Monday, December 29, 2014

Feliz Ano

Ahhh I vote we all go back to Christmas and Skype again-- all in favor say Aye! 
That was the greatest. I love you all so much!! I am glad that we had that opportunity to talk and catch up-- wish it could have been longer, but i won't complain! I love you familia mia! :) Haha Brayton and his spam made me laugh- is that what he asked for?? Has he tried all the flavors yet? ;) Also I love when Janaea told me she was bored and TJ left to go play video games haha too funny. But regardless I know who in the family loves me the most ;) 
I realized though that I didnt share my testimony in Spanish!!! I was totally bracing myself for that and planning on it, but then I forgot haha maybe next year ;) 
im glad I get to spend 2 Christmases in the mission field. I was way worried about it at first, but Christmas is the best time of year to be a missionary!! (well lets be honest, any time of year is a great time to be a missionary) but I really saw so many miracles, and saw so many hearts be opened during this season. i saw so many people that were willing to serve others as well. It made me so grateful. i love christmas!! 

I don't really know what to write about since I talked to yall this past week, and told you pretty much everything that has been going on! 

Paco got the Priesthood!! And he is going to bless the sacrament this next Sunday!! :) he had another member show him how it was going to work, and asked us to send him what he needs to say so he can practice. he gets nervous in front of people, so this is a big step for him, but I am so excited! He is so ready to keep progressing :) 

This week we spent so much time with the incredible members of this ward. Honestly I dont ever want to leave. There is so much potential in this area, so much love in this ward, and these people have changed my life. I feel like I probably say this every week, but its so true. I love West Lake Houston with my whole heart. 

Theres so much I could say about this week!! Ah it was a great one. There were some funny moments I'll share real fast. So we were at dinner with a member, and instead of sharing a scripture as a Spiritual thought, she wanted us to sing a song. So we got ready to sing and started singing, but something made us all laugh. Hermana Perez, Stiles and I were all laughing, but the member didnt think anything was funny. She asked us to start over, and we tried so hard to pull it together, but we couldnt for the life of us stop laughing. hermana perez laughed so hard she fell out her chair... The hermana from our ward was not too pleased, and told us, "you dont have the Spirit with you"... hahah uhh...okay? That was the hardest hymn i have ever sung haha we could not catch our breath for the life of us. 

Then another day we were with Yolanda and Saul's sister, teaching them. Afterwards, we were all talking and they asked Hermana perez if she ever ate because she was so small. Then they pointed to me and said, "Ella es mas gordita, verdad?" (She's more chubby, right?) Then said to me, "A ti, te gustan los brownies si?" (You like brownies huh?) hahaha it was so funny... 
And the NEXT DAY at dinner, we were at another members house, and hermana Perez blamed me for getting her sick (I was sick first, then she got worse than me) The members said to me, "Its because you didnt eat healthy before the mission. You only like junk food. Did you eat vegetables? You didnt, I can tell" ......uh..... hahah guilty? so for my new years resolution I definitely need to start eating healthier and exercising haha ;) 

The other day at a dinner appointment I was asked to share the spiritual thought, so I started talking, and then asked a question... they laughed and asked me, "Hermana what happened to your spanish? Its gotten worse! You're like a crab, walking backwards" That made me feel pretty self-conscious, so I was nervous to try teaching again. 
This morning we taught Tito and Hermana Perez wasnt feeling very good, so she told me that me and Stiles would be teaching.... I still get really nervous teaching, and feel inadequate sometimes. When we started teaching Tito, i started talking and he started laughing and looking around at everyone else. I started getting choked up and flustered, but kept talking. Hermana Stiles and I switched off teaching, but I started to think, 'Hermana Perez is right here, she might as well just take over for me, I dont want to teach anyways, he is just laughing at me'... but I decided to keep teaching. We were teaching about the Plan of Salvation and once again i was reminded very strongly of my purpose here. I don't know how to describe it, but I said a prayer in my heart, and did my best to teach and testify of the things that we were teaching. While we were teaching him, Tito got tears in his eyes. We explained to him our purpose on earth and that we are here to live the gospel and exercise our faith in Christ. We are here to repent and make ourselves better and then be baptized and make those promises with God. We explained to him the purpose of our life here and that we can be happy now and for eternity. We told him about his potential as a son of God and that He has a Savior that has made it possible for him to progress. As we were teaching him, I remember saying something like, "Tito. This is why i am here. To tell you about God's plan and teach you His gospel so you can return to live with your Father. i am here to help you know how you can progress because your Savior suffered for you and He wants you to be happy." I dont remember exactly what I said, but I remember I felt it in my heart and knew that this was my purpose as a missionary. 

I am so grateful for my testimony and for the Spirit that encouraged me to keep talking even though i felt self-conscious. I am glad that I have this opportunity as a missionary to continually be sharing the message that has brought me so much happiness to me. I love the mission, even when it is hard. I know that I have so much to learn and so many ways to grow, but I am glad that I get to do that through focusing on others... I had a bit of time where I was so sad and I couldnt figure out why, but now I know it was because I was focusing on myself. I hope that i am able to be selfless, and forget myself in the work. 

I am so excited for the year 2015. I am ready to set new goals and try my hardest to become who my Heavenly Father wants me to be. I have so much to go to become more Christlike, and i am glad that i have this time on a mission to focus completely on Him. I am excited to see how my testimony grows and changes this coming year, but i am even more excited to see how people here can grow and change because of Him. 
I dont know if my thought processes are making sense, but I hope so! 

Happy New Year family!! Make it a year to remember :) 
I love you all! it was good to see you this week <3 
Love, Hermana Rogers

P.S. THE GREATEST OBISPO IN THE WORLD IS AQUI IN WEST LAKE HOUSTON. Guess what I got for Christmas? Yeah. A Ukulele. obispo bought one for Me, Hermana Perez, and hermana Stiles!!!!!!! we told him we were going to pay him for them, and he told us, "I have a deal for you. instead of paying me the money, donate what you would have paid to fast offerings- thats where the money should go" It was amazing. He is seriously the most incredible human being. I am so grateful for him and the opportunity I have had to serve in his ward. He has so much love for everyone-- we are being taken care of :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Feliz Navidad!

