Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Best Week Ever!

Sooooo much happened this week that I don't even know HOW TO BEGIN WRITING ABOUT! But I will try my best! 
FIRST AND CERTAINLY MOST IMPORTANTLY!!!! I had my first BAPTISM!! Gilberto was baptized this week!!! :D It was by far the greatest moment of life. In all seriousness, there are no words to describe the pure JOY of baptisms. I love Gilberto with my whole heart, and I have seen such a change in him, and the Lord worked so many miracles! I AM SO HAPPY! His baptism was absolutely amazing. He has been investigating the church for 4 years on and off, and the Lord trusted me enough to have me here when he needed to be baptized! I am thrilled to have had the opportunity. I don't know if I had written about this before, but he was the first person I invited to be baptized on my mission too! :) 
So Gilberto is married to Eva, and she is a member for a few years, and her parents and sister are in our ward too. They all came to the baptism and it was the most beautiful thing: While Gilberto was changing afterwards, they all were bearing their testimonies about eternal families. My heart melted. THIS IS WHY I AM HERE. I am here to help families be forever, through making covenants with the Lord! Eva and Gilberto's next goal is the temple, and Gilberto really wants to go there!! :) My heart is SO full. I am so so so so grateful for the opportunity I have to be here serving the Lord full time and helping families be together forever. The Spirit was SO strong during Gilberto's baptism :) 
President and Sister Drake (Mission President and his wife) came!! And President Drake spoke before Obispo, talking about how proud Heavenly Father was of His son Gilberto. Gilberto was beaming, he looked SO happy. I love this! I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!!  
Hugo had made the decision not to be baptized this week because he feels like he doesn't know enough. I know that he will figure everything out with the Lord's help though! The Lord worked miracles with Gilberto, He can do the same for Hugo and all our other investigators too :) 

I have felt so blessed overall this week. We also got to go to a special conference for Sister Missionaries, AND women's conference!! Both were beyond incredible and made me so happy to be where I am at right now. Women's conference talked so much about temples and I felt so strongly during that meeting that this is why I am here. To teach people about the Restored gospel that makes the Plan of Salvation possible!!! Because of the ordinances of the Temple, we can live with God again, IN FOREVER FAMILIES!! I am grateful every day for the opportunity I have to know all these things. 

I am so so excited for General Conference this next week too!! :) We get to hear OUR PROPHET!! :)) I'd invite everyone to think of things that they want to have answered in this coming conference. Concerns, questions, or aspects of your testimony that you want strengthened. I know that the Spirit will touch your heart in specific ways as you are listening to the words of God's prophets and apostles on the earth today. Heavenly Father LOVES US SO MUCH! We are His children, and He has provided guidance for us through His prophets :) 

I know that this church is TRUE!!!! It really is I promise! :) Joseph Smith was a prophet of God that brought about the Restoration of Christ's gospel! We are SO blessed to have a knowledge of the Plan of Salvation- THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL! We will be with our family for ETERNITY! :) I am so grateful for temples- they are such a blessing to us! We are here on earth to become more like our Savior Jesus Christ and live His gospel :) I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY! I LOVE BAPTISMS AND GILBERTO AND CHANNELVIEW/WEST LAKE HOUSTON! This is where I need to be! :) 

I love you all SO MUCH! :) Have an AMAZING WEEK!!! :D
Hermana Rogers :) 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Another Great Week in THE Mission

Hola Familia! 
Hope school and all that fun stuff is going well! And HAPPY BIRTHDAY CASSIE!! :D Love you all SO much!! Hope you all didn't party too hard without me! I got to have a party too though, so yall can be jealous. 
My ward had a fiesta de Hispanidad... which means something... I don't even really know what it was for- I think Mexico Independence Day?? But it was way fun :) I ate like 40 tacos. 
ALSO Yesterday there was a baptism!! (It wasn't mine, but it was in our ward... The Elders in our ward baptized the most legit woman ever. Her name is Concepcion and I guess she had been wanting to come to church for 30 years, and one day she just showed up at the church building asking for missionaries- theres a lot more to her backstory, and she is the sweetest woman, but that's a good enough summary for now;) Apparently I am the designated music person... I have been accompanying every Sacrament meeting and Relief Society, and at the baptism. And they had me sing too... A capella... by myself... it was TERRIFYING. 

