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