Hola Hola Hola familia! Hope you all had a great week and are ready for Christmas! I bet it will be a crazy week for you guys as well, it is going to be INSANE for us! I can't wait to talk to you and see all your faces! :) 

I don't even know what I want to talk about from this last week- there were a lot of crazy stories, but I will try and summarize :) first of all- the Christmas season is amazing. There are so many more people that are open to talking about Jesus Christ and what He has done for us. One miracle that we saw this last week- on Thursday during "Hour of Power", my companions asked me where Iwanted to go. (Normally, I just go where they want) and i didn't know! There was a lot of different areas that we had started knocking but never finished all the houses, but as I ran through them in my head, I didn't feel like I knew which to chose. During our dinner appointment right before we were about to go knocking, Hermana Perez said she didn't feel very good, and we were about to go home, but she said we could still try. i had been praying in my mind a ton to know where to go, and this apartment complex we had never tried knocking before came to my mind. We knew we probably wouldnt be able to spend the whole hour knocking, but we went there anyways. The first house we knocked on, a lady and her 9 year old daughter came to the door. We started talking to them, and introduced ourselves as missionaries. She talked to us, told us about her faith, and then we brought up the He is the Gift video and asked her if she could put it on her phone. She started playing it and told us she had seen the video before, and it was really pretty. (Sorry this is probably so confusing) but!! By the end of the conversation, she told us that she wanted us to come back and teach her and her daughter because she wanted her daughter to grow up and be a missionary like us!!!!!! It was AMAZING! We will be teaching them tomorrow- I am excited to see what happens :) Right after that house, we tried another that didnt answer, then had to leave because H. Perez was sick-- but it was a testimony builder to me that miracles happen, that God can lead us as missionaries, and that the inspired videos and proselyting tools (like He is the Gift) are helping prepare people for us to teach :) It was awesome. 

I went on exchanges this week with Sister Baur, in an english area. She is so great! I learned a lot when I was with her about how to set goals, how to push myself, how to feel God's love, and overcoming times of discouragement. She motivated me to really work to change any negativities in my mindset around, so I will be working on that a lot more!! 

PACO was confirmed on Sunday :) It was beautiful-- I saw so much in his blessing of his potential- he is 25, and has so much of his life ahead to be of service to the Church, hold the Priesthood, to get married and sealed in the temple, and raise a family of missionaries (I don't know if I wrote about this before, but he told us the week before he was baptized that he wants to have kids that go on missions like us because he loves what we do). he is so awesome. My favorite moment though was after Sacrament meeting, he came up to us with a tithing slip in hand and his wallet out, ready to pay his tithing. That was such an amazing moment to see how much he has progressed and is ready to help build Zion! :) 

I have been reading some awesome talks lately.... I read a talk called "Unleashing the Dormant Spirit" by F. Enzio Busche which was so great! I recommend it :) Another one was called "I Will Give Myself to Him" by Russell T. osguthorpe. I didn't write down the names of the other ones, but I love talks!! :) 

Have I talked at all about Tito?? He is somehow related to the Serranos haha I still dont really understand, but we started teaching him and he is interested and committed to a date in January!
Hugo is still going to church in Mexico-- that makes me SO happy! 
Eva and Gilberto are still just as awesome ;) Gilberto has to work days again, so coming to church is a sacrifice for him, but he is still willing to make it- seeing him at church on sunday was the best :) that family has my heart I love them so much. 

There was a big ward Christmas party on Saturday and that was way too much fun. I love this ward SO much :) 

Okay I have to head out, but I wanted to let you all know I love you so much!! This is the work of our Heavenly Father and He is making miracles happen every day. This season is the greatest time of year-- I have felt SO much joy and love. I have seen so many examples of people here that show their kindness and are examples to me of Christlike service. I am learning what the Spirit of Christmas is all about, and I want to carry this Spirit with me all the time. So many people are willing to open their hearts and help out others. 

I am grateful for this opportunity that I have right now to be serving a mission, serving my Lord, especially at this time of His birth. i love my Savior and I know that He is the ultimate expression of God's love for us. Everything that we have is because of Him. There are SO many blessings that come to us as members of Christ's restored church! And when we take a moment to reflect on that, we recognize the importance of sharing this message with everyone we know and love. He is the way!! He is our example of love and service, and through Him we can have hope. 

I love you all!! have a great Christmas!! I will talk to you soon :) 
Hermana Shaelyn Rogers

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas (AKA everyone in a baptismal suit)

 Hi family!! Its been a looong week but its good! So much happened!! 
I'll talk about some highlights :) 

Wednesday was Christmas conference for ALL THE MISSIONARIES IN MY MISSION. We went to Baytown (who even knows where that is, not me!) and there were sooo many missionaries there. Super overwhelming, but also way fun. Me and another Hermana sang O Holy Night in front of the ENTIRE mission and it was terrifying. Literally one of the scariest things ever. Lots of people performed though, not just me, so it wasn't as much pressure. 
One really cool thing that they did was have a couple recent converts speak about the blessings they have received since they were baptized. It was such a testimony builder to me of my purpose. As they were sharing their conversion stories and talked about how they can't imagine their lives without the gospel, it strengthened my faith that there are prepared people out there for me to find. One of the guys that spoke had a lot of tattoos, said that when the Elders walked up to him, he was smoking and had a beer in his hand, and spent the first part of their conversation trying to convince the Elders they were wrong. But the missionaries were persistent. That is the kind of missionary I want to be. I want to be able to maintain a vision in my mind of everyone I meet dressed in white, with the gospel in their lives, a changed person, blessing the lives of other people. As those converts bore their testimonies, the Spirit was sooo strong. These are now solid members of the church who have brought their families with them to experience the blessings of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I want the people that I see get baptized to be like these people. 

Speaking of baptisms..... PACO!!!!!!! I am so so so so happy. Paco is AMAZING. When I first got here and we started teaching him, he had very little desire. He didn't want to read, he thought what we were teaching was hard to believe, he didn't know why he was praying or who he was praying to, and now he is a baptized member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Paco has been sad, felt lonely, etc but after his baptism he was SO HAPPY. I have never seen him as happy as he was on Sunday. :) It was INCREDIBLE. I love Paco!!! He is absolutely the nicest person, and he is always helping us out. He has changed his desires, and working with him has been a miracle.  He was telling us the other day that he wants his kids in the future to be missionaries too because he is so happy and grateful for what we do. His baptism was awesome-- his whole family was there. None of them are members besides his sister Jessica, and they were all really happy for Paco too. It was SUCH A GOOD DAY! He will be confirmed next week :):)

Another good day was Saturday- we went to the temple with one of Hermana Stiles' recent converts from Pasadena and there were some pretty cool people there... haha well yall already saw the pictures but it was Marie and Josh and Ashlyn!! Ashlyn did baptisms for the first time on Saturday, which was so awesome :) And I got to be there too. It was honestly so refreshing to talk about everything that had been going on, talking to her brought me so much comfort about Grandpa. She told me a way cool story about Mignon?? Dad probably knows it too, but how incredible is that. He could leave this world rejoicing because he lived the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have honestly felt so much more comfort this week... 
and with Marie it was also really cool to see her before she had Kohen!! (crazy timing). 

