorrow! I know that Heavenly Father truly does have a plan for each of us.  When I heard that I was going to be trainer, my first thought was, "I don't know enough Spanish yet, WAIT WHAT!  but, then the thought came to me.. Heavenly Father is the grand architect in our lives.  He sees from the beginning to the end.  He sees the bigger picture.  We usually see a little snippit of our lives, and when something comes along, good or bad, we may question, "why is this happening?"  But, I testify with all my heart that the Lord will NEVER give us things that we cannot overcome or handle.  I know this is true, because I have seen it in my own life many times.  Yes, we might feel "underqualified" or "not good enough" but, someone does, and that is our Heavenly Father. 

The greatest spiritual experience this week, for me, was when Elder Neil L. Andersen, who was visiting us at our mission conference, came down from the pulpit to the floor to start talking to all of us.  He started by expressing his love, and the love our beloved Prophet, his counselors, and Quorum of the 12 bring to us.  I immidiately was hit with The Spirit and felt this overwhelming love from them, the Savior, and Heavenly Father, and all at once I was reminded of how much our Heavenly Father knows us and loves us.  Elder Andersen just has this Christ-like light and love to him.  Wow...The Conference with Neil L. Andersen was incredible. He is so so so loving and nice, and funny, and he speaks 4 different languages!  We arrived a little later than we thought so we ended up sitting in the very back row.  President Boucher announced over the pulpit that before the conference would start, we had time to all shake his hand. I almost died of excitement. It was so cool to see everyone go through this line and just be BEAMING with smiles after having just met a member of the Quorum of the 12 Apostles.  I did the same, it was something I will always remember.  We went and sat down and the conference started.  Just a couple minutes into it, before the opening hymn, President Boucher turns to Elder Andersen, then back to us and says, "Elder Andersen would like those in the last row to come up to the front row."  Hermana Pichiule and I , and a couple other sisters were in that last row he was talking about. So we quickly moved to the VERY FRONT ROW.  It was a huge miracle I did NOT see coming.  Once the meeting started, and it was time for Elder Andersen to speak, he came down from the pulpit to talk to us, and stopped right in front of me.  I thought I was going to die of excitement.  There were a lot of laughs shared with him, as well as, so much wisdom and advice for our lovely island of Puerto Rico.  He talked a lot about miracles and how we need to be praying for them.  There is one thing he said that really stuck with me, "Most miracles come from being more motivated, pushing hard, and having more trust in the Lord.  It has to begin with someone to move up, to think higher, and to expect more."  That really struck me, and I immidiately wanted to be that type of person.  As I have begun to input these principles in my life these last couple of days, I truly have seen a difference.

Ivette and Nicole: So we have taught them all the lessons already and so we decided to start with lesson one again.  We had a lesson with them last thursday and watched the video of the Restoration.  It is always so cool to watch that with investigators because they get a visual to the things they had learned.  The Bishop came with us and his testimony really helped.  They know that Joseph Smith truly had a vision and that he was called as a Prophet to restore the Gospel.  They know these things are true and they came to church yesterday.  I think they just need a push.  We extended the baptism invitation again because Ivette mentioned that they needed God in their lives and that they needed to work towards a goal.  Nicole told us that at this time she didn't have a desire to be baptized yet.  So we are going to keep working with them.  Our stake is having a Girls Camp soon and I think Nicole is going to go, and for anyone that has gone to Girl's Camp, the spirit is always so strong there. So, I think that will be a big help for Nicole. 
Priscilla: Priscilla is a joven (young person) that is 16 years old who we met last week while contacting.  She was selling chocolate and we had been contacting in this one neighborhood and saw her pass by a couple times.  We shared a card with her and she asked us if we wanted to buy some chocolate.  It was a Sunday, so we couldn't, and we didn't have any money on us, so we told her that we would buy it from her the next time we saw her.  We were able to teach her about the Plan of Salvation and she told us that ever since her Grandpa died she hadn't entered a church, but towards the end of the lesson, she asked us about going to church and was interested and told us she would come!  Sunday came, and something came up so she couldn't come, but we are going to teach her on Wednesday!  She has a lot of potential and a light about her.
Josue: Last night we were walking around and we were on our way to visit a less active member.  On our way we happened to cross paths with a 20 year old named Josue.  He looked a little down so we asked him if he was okay.  He replied with, " estoy regular" meaning that he was so so.  We shared a card with him and shared our testimonies that yes, life is hard, but there is hope and light in a world that seems dark.  He became interested and we were able to set up a return appointment with him this Wednesday
Jeannina and Eleanor: Right after we met Josue, we saw Cindy, our recent convert talking to these two 12 and 13 year old girls, who speak perfect english!  We learned from talking with them, that both of their families had recently moved from the U.S. to Puerto Rico.  We got their information and set up a return appointment with both of them too! 