My embarrassing story of the week real quick: Hermana Perez took me to a dock and told me I was going to go see the beach. I got PUMPED. So we drive up to this dock and I was so excited-- I asked her, "Is this the Gulf of Mexico??!" She told me it was basically a puddle compared to the gulf of mexico and made fun of me mercilessly, "Just because you're in Texas doesn't mean any water you see is the Gulf of Mexico!" haaha it was great ;) 

MY FIRST BAPTISM IS ON SUNDAY!! Hugo and Gilberto are getting baptized!! If all goes as planned, which I trust the Lord to help us with everything because they are so prepared! Hugo is the one that always blows my mind, and Gilberto is seriously the sweetest guy. I'm SO excited. Look forward to hearing about that next week! I love them with all my heart and I am going to be bawling my eyes out at their baptism. Heavenly Father has changed Gilberto so much, and Hugo has been so ready and willing to learn and do everything we ask. They are the BEST!! :) 

Other than that, we got pretty sick this week, which wasn't too fun, but we are better now! And I had LOTS of extra study time which was good! I could never learn everything I want to know about the gospel!!! Theres SO much to be learned! 

One thought: I am a disciple of Christ and I fear no man! 
2 Timothy 1:7-8
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord"
D&C 30:11
"And your whole labor shall be in Zion, with all your soul, from henceforth; yea, you shall ever open your mouth in my cause, not fearing what man can do, for I am with you." 

I love this. SO much!!! We are on earth in the LATTER DAYS! The Final Dispensation!! God has saved us for the "final inning" and we are here to be bold disciples of Him. 3 Nephi 5:13 Behold I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. I have been called of Him to declare His word among His people that they might have everlasting life" 
This is ALL OF OUR PURPOSE! We are all disciples of Jesus Christ, and we are ALL missionaries! At home and here in Houston! My purpose right now is to invite others to come unto Christ all day, every day- but you all are called to share the gospel too!! God has given us the Spirit of love and power so we can be bold about our testimonies! Fear no man!! :) When we know who we are and WHOSE we are-- what is keeping us from sharing that with the WORLD?? 
Every single person needs to return home to their Father. Not just us! The gospel of Jesus Christ has been restored to the earth! And ITS SO TRUE! THE CHURCH IS TRUE! We are going to live with our families FOREVER!!! Its the greatest news on earth! I couldn't put into words how happy it makes me :) We have the truth- the fullness of truth! 

I am so happy to be a missionary here in little 'ol Channelview Texas :) This is the happiest place on earth and the people are the greatest. Everyone says that their missions are the best, but they've never been in mine. (Mine is the ACTUAL best mission on earth ;)  
Hope you all have an amazing week! I love you!!!  ;) 
Love, Hermana Rogers 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Awesome Investigators

Hola Familia!! 

So I'll start this email, I loved hearing from all yall!!! Seriously it made me SO happy! :) 

This week was CRAZY I don't even know what happened! It went by SO FAST! I cant even believe it! So we didnt beat our record of 29 lessons..... we only got 25 this week. BUT Hemana Perez was sick one day so I think that is still pretty good :) I really honestly don't know how to summarize a whole week of incredible stories into one email- if anyone has suggestions, I am open! 

But for now, I will just talk about SOME of our investigators!! 
HUGO IS THE BOMB. He never ceases to amaze us! I can't express how incredible he is, but I will try. So basically, his family is in Mexico, and he came here to work for them. He has a wife and 2 kids that he doesnt get to see. Hard right?! He is the one last Sunday that bore his testimony about how he wants to make it a goal to be baptized. YEAH. When we gave him the Book of Mormon, we didn't really have a chance to explain it very well, so we were expecting to have to go into detail in our next lesson. Nope!! He took the Restoration pamphlet, read the whole thing, and answered the questions and studied all the scriptures in the back! (People DONT DO THAT) He is SO amazing!! And when he reads, he really applies things to himself and understands everything! He rocks. September 28 will be his baptism :) 

DARLY and her family are AMAZING! Its her and Oscar (who doesn't quite listen to our lessons yet) living together with their kids. Angi is a teenager, Isaac, Coralia and Oscarito are all younger than 12. The kids (besides Oscarito-he's only 5) have all been baptized. Darly was going to, but apparently she didn't know about the whole being married thing, so she can't be baptized yet. We don't know what Oscar's deal is, but he won't marry her, even though they've lived together forever and are raising their family..... I don't get it. BUT Darly really is AMAZING and has been SO prepared by the Lord. She pretty much could teach us. She has such a light and joy in her life and she wants to be baptized SO badly!!! We're working on it! 

DANIEL is a 14 year old in a part-member family, and he is also working towards a baptismal date. His mom is a member, and his dad would be a member, but he can't work out divorce papers or something confusing like that. He's legally married to some woman in El Salvador who won't sign the papers because she wants to still be legal in America? (Dad I don't get this legal stuff haha) 
Anyways! So we had a date set with Daniel for yesterday actually, but last week his parents freaked out at us and told us he wasnt ready. They told us he would be baptized November 21.......uh what?? So we are hoping they change their mind soon. 