I had a couple hard moments this week too, but I know that I am here for a reason. I know that my companions are also with me for a reason at this time, and they helped me through my weak times. I KNOW that this gospel is a gospel of peace and happiness, and if we arent feeling that, then there are things we can do to change it. Prayer is the most powerful tool we have to communicate with our Father in Heaven who knows us and our challenges perfectly. He knows who we are now, but more importantly, He knows who we can become. He sees our weaknesses, but He also knows our strengths, and He has given us His Son who can help us transform ourselves, make ourselves clean, strengthen us, bring us hope, comfort, and ultimately eternal life. He is the way! 
Have you seen He is the gift??? I know Cassie did in seminary, but if you havent, go watch it! We watch it all the time and share it with everyone and it hits me every time I see it. 
Jesus Christ is the reason for the season. He is our Heavenly Father's gift to us, because of His infinite love for us. He is the LIGHT and LIFE of the world and of each one of us. I am so grateful for Him and His example to me of selfless service and love, and I can try every day to become more like Him. 

This week was crazy! A lot happened, but so many blessings. The Christmas season is such a great time to be serving my Savior! :) I love you all!!!! Have a great week!! 
Love, Hermana Rogers

PS I lost my camera cord, but I'll send pictures soon! You the best! 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Lord's House

Hola Hola mi familia y amigos! 

This week I am grateful for a lot of things. I am grateful for the Spirit and the comfort that can come in times of quiet reflecting. I am grateful for tears because without them we wouldn't be able to understand joy. I am grateful for my Savior Jesus Christ who has felt the pains that I experience and invites me to give it all to Him. He knows and understands me and everything I go through, and He holds my heart. This week I am grateful for the House of the Lord. I am grateful that we have somewhere we can go to seek shelter from the storms of life and feel the peace and calm that heaven offers. I am grateful for the knowledge and understanding and guidance we can receive when we spend time in the temples of the Lord. I am grateful for the scriptures and the comfort that comes as we study what God has told us through His prophets. I am grateful for a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation, which helps me know that I will be able to live with my family for eternity in my Heavenly Father's presence. I am grateful for my mission because there is no place I would rather be than right here. 

I started out this week in a lot of pain. I honestly haven't had homesickness hit me as bad as it did last week, and I prayed SO much to find comfort, and it came right away. I was trying to hold in all my feelings and not let them show because I wanted to forget myself and get back to work. We went to the Serranos house, and Eva said hi at the door, then gave me a huge hug and said, "I'm sorry". I was so confused how she knew (then she told me she read the letter I wrote home) She hugged me, told me things will get better, and Gilberto also came over and let me know that they were there for me and would help me in any way they could. Eva cried with me for a little while, and we ate lunch there, and honestly I felt SO loved and supported. I know that here in Houston, I have other family looking out for me and supporting me through hard times. I'm grateful for Eva and Gilberto and the Serrano family for their support and love. Obispo also texted me and told me that he was proud of me as he knew my parents were too. That also was a tender mercy that helped boost my motivation and desire to work. I was so grateful for him as well, he really does lead this ward in love and everyone knows that Obispo is behind them 100%. I love this ward with my whole heart. 

Another major tender mercy/blessing of this week was the opportunity I had to go to the temple! It was unbelievably incredible. I can't explain how perfect that experience was. I went in with a mind full of concerns and worries and pains, and when I went into the temple, those feelings dissolved. Everything that happened felt like it was directed at me, helping me to feel God's love and support and helping me know that everything was going to be okay. The Spirit was beyond description. I learned SO much in the temple that will help me throughout the rest of my mission and my life. I felt power. I wish I could talk all about it, but I just want to share my testimony that I know the temples are The House of the Lord here on the Earth. I know that He can be in His house because that is the most holy place. I know that the Spirit of the Lord is real and can enter into our hearts if they are broken and open to receive it. Heavenly Father loves His children, and He is right there ready to help us. His arms are outstretched, ready to wrap around us. I know that this church is so true and BRINGS PEACE AND COMFORT. This is what I needed this week and IT CAME. I know the Savior has experienced my pains and difficulties and He is ready to help us through our challenges. I am so grateful for this gospel. I know that I have been healed this week so that I could continue to work hard for my Savior! 

On another exciting note! Paco is getting baptized this next week!!! He is the brother of Jessica Gutierez, and he has changed sooooo much!! We have been teaching him since I got here, and when we first started teaching him, he pretty much told us he didn't have a desire to do anything, but now he has progressed to his baptism! He has come to church almost every week for a while now! He is AWESOME!!! I am sooo happy and excited to see him continue to progress and take this step! The date snuck up on us a little bit, but we have been seeing him every day and making sure he is ready! When we first set this date with him, we told him we would just have it as a goal to work towards (he has had a couple other dates fall through) but then the next time we came back he said, "So I asked David if he would baptize me on the 14th, is that okay?" It was so awesome! haha he is so ready :) I am so happy for him! I will let you know all about that next week!!! :):)

I get to go to the temple again on Saturday! Hermana Stiles has someone she reactivated that is going through the temple for the first time!!! I am so excited to get to go another time :) It will be a great week. 

I love you all!! Im feeling so much better this week, and I am so happy that I am here serving my mission. This is where I need to be. Thank you for all your encouragement, support, prayers, and love. I love you all so much!! :) I hope you have a great week!! 
TJ good luck with your program! Mom have a great relief society dinner! Janaea, Dad and Cassie and Brayton I love you good luck with everything this week! You are the best! 
Love, Hermana Rogers

Monday, December 1, 2014

God Be With You Till We Meet Again

Hi there family! This email will be pretty short, I am struggling to find the motivation today to write... My heart hurts really bad. I miss Grandpa Rogers so much, and I am feeling really sad right now. But either way, I am grateful for him and the example and life he lived. I love him so much and I know that although it hurts so badly right now, the Savior is here to heal my pain and that Grandpa would want nothing less from me than for me to pick myself up and go work even harder. I think it is going to be a hard week, but I also know that I will be so strengthened this week by the Lord. This Wednesday we are going to the temple as zones-- it could not be at a better time. The temple is the House of the Lord, where we make covenants that allow us to be with our families forever. The temple will bring peace into my heart, and I am so happy and grateful that I get to go do a session. 

I know that families are forever, and that Grandpa is in a better place now, free of pain. I really appreciated what dad said, that "he was loved by all who knew him and died rejoicing in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the knowledge that families are forever". FAMILIES ARE FOREVER. This is the message I get to tell people every day and now is the time for me to apply it into my own life so that I can feel the comfort and peace that this knowledge brings. I know that Christ lives, and that because He lives, we will live again. I know that because of my Savior Jesus Christ, each of us has the opportunity to be with our families for eternity. He has shown us the way to make it back to our Father in Heaven and I know that Grandpa lived that way. He lived the gospel and let it radiate from him. Right now, this is really hard... its REALLY hard. But I have faith that comfort will come. 

