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