I'm Hermana Rogers, a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. This blog has the letters that I'll be sending home, as well as the address you can use to write me! Edited by my sister, Cassie, this is just a way to keep track of how my mission is going. I appreciate all the support and encouragement I've received! See you in 18!
Man. Heavenly Father loves His missionaries. Last week was pretty hard, but this week EVERYTHING WAS MIRACULOUS!
For starters, we taught 32 LESSONS THIS WEEK!!!!!!!!! That blew my mind. We set a lot of goals at the beginning of the week and WORKED REALLY HARD to achieve them. We did this tally system where we tallied up how many lessons we wanted to teach, then as we taught them, we would erase a tally so we knew exactly how many we needed to teach to reach our goals. It helped us so much to ACTUALLY work towards our numbers instead of us just setting goals and turning in whatever we got at the end, never looking back at our goals.
ALSO. We found 17 New Investigators this week!!! This coming week we will be working a lot more with them trying to figure out who is really prepared and willing to listen, but it has been incredible. We have seen tons of blessings by really trying not to have fears and just contact everyone we see and ask if we can teach them about the Restoration of Christ's church... :)
We taught Tito a lot this last week and he is progressing a lot! He came to church this week, and then Sunday night his family threw a party... he helps them prepare their drinks but didn't drink with them!! This is HUGE for him, and we were really proud. I asked how he avoided the temptation, and he said that it was because he thought about where he was earlier that day, and the way he felt, and he didn't want to drink because it would make him feel bad. It was a pretty cool moment to hear how he is more aware now of the things he is doing and found strength from being at church to resist temptations.
SO we found a family this week-- We had gotten the referral from the english elders. Turns out they are a part member family. The mom is a member as well as the oldest daughter, but the husband and the other 4 kids aren't! When we were there, we taught the mom and 3 youngest kids, and then they invited us to stay for dinner. While we were there, the husband came and ate with us, and we talked a lot about our missions and what they meant to us. They asked their kids, "Do you guys want to go on missions??" The two younger daughters (9 and 10) were SO excited and said they really wanted to go- it was the cutest. The other 11 year old son didnt seem too thrilled about the idea, but maybe within the next 7 years he will change his mind ;) Teaching them was so awesome... We went over there a couple times this last week, and they were so excited to come to church (Not sure what happened between then and Sunday because they didn't end up coming, but maybe better luck next week) I love that family so much already. One of the daughters reminds me a lot of Cassie, haha it almost made me cry but I held it in. ;) I'm getting so strong...... not really.
Apparently a while back there was a shooting in Darly's trailer park that we didn't know about until a couple days ago. Some of the people we are teaching are related to the people that were killed, and it was really sad to hear about the situations and what has been happening. I guess it really opened my eyes that bad things are happening in the world, but we are here to bring a message of hope and comfort to people. Without even knowing what had happened, we have been teaching these people about God's plan for them to be with their families forever. He knows where we need to be and who we need to teach. I hope that we have been able to show them the Spirit and help them feel comfort.
During Hour of Power this week, we found these two teenagers that recently started going to a Christian church... we asked them what made them want to start going to church, and they told us about dreams they had recently. Hector told us about his dream... he was just sitting around when all of a sudden a man in white appeared to him and said, "I'm coming soon", so he felt a desire to grow closer to God. Sandra, the other teenager, had a dream that her friends were trying to get her to do bad things at a party, but she didnt want to, so she walked outside and then the clouds opened up and a man in white came down on a chariot of fire.... whaaaat? So we taught them the restoration and showed them the picture and it made them really interested I think. That was a cool experience- I believe that God is preparing people all around, whether it be through dreams or sad experiences... He is there helping His children feel a desire to draw closer to Him.
Saturday we were doing this thing our mission started called "Spoken Pedal".. basically it means we are on bikes all day so we can contact more... haha it was really hard. Our closest appointment was like 5 miles from our apartment but hey the exercise was good for me. It didnt feel nearly as efficient as having a car, but we were still able to teach and contact plenty of people. And my legs felt great the next day haha. Also Spoken pedal will be every 2 and 4th Saturday-- it'll be cool!