Ok I'll talk a little bit about some highlights of this week-
Hermana Stiles is my new companion with Hermana Perez. It is going to be soooo weird getting used to a trio, it kind of feels like we are just hanging out or constantly having a member present lesson hah I don't know how to explain it. But she is so fun! And speaks way better spanish than me haha she has been out 7 months, is from Bakersfield California, has BRIGHT red hair, and 1 of 6 kids. I seriously love her so much. Her, Hermana Perez and I are CRAZY together, but also stoked to work hard this transfer. 

PACO IS GETTING BAPTIZED IN 2 WEEKS. I don't remember what I have told you about him, but he has changed SO much since we have been teaching him. On his own, he asked David (his brother in law) to baptize him! I am so happy and I think he has found the sincere desire on his own. 

HUGO. So he is in Mexico but still talks to us sometimes through Eva.... WE FOUND OUT HE WENT TO CHURCH THE PAST 2 SUNDAYS!!!!!! WE COULDNT EVEN GET HIM TO GO THAT MUCH WHILE HE WAS HERE!!! And he told us that he is coming back in January to be baptized here! I am so proud of him, because I know that he is doing that of his own choice because we aren't there pressuring him. I hope that he continues to feel the joy that the gospel brings into his life as he is doing the things he is supposed to.

OKAY also last thing we found a new investigator named Juan Manuel. He is SUPER legit. He is related to Yolanda and Saul (I dont know if yall remember them) We taught him, and I said the opening prayer- when it was over he was crying and started talking about his family and all the things that were on his mind and bothering him. We bore our testimony, shared scriptures, and then had to leave for church. After the closing prayer, he said we brought him so much comfort and he felt peace in his heart for the first time in a long time. It was a really sweet experience. 

Thanksgiving was fun! We spent it with the Serrano family and the Lopez family-- it was Gilberto's birthday so we celebrated with them, which was way fun! I love them SO much :) We always have so much fun with their family. 

So I'd gotten pretty discouraged this week- Honestly until right now, I hadn't looked at all the blessings together that had happened. I need to work on being more grateful, even when I think there is something hard, there will always be so many blessings! 

A couple funny stories before I have to go- 
**Hermana Stiles didn't believe that I cried a lot for the first 3 days she was here... the way she tells this is super funny, but she says like, "I didn't understand- every member we saw, every investigator we taught, everyone was asking us if you had cried today- they kept telling me you cry every time you are with them, but I didn't see you cry at all!" Then all of a sudden there was just lesson after lesson where I cried and she LAUGHED at me and said, "Okay, I understand what people are saying now"
**One of the Recent Converts named Jaime that we teach told me, "Ya no lloras porque tus ojos son muy lindos pero cuando lloras, se ponen rojos y feos"
which means "Don't cry anymore. Your eyes are so pretty, but when you cry they turn red and ugly"
**Jaime also said, when I asked him how old I seemed, "Como tu eres, 7 o 8" then he turned to Hermana Perez and said, "Verdad? Su cuerpo es como mujer pero su manera de vida es como nina. Necesita cuidarla" He said Right? her body is like a woman but the way she is is like a girl. You need to take care of her. 
His advice to me was "Take care, be funny every day, and don't cry"

Okay that was a lot longer than I intended... but anyways! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH. I am so so so grateful for your strength. I know that things will get better and we can feel comfort through Heavenly Father. He loves us so much and we know of His plan for us. Our family will be together forever! I love you family! 
You are my greatest support team. Thank you for everything! 

Love, Hermana Rogers

Monday, November 24, 2014

Why I Am Here

I hope that I can get all my thought process out. It has been an INSANE week.
This week, I think I learned EVEN MORE about my purpose as a missionary.
Hugo left to go back home to Mexico, and it was the hardest moment of my mission so far. HUGO HAS CHANGED MY LIFE. Me and Hermana Perez had been teaching him for the last 3 months, and he was golden. He wasn't baptized with us, but he also knew the whole time that he would be going back to Mexico after his Visa expired, and he'd told us he didn't want to get baptized here then leave. But Hugo did everything we asked him-- He read and prayed all the time, started the Book of Mormon from the beginning on his own and made it to Mosiah in a week. He alwas applied things to himself, asked questions he didn't understand, I can't even explain all Hugo did and was. He changed so much while we were teaching him. I have SO much love for Hugo, and I can say honestly HE HAS HELPED ME REALIZE WHAT PURE LOVE IS. Love despite mistakes, love that made me want the absolute best for him, love that helped me see his POTENTIAL! I wish I could put into words... When he left, it felt like a part of me was being taken away. My heart hurt all week leading up to us saying goodbye on Friday. He wrote a letter to me, which I will attatch a picture of-- It is the sweetest thing I have ever read in my life. He has changed SO much. For example- His facebook before was FULL of drinking pictures- and that was all he would do on the weekends... Then here, one week he told us that he drank over the weekend and felt so bad he fasted the next day to repent. More than anything I want happiness for him. I want him to remember everything he has felt here and the faith he has rediscovered. I miss him so much, but I am just grateful that Heavenly Father gave me the opportunity to be a part of his life.
These are the people that I will meet on my mission that will change my life and teach me what pure, Christlike love is. They will help me to see first hand the changes that will come when a person accepts the gospel and studies it to apply it into their lives. These are the people whose hearts the Lord is preparing to receive us and our testimonies of the Restored gospel of Jesus Chrust. These are the God's children with the potential to return to live with Him again and receive a fullness of joy in His presence.
I never knew I could experience so much love, concern, pain, joy, gratitude, hope, sadness, etc all at the same time. It was crazy saying bye, but I am grateful for the experiences I've had with him.
OKAY ALSO. We got to go to the temple with Eva and Gilberto on Saturday morning!! IT WAS AMAZING! Eva hadn't been since she was baptized, and it was Gilberto's first time too. The Spirit was so strong there and I just got so excited for a year from now when their family can be sealed for eternity. Gilberto and Eva have been through so much together and they are SO strong. I visualized Christ standing there as they were being confirmed, with his arms outstretched, welcoming them.
Me and Hermana Perez aren't allowed to do baptisms unless we have family names, but even just being there while they were being baptized was such a powerful experience.
Other than that, me and Hermana Perez went through this whole week thinking it was one of our last weeks here, BUT WE ARE BOTH STAYING!!!
The Elders pulled a MEAN prank on us... so we had told the ZLs we were being flushed (both of us were leaving) and they believed us.... jokes on them right?? Wrong. So they are the ones that find out Saturday night who is leaving, then they tell the District Leaders, who call us. SO thank Elder Kalilimoku for this :P
He called the DLs, told them what was going to happen to us, then told them to prank us. 
The District Leaders called us and told us to guess who was leaving. I guessed neither, Hermana Perez guessed she was leaving, and he told us we were both wrong. My heart DROPPED. I was so shocked. He told me I was leaving, that I should pack Sunday night, and we'd need a ride to transfer meeting. I started crying, they hung up the phone, and we sat there for like 5 minutes shocked. Then they called us back and said they were kidding... Hermana Perez was leaving. We were still sad but it was what we had been expecting all week, so she braced herself to say goodbye at church. We got there early, went around telling all the ward members and Obispo that she was leaving, and then during sacrament meeting OBISPO HAD HERMANA PEREZ GO BEAR HER TESTIMONY to the ward... hahaha. Then she spent all of church writing thank you cards to families in the ward, etc. THEY DIDNT TELL US UNTIL THE END OF CHURCH THAT THEY LIED..... hahaha SO mean. 
OKAY SO I AM STAYING IN WEST LAKE HOUSTON WITH HERMANA PEREZ AND WE ARE GETTING A NEW COMPANION TOO!!! We are going to be in a TRIO!!! :):) Its going to be CRAZY! We go pick her up tomorrow--- We had to move our entire apartment around today!!
Its been SUCH a hard week. I can't explain all the emotions I felt. All week I was anticipating saying bye to Hugo, I thought that my companion was going to leave and I would have to lead out the area, I was scared (that fear though :P) I was sad, I've been SO happy at the temple, its been an emotional roller coaster week for sure!!!
BUT I LOVE THE MISSION. I LOVE THESE PEOPLE. I LOVE THE WARD AND THIS AREA. I am so happy me and Hermana Perez get to stay together! We have so much fun haha :) I love the temple and I love Eva and Gilberto and forever families!!!
I love you all so much!! I have to go move my apartment more the Elders are bringing an extra bed today-- Have a great week and a happy thanksgiving!!! :)
I'm grateful for all of you! :)
Love, Hermana Rogers