All of this is amazing because Elder Andersen talked about how we need to find more young people. Hermana Pichiule and i took that to heart and we prayed to find young people to teach, and we found 4! The power of prayer is very real.

Dad, thank you for the spiritual thought, I really needed it. Sometimes the work gets a little hard to do. But I know that I just need to keep pushing along and everything will fall into place. 

Thank you for your love and I am forever honored to be part of this family. 

I love you so much! 

I got to see my Past Mission President from the Ponce Thrid Ward.(I Sure Love and Miss this man)

I also got to see my past Obispo
 (Bishop Padro from the Ponce Third Ward.  I sure love and this man)

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week 29

Hermana Green & Hermana Josie at Zone Conference
It´s p-day a.k.a. my favorite day of the week, because I get to talk to my Family and Friends! 

Yesterday we were contacting, and it had been a particularly hotter day than usual.  We had been walking around and all over town for 3 hours and the sun was killer, and we had been getting rejected from house to house. We contacted this lady who came out of her house, saying that she believes in god but doesn´t attend any specific church. She started talking to us about how our world today is getting worse and worse and how she
can´t trust any church because of experiences in the past. After listening to her talk more, I remembered a quote from a couple of leaders and Preach My Gospel, saying; that we are here to testify of the restored gospel. I told her that as missionaries we are here because the gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored on the earth once again, with the same authority, same doctrine and principles of the gospel that was taught by Jesus when he walked the earth, and there was a time on the earth where the teachings of Jesus were lost, which is why we have tons and tons and tons of churches. Once I shared my testimony, she became so silent, and very moved by that. Something changed in her eyes, and even though she didn´t want a return date, I knew and felt the spirit so strong, and became so grateful for the fact that the gospel is restored and that we aren´t going to be lost when trying to find answers. It was very impacting moment for me. 
Investigators... Alex got confirmed a member of the church yesterday! He is a giant teddy bear. Very emotional and feels the spirit a lot. He was SO,SO, SO emotional when I told him about Dad´s challenge coin and gave it to him, and read him your letter you wrote me directed to him. He was so,so,so happy. He told me to tell you that he loves you two and is grateful for you both. 

Presenting Alex with the Armor of God Challenge Coin

Ivette and Nicole.. we had to push their baptism off because they don´t feel prepared yet. But they want to keep coming to church and want to keep learning. We haven´t lost the faith and we know they know these things are true! 

We met this cool man named Lester last week who we contacted and we taught him the first lesson and he totally understands that there are a ton of man made churches that are teaching by the wisdom and interpretation of man, and not from God. It was really cool. He thought that the First Vision was true and thanked us for teaching him all these new things he hadn´t known before! He also told us to pray for his wife that she might be able to have her heart softened and that she will want to listen too. He also gave us pens because ours ran out of ink!  It´s the little things in life that make me happy, even if it´s just a pen. We are going to see Lester tomorrow and we are PUMPED.

We had to drop Juan Carlos because he is very firm in his catholic faith and doesn´t believe he can receive revelation from God... that was sad.

We again had to drop a lot of people and we are struggling a little to find new people, but we aren´t giving up hope. The Lord has promised that He has people prepared, we just have to find them. I highly recommend looking up The Riccardi letter.(The letter is about a friend’s mission experience, and in particular the important things he learned from his trainer).  It is beautiful and explains a lot about what missionaries go through and is entertaining to read. 

