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!! 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The Work of Salvation

Fambam I know y'all already have, but you should bring friends and go watch it some more :) I thought it was SUPER legit. Mormons are real people! I don't know if they are still showing it-- we watched it this week as a mission and it was INCREDIBLE. I felt super proud to be a Mormon when I saw how awesome they are ;)
Also-- it was way hard to watch the family saying bye to their a room completely full of missionaries.... I only cried a little...... Okay I cried a lot! I love you all SO much!! Thank you for letting me come on a mission- saying bye was hard but this is all so worth it.
Once again I have no idea where to start. This has been an INSANE week. I guess I will start with the updates on the people.
Uhm. Its been rough-- everyone that had a date has been bailing on their dates... I think I am starting to realize why a mission is hard. You come to love these people SO much, you spend every moment thinking about them, serving them, praying for them, studying for them, talking about them, talking to them- learning their stories and feeling their pains... I feel such an emotional attachment to them! Then you have to remember that they aren't perfect and are going to make mistakes, so you teach them how to overcome their roadblocks through the gospel of Jesus Christ. I don't think I can effectively explain all this in words... but I will keep trying. You invest your entire self into these lessons, trying to go by the Spirit and teach what they need in order to progress. THEN you bear testimony of these truths that have changed your life and you know they can change their lives too... You invite them to make a commitment, and then they promise you they will. Then the next time you see them, they tell you they were too busy or too tired to read or pray or come to church. Or they drink again. So you start all over with the process. It's exhausting, but because you love these people so much and want them to make these steps, you are willing to go back and start again with them. I don't know if I have done this justice, but that's pretty much life!
I think that all this hit me this week because of Hugo. He is going back to Mexico within the next month, and keeps telling us that he doesn't know about baptism. He knows the church is true, he believes in the Book of Mormon and prophets, but he doesn't want to make the commitment to be baptized, and he doesn't feel ready. I don't know what it was, but something in that lesson just made me soo sad. I cried the whole ride home from his house. I love Hugo!! He has been SO prepared, and SO gungho about every lesson and every reading assignment and church-- but recently he just doesn't feel it anymore. Me and Hermana Perez were feeling the Spirit so strongly during our lesson with him, but he was pushing it away. It hurt my heart, and I realized how hard this is... I didn't care about the language, I didn't care about the fact that I was tired.. I cared about Hugo and was wracking my brain trying to think of what we could do for him. And that's just ONE of the people that has been bailing on his baptismal date!
It just makes me think about our Heavenly Father and Savior. We are all imperfect people, whether we are members of the church or not. We need help!! And our Father in Heaven is SO patient with us when we forget to do the things we have promised Him we would do. He is SO merciful and loving and only wants what is best for us. He wants us to turn to Him and live the gospel so that we can experience the JOY! But that is only possible if we choose to. He knows what is best for us and what will bless our lives, and He tries over and over to let us know what those things are, but if we don't listen and ACT, we can't change. He is always there, willing to help us, but its our choice. All of that is true with our investigators too! At the MTC, they told us over and over that we are God's investigators, and all the things that we invite them to do, He is inviting us to do. All of the blessings we promise to them are promised to us as well!! The Church is true for everyone, and God's hand is extended to all! We are so blessed that we already know and have seen these blessings in our lives, and now we just need to share those blessings with other people! :)
I have felt so motivated this past week especially to work as hard as I can.. This is the WORK OF SALVATION and I am an instrument in God's hands!! BUT ALSO GUESS WHAT?? THE MISSIONARIES NEED HELP!
Did you get the chance to read "7 Lessons on Sharing the Gospel"?? It is AMAZING! I read it this week and it was INCREDIBLE. So... if you haven't read it.... you should read it... :) One of my favorite concepts that I hadn't thought of before was prayerfully "choosing a date to have the missionaries teach someone in your home". If you do that prayerfully and then WORK TO FIND SOMEONE, the Lord will place someone in your path or prepare someone's heart to accept the invitation. Have faith that God can work miracles! I want to start inviting the members to do that, because I have faith that God can do all things-- especially prepare people to hear the message of the gospel. Also I love the thought that people won't be offended if you ask them to listen to the missionaries! They may decline, but if you lovingly invite your friends, family, neighbors to hear something that is so important to you-- they will be grateful that you care about them enough to think of them. Anyways!! Read that talk, Clayton Christensen says it better than I could ;)
The Spirit is so real!! This week I have been really focusing on my studies. I want to be effectively learning during all my studies, especially things that I can teach to my investigators. Mostly what I changed were my prayers-- I would pray as I was learning, and specifically pray for a need that I knew of. I wrote down a question, then prayed about that question. Then as I was reading I would write down everything that came to my mind. I studied by topic, but somehow would be led to other things that I needed to learn, or that I should share with specific families, and I felt so guided!! It was AMAZING and I can't really explain it, but the Spirit is real and our prayers of faith are answered!!
Lastly... It is the end of my first transfer in Houston Texas and that is a crazy thought. I have experienced SO much already and I can't even imagine how much this mission is going to change me. Haha I feel like all my emotions are amplified, which is interesting since they were already so strong. I think that every day I am learning something new: about myself, about the Spirit, and about my Savior. I think that I am truly learning what it means to rely on the Lord because I know that if I were to only rely on my own strength, I wouldn't accomplish anything. I know that Heavenly Father knows ME, Shaelyn Rogers, and He has important things for me to learn here that I couldn't learn anywhere else. I hope more than anything that I will learn how to do His will and teach and love and serve with all my heart and might. I have so much that I want to be able to accomplish on my mission and I know that through Him anything is possible. I know that He already knows everything I am going through, and I can find peace when I turn to Him. I am learning how to counsel with the Lord in everything I am doing, how to pour out all my thoughts and feelings to Him in prayer, and ask for His help and strength. I am so grateful... SOOOO GRATEFUL for the opportunity I have to be here in Texas serving for these 18 months, and I am grateful that I can take the lessons I learn with me throughout my life.
This is a blessing. Its hard, but I know that I am here for so many reasons. I love this area and these people and this ward and this state. I love the Hispanic culture too haha wait real quick funny stories.
So. Hispanics are super blunt and they tell things like they are. Hugo told us one day that me and my companion had crazy hair and it looked like we hadn't brushed it at all.
Then another day I was trying to teach him something in Spanish, and this kid
 that was sitting in said, "Hermana. You should take Spanish lessons!!"
Hahaha ALSO. My companion one day looked at me and said, "I know my hair probably looks really bad right now, but you should see yours!"
Porfilio yesterday, we were trying to teach him plan of salvation, and we asked him to tell us about Adam and Eve (PS he is the one that has been investigating for 20 years.. he could teach us everything) But he was in a weird mood so he starts going off about Adam and Eve and says, "Then God made a woman and Adam said, "No I don't want that one, she's ugly!! make me a different one"". It was great. Anyways! This was a super long email and I have to go now, but I LOVE YOU ALL!! have a great week!! :):) 
Love, Hermana Rogers