Also!!!! I HAVE OFFICIALLY BEEN OUT ON MY MISSION FOR 6 MONTHS!!! But no, that definitely does not mean I know what I am doing yet... :/ But it does mean that I am no longer considered a baby on the mission. (that milestone probably was a while ago, but my companions keeo reminding me that I am not a baby anymore). I know I still have plenty of learning and growing left, but there is a lot of things that I am grateful for this past 6 months.
--The Restoration is REAL!!! Because Heavenly Father loves us, He has restored the fulness of His gospel to the earth!!! Joseph Smith was called as a prophet to bring back the authority of God to the earth and help us come to know our Father's plan for us! I have felt the Spirit so strongly while teaching this lesson to people and I know that He loves His children.
--Miracles happen! I have seen so many, big and small. He is there preparing people to receive us, helping us teach in a foreign language, opening hearts and doors, giving us strength, etc. I know He loves me, and I am learning more and more about His love for other people as I serve them.
--People can change. Including me! I just want to always be improving and changing for the better because I know that we are here on earth to prove that we love Him and use His atonement to turn our weaknesses into strengths and become who He wants us to be.
--I'm grateful for the ward I am in, the companions I have, the people we are teaching, the food we eat, the apartment we have, biking, cars, love, the scriptures and PMG, lessons, contacting, smiles, hugs and handshakes-- everything. I feel so much love for every aspect of this area and even when I get discouraged or down, I know that there are so many things to help me look up and be grateful to my Heavenly Father for these opportunities. This is my time to serve Him.
Sorry that was about as sentimental as I can handle right now i refuse to cry in the middle of the library haha thats no fun... but I honestly appreciate all the support. I know I am growing and I know there are so many reasons to be positive. I am sorry I was negative last week. I am working on it still. hah my whole life will be a work in progress, especially this next year of my mission. There are SO many things I want to change and become better at, its a little overwhelming-- but I'm not in this alone.
This is the eterni-email. Sorry. But I have 2 funny stories.
First. A member had what are called Chiles de japon on her table during dinner, and Hermana Williams thought it was a good idea to eat them and take a video....so we did. IT WAS THE WORST EXPERIENCE OF MY LIFE I was crying and in SO MUCH PAIN the entire rest of the night haha... but we got a hilarious video. The member laughed at us the whole time. She said it takes her 3 days to eat them, and she puts them in other food, and we ate them in one bite. Great idea Williams haha.
The second story: Jaime told me this, "We are going to start a business. When you go home, go to a TV station and ask for a job. Say, "My name is Shaelyn. I am very beautiful. I am very funny. I play the piano. I cry easy and I like to eat a lot of cookies" and they will give you the job. It will be called the Shaelyn Show." hahah in his broken english. It was a great moment. Anyways I think thats it for the week! It was INSANE. :)
I love you all so much! Hope all the finals went well, and GED and all that fun stuff. I love you! Have a great next week! :) You're the best!! :) Love, Hermana Rogers
This week went by way fast. I don't even know whats happening with lifeeee...
There was quite a bit of disappointments, which was a little bit of a wake up call that the mission is hard. We couldnt get ahold of Tito all week, literally no one showed up to church out of the 12 or so people we had invited and the bunch that said they were coming, we found out some of the recent converts in the ward went back to drinking, smoking, coffee, lottery, etc. There were lots more things but I'd rather spend time talking about happy things. But just had to throw in there that there are some hard times here BUT God is still looking out for us and giving us blessings and tender mercies every day that keep us going and teaching and testifying that He will never leave us alone! I never doubt that God is with us, but sometimes I do with I could tweak the agency aspect of His plan and get these people to Church!! ...okay not really, but its hard sitting through Sacrament Meeting waiting for all the people that promised you they'd show up. Hopefully there'll be better luck next week in that category.
But MOVING ON! We had some crazy moments this last week. We've spent a ton of time knocking this new apartment complex we found, and it was so awesome! :) We've found so many new people to teach, and seen a lot of blessings coming from our efforts there.