Recent converts.. We taught Waddy last week and he told me he might come to California, and while he´s there he wants to meet my family! He has a heart of gold and is so kind.

Cindy! She is fantastic. She makes me have this warm, fuzzy, home feeling. I will write you a letter and tell you about her story. She has lived a rough last ten years, and yet she is the happiest most kind person I know. every Saturday we help her push the things she doesn't sell at her pulgero (swap meet) back to her house in shopping carts and we help sort the clothes. She is just so great. I love her. I love serving. She's also helping us learn how to cook!

YES I GOT YOUR PACKAGE IN THE MAIL AND I LOVED IT AND IT WAS ALL SO AMAZING. MY FEET THANK YOU FOR HELPING WITH MY ARCH SUPPORT. The shoes fit perfect.  Also, those peanut butter Girl Scout cookies were gone in a day. I still have the thin mints. The earrings are so cute and I love, love my called to serve challenge coin - thanks Dad!. AND THE HAZ LO JUSTO CTR RING WITH ¨the HB group¨ on the back made me really happy as well.  

Thanks Mom & Dad gone in one day!!!!
Called to Serve Challenge Coin from my Daddy!

Part of my routine: For breakfast I eat cereal, oatmeal or eggs on toast - something simple. Lunch is only 30 mins KILL ME and dinner is an hour. Its hard to sit and make good healthy meals but we try. Members feed us Wednesday afternoon, and its the same thing every time, really fried meat that is super hard to bite into and rice. Sunday night we go to a members house and we eat rice and beans. There is a local library about 5 minutes away from our house where we go on P-Day to email. 

Updates: This is the last week before transfers! Hermana Pichiule is probably leaving the area considering she has been here for 7 and a half months. I have learned so much from her and she is awesome! I have grown very close to her and will miss her if she gets transferred, but that's life in the mission!

Hermana Green and Her Companion Hermana Pichiule

Once again, for the third week in a row, we got POURED on while walking back with our groceries to home. It was pretty funny, and cold.  I am SO BEYOND EXCITED to hear from Elder Neil L Andersen this weekend!  We taught an older member of the ward named Hermana Flores this week.. she is darling. She is probably 90 years old and has the STRONGEST testimony I have ever heard. Cindy came with us to visit her. I shared Mosiah 16 verses 8 and 9 (some of my favorite scriptures) and she testified with so much power. I can´t describe it in words but all I could think of was that she is a great example to me of enduring to the end. I gave her a hug and told her that I wanted to be like her when I grew up and she started crying and hugged me again. Life made!

So that was my week. A bunch of finding, not finding and working hard, but all is well in Zion! 

I am so glad you both loved your letters. Dad you made me cry reading your thoughts about me and my transformation, I am so beyond grateful for you two! 

Yay for Mothers Day! I am excited for that day and being able to facetime my Mom, its coming so soon! Time really does fly. I have 7 months next week! I swear I just said I had 6! Wowowow! But I sure do love being here, being a missionary and serving the people of Puerto Rico. 

All my love, 

Hermana Green

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week 28

True Hermanas

Hola Familia y Amigos, 

Spiritual experience - There were a ton with Alex's baptism (SURPRISE) and the All-Sister (Hermana) Conference, but I'll talk about one that we had yesterday while visiting a less active family in our ward. La Familia Valle. Hermana Valle is blind, and I am not sure if it was something she was born with or if it came gradually over time, but she is so sweet. We were talking about Ether chapter 12 yesterday and were talking about faith. She said something that completely pulled my heart strings. She said, "Not being able to see has never been a problem for me. I have never seen Heavenly Father but I know that He's there for me and loves me". I was completely taken back by the faith that she had, regardless of her condition. It was something really special and reminds that true faith is believing in things not seen.  