PORFILIO has been taught all the lessons by multiple multiple missionaies and is SO close to baptism and has almost been baptized multiple other times, but he won't give up coffee. He has been in our planners for a backup appointment multiple times but we didnt know where he lived. One day we were driving through a neighborhood and Hermana Perez felt like she needed to turn around so she did. Sure enough, we passed by Porfilio as he was getting out of his car. Miracle!! And now we have a date set with him! October 12 is the day we are working towards! 

Okay Gilberto also has a date! He is fantastic and we love him but he won't do the things we ask him to do. We are workin with it!! 

Thats our investigators with a date set right now :) They are GREAT GREAT people :) And they are so helpful with me and the struggles of communication haha I had an emotional meltdown in the middle of one of the lessons with Hugo and Gilberto, but they were super encouraging haha it was great. 

So the embarrassing story of the week I already emailed to dad, but I will make it easier on Cassie. I was in Principios del Evangelio with all our investigators, and the teacher, who speaks only Spanish, says "Quien en este clase tiene hijos?" (or something like that... the question was, Who in this class has kids?) In my mind, I heard amigos... "Who has friends in this class?" So I start thinking, well I have to raise my hand because all my investigators are my friends! So I proudly raised my hand and the teacher started laughing at me.... Then my investigators started laughing at me....Then the class started laughing at me... So yeah. It was a little embarrassing. Then Hermana Perez says, "Hermana. You definitely don't have kids...put your hand down". Yea that happened. It was super funny. ;) 

ALSO one of the less-actives in our ward, Inocencio. He is this 87 year old goofball haha he acts like he is 7 years old. We were in a lesson and asked him 70 times to say the closing prayer... he refused a bunch of times then finally agreed to say it. He started it off normally, then prayed that Hermana Perez would shut her mouth!! So we all laughed, then asked him to start again. He started normal, then stopped talking. We waited with our eyes closed for a while, and he poked Hermana Perez in the head! Another time, after he'd started normal and stopped talking, we found him holding a chile pepper up to Hermana Perez's mouth. Another time he started SINGING. He is loco haha ;) 

Anyways, its been a crazy week. I have learned a lot about how hard missionary work is, but also about how important it is to get over myself. I got SUPER stressed this week. I was really discouraged and negative... but I learned a lot about gratitude, positivity, and trusting in the Lord. It was a good week! And I am counting my blessings every day because there are plenty of them! :) Channelview Texas is the promised land! I love it :) 

Hope you all have a great week! I love you!! :) 
Sincerely, Hermana Rogers

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Is This Real Life??

It has been the most insane, exhausting, spiritually and mentally and physically draining week of my entire existence! And I thought the MTC was hard!! hahaha what a joke! Try adding all the studies and BAJILLIONS of PEOPLE and oh EVERYONE SPEAKS SPANISH ALL THE TIME. This is INSANE and ABSOLUTELY THE GREATEST THING OF MY ENTIRE LIFE. 

I really have no CLUE how to go about writing a weekly email here... We taught 29 lessons this week. 29!!!!!!!! Hermana Perez said that NEVER happens, and she has only had that many lessons one other week on her mission so THIS IS AWESOME!!! I have so much energy right now so this email may seem super spontaneous and all over the place, but I will do the best I can. 

SO. I guess I will just go through a list of different moments this week?

--FUNNIEST MOMENT. We were eating dinner with a member family, and they have 3 little kids. The youngest is like 2, and everything he says is a yell... And in spanish... haha he was trying to talk to me and I had no idea what he was saying. Eventually his voice got 3 times louder and he said, "USTED ES UN ESTRELLA FEA" (that means, "You're an ugly star!!") Thanks Matito ;)
--So one other funny moment haha we were teaching Hugo (remember that name for later)... we were talking to him for the first time, and his dad (or uncle--I don't know...some old guy) was there. He used to be a member, like ages ago. Me and Hermana Perez would be trying to teach, and he would chime in his interpretations of the lessons as he remembered them. We taught about the apostasy, and were about to lead in to the Restoration, and this guy chimes in, "Y despues, Nefi estaba preguntando que iglesia era verdadera"... ("And after, Nephi was asking about which church was true") ....no....no my friend, that wasJoseph Smith. hahah so poor Hugo is trying so hard to figure out what was going on and Hermana Perez had to keep correcting this sweet old man ;) 

MOST EMBARRASSING- Let's be real, there's probably a TON, but I'd say the worst was accompanying the piano in Sacrament meeting...... First of all NEVER DONE THAT BEFORE IN MY LIFE. Second of all, the Spanish hymnbook has hymns that don't even exist in English. So guess which one they choose? One I HAVEN'T HEARD BEFORE IN MY LIFE. Hahahahaha it was a TRAIN WRECK. So that happened, the FIRST Sunday I meet the ward... I was way embarrassed afterwards haha and I could see the person leading the music from the piano bench and she couldn't even direct the hymn as I played hahah it was awful. Let's hope that never happens again. 