Also Paco has started coming out to lessons with us this last week! He has been our member present 3 different times and its been INCREDIBLE to hear him share his testimony and the blessings he has seen from the gospel of Jesus Christ in his life. He tells people that applying the gospel in his life has changed him, and he talks about how going to church brings peace into his heart and lets him forget about other things going on in his life. He is awesome.
We got to see Gilberto this week too, its been a long time since we have been able to visit with him because of his work schedule, but the lesson we had with him was so powerful. He talked about how the gospel has helped him take anger out of his heart, and that through prayers he feels peace. I don't know how to explain the feelings that were in that lesson, but to say it simply, the love I felt for Gilberto and Eva was overwhelming. I love them SO much and talking to them and hearing the things that they have gone through and the strength that they had made me feel that love so much stronger. I want to do everything I can to help them-- I want them to feel that love from God as well. I know that the gospel changes lives and brings peace, I get to see that in my life and the lives of people I am working with.
I've probably talked about the Fear No Man challenge that our mission is doing this year, but this week I really noticed how many blessings it brings into our missionary work. Hermana Williams is a great example to me of fearing no man. She is bold in her teaching and contacting. She will talk to people everywhere and it makes me want to be better at that. Haha she will even yell down at people in the parking lot when we are on the second story of an apartment complex knocking. Also in our lessons, she isn't afraid to say really bold things that kind of call people to repentance if that makes sense... I still don't know if I will ever be like that, but I think that in a way that is what I need to do. The scriptures tell us that we are declaring repentance to the people, and also to fear not what man can do. I think some of our investigators need a more intense wake up call. One lesson we had this week was with Porfilio (investigator for 20+ years) Hermana Williams was really bold with him, and told him that if he wasn't baptized, he was taking the Lord's atoning sacrifice in vain and he would have to suffer for the sins he has committed... honestly that is something I would never picture myself saying to someone, but it made him think. When he started talking about not feeling the need to be baptized, and she said that to him, it really laid it out that his choices are to be baptized and follow the gospel of Jesus Christ, accepting the Atonement, or to keep in his ways (which he knows aren't what God wants for him). I think that was Fearing no man.. After we left that lesson, she started crying and said, "It's so sad to me that he is choosing to suffer because he doesn't want to accept baptism. He needs to understand the Atonement more" or something like that. It really struck me when she said that-- that's not the way my mind has been working, but I think that's the way my mind should be working!! This is the doctrine of Jesus Christ, and the way that He has set out for us to accept His Atonement! I am a missionary so that no soul has to endure the suffering that Christ has already done for them. I want that to be something I really come to understand... It is so easy to SAY that's the reason I am a missionary, but I want to really FEEL and KNOW that. I want that to be where my motivation comes from.
I think that was one of the most powerful moments this past week. I cant believe I have already been out 6 months... that doesn't feel real. I know I have been learning and growing a ton, but it is really hard to see my own progress, which gets discouraging at times. There is so much I want to do and accomplish on my mission... One thing that did really help me open my eyes this past week, we had a day where a newer missionary came and spent the day with me and Hermana Stiles while Hermana Williams went to a meeting. She was talking about how stressed out and discouraged she was, how hard being trained is, how impossible it is to understand spanish, how much she doesnt feel like she helps teach, etc. As I was listening to her, I felt like I was listening to myself at the beginning of my mission. I could promise her that things really do get better and that we all feel like that. She was grateful for the opportunity to talk to us and know it isnt just her that feels that way. It made me think about how far I have come and how much the Lord really has given me strength. I know that He is looking out for his missionaries and that He wants to bless us with the things that we need to continue on, and that's what He has done for me. I know I still have a long way to go, but I won't be going it alone. He has helped me with spanish, courage, the Spirit, etc.
I'll do a sentimental 6 month mark email next week, we have to run and teach a lesson! But I love yall so much! I really do appreciate the support and encouragement. I'm grateful for all the love I have felt-- its tender mercies of the Lord helping me feel His love through other people! I am so blessed to be in this area. There is so much work to do here! I hope you all have a great week!! :) You're my favorites!!!
