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Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 47



Intercambios with Hermana Josie, Green, Post and Santos.

Hola Family & Friends,

Spiritual experiences... Yesterday in relief society we were having a lesson on serving others, and the Sister in our Ward that gave the lesson is named Hermana Marty, she is so cute!  She was talking about serving, during the lesson, and she started talking about us and missionaries in general.  Suddenly, she points to me and says, "I may not know our missionaries super well, but she (me) has always made me feel special.  She (me) comes up to me every Sunday and gives me a hug and asks me how I am.  One Sunday in particular I wasn't happy, and I felt weak, and I was going through a hard time, Satan was really getting to me, but I decided to go to church.  Just a couple minutes after I got to the church, the missionaries showed up, and there came Hermana Green, smiling, and she came straight to me as if she knew what I was going through, and said, "Hola Hermana Marty, como esta?" and she (me) gave me a hug.  I felt the Savior's love so strong at that moment.  She (me) just illuminates with the love of Christ. Thank you Hermana Green."  I was shocked and very humbled all at the same time, let's just say I did not have a dry eye at that moment.  I don't know Hermana Marty super well, and I didn't realize the impact my kindness made on her, but I am so humbled and grateful that I listened to the promptings of the spirit that day, even though I do remember a day where she looked sad.  I am grateful that I can be used as an instrument in the Lord's hands, not just to bring the gospel, but to bring the love of Christ to all those we talk to, and especially those that the Lord knows are in need.

Investigators: 
Nicole: so we are still working with Nicole, she has really been changing. We had a really cool lesson with her last Thursday about how the Holy Ghost can help us recognize and receive answers to prayers, and she asked us how we knew we needed to go on a mission.  Hermana Post and I both shared our stories in how we ended up here and it was really Spiritual and really special.  She is supposed to be baptized this weekend and we are going to do all we can to help her reach that goal!  But if not, that is okay, because we do the Lord's will first.  If she is supposed to get baptized, she will.  We are not going to push her to the font, but we are here to lead and guide her there. :)

Melodie and Devin: so we had intercambios (exchanges) last week, Hermana Josie's last one, and I was with Hermana Santos (the one who was with Avalon in the MTC), it was so great.  So, during intercambios we visited Melodie and Devin and talked about our purpose as missionaries and the Atonement, as we read through Alma 7:11-16.  Melodie felt the Spirit really strong and she shared with us how she was going through a really hard part of her life when Hermana Zimmerman and I were visiting her.  She said she felt a lot of peace and knew that the things we were sharing with her were true. The Spirit was super strong and we invited her and her son Devin to be baptized, and they said YES!  They are planning on being baptized on August 12th!  Hopefully I am still here in Cabo Rojo to be at their baptism, transfers are next week!!

Vilma and Luis: we are still trying to help them come to church, but they are struggling a little bit. We are going to keep working with them so they can progress.

Nane and Fam: so we met a family of 6 the other day, they are super nice and are open to listening to us.  We are hoping that we can help them come to church too.  We have our first lesson with them tomorrow

Dad, your spiritual thoughts truly are inspired.  I loved the story of the Devil's tools (Uncle Rey Rey shared that same story with me a while back) it has really helped me!  I am excited to see how your spiritual thought is going to help me this week. :)  All is good in the hood, I am here and so, so happy!!  You know what else makes me happy?  Seeing you two, Tubba, Cam, Neno, and all my Aunts and Uncles at the Temple together, nothing makes me happier!!  I am so happy that Neno was able to be sealed to his parents, it is so cool to see how the Temple is just this fountain of blessings, joy, and happiness.  I am hoping I have the opportunity to serve in the Temple again when I get home, like everyday, No joke!!!

I just love you two. Thank you for being my parents and for supporting me every step of my journey here. 

Have a wonderful week,everyone!

Love, 

Hermana Verde

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Week 46


Family Picture - Hermana Josie trained Hermana Green, which makes her my mom, and I have two "Daughters" Hermana Post and Zimmerman, Hermana Santos trained Hermana Rodriguez, who is training Hermana Medina, and we are all in the same Zone.