Monday, November 17, 2014

20 Years Young

Hey Familia!!
THIS WEEK WAS SO CRAZY! I guess I will talk about my birthday first since that was probably the biggest event :) I AM 20 YEARS OLD. No longer a teenager, but still not an adult, so I don't really even know what I am anymore haha but I promise you I still feel like a baby. No one I told believed me when I said I was 20, people kept telling me I looked 15.... so there's that. BUT I will tell you about everything that happened because it was crazy! 
So first of all haha my district leader called at 6:30 exactly to wish me a happy birthday, and they both sang to me- such a nice wake up call haha then we had zone meeting, and President showed up, and there was food and cupcakes and candy everywhere. Plus I learned some AMAZING lessons that I will talk about in a minute. People were SOOO nice!! I got muffins and cupcakes from some elders in my zone, then a massive candy card/poster thing from Sister Mulivai, and Hermana Perez had made me breakfast, and the ZLs brought lunch and cupcakes for everyone, and then our old ZLs brought me ice cream, and I got a couple other phone calls and bday wishes. Then at dinner, the member (Hermana Oviedo) made me some balloon flowers, and afterwards we went to the Serranos house and they threw me a party-- Hermana Perez shoved my face in a cake so that was exciting. And they bought me flowers and it was just an overall reallly really nice day! :) Then Sunday we celebrated again at the Lopez family's house, and they'd bought me a cake and invited the Elders over too-- it was insane. But enough about me! haha 

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH FOR THE PACKAGE! I loved the drawings on the balloons and the notes and the Mexican Hot Chocolate (I havent tried the one you gave me, but we have people that make us hot chocolate with cinnamon sticks all the time and its SO good), I NEEDED THE WARM CLOTHES SO I APPRECIATE THOSE, I loved the drawings from TJ and Janaea :), the headband was a great choice Cassie!!, The CD is awesome I have heard from other people its great ha we havent put it on yet but it looks great haha, then the nutrimeal and moms little sticky note reminding me to eat healthy was awesome too! I loved everything thank you so much!! :) 

So there were a couple of other really awesome things that happened this week-- I went on another exchange to an english area and the Sister I went with was even "greener" than me!!! She came out the transfer after me, and is burning up with greenie fire so when the two of us got put together, we went crazy haha we decided to blitz (I Think thats what its called) the area-- just go knocking all day. We set our goals, prayed and felt good about them, and then the next day we bundled up and went to work. She is in a biking area, so it was FREEZING, and we biked over to a neighborhood, and knocked for 2 hours without a single person letting us say more than 10 words without making us leave. It was UNREAL. Ive been out for almost 4 months and hadn't experienced that rejection before. I got very discouraged very fast, and the enthusiasm I had that morning left me. But Sister Mulivai still had it. She kept asking me if I felt like we needed to go somewhere else, so we prayed about it, and I have no idea even how to describe what happened next haha EVERYTHING just fell into place. I don't even know where we went or how we knew where to go, but we would just be biking along, then both of us would slow down and know we had to turn-- its hard to explain, but it was amazing. We met sooo many people that I know we needed to meet. We ended up reaching our goal of other lessons, and found people that I know weren't coincidences. One guy even told us, "I think you guys are a sign that I needed today to keep my faith- its been a really hard day, but then yall came and talked to me". It just felt like such a miraculous day!! The most miraculous by far was the one lesson we had scheduled. Her name is Jaylee, she is a 9 year old girl that has been being taught for a few months now. She lives with her grandma, who doesnt speak very much english, but Jaylee understands english and spanish-- So Sister Mulivai told me she wanted me to teach her in spanish. 
We went over there, and I was feeling pretty nervous because Sister Mulivai doesnt know spanish at all, and she expected me to be able to teach a whole lesson to this girl and her grandma and carry out the conversations and everything... IT WAS SO AMAZING. Jaylee is this bubbly little angel girl, and the spirit was there while we were talking- We talked about Jesus Christ, and then I ASKED HER TO BE BAPTIZED AND SHE SAID YES. The grandma was more hesitant, but I talked to her in spanish and she opened up a lot and told me that whatever Jaylee decides, she will be able to do. Jaylee prayed and thanked Heavenly Father for ltting me come and asked Him for me to be able to go back. It was powerful, and I know I received so much help. Sister Mulivai cried and said even though she didn't understand, she felt the Spirit stronger than she had there before and knew that a spanish speaking missionary was what they needed in order to open up. She said Jaylee had said no she wouldnt be baptized in the past, but that I was the miracle she needed-- I dont mean for this to sound like I am high and mighty or anything, but it was a really powerful experience for me. 
I wont be able to go back and teach her, but I hope that they are able to find what she needs in order for her to be baptized Dec 7th. 

Hermana Perez was still sick this week, so we went to the doctor on Tuesday, she got shots and medicine and got put on house arrest by Sister Drake-- so i was able to leave Wednesday for exchanges, then was back at home all day Thursday, then left again Friday. 