Alex Acosta: ALEX WAS BAPTIZED!!!!!!!!!! This week was one of the most challenging weeks of my mission, but it was OH SO worth it. We taught Alex every single day leading up to his baptism. Words cannot explain the joy I have felt while teaching him. He means so, so, so, so, so much to me! His conversion process has been CRAZY. He dropped smoking cigarettes, marijuana, and stopped drinking coffee, COLD TURKEY - all of it. It was really hard for him but the one thing he has always looked forward to was receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost as his constant companion with him. He will say things like," I need that Holy Ghost so that way I can beat the Devil everyday! I am a WARRIOR"!  He is so great, and he's from New York so his first language is English. It was weird teaching all the lessons in English, because I have become so use to teaching in Spanish. But yesterday at his baptism, he bore his testimony and BAWLED so hard because of how grateful he was to have this new opportunity to change his life. He has thanked Hermana Pichiule and I many many times. I sure do love being a missionary. 

Alex's Baptism
Baptism of Alex Acosta
Hermana Pichiule, Green & Alex

Ivette and Nicole: Their baptism is this weekend! They came to church AND Alex's baptism yesterday. Ivette (the mom) is really struggling with drinking coffee, and we hope she'll be able to drop it before her baptism. Prayers are very much needed. 

The Hermana Conference was AMAZING. Seriously so, so, so amazing. It was so fun to see my old companions and other friends I have met here. Being a missionary is so BOMB. One of Hermana Boucher's best friends came to speak, and she changed my life and my perspective on my self-esteem, and how to better recieve revelation for myself. She has gone through so, so, so many trials and she is one of the strongest, most inspirational women I have had the honor of meeting. At one point, we repeated the Young WomenTheme, and after that, we changed the words,"we" to "I". I had never personalized the Young Women's Theme that much. It was so powerful. I reccommend each of you to repeat that theme and do the same thing. I realized how much Our Heavenly Father loves us. Our musical number was really great! We sang, "As Sisters in Zion". One of the girls that was supposed to sing with us didn't make it on time, so Hermana Pearce's hija (she's training!) came and sang with us and she is SO CUTE and she loves Hamilton and knows what that is! So that was exciting, haha.  It was so fun seeing Hermana Josie, Bird, Pearce and Santamaria at the Hermana Zone Conference.  These Hermanas will always have a special part of my heart.  I love each and everyone of them.

Our drive to Guaynabo, to the Hermana Conference.

Reunited with Hermana Josie
Reunited with Hermana Pearce 
Reunited with Hermana Santamaria
Reunited with Hermana Bird 
Hermana Turner! We were in the same ward at BYU-Idaho! And we are in the same mission! And she was trained by hermana bird! Small world

HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY DAD! (no i didnt forget and just keep an eye out for the mail okay) Yes my hair is getting longer and thicker! I constantly have my hair up in a high pony tail or bun. Alex calls me,"monchichi". haha. OH HEY GUESS WHAT REMEMBER GILBERTO? HE TOLD HERMANA PEARCE HE WANTS TO GO TO THE TEMPLE WHEN HE HITS HIS YEAR MARK AND HE WANTS TO SERVE A MISSION! I am so excited! 
Going back to my hair, I haven't cut it, nor will I cut it here. It's kinda sketch getting your hair cut here and it's not worth it to pay for one, cause we are pobre (poor), so tell Brent I will get my hair cut when I get back. 

Your spiritual thought about spiritual self-reliance meant so, so, so much to me Dad. I feel a strong growth in my self-reliance. It hasn't always been easy, but the lessons I am learning here on my mission are molding me to become the woman I want to become. I absolutely love that quote you sent me from Julie Beck - "When we know who we are and what we are suppose to do, it is easier to make important decisions about education, careers, and marriage. It is easier to shine our light in our families, with our friends, and in all other places".   I am gonna copy this and put it on my wall!

I love you both so, so, so, so, so much. Mom I use the book that has your wedding picture, my baptism picture, my sealling picture, and I have added more pictures of just our family.  I show it to our investigators all the time, and Alex told me that I have a beautiful family, and that is so true. I love you so much, and you are always in my heart. 

Hermana Green
This is Waddy one of our newest converts who sends my Mom and Dad Pictures to make them smile during the week.

I made biscuits and gravy last week! (AND DIDNT MESS UP)