HOLA FAMILY AND FRIENDS,


So, to preface, these last 2-3 months in my mission has challenged me in a lot of ways, but I have grown so much more, and for that I am grateful.  Part of these challenges have come from a lot of internal and emotional challenges that caused me to ask myself, "Am I doing what the Lord needs me to do? Am I doing it good enough?  For months I felt like I was having a battle with myself, every day, trying to figure out why I felt this weird 
feeling of not talking to as many people as I should be talking to, after all that's my purpose, to invite ALL people to come unto Christ, not just a handful.  Each day I felt so bad, but I kept working and praying to figure this out, all the while I was still seeing miracles and experiencing happiness!  It was weird, I was so happy, but feeling like I still needed to do more.  This weird, ominous feeling was eating me alive inside, which caused a lot of self reflection, mainly because I couldn't understand the source of my problem, but seguimos adelante (we press forward).  And then, I finally understood and received and answer to my prayers and what this was all about.  On Saturday, I had caught a little cold and towards the end of the day, I was physically drained and exhausted. It started to rain very hard and I knew that that wasn't going to help me get better, haha.  But we kept tracting, and once we got home at the end of the night I was beat, I walked in to see Hermana Thelin and Hermana Zimmerman feeling a little down. They told me they had had kind of a hard day, and we came to a lot of realizations. They started sharing with me what they had been feeling, and I to them.  I explained how I have no problem getting rejected, I am not afraid to talk to people, and I have a drive to do the work, but there is something holding me back from my full potential, and I just didn't know what.  That unknown thing was making me super frustrated, and making me feel as if I was falling short.  Then, Hermana Thelin shared with me this quote that has changed my life moving forward.  She shared with me how missionaries will sometimes feel this way and how our attitude of work focuses on 1 of 3 phases, "I have to do this, I ought to do this, I get to do this."  She went on to explain how, sometimes we are in a attitude of, "I have to do this work because if we don't we will feel fear and disappointment."  That fear, is what drives the work, but that is not how missionary work is.  So you change, and you move up to, "I ought to do this because the gospel provides the help the world needs, and even though I am scared at times, I know it's for my good."  That is progress, but we are still using "I ought to do this" as a motive, or something forced.  Once we shift our attitudes to, "I get to do this" then that changes everything.  I get to do this because I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and I have the PRIVILEGE of spending this time in my life completely and utterly serving him and his work!!  Once I heard this, everything made so much sense to me.  I realized in that moment that as I was given a leadership position of being a trainer for Hermana Zimmerman and Hermana Post, I quickly realized I had a lot of responsibility.  I had so much fear that I wouldn't help them as much as I could, or that they wouldn't learn Spanish, or wouldn't be successful and it would be my fault, not theirs, if they weren't as prepared as they should've been.  That scared me and without knowing, this caused a cloud of fear to take over my thoughts and decisions.  I realized I had been living more in fear, and relying on trying to do ever thing myself, rather than relying on my faith and trust in the Lord.  Having these realizations I felt about 3 different emotions in about 3 seconds, crying, sadness and anger, but then overjoyed with tears of happiness, and felt as if 100 bricks just got lifted off my shoulders.  I hugged these three wonderful missionaries, Hermanas Post, Zimmerman, and Thelin, and slept very well that night.  The next day, I read a quote that said, "The feeling of fear does not come from Heavenly Father or His Son, Jesus Christ, it comes from the Devil.  As missionaries we must learn how to self-discern these feelings and recognize that when you do feel those feelings, you are being played by the Devil."  This entire experience helped me understand and discern the thoughts that come into my mind and has already helped me these last couple of days!  I am so humbled and grateful for this experience and the personal growth the Lord is blessing me with!!   We are talking to EVERYONE now, and things could not be better.  I may always feel a bit inadequate and not living up to my full potential, but that's alright, because "I know in whom I have trusted" and I know that as I put my faith and trust in the Lord, all will be OK, and He will qualify my efforts and allow me to be successful, and that is all the happiness and joy I will ever need!!!