AWESOMEST. (Most Awesome?) 
HUGO!!!!! So me and Hermana Perez taught him once. (And it was the lesson with the funny old guy that didn't know the difference between Joseph Smith and Nephi) Anyways, this guy has been prepared by Heavenly Father. He had talked to missionaries in the past, but he said he never really had a desire to do anything about it (or something like that- I didn't catch his whole story because spanish) BUT HE CAME TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY, BORE HIS TESTIMONY, AND TOLD EVERYONE THAT HE HAD A DESIRE TO BE BAPTIZED AND THAT WAS HIS NEXT GOAL IN LIFE. So yeah, I guess you could say that was THE BEST THING EVER. 

SADDEST: Our good friend Jose (one of the 30 Jose's I have met this week) has been an alcoholic since he was 14 years old. (He is in his 50s or 60s now I think?) He's now a less active, was baptized in April, and is literally drunk all of the time because when he doesn't drink, he is shaking and just can't function... He is alone because all his family has left him, and he told us while we were there that he is dying basically.. All of his organs are SO messed up from drinking. I have never helped someone get over an addiction and I have no idea what to do for him, but he came to church Sunday and ALSO bore his testimony (which was awesome!! The sad part is how hard his life is) I cry everytime I talk to him basically because he is struggling so much and it breaks my heart. I can't imagine being in his position :( 

STUDIES: ARE THE BEST. So I am studying for my investigators ALL the time, which ROCKS. I love it! Even when I am studying "for myself", I learn things that can help specific people, or that I can share during lessons, and it is great :) So I have found so much comfort this week in the scriptures- Its been HARD and I've come home a couple days super frustrated with myself because I can't understand everything in spanish, or I don't know how to contribute, I can't remember people, etc, etc... Hermana Perez keeps telling me "Be patient with yourself, Stay Positive, and Lean on the Lord". It has helped me so much. 
One morning I was reading in Mosiah and started finding all sorts of scriptures! The 3 most helpful were Mosiah 23:10, 21-22
Mosiah 7:33 and 
Mosiah 9:17-18
Its awesome. Basically they all taught me that I need to have patience and faith, pray always, trust in the Lord, and serve Him with all my might. I wrote them out and stuck them above my desk where I study. :) 

I haven't baptized everyone in Houston yet, but I am workin on it ;) I love you guys so much!! Hope all is going well at home and school! (PS I am so glad that isn't me right now ;) 
I LOVE THESE PEOPLE. This is hard!!! BUT I am working on trusting the Lord and having patience and faith! That's helping me stay positive and realize that if I am working hard and being obedient, miracles can happen! This definitely is the PROMISED LAND. West Lake Houston is WHERE ITS AT! :) Hermana Perez is teaching me SO much about how to make things happen.. I love it!! I still am convinced this isnt real life... 
IM A MISSIONARY!!! I am a FULL-TIME, DAY IN AND DAY OUT SERVANT OF THE LORD!! This is His work and He knows and loves me! I'm in THE Mission! :)))))) This is LIFE and I wouldn't have it any other way! :) 
Have a GREAT week!! Talk to you soon!! :D 
Hermana Royers

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Texas Houston East (THE Mission)

Texas Houston East all the way!!! So I am now officially HERE. 

I had an incredible experience at the MTC and i have the feeling i will be getting a little nostalgic this week, but ITS OKAY BECAUSE IM A REAL LIFE MISSIONARY NOW. Its time for me to FORGET MYSELF AND GO TO WORK!!! Im here to meet people and love and serve and teach HIS GOSPEL! I am here to serve with all my might, mind and strength!! 

The past few days have been so crazy and all blurred together, but I will try to explain them... monday i woke up at 1:50 with the Hermanas in my room because they were all leaving for McAllen Texas! i walked them over to take their stuff, then went back with some other Sisters in my casa... they went back to bed and I sat alone in my empty room for 2 hours. It was the loneliest i have felt in a LONG time. it didnt help that it was only a couple hours until i was leaving, so I was terrified out of my mind as well... PLUS running on 2 hours of sleep this entire day- it was rough. 