OKAY Real quick!! The lesson from Zone Meeting!!! It was about FEAR. I have been studying this so much lately, so when I heard about it at zone conference, it really hit home. I don't have time to describe all of it, but I will try to remember to describe it next week- One cool thing that Elder Brewer (our other Zone Leader) talked about, was that the way to overcome our fears is to look them in the face. Like the children of israel with the serpent-- once they were bitten, all they had to do was look at the serpent on the pole and be healed. But why a serpent?? Why not something pleasant?? Because they had to face their fears- He talked about how the pole that the serpent was on was representative of the cross, and our requirement to be healed is to place our fears "on the cross". To give them to the Savior and covenant with Him that we will face them- TRUST HIM and INCREASE YOUR FAITH and LEAVE YOUR DOUBTS AND FEARS BEHIND. 

We have started doing a fear lesson with our investigators. We have them write on a piece of paper all their fears, and then we rip it up. We read with them Matthew 14 where Peter walks on the water, and testify of the power of faith in Jesus Christ. 
One cool experience I had with that lesson (every time I learn something different) but we were teaching a Recent Convert that just moved into our boundaries. His name is Jaime and he told us when he first got here that he would be deciding this week whether he would stay in the church or leave.... that freaked me out. The next lesson we did with him was the fear lesson, and his biggest fear was losing his faith-- he feels like now that he is a new convert he has entered a whole new world and no one understands him. He doesn't feel like he knows enough to help anyone else, etc. When we did the fear lesson, I felt like I should share my experience at the MTC... haha I cried a lot when I was telling it, but I talked about how much the story of Peter helped me when I was struggling. Afterwards, he told me that it helped him so much to have hope and that the experience I said changed him and he would remember it forever. It was cool for me to see that even my weaknesses and doubts will still be able to bless the lives of other people as I learn to overcome my fears and rely on the Lord. 

This week was so awesome. I felt so much love for other people and from other people! Thank you again for the package, tell Janaea happy birthday!!! I LOVE YOU ALL SO MUCH!!!! Have a great week! :) 
Love, Hermana Rogers

Monday, November 10, 2014

Feliz Cumpleanos A Shaelyn

Haha clever title huh? I keep thinking about how weird it is going to be to turn 20, but I think it won't really hit me. I'm older than my trainer did you know that? But anyways hope you all have an awesome my birthday! I don't think we have anyhing too fun planned, no worries. Fridays are always crazy though, and we have zone meeting this Friday so basically just a bunch of missionaries all in the same place- Elder Kalilimoku is in charge so hopefully it will be entertaining :) 

This week was awesome. No, I didn't butcher any more cows, but I did have a BAPTISM!!!!! :) Diego was baptized on Saturday!!! :):) He is such a cute kid, and it was so sweet to see him be baptized! There were 3 kids baptized that day, 2 that were 8 and then Diego. His dad baptized him and then he was confirmed in church on Sunday. I sang "Im trying to be like Jesus" (except in Spanish) at their baptism, and afterwards he came up to me and said, "It was funny when you sang!!" I said, "Funny? How come?" He said, "Well, I guess not really funny, just weird..." I asked him why it was weird and he said, "I dont know, I just got all tingly inside and my arms got cold" It was super cute haha I love that kid. :) 

That was definitely the highlight of my week haha other than that it was a really slow week because both me and Hermana Perez got sick, I think it was the flu, but I don't know. We still tried to work, but then got chastised by Kalilimoku and then our District Leader Elder Strong so...we spent a couple days inside just calling people to check up on them...pretty boring if I don't say so myself. I prefer to be a missionary outside I think. But I had lots of opportunities to write in my journal and study and read the ensign and listen to church music and make food and take medicine and lay around and cry. Haha I spent too much time by myself while my companion tried to sleep away her sickness. 

I went on exchanges one day to an english area. IT WAS SO WEIRD. I didnt even remember missionaries could speak that language!! Ha just kidding but it was kind of fun to actually understand everything that was going on for once ;) I went to a super country area and had Hour of Power there, and some of the houses we knocked on were way funny. I learned a new word, "Finna". Its Texan, the same thing as "Fixin to" which I don't know how to define. Ask Marie and Josh haha ;) I also heard, "A-Figurin" which I think means,"Thats what I thought" :) One house we knocked on, a kid came to the door and I heard the mom yell out from the back, "DON'T LET THE PIG OUT!!!!!" So that was exciting. And another just had chickens in their freezer...they fed us dinner was chicken. haha Texas. So even if I was an English-speaking missionary, I would still have culture shock haha :) 

I had a really powerful experience in Sacrament meeting that I am going to try to describe. I've been trying the past week to repent daily so that I can correct behaviors that are not in line with everything I am supposed to be doing and become a better missionary and person in general- which has been awesome. That is something I want to get in the habit of doing every single day for the rest of my life. Then in Sacrament meeting I was thinking about my week, and I saw a hand reaching out to me to pass me the Sacrament bread. When I saw the hand, I didn't see the bread at first, I pictured my Savior's hand reaching out to me. I felt Him handing me the representations of His sacrifice for me, and I knew that I was being forgiven, and that was the purpose of the Sacrament. During the sacrament hymn, one line stood out to me as I was playing, that says, "Think of me, thou ransomed one, Think what I for thee have done" I can't explain the feeling that washed over me, but I know that it came because I had been preparing myself all week to take the Sacrament. I had been trying to use the Atonement daily to change my nature, and I was feeling the Spirit purify my heart. I don't know if thats the kind of sacred experience that I am supposed to keep to myself, but more than anything I could have heard at that meeting, that was the feeling that renewed me for the week, and that was what brought the Spirit into my heart. I know that we take the Sacrament every week for a reason, and the blessings of the Atonement are ALWAYS there if we open ourselves up to receive them. 

I love you all!! I hope you have an amazing week!! :) Thank you for the love and support you have given me! :) 
I love being a missionary! I love West Lake Houston! I love my family- you guys are the BEST!!! 
Love, Your Hija/Hermana/Amiga/Misionera, 
Hermana Rogers 

Monday, November 3, 2014

Not a Week for the Weak in Stomach


So this week was insane cool. I will try to summarize but you know me! 
First of all Happy Belated Halloween haha mine was super calm. We couldn't be out of the house after 7 PM so me and my companion made up a rap because that's her thing... We rapped for hours and my voice has been gone ever since hahah its the funniest thing ever. Everyone thinks I am whispering at them but no, I just have no voice. I think its EBOLA. 