Investigators:  OKAY, MIRACLE OF THE WEEK NICOLE ACCEPTED A FECHA (BAPTISM DATE) FOR THE 22ND OF JULY!!!!!!!   We taught her an AMAZING lesson that we had been wanting to teach for months.  It was to read Alma 32 with them, but each time we tried to, it didn't feel right, or something would come up.  So, we read through Alma 32 with Nicole and Ivette and Nicole FINALLY understood the importance of real intent. Side note: every Thursday morning we have weekly planning, where we take 2 hours to plan for each investigator, recent convert, reference, and less active we are teaching, what their needs are, what we are going to teach them, what members we feel would help them, what commitments to give them, etc..  That morning we decided that we were going to give Nicole, Mosiah 4 to read after we had this lesson with her.  So after she accepted the invitation to be baptized, we told her how she can pray and read the scriptures to get a confirmation and answers to her questions.  We said, "Hey, if you pray before you read the Book of Mormon, with faith that you will receive an answer, you can flip to any page and we guarentee you you will find what you need."  She wanted to try that right then and there and I was like, "oh no" but she did it.  She was praying, flipping through pages, feeling them with her fingers (all with her eyes closed), and opened the book.  She then read the words in, Mosiah 4.  SHE OPENED RIGHT TO WHAT WE WERE GOING TO LEAVE HER WITH. IT WAS NUTS!  The Spirit was so strong and we explained to her why we were freaking out and why we were excited and she was like, "OH MY GOSH THATS AMAZING, I want the Holy Ghost! This feels amazing!"  She said the closing prayer, we kneeled and prayed, and she asked Heavenly Father to help her recognize these things and confirm if she needs to get baptized.  It was an amazing night. They didnt come to church yesterday, they were sick, but we are going to see them tomorrow.
 
Oh my goodness, President and Hermana Smart are incredible. It felt as if I had known them for years. I know without any doubt that they were meant to be called here, at this time, for our  mission. They are so amazing. President Smart reminds me a lot of Nick (y'know, Jess's hubby). They are just the sweetest things. One thing I love that Sister Smart said was,"What I lack in knowledge, I will make up for in love."  She is the most tender thing. I love them already.

CAN YOU SEND ME A RECIPE BOOK (and the recipe for your great mexican food Mom and also the spinach and artichoke dip.  Everyone in our house is deciding to whip out cooking skills and I have none so I have to show them I can cook something other than eggs and biscuits and gravy. You laugh, but I need to, HAHA!!

DADDDDDDD COOL THING THAT HAPPENED! So once again, your spiritual thought last week helped me receive revelation for the second week in a row. (perks of having your Dad be your Bishop) (and perks of having a cool Dad). So, as you know, I have been praying to know which school I needed to go to, really whether to stay at Idaho, or to go to a school in utah.  Ever since Mom put it in her letter a while back, I have seriously thought about it.  Before reading your email, I decided that I wanted something more. I felt that if I stayed at Idaho, I would be settling.  It was comfortable, a good school, good environment, my friends were there, but it didn't feel right.  I came to the conclusion that I hungered for something more challenging, that would open doors for better opportunities in education and a career.  I had talked to a lot of my companions and mission friends and I felt good about it.  THEN I read your email last week, and BOOM got a confirmation on the thoughts I was receiving. If you go back, and look at the example you used, you mentioned college and mentioned THE EXACT SAME WORDS AND FEELINGS I have felt!  We were both in tune with the Spirit and I felt a burst of joy realizing that I knew I needed to go to UVU or BYU, whichever one, I am fine with.  Right now, I am really liking BYU, but as of right now, I know I am going to one of those two schools in UTAH!  I am so excited and feel so much peace and joy and excitement for the future. It feels right. 

I am so happy for our family and that we are finally ALL sealed together forever. I love my life. I love who I am. I love my family. I love my family here in Puerto Rico. I am grateful to be called to the Lord's work. 

