Monday, July 6, 