The CRAZIEST MOMENT OF MY WEEK (and hopefully my entire life) was Saturday. So we were planning on doing service for the Serrano family by helping them set up for a birthday party. We show up and THEY ARE SLAUGHTERING A COW IN THE BACKYARD. It was a straight-up butchershop in the back of their house.........WHAT THE LANTA TEXAS. The Serrano family was all bloodied up and the kids were just playing in the background like nothing was happening. It took me about 10 minutes to get over the shock, then I was all over that thing. I helped skin the face, held the heart, played with the muscles, pulled out the tongue, poked the stomach, felt the intestines, etc etc. It was way cool and didn't really phase me. (Until they served beef tacos later....then i couldn't do it. hahaha everyone made fun of me- I was fine playing with it, but I couldn't for the life of me eat it) Anyways. That was probably too graphic, I am sorry.... but just so you know, that is life! hahah it was crazy. Also... they cut up all the meat and everything, then hosed down all the blood and set up for the party right there!!!! Literally there was a plastic bag full of cow skin sitting off to the side of this 7 year old girls birthday party hahahah man. I love this culture. :) This week, I am looking forward to trying Menudo for the first time. (Intestine soup...... wish me luck!!) Lucky for you guys, all the pictures are on the Elder's camera, so i won't be sending any home :) 

Other than THAT there were some sweet miracles! So we were trying to bike to a member's house to visit a girl that got out of the hospital, and we had some extra time, so we stopped in a trailer park on the way. we knew our time was limited so we prayed to know where to go so that we could find someone to teach. Right as we were finishing our prayer, I heard a noise behind me and this lady named Carmen was coming out of her trailer. We started talking to her, and when we brought up the church, she told us her whole family are members in Mexico, but she wasn't baptized, then she moved here. She didn't have time right then to talk, but we set a return appointment for this week! :) it was such a testimony builder that prayers are answered and the Lord is looking out for us! 

During Hour of Power, we had another amazing experience. We were teaching the Restoration to this one family and as I was reciting the First Vision, tears were streaming down one lady's face and she kept talking about how she felt beautiful. When we tried to set a return appointment with the family, the grandma was trying to talk them out of listening to us, but she still said she wanted to! So we are teaching them again tomorrow :) I t was such an amazing experience. 

Funny story of my week: we went out to eat with a member (Hermano Torres) after he came to a lesson with us, and he asked what I was going to study. I told him I didn't know but I really liked psychology. I said, I probably won't be a therapist though because I am way too emotional. He said, "Who knows?! You could be a really successful therapist!! People would be telling you about their problems and then you'd start crying so much they would forget about themselves and ask you if YOU were okay! Then they would have to start comforting you and telling you that they were fine and everything would be alright! Then they'd run out of the room to your secretary and tell her they need a therapist for their therapist....." hahahahaha I died laughing it was the funniest thing anyone has ever said to me. He knows me.... and my emotions haha ;) 

So last Sunday I had prayed to know which member i could take to the lesson with Pete and Erika (the family with 3 boys). I felt like I should ask the second counsellor to come with us, even though I had no idea what his schedule looks like and he lives outside of our area. He told us when he was free and came to the lesson with us. Basically, it was SO inspired. Pete is very....bold and during the lesson, we couldn't really get a word in, but as soon as Hermano Torres would start talking, he listened. Hermano was able to relate to him with a lot of different experiences, like being a dad, drinking, not wanting to go to church, etc. We testified, and Hermano Torres was the only one that could really connect with him. Okay also in that lesson, I didn't talk very much at all, but at the end, Hermana Perez said, "my companion wants to share her testimony with you guys" I had been sitting there observing everything, and then out of no where I had to talk... (This is my overcoming fear problem) Anyways, Pete turns to me and said "Yes please! You're super quiet, I want to hear what you have to say!" I said a prayer in my head and then started talking. I felt the Spirit so strong. I don't know if anyone else did, and I dont' really remember what I said, but Pete didn't interrupt me once (which was not like how the rest of the lesson had gone). After the lesson, Pete thanked Hermano Torres and us 50 times for coming, and told us that he was so happy he had found someone that could relate to him. I know that Heavenly father had prompted me to invite Hermano Torres and that without him, we would not have been able to teach pete and Erika effectively. It was a sweet lesson. :) 

It has been an amazing week! I love being a missionary!! The experiences I am having are beyond comparison and I wouldnt trade this for anything! I hope all is going well at home! I love you all so much! :) Keep being awesome! This church is SO true- it changes lives!!! 

Happy November! (Where is time going?!) 
Hermana Shaelyn Marie Rogers

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Gucci Plan

Hi Family!!! I love you all so much don't ever forget it! :) Before I start- Happy almost Halloween! It'll be an interesting one for us, we have to be in our apartment at 7 pm, with Hermana Perez! ;) What is everyone going to be?! I want to see pictures from the Trunk or Treat!!
Okay so I don't actually know if I have talked about my companionship vision for this transfer, but brace yourself. Its awesome. So it is called "the Gucci Plan" because that's Hermana Perez' favorite word haha... We set a ton of goals because it is our second transfer in this area and we want to be productive and effective and work hard and help the Lord make miracles happen here! West Lake Houston is exploding with success and blessings and we are loving life!! I talked about the 40 day sacrifice last week, that is part of our Gucci plan :) Then aside from that, we are fasting every Sunday for new investigators and opportunities to involve the ward more, then we have a list of things we want to do every day in order to become more powerful teachers. Some of which are: read 1 conference talk/day, 15 minutes PMG study every day, work on a Christlike attribute each week as a companionship, pray every time we leave the car or go into a lesson...etc. I can't remember them all right now, but its all written on a white board next to where we have companion study. Also we are being a lor healthier because we are both getting chubbier and thats not okay hah;) SO! Miracles happened this last week!!! :)
We got 7 new investigators. Thats DEFINITELY way more than normal but Heavenly Father blessed us SOOO much!! We found 2 families, one has 5 kids, the other has 3. I LOVE THEM! They are such happy people and are curious and willing to listen to us so I hope and pray that everything works out with them- we will be teaching them more this upcoming week. Then aside from the families we met 5 other people!! I don't even know how to describe them all but I will try to explain a few of the experiences we had!
Maria: We met her while we were walking to a different appointment- While we were praying with her, tears were streaming down her face and she completely opened up to us about her entire life after that. She has SO many things in her life that the gospel can help her with and I am so grateful that we were able to meet her and teach her! 
Herdina (honestly I didnt understand her name so I could be wrong) but she lives next to Darly and her family, and we met her because Darly wasn't home so we went and talked to her. When we told the Joseph Smith story, she was entirely in awe and tears were welled up in her eyes- she set a baptismal date right there and so we will be teaching her as much as we can this next week too!
Diego Juarez is a kid of a less-active family that we went to visit Saturday night, then Sunday Obispo called us into his office and asked if we would be able to teach him all the lessons so he can be baptized on November 8th! It fell into our laps, and was such a blessing! I am so excited to teach him, he is a funny kid :) He just barely turned 9 yesterday so he will be a convert in a couple weeks! :)
I LOVE THEM ALL okay I will explain more about them and the miracles we see with that but HOW AWESOME IS HEAVENLY FATHER??! He blesses His servants so much! We fasted for new investigators and now we have met so many new people that we can teach! :) Miracles happen. That is truth!
Okay and now Hugo! We love him so much!! Ahhhh... he came to church yesterday for the first time in a while because he didn't go to work with his dad. He is SO awesome haha I don't understand what he says a lot of the time but he has a way funny sense of humor. He loves to make fun of me because I cry all the time... its great aha.