Friday, October 10, 2014

General Conference is the Greatest

First of all. Have so much fun in Utah!!! I am a little bit jealous, but I will get over it I guess ;) Tell Paul and Mignion (this is really embarrassing...someone help me with the spelling) CONGRATS from their favorite missionary ever! :) I am so so so happy for them! :) Tell all the family hi and that I love them! 

Second of all. Send me some fish :) Dad that was awesome to hear about your fishing trip! Tell Scott...well wish him better luck next time for me ;) haha that sounds like it was way fun (mostly for dad since he actually caught fish) 

Third of all. GENERAL CONFERENCE IS THE GREATEST THING EVER AS A MISSIONARY. Seriously, it was amazing. i don't have ANY of my notes or anything with me, so i can't even tell you who gave my favorite talks, but I can tell you that listening to it was SO powerful. Saturday I was in a room filled with missionaries, and it was so amazing to be with so many people who are all so united in purpose. For me, that was what made conference so incredible. As a missionary, I have ONE purpose and that is to help others come unto Christ, so EVERY message in conference was directed towards my purpose. I was thinking about it, and missionaries are kind of an extension of the role of Apostles... to be special witnesses of Jesus Christ. (this is just how I thought of it at least) I think John 15:16 is the scripture I am thinking of, that says something about being called, set apart and ordained... I don't know where I was going with that, but I will get back on track haha 
Apostles and the Prophet teach us the will of God, and speak according to the Spirit the things that we need to hear in order to better live the gospel of Jesus Christ. And that is what I am here to do for other people. They are special witnesses of Jesus Christ, and I am a FULL-TIME REPRESENTATIVE OF HIM. I am bearing testimony every day of the Plan that God has for His children, and the divinity and reality of His Only Begotten Son who makes it all possible. Every single talk in conference relates in some way to what I am teaching every day. I dont know if any of this is making sense, but basically I just felt a super-increase of my purpose here!!! 

Two talks that i do remember standing out to me... President Uchtdorf's and Elder Bednar's! ELDER BEDNARS!!!!!! Such a specific talk directed to NON MEMBERS ABOUT WHY WE DO MISSIONARY WORK!! Share that with everyone!!! I loved it! I wanted to go grab all my investigators by the ear and drag them to the church to listen to that talk.....haha. I also LOVED President Uchtdorf's talking about how we all have a light inside us that needs to be nourished (or something along those lines...) I also want to print that talk out and give it to everyone I know. I was super bummed- the connection cut out RIGHT when President Monson stood up to speak, and came back exactly as he was concluding. But I'm sure it was an incredible talk!

Wait there is one more! I don't remember who gave it, or exactly what it is about, but I do remember it was EXACTLY what I needed to hear. It was the one about listening to the right voices, about the steps to dissipate negative thoughts or something like that! SATAN WANTS US TO BE MISERABLE. And when we believe his lies, we are miserable! I know that to be true because since I have been here in Houston, I have let some of his lies get to my head. I know they aren't thoughs from God because they are not edifying or uplifting. I know that they don't bring peace to my mind and heart like the Spirit does, so they are for a fact not from my loving Heavenly Father. One thing I am learning firsthand is that we need to acknowledge our weaknesses so that we can have a desire to change, but when we let our weaknesses determine how we feel about ourselves, we are giving in to what Satan wants for us. He wants us to be miserable like he is. I don't remember the steps that were given in conference are, but I know that the talk he gave was what I needed to hear. I have gotten VERY caught up in my weaknesses, and I know that our mind is SO powerful, and our thoughts determine our actions. Who do we let control our thoughts?! That is something that I need to be working on in my life right now! 

I love the prophet so much, and I am SO grateful for the opportunities we have to listen to him every 6 months and receive the will of the Lord for us. He is the Lord's servant here on earth to direct the church today, which is such a blessing as members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints!! I can't wait to make changes in my life so that I can be more in tune with what the Lord wants for me. I love this church SOOOOO beyond words much, and I am more than grateful to be a missionary at this time, performing the WORK OF SALVATION here in Houston Texas! I am so so blessed. 

I love you all familia! Hope that you all found at LEAST one or two things in conference that you can adjust in your lives as well to become more in line with the gospel of Jesus Christ. I know that as you follow the words of the Prophet and his Apostles, you can find peace of mind and JOY! They are here to bless US as we listen and follow their counsel :) 

Love you all! Have a great week! 
Sincerely, Hermana Rogers