The flight went over well though- i was with a group of 11 missionaries heading from the CCM to Houston East, so I had plenty of people looking out for me! It was kind of hard because 9 of them were all from the same district, so they were SUPER close, but me and Elder Heath were representing 19-C, and i was so grateful I had him. Anyways, everything went smooth, but there was a bit of a close call as far as actually making it on the plane though haha... they didn't start loading until about 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time, and they weighed our carry-ons and personal items-- a lot of ours weighed too much. SO we had to go back through the airport to pay fees, and while we were in line, it was time for the plane to take off.. some lady with a clipboard came running over and asked us our names and if we were on the flight that was about to leave. They waited for us, but we had barely sat down when the plane started leaving. i dont know if any of that made sense at all. Either way, we had said so many prayers in the airport and I know God was taking care of us so we could be HERE!!! 
When we got to Houston, we met up with another group of missionaries from the Provo MTC- there were 23 of us total! President and Sister Drake were there to meet us- they are AWESOME and i know they'll be good little "mission parents" ;)
It is hotter than a bucket of red ants here... My hair is massive haha I'm looking forward to rocking an afro for the next 17 months ;) 
Anyways! We went straight to the mission home and took pictures and ate lunch- then had our interviews with President Drake and learned a TON of rules and guidelines that mostly went soaring over my head. I was SO tired and brain-dead, but its all good! 

We had a testimony meeting that night and it was SO incredibly powerful- more than words can express. Honestly, I thought I knew that I was supposed to be here before, but during that meeting, I was so overwhelmed with the knowledge that God has sent me HERE, to Houston, for a reason and that I am where I need to be. That has been a repeated theme since that moment too- This is the work I (Shaelyn Marie Rogers) am called to do here. I spent the night at a different apartment with some of the mission staff-- they are a hilarious older couple named Elder and Sister Swank. Elder Swank is beyond words intimidating haha he did the rule presentation and I don't think any of us dared breathe while he was presenting. THEN I show up to his house and he has crocheted everything in sight!! an afghan, a welcome sign, their tablecloth, some potholders and earrings for his wife... it was hilarious and so unexpected, but he really is talented! :) I love them and they are such a sweet couple that is so dedicated to the Lord's service, and i can't wait to get to know them better.

This morning was crazy!! We woke up, exercised, studied and went back to the mission home for a breakfast and more rules- always a good time. There is a LOT for me to learn- THEN WE WENT TO TRANSFER MEETING!!! I was super nervous but calm....if that even makes sense. i wish i could express all my thoughts and emotions, but basically, moral of the story- this was a life-defining moment of truth ;) The Spirit was so strong that whole meeting, President and Sister Drake both spoke and then I met my companion HERMANA PEREZ!!!!!!!! :):) She is SO awesome and I cant wait to get to know her better!! I'll attach a picture but she is shorter than me, from Colombia (but lived in utah) and SHES BEEN OUT ONLY 3 MONTHS! We will be learning and growing together ;) she has such a fiery personality and I can't wait to work with her! 
Other than that I have just been adjusting to things, meeting people and bracing myself for the rest of the day! After I send this email we are shopping, going to dinner AND THEN I HAVE MY FIRST REAL LESSON!!!! Wish me luck! Actually no-- pray for me... I am so excited for this to be real! 

One quick miracle! We got lectured HARD when we got here about how unprepared this group was as far as sending things in that we needed to. Half of them hadn't gotten driving records (which is REALLY hard to do if its not in person apparently) and there were not very many bike situations figured out- and I started stressing. When I talked to Elder and Sister Swank last night, they told me I didn't have a bike and I would definitely need one- and that there were none available in the mission home but that I could go with my companion and buy one. ALSO they told me that I wouldn't be able to talk to you guys to figure it out until next Monday......
TODAY they came up to me and asked if I could go to the mission office after transfer meeting was over... i did, and turns out there was a bike there for me. It was Hermana Perez's companions who is going home this week-- and he GAVE IT TO ME TO USE FOR MY MISSION!! I was so happy because i had been anxious about the biking situation and prayed that i would be able to work something out. i am so sorry that my words are so ineffective, but either way, it was such a blessing and I now don't have to worry about it! :) 

I love you all!! I am excited to work and learn to love the people!! I am called to serve and i couldn't be more honored- i have SO much to learn and do and when i think about it I get overwhelmed, so for now i will just keep moving forward!! 
Have a great week!!! I loved that picture of TJ and Janaea:) Good luck with the start of school!! 
Love always, Hermana Shaelyn Rogers