week 3? (8-12-13)

I’m losing track of time!  We wake up, exercise, study, eat, then work work work! And then I get home and I’m just exhausted, but we still have to plan for the next day.  It’s definitely important though that we use that time at night to really plan and get a good start for the next day.  Missionary work is so much more than going out and teaching – we really have to plan and prepare ourselves so that we can do everything effectively.  We all had a huge wake up call this week as one of the Elders in our District went home by choice.  He wasn’t working hard but was focusing instead on what he was missing at home.  We really have to be out here for the right reasons. 

 I actually read himno 153  oid el toque del clarin (it’s only in Spanish!) a lot.  We sang it in the MTC, and I really love it!  It always reminds me of how when we accept the call to work, we really have to put our heart and soul into it.  Missionary work is so worth it! but we have to put in that effort to get the reward.  

Which reminds me: we had a really awesome lesson with one of our investigators.  He always tells us how he just wants to learn and has no desire to work or go to any church at all.  But when we taught him the Plan of Salvation he said something really powerful – “vale la pena” (it’s worth it).  We are slowly seeing the light come to him.  I really hope that he starts to act on what he is learning.  He didn’t come to church yesterday, but I see a lot of potential in him! 
We are actually really struggling with getting people to church.  One investigator  hasn’t come in 3 weeks for various reasons.  We are trying to get her to night church, but last night her husband almost cut his finger off!  We figured that was a pretty good excuse…we are going to work hard this week to get her there next week though! (and work hard to get everyone there…because literally no one is coming!).  Generally everyone works on Sundays, and they don’t feel like they can just drop their jobs to come.  I’m really impressed though how even though these people are so busy with work, families, etc, they still somehow manage to find time to let us come teach them.  It’s a true blessing that they share their extra time with us when they can.  
Our investigator S was a perfect example of that this week.  He had a lot of family in town this weekend, but when we came, he took the time to come and have a lesson.  He was pretty distracted the entire time, but we taught a really good lesson of the Plan of Salvation to him.  You could tell he was thinking about his family the entire time, so when we mentioned eternal families, it was powerful.  
The greatest part about being on a mission is the opportunity we have to constantly receive promptings from the Holy Spirit. If we work for that we can have that happen every day of our lives, but here we are pretty much forced to work for it.  We study the scriptures, we pray constantly, and we get to teach the Gospel.  I absolutely love the blessings that come from that.  My testimony of the scriptures has grown SO much since I have come here.  The Word of God.  Nothing can beat that! We’re trying to help the investigators see that power, but it often feels like we are just begging them to read.  We have recently seen a lot of improvements though in seeing people start to read!
We went to the temple this past week! (all of us new missionaries and our trainers).  It was such an awesome experience.  I love that I’m neighbors with the temple, but it was such a blessing to get to go after not going for a while and feeling that peace there.  I’ll attach a photo from that!  The photo of the large group of us is actually me, my trainer, her trainer (Sister Franco – who leaves this month), and then two other newer sisters (hermana romero in the middleish, and I don’t remember the other sister’s name!).  I actually talked to Hermana Romero (the one on the opposite end) before even going to the MTC, so it was cool to see her there! She came here a week or so after I got here.  One cool thing about being at the temple too was that there was a wedding going on, and we got to see the couple come out as we were leaving.  The family was so excited!  
We also went to a baptism on Friday, out of area.  What was cool about it, was that there were SO MANY missionaries there, because they had all been involved in helping this sister in her conversion.  It was a testament to how we are all in this work together. 
I love this work so much!  Being in Las Vegas is seriously the best.  
Hermana Newey
I attached a photo from my driveway, of how close the temple is! 

