Sunday, July 5, 2015
WELCOME TO BEAUMONT TEXAS EVERYBODY.
Let me tell you a little bit about my new area.
We just got WHITEWASHED INTO THE BIGGEST AREA IN THE MISSION. I am kind of freaking out a little bit but it has been such a week full of miracles-- I know the Lord has been helping us out SO much! Let me tell you a bit about the area:
Beaumont is a massive area. I still don't fully have my head wrapped around all that we cover, but basically what they tell me is that we cover half the mission's area...just for the people who speak spanish.
-We are the furthest east that Spanish missionaries can go
-This area has been Elders for...well for pretty much forever...The elders got flushed (both taken out) and we got put in!
-We are 2 hours away from the mission home, and the area goes about 2 hours more east I think?
-The branch I am in covers the entire STAKE (which is massive because we are in the country)
-We cover the biggest 2 zones in the mission which are both english- and we are the only spanish and cover all the Louisiana part of the mission! There is one other set of spanish elders but their area is really small and way at the bottom of ours.
-The branch is 10 years old, pretty small but solid!
This branch hasn't ever seen Hermanas, so we want to make a really good first impression!
-Our branch president is white! From New Orleans, has the cutest family of all time, served his mission in Uruguay, super cool and way into missionary work! We eat with him every Tuesday and he comes with us to lessons after that!
-There are like 22 Elders and 4 Sisters in our zone
I don't even know what else to say!! Its huge! I am extremely overwhelmed haha BUT THE LORD IS DOING HIS WORK OUT HERE I CAN SAY THAT MUCH! :)
My companion is Hermana Mariana Paz Bravo :) She is from Chile!!! She lived in the states for 12 years before she came out but still- SUPER COOL. She is already helping me so much with my spanish. She is about to go home in 5 weeks, so I am sending home another companion. SHE IS SO READY TO WORK HARD THOUGH. I am so stoked to be her companion, I will learn SO much from her.
Our first day, we met the Branch President and our Branch Mission Leader and they both gave us a list of priorities right off the bat so we didn't have any time to wonder what to do. They are both SO incredible and ready to help us out with anything we need. I am so grateful for them and their help and desires to do missionary work!
We spent a lot of time organizing the area-- making lists of people to try, getting to know members and investigators, planning, arranging, calling people, etc. The branch is a perfect size-- President Garcia challenged us to get to know every member on the list so we have been working on that!
THE MEMBERS HERE ARE AMAZING! We are working with a lot of member referrals which is INCREDIBLE. There are also so many youth in the ward that have been coming out with us this week-- they know the area better than we do, and it is SO MUCH FUN to have them with us! It brings back a lot of memories to being in high school with the missionaries and how grateful I am to them and everything they taught me and motivated me to become. :)
We have been working a lot with this family... I'll see how well I do at explaining them!
Okay at the top, we have Hermana Acosta! She is awesome. Such a sweetheart of a lady and does so much for the missionaries. Then you have her 3 daughters, Patricia (member), Gloria (not member) and Carmela (also not member who is about to marry our ward mission leader). Then Patricia has I think 3 kids as well but the only one we know is Karen (she is a member, hasn't been to church in a while because she is bedridden and pregnant- she is married to someone named Alex who just got baptized a couple months ago). THIS FAMILY IS AMAZING! We have been working TONS with them-- serving Karen, helping Carmela get ready for the wedding, going with Gloria to visit a friend of hers that is sick, going with members to give Gloria's friend a blessing, etc. It has been so great! Heavenly Father has provided us with so many opportunities to help out just within this one family- I love it!
There is a recent convert family, the Caudillos, and they have 6 kids, and 3 of them have been telling us they wanted to come out with us. So on Sunday we took out the 2 oldest daughters with us and went on splits for a few hours after church. It was amazing. Dulce is 18 and came with me, and we went around and contacted people and started teaching them. We were teaching the Restoration to these 2 guys, and I would ask Dulce if she would share her testimony, and she kept telling me she was too shy. When we got to the Book of Mormon, I asked if she would share her testimony and eventually she did, and it was the sweetest testimony I have ever heard. I got chills while she shared it-- it was so sweet to have a recent convert with me who had learned for herself that the Book of Mormon was true and wanted to share that with other people. She also gave the closing prayer and ah she is just so amazing. :) When we were walking away she gave me a huge hug and was just SO excited to have been able to teach someone!! She told me she wants to be a missionary and it made me so happy. Sharing the gospel is something that just brings a kind of joy that can't be experienced in any other way. It is so great!
I will list a couple other miracles:
-Two nights in a row we didn't have a dinner set up. The first night we were teaching Maggie (a 16 year old investigator) and we hadn't really talked to the mom at all- she is very uninterested in the church and didn't want anything to do with us. (When we walked into the house, she walked into the room and closed the door). But towards the end of our appointment with maggie, she came out and asked if we would like to eat with their family! So we were able to eat with them, get to know them, and talk the mom into letting Maggie come to church! :)
The second night we didn't have dinner, we had just finished being on our bikes all day (we were starving...also broke so we were just going to not eat and go to our other appointments). We put the bikes on the back of the car, which was parked at the church, and someone walked out and saw us. He called out to us and asked if we were hungry. There was a wedding reception that they were wrapping up and had tons of extra food- so they gave us tons of bbq meat! Such a blessing!
-Maggie told us the morning she was getting ready to go to church, her mom said, "well Maggie maybe I should go with you, to see how things are... maybe mormons aren't as bad as I had thought? etc... Out of no where! Apparently her boyfriend talked her OUT of going but hey it was a step in the right direction!! :)
-We found a long lost investigator!! The Elders from 2 transfers ago had told us all about this guy named Noe that was about to get baptized, super legit, loved learning and reading and was so solid! But the Elders that were here right before us told us that he had fallen off the face of the planet and we probably should forget about him basically. But the day that we were on splits, we had to drop Dulce and Norma off at a fireside but we had like 15 minutes. So we prayed to know what to do and felt like we should just try Noe even though we didn't know if he was anywhere close to where we were. We found his address and stopped by and he was home! he told us where he was in the book of mormon, told us he had read the pamphlets and set a return appointment with us! We were so stoked.
I wish I could list out all the miracles that have been happening to us this past week. The Lord's hand really is in everything! I am so grateful for the opportunity to be here in Beaumont! Yeah, it is absolutely insane and SO MUCH WORK, but I am so happy to be able to meet and work with these people and learn the lessons the Lord wants me to learn out here! I am grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ which helps me have a perspective to everything I experience. Heavenly Father loves His children! I feel so much joy when I share this message that will bring peace to their hearts and help them feel a sense of direction and purpose! :)
I love you all so much! Thank you for all his support and encouragement :)
I love the work of the Lord! I love being His servant and working to being happiness to His children! I love my Savior Jesus Christ and thinking about what He did for me. I am so grateful for the knowledge I have and the testimony I have that is continuing to grow every day.
Have a great week! Love you so much!
Hermana Shaelyn Rogers
"The Final Judgement is not just an evaluation of a sum total of good and evil acts- what we have done. It is an acknowledgement of the final effect of our acts and thoughts- what we have become. It is not enough for anyone to just go through the motions. The commandments, ordinances, and covenants of the gospel are not a list of deposits required to be made in some heavenly account. The gospel of Jesus Christ is a plan that shows us how to become what our Heavenly Father desires us to become." -D. Todd Christofferson