AND PORFILIO!!! So we had given him a week long break- Hermana Perez asked him to read Alma 5 and pray about what he wants for his life basically... I was scared he was going to be mad at us, but IT WAS SO GOOD FOR HIM. (Goes to show me how lame fear is!! I should just trust that things will work out the way they need to if we boldly invite people to repent! My companion has no fear I'm pretty sure... She is such a good example to me) Anyways haha he has made some big changes in his life in just the last week, and told us how much of a difference we are making. He has been investigating for 20+ years, and told us yesterday he still doesnt want to get baptized, but he is changing his life for the better. So we will keep working with him!!! He is SO great haha he missed us so much he gave us presents when we finally went back there haha ;)
Okay that's plenty of people updates! We also had President interviews this week and I love President Drake. He is such a sweet man!!! It was a great opportunity to re-evaluate how things are going for me and how I have improved and seen the hand of the Lord in the things I am learning and doing. He gave me some awesome advice- simple, yet profound :)
D&C 4- There's so many qualities that will "qualify me for the work" and it's overwhelming if you think about it like that, but when you look at verse 7, "Ask and ye shall receive".. God is waiting to help us receive these qualities and become better, more powerful missionaries, we just have to ask Him! President told me basically to calm down and not worry about all the things I "didnt have" but instead to be grateful for what I do have and ask Him for strength in the things I am lacking in!

Anyways-- Elder Kalilimoku is crazy haha its so fun to have him as a ZL. We haven't had any zone things yet, but we saw him during President Interviews, District Meeting and P-day. :)
Everything is going awesome here! The Lord is blessing us SO much through our sacrifices and work! I truly believe we are going to see so many miracles over these next few weeks!!
Hope everything is going well for you guys! :) I love you!! Have a great Halloween!
Moroni 7:45-48 has been my scripture of the week! Charity!! When we have pure love for everyone, we won't be frustrated or impatient with their progress, but rather we will do EVERYTHING WE CAN to help them grow and develop their faith :) I am learning also to have that love towards myself because sometimes I am verrrrryyyy frustrated with the progress I want to be making, but Heavenly Father wants me to see myself as He sees me too- As a divine being with potential! I don't know if this is making sense but I have to see my investigators AND myself as He does. :)
Okay I really do have to go haha I love you guys!! Thanks for the love and support!! :)
Sincerely, Hermana Rogers

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sin Miedo (Without Fear)

This is my theme of the week, and the next 40 days. I am doing what is called the 40 Day Sacrifice, where you sacrifice something in order to better your relationship with the Lord and become a more effective missionary. I am sacrificing something tangible as well, but what I am working on especially over the next 40 days is sacrificing my FEAR. 

Sin Miedo is going to be my new mission motto! It came about this past week... we were with the Serrano family and Hugo, talking and eating, and Eva gave me some pig skin and told me to put Valentina on it (Some hot sauce stuff). I told her I didn't want to, and that I was scared, and she said, "Sin miedo Hermana!" So I poured on the hot sauce and ate the pig skin!! Sin miedo (Which means without fear) I thought about that later... How initially I refused because I was scared to try it, but then Eva encouraged me and said, "Without fear Hermana!" and I did it. Bear with me, here is my thought process of the week! 
Being a missionary is the craziest thing. I am going into people's houses, knocking on their doors, teaching them and testifying of this incredible message, all in spanish. And by I, I mean WE... I was thinking about how easy it has been for me to take the easy way out. I'm not super proud of this, but there have been entire lessons where when she looks at me, I will shrug my shoulders and make her keep talking... Sometimes I don't know what's going on, and sometimes I am just letting my fear take over. I don't know how to explain this entire thought process, but SIN MIEDO is my new motto. I am here to teach and testify BOLDLY of the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ. When I shrug my shoulders or refuse to testify, I am denying the Spirit and wasting my calling. I have been studying a lot about fear lately, and I know that as a missionary, I am here to open my mouth, not fearing what man can do, and share this gospel!! I can't be afraid! I can't justify any timidness I have by saying I am just some white girl that doesn't know spanish. I know that I am CALLED OF GOD to teach these people in this language at this time! I am coming to love these people and like Moroni 8:16 says, "Perfect love casteth out all fear" I am here to be BOLD, despite my weaknesses, and serve Him with all my might, mind and strength. He has called ME to represent Him and to do His work!  
SIN MIEDO I will testify to every person we talk to and teach- I will BOLDLY invite others to come unto Christ by helping them received the Restored gospel! I am CALLED BY A PROPHET OF GOD! It will be hard for me, but I have faith that the Lord will continue to bless me as I open my mouth and speak by His Spirit. I am a MISSIONARY!!!!!! WOO! 

Okay other than that! I GOT TO GO TO THE HOUSTON TEMPLE FOR THE FIRST TIME ON FRIDAY!!!! We went with an investigator and her daughters (Darly, Angi and Coralia) Angi is 14, she and her siblings have been baptized, but Darly can't be baptized yet because she lives with Oscar and they're not married because Oscar still is married in Mexico but ANYWAYS! They are INCREDIBLE, FAITH-FILLED people and AH I LOVE THE TEMPLE! So Darly drove us there and it was insane. It is about an hour away, and she got lost, so it took us 3 hours to get there. Suffice to say, we missed the time that Angi could have done baptisms, but it was still an incredible experience. We got there and Hermana Perez, Angi and I went in to reception to ask if she could still do baptisms, and it didn't work out. We went out all apologetic to Angi, and she was speechless. We asked what was wrong and she said, "It feels amazing in there. It is SO peaceful! It felt like there was no past, no future, only that moment. I felt like I was floating and all my problems melted away" It was the sweetest thing I have ever heard and my soul melted into a puddle. She is SO good and felt the Spirit so strong, just by going through the front doors! All of us stood around in a circle and Angi said a prayer about how grateful she was for the gospel in her life and the lives of her family. She was crying and so happy to be at the temple- I LOVED IT. It was such a spiritual experience. 
It has been such an incredible week. I am so grateful for the Spirit and my calling as a missionary! I am going to be trying especially hard these next 40 days (then hopefully the rest of my mission) to get rid of all this fear that has been holding me back from reaching my full potential. I love you all!!