Have a great week everyone,
Love, Hermana Green
A picture of Neil L Andersen asking me a question and me laughing and smiling and not knowing what to say in the presence of an Apostle of the Lord.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Week 45

Sabbath Day with Obispo Cruz!
Hi Family and Friends, 

Oh my goodness, I just love Anjomil. This little 8 year old boy is darling. When he was getting confirmed on Sunday, it said in his blessing that he would go on a mission.  It's crazy to think that I had the opportunity to be part of this process, that he might be able to help others do the same.  We all decided we were going to help pay for his mission, not even joking!!

Okay now on to a really Spiritual experience I had this last week and it has to do with Dad's spiritual thought he put in my last email.  So to preface, these last couple of months on my mission have been some of the hardest and most challenging months in my entire mission.  Nonetheless, I have never been so happy at the same time. It's weird and I am not really sure how that is but it happens!  So, these last couple of weeks I have been a little more stressed and it was really getting to me.  I had been debating for weeks trying to figure out if I needed/should get a blessing to help me with guidance.  Last Friday was a SUPER stressful day, and I just kinda broke down.  A lot of things weren't really going how they needed to, or I guess how I wanted them to.  I hadn't been sleeping well, and I was starting to get sick, all signs that I needed to slow down and stop stressing.  The next morning, I was in my personal study and I just felt lost. I was deep in my thoughts wondering how I was going to be able to accomplish all these tasks I needed to do in the mission, be a good example for Hermana Post, work hard, figure out personal things, etc.. and I didn't know what to do.  I decided to pray to ask Heavenly Father what I needed to hear, and what he wanted me to do.  After the prayer, I had a very distinct thought come into my head, "Read Dad's spiritual thought again," and I thought," hmm... Okay.  So I went back and read the parts that I had read before, and then, it was as if these words had just appeared, like magic.  Dad started talking about how, "The work that we do requires the help of heaven, and how we need to be meek, humble, and willing to wait or lean on, and trust the timing of the Lord and his miracles."  I took that as I needed to let go of my pride and stubbornness and that I needed to ask for a blessing.  Then, my eyes just skimmed to a couple paragraphs down, where Dad says, " My dear daughter, if I were to help you in any way, I wish for you to have that blessing."   I lost it.  I started crying tears of happiness, because regardless of whether or not Dad had felt prompted to put that in, I know that it was Heavenly Father using Dad as a way to help me understand His will for me, and to accept this divine help I needed.  I went into the bathroom and I said a prayer of gratitude, thanking Heavenly Father for my wonderful Father, who never fails to help me, for his spiritual guidance, and for allowing me to see the hand of the Lord in my life when I really needed it.  I texted Elder Bradford (our district leader) and asked him if I could get a blessing that night, and I did.  It was one of the most personal, and powerful blessings I had ever received.  I am so grateful for that experience, because it is one I will never forget.  So, Dad, never think your spiritual thoughts go to waste.  They are ALWAYS needed!!!

Our investigators are growing, WOO!!!

Vilma: we taught her twice last week, and she is very open to listen and loves our visits.  She's Pentecostal and she has a lot of faith.  We gave her a Book of Mormon and taught her lesson one.  The Spirit was super strong when we testified of the power of the Book of Mormon and we felt prompted to invite her to be baptized.  She said yes initially, and then she said no, but we're not giving up hope!  We have a cita (appointment) with her tomorrow.
 
Melodie: so, we actually taught Melodie at the beginning of March a little bit, back when Hermana Zimmerman was just starting her training.  She had interest, accepted a fecha (baptismal date) to be baptized, but then ignored us for a bit and didn't really keep her commitments.  So we dropped her for a while.  But we had an impression to pass by her house and one of her sons Ernis was outside, he's 3 years old and the cutest thing ever.  He had us come say hi to him, and Melodie came to the door and asked us when we were going to come visit her!  So we are seeing her later today and we are super excited.