Week 2 in the “campo misional” (8-5-2013)

Holy dang this week has been stressful.  We recently had Area changes, so it has been so much work trying to reorganize everything and what not.  We are still in the midst of trying to get everything in order!  But it’s going to be worth it.  We have already seen blessings of the Area change.  Right now we are working with investigators that the Elders used to teach, but we teach now because of the boundary changes – I can definitely see that it’s a blessing because we can revitalize the lessons with each investigator, and help them in different ways.  The Elders can do the same for people that we used to teach!  We hope to see a lot of good things in the future because of the changes.

I am definitely struggling with the language…which can be super frustrating at times! But I’m working at it, and I have noticed small improvements.  I think what is roughest is not being able to understand the people.  I seriously get so confused in lessons.  I think people use a lot of slang or whatnot, because I will understand some words, but other times I have no idea what the words mean.  I’m definitely learning to rely on whatever words pop into my head – and I just say them – hoping that they will actually go along with the conversation and make some sense.  Sometimes the people will just talk to my companion because she is a native speaker, and they assume that I have no idea what is going on.  I’m trying to change that image, and be less hesitant to speak.  
The funniest thing is hearing people try to pronounce my name!  I actually didn’t think it would be so hard for them, but they really struggle.  I swear they think my name has 5 syllables instead of 2.  Sometimes I find myself saying my name like they do – hey I guess I’m a latina now! We actually have one investigator who has started calling me Hermana “Kiwi” now.  I actually like the nickname!  He’s a really cool guy.  We are just waiting for him to get married on the 31st of this month.  I can’t wait until the wedding!  His “wife” is actually a member, but I feel like we teach both of them – you have seen her testimony grow through the experience too.  They are always really willing to hear more and the lessons are so fun.  We are always laughing.  
One of our biggest struggles is getting our investigators to church.  We have at least a couple who are so ready to get baptized, but they still don’t see the importance of going to church – and they can’t actually get baptized until they start coming.  We are just going to keep working with them and building their testimony.  The two that I am mainly thinking of are both very similar.  Things have happened in their lives and they really want the Gospel of Christ in their homes.  They are so willing to listen and receptive to the lessons, they just don’t see the importance of acting.  I seriously love them both so much, I just want them to understand how important it all is!  We are just going to continue to work with them and see where it goes.  I see great things in their futures! 
So crazy thing that happened:  Our car broke down!  We didn’t have it for over 24 hours.  Tuesday was seriously a rough day.  We didn’t have bikes, so we had to call members to drive us around.  We were super pumped because we thought that we would have a ton of lessons with members present, but that definitely didn’t happen.  That entire day we were being dropped of at houses for appointments, no one would be home, so we would walk everywhere trying to visit potentials – but no one wanted to talk to us.  By 7 that night we had taught no one.  Pretty uncommon for us.  But finally at the end of the day we had the most perfect experience.  Hermana C (an awesome member – she is seriously the best) came to our lesson that night with a family.  (The father is  trying to quit smoking).  Me and my companion barely said anything that lesson – it was mainly just Hermana C – but it was good!  We’ve been really trying to find a good member to fellowship this family and be a support to them, and she was just perfect.  When the father prayed at the end of that lesson there was so much power.  I think it will take him a long time before he fully changes, but the small steps have been huge. 
We recently started teaching the coolest guy.  He is such an example of the Lord preparing people before we even find them.  Every time he says anything, you can tell how ready he is to hear the message of the restored gospel.  He pretty much knows everything already – he just doesn’t know that he knows it – if that makes any sense?
I think one of my favorite experiences was actually with a less active member.  We visited her house this Saturday and she almost didn’t even let us in!  You could just tell that she was really stressed and didn’t feel like she had time.  We played a jeopardy-esque game, where you had to answer questions relating to the missionary lessons (she has a lot of kids, so it was a good way to involve them all).  Whenever they didn’t understand a question, either me or my companion would explain it simply, so that they could understand.  At the end of the lesson the mother told us that we came at the perfect time. She has been going through a lot right now, and really needed to be reminded of her testimony of the gospel.   What a blessing.  
OK – so I love you all so much!  Missions are the best.  
Hermana Newey