(This is not the email for this week, it's from a letter that was celebrating Shaelyn's 100th day in the mission a while ago.. I sent her 50, and she sent 50 back..)
10 Best Things About Mission Life
1. Watching people change
2. Studying and learning from the scriptures
3. BAPTISMS (everything about them)
4. Improving every day
5. Learning to love people with your whole heart
7. Being set apart from the world to preach the gospel
8. Meeting new people all the time
9. Bearing your testimony and feeling the Spirit testify to you
10. Opportunity to turn weaknesses into strengths
10 Hardest Things About Mission Life
2. People's expectations
3. Recognizing weaknesses
4. Learning to follow the Spirit
5. Changes (nothing is constant)
6. Accepting that people aren't perfect and have agency and don't always choose good things
7. Not comparing yourself to others
8. Managing stress (physical, mental, emotional, etc.)
9. Overcoming fears
10. Exhaustion all the time
10 Things I've Learned
1. Be patient, stay positive, trust the Lord
2. We work hard when we love the people
3. Happiness in families is found in the gospel! (I see families every day with and without it and it makes a world of a difference)
4. Our weaknesses as well as our strengths can bless others
5. Satan is out to destroy this work - all he has to do is stop us from doing good
6. Coming unto Christ isn't a one-time thing
7. Our potential is so much bigger than we can comprehend
8. God has plans for our lives and He knows what we need in order to grow
9. People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care
10. Teaching by the Spirit is the only way! Without the Spirit we can't teach, but with the Spirit, we can testify from our hearts and the Spirit will carry our message
10 Funny Things
1. My companion's bluntness - "I know my hair probably looks really bad right now, but you should see yours"
2. Hermano Torres telling me I'd be a great therapist because my patients would tell me their problems, I'd start crying, and then they'd forget about themselves to help me
3. My nicknames "Llorona" and "Hermana Blanca"
4. Hugo trying to give me a hug on my birthday.. haha.. awkward
5. Inosencio's everything haha one of my favorite moments though was, Hermana Perez, "Are my nails pretty?" Inosencio, "Yeah, you're pretty! She's pretty too (pointing to me)... pretty ugly!"
6. Everyone trying to arrange Hermana Perez' marriage - it's great
7. I accidently said dude in front of my sister training leader, and now everyone in the zone lectures me about using dignified language
8. For my birthday, my face got shoved in a cake
9. Hermana Perez' trainer told me she met Elder Holland at a meeting I didn't get to go to, then she said she shook his hand and wiped it on me.. I started crying
10. Showing up to the Serrano's thinking I was going to help set up a birthday party.. ended up butchering a cow!
I really need to get more creative with the subjects of my emails haha but who has time for that? ;)
Its been a crazy week! Theres another one of us!! her name is Hermana Williams and she is crazy too- soooo basically this transfer is going to be insane :) haha to describe her.... she is bad luck. The first night she was here, she broke a mirror in our apartment while she was moving in, which ruined our luck. The next day, Stiles broke a TV at an investigator's house, I broke Darly's curtains, and knocked a shelf off her wall, and then Hermana Williams broke a fork haha it was hilarious. But we broke our bad luck streak on Dia de los Reyes because we all found baby Jesus in our cake. (Ill explain.... haha)
There is a tradition in...Mexico I think where on "Day of the Kings" everyone's families buys this cake thats big and round. It has like dried fruit and sprinkles all over it (but it tastes good don't worry) Then inside of the cake, there are these tiny plastic babies that are supposed to be the baby Jesus. We each cut our own piece of cake, and if you have a baby Jesus inside, it means you have to do something nice for the rest of your family, and then on February 2nd you make food and give your kids a present (like you are the kings bringing a present to the Baby Jesus). I don't know if I explained that right....but we celebrated it a few times with different families. haha and at Darly's house, I found a baby in my cake, then Hermana Williams found one kind of in hers, and Stiles just cheated (but ended up with a baby anyways) so....our luck has been better now :)
I handle Hermana Perez leaving pretty well until people ask me about it haha then I cry a little bit. I am going to be a MESS when I leave this area, I already know... But its been fun! haha jaime wrote a letter to perez before she left and in it he said "Chaylin es como una nina y se va a morir sin ti" AKA "Shaelyn is like a little girl and she is going to die without you" hahaha glad people have faith in me ;)
Other than that it has been a crazy week. hahaha okay I need my 15 seconds of fame.... so. There is this less active family- the Gonzales. We went and ate with them this week, and they do this pancake eating contest with missionaries. The pancakes are literally almost as big as the plate and they are THICK. The record with Elders was 3, then some Hermana came and got 3 1/2, which blew them away..... guess how many I ate???.... 4. Daddio you better be proud of your daughter;) hahaha I definitely broke the record.... hahaha my companions each stopped at 2, but I kept going and ate as much as both of them combined. The family was so surprised they took a bunch of pictures of me haha so that's my mission for ya! #Prideful #Hungry #Fat. ;)
Later we were eating dinner with another family (the same ones that told me they can tell I didnt eat healthy before the mission) they weren't as surprised...instead they started asking me how much weight I have gained on the mission. They were trying to guess my weight and their starting guess was 180.....rough. hahaha:)
We have been contacting people like crazy this week- we haven't seen too much fruit from it yet, but I'm okay with planting seeds if it means other missionaries will be able to help these people in the future to progress and come unto Christ!
Hermana Williams is SUPER bold missionary... Some of the things she says I don't think I would have the courage to say, but I think there is a lot I could learn from her! I am excited to see how much we can accomplish in this area in these next 5 weeks! :) One cool thing--
January 23rd: I hit 6 months
January 30th: Stiles hits 9 months
February 5th: Williams hits 1 year (12 months)
As far as investigators! Tito is still progressing towards his date on the 25th :) He is so awesome and has a genuine desire to change his life-- hopefully that will kick in and start helping him change habits, but I believe in him!! Yolanda is also doing great- this past week we had been praying a ton that she would get work off on Sunday and come to church, and then SHE GOT SUNDAY OFF!!! She was soooo excited to be able to come to church but then we stopped by Sunday before church and... then she didnt show up. It was super disappointing, but I guess thats why patience is a Christlike attribute! But while we were at her house on Sunday, we re-got in contact with Juan Manuel and also Luis' daughter Christina so hopefully their lessons will happen this week!! :) They seem really willing to learn!
With Irma, we found out that her husband had passed away about 2 months ago (me and Hermana Perez had met and talked to him before) it was really sad, and I think it shook up their family a lot. She has 5 kids, and now she's a single mom, but I also think that it is a really good time for us to be there for her because there is so much in the gospel that can bring us comfort when tragedies happen. I am grateful to have a strong testimony of the Plan of Salvation that I can share with people here.
Paco wants to help us teach Tito (they're the same age) and it is so awesome to see how much Paco has changed!! He told us this week "some people think the scriptures are just words on paper and that they don't matter, but to me they are important. There are things in the scriptures that I can apply to my life that will help me change" .....Like whoa.
We went to the temple again this week with a Reactivated member that Stiles taught in Broadway so she could get her endowments! It was amazing to be there and I am soooo grateful for temples and the blessing that we have to be able to go and do work for the other side as well.
I love this gospel so much!! I am so grateful to be a missionary!! The church is true!! have a great week! Love yall! :)
So this week has been crazy and felt soooo long I dont even remember the beginning of this week hardly! Ill do my best to summarize though!
First Ill explain the No Mires Atras de Ti. This is a messsge we have been sharing with people- there is a mormon message (i dont know what it is called in English) but it talks about the story of Lot and his wife, and how once they left the wickedness, they were commanded not to look back. But Lots wife decided to turn back (bad idea) and she turned into a pile of salt. We have been focusing a lot on goals, with ourselves and with everyone we teach and visit. We talk about bad habits and lifestyles that we need to change- When we decided to change something, we cant look back, we have to move forward and leave the old life behind. This has hit ne really hard this week. A third of my mission is almost gone... i decided to leave my life behind and come out here to serve the Lord. I cant look back, be homesick or trunky, get distracted, or stop progressing! This is my time to change, move forward, and serve other people with all that i am. This isnt a time to look back!! For the new year I have plenty of goals that will help me, and i know i have a long way to go... by the end of the mission, I want to be able to say that I left everything behind and served with all my heart, might, mind and strength and didnt hold back any of myself. I truly want to forget myself and my desires and focus on what the Lord needs me to do here. I want to become who He wants me to be and learn to follow the Spirit! I have high expectations for my mission and i am excited to work hard and see all that the Lord can accomplish through me.
One way cool miracle story from this week. So Yolanda! A reminder real fast- we found her last transfer during an hour that we were knocking. I dont remember if I wrote this story to yall, but we were about to knock a trailer park, but i got a weird feeling and asked if we could go bsck to a different one Id seen on the way there. We left and went to the other place, knocked all the trailers and everyone rejected us and werent very nice, except the last trailer. a guy answeree, and when we asked if we could share a message, he said "Why not?" And let us in. As we were sharing the Restoration, Yolanda came in, and when we talked about the First Vision, she started crying and crying... okay fast forward to this week. So!! We were teaching her, and she starts telling us this story...
She used to talk to the Jehovahs Witnesses all the time and she loved it. But then she lost a baby, and she told the Jehovahs Witnesses never to come back, she didnt want to talk about God, and she stopped studying for 10 years... then she was sad, she realized that she had lost her God, and started praying for someone to come study with her again. A few days later, we knocked on her door. She said to us something along the lines of, if this is where i need to stay, here i will stay. We are working with her and teaching her and she says she always has to worl Sundays but she has faith in miracles that her schedule can change. She is incredible!!! This experience strenghened my testimony so much that the Lord is preparing people who are searching for the truth, and the the Spirit can lead us to those people. It was amazing!!
Another cool thing! Paco blessed the Sacrament on Sunday! He (ever since we have started teaching him) would be too nervous to read in front of us out loud... and so when Obispo asked him if he would bless the sacrament the next Sunday, he got nervous. We went over and practiced with him during the week, and he was scared he was going to make a mistake, but we told him if he said a prayer before, everything would work out. He did awesome- i felt like a proud parent haha :) But really it was so cool to see him progressing!
Also Tito came to church!!! :)
Thursday during Hour of Power, we had prayed with our dinner appointment to be able to find a family. We drove to an area around our next appointment and started knocking. It was dark, freezing cold, there were scary dogs, and no one was interested- but we kept knocking... We knocked one door and a little boy answered. We asked if his mom was there and she let us right in. It was a family of 5, and the mom and oldest daughter were super interested!! We taught the whole first lesson, and they asked about where the church was and how they could be involved! It was awesome. :) We will see what happens with them!
Other than that, New Years was so fun!! We went to Obispo's house, ate Pozole (my favorite), watched fireworks, played ukulele, hung out- it was great!
Also! We spent a day blitzing the Elders area. They have a lot more difficult area and harder time finding investigators, so we helped them knock. We found a lady namee Angeles. She is the COOLEST. She had just gotten out of jail, and was SO wiling to learn. We taught and talked to her a ton, she described the spirit she felt, and then asked how she could get to church. We told her a member could give her a ride, and she got so excited!!! Then after a while her brother in law walked in and she made him sit down and started reading and discussing the Restoration pamphlet with him. It was so awesome!!! :)) Im happy I get to watch her continue progressing too! This week is awesome!
I dont have my old planner with me and I honestly cant remember what else has happened this week, i think what i wrotr were sufficient highlights ;) Its been a great week! I am sad that Hermana Perez is leaving for this next transfer. Im grateful for all the time we had together though. She is amazing and Im glad i got to serve in West Lake Houston with her! Everyone respects and loves her- its been real. She has taught me so much. I love Hermana Perez!!
Okay this got so long Im sorry!!! But its been a miraculous week :) I love the mission! I love seeing the hand of the Lord in everything :)
Im excited to continue learning and growing and helping people come to know the Restored gospel of Jesus Christ! :)
I hope you all have a great week! What New Years Resolutions do you all have and how can I help you acheive them? Dont look back! Keep moving forward!