Zoraida: So we were looking in our area book and found this woman named Zoraida, she had been taught on three other occasions in the last 10 years by three different sets of missionaries.  So, we decided to give it a shot and look for her.  We prayed before knocking on her door, we knocked and she said, are you Mormonas?, and we smiled and said yes, why yes we are, and she said, do you want to come inside?  We were like YESSSSSSS!!  So, we got to know her and we were talking about her family and she told us about how one of her sons has been missing for 7 years and she doesn't know where he is, and she just broke down and started crying.  We were able to share a couple scriptures with her and our testimonies on the Plan of Salvation.  She knows that it wasn't a coincidence that we stopped by.  She said that whenever she was having a hard time in her life, the Missionaries always showed up.  We are super excited to keep teaching her! 

Luis: we met Luis yesterday while contacting this street we walk by to get to Melodie's apartments.  We talked about baptism in our contact and he told us he was interested in being baptized!  It was another miracle, and we have a cita (appointment) with him Saturday!!

Nicole: we are still working with her.  We had a really cool lesson with her and Ivette, teaching them lesson one with these cool cups Hermana Thelin made.  We gave them Alma 32 to read.  We just love Nicole and continue to pray for her and hope she will accept to be baptized soon, so she can enjoy the blessings of the gospel with her Mother and draw closer to the Spirit and feel the love her Savior has for her.  Prayers for Nicole would be appreciated. 

GREAT NEWS: Mayra and Anjomil got baptized and it was such a special day! They are just the cutest people and so great. :')


Mayra & Anjomil's Baptism.

Hermana Post, Green, Mayra, Anjomil, Elder Bradford & Murillo.

It was so crazy saying good-bye to President and Hermana Boucher, but it was a good day.  Funny story: we got to spend a little more time with President and Hermana Boucher than we thought, because on our way home, they were going to meet us at our apartment to do inspections and on our way back to our apartment two of our tires popped on our car - It actually wasn't my fault!!  So they came to where we broke down to help us out.  We had some good laughs and It was HILARIOUS, because President went to go get in the drivers seat to help get the car towed and he yells, "OH MY GOODNESS SISTER GREEN" because, MY SEAT WAS PULLED UP SO MUCH HAHAHAHAHA. Hey, I am small, so what do you expect. It was pretty funny. I hope he reads this and laughs. (Love you President)

Saying Goodbye to President & Sister Boucher. I'm Going to Miss them!
Last Zone Conference with President & Sister Boucher as they have Served for 3 Years and are being released.


We are meeting President and Hermana Smart tomorrow! I am super excited.

I forgot it was fourth of July yesterday, haha!!  It was just like any normal day, we worked and later we celebrated by listening to patriotic songs.  Usually everyone goes to the beach here to celebrate the 4th.

Wow, how crazy that Cade is home from his mission and that Bergen is off to Russia!  I am grateful for them and their examples to me.  I cried reading that Bergen shared her Spiritual hospital experience with Neno at her Farewell, and that my little video I sent singing; "The Spirit Of God" helped our family in that stressful time. CONGRATS TO AJ AND BAILEY ON THEIR BABY ANNOUNCEMENT WOW!

Thank you for your comments in your letter about seeing the transformation I've made.  I have never been happier in my life and I am so glad for the things I am experiencing and the person I am becoming.  I still have much to improve in, but I am proud of the person I am.  That is all thanks to Heavenly Father and His perfect plan.  I love the mission and I am glad that was part of His plan for me.  There is nothing sweeter, than to know that families can be together forever.  It reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures, found in Mosiah 16:7-9, that talks about how Death has no victory thanks to our Savior, Jesus Christ.  He is the light of the world and I know He lives and that He is at the head of His church, and I know that these things are true with all my heart!!  Hermana Josie gave me a quote that I really like, and it says; "Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional" -Roger Crawford. 

Thank you for raising me in the gospel, my dear family.  I know who I am and I know what I can become. 

I love you.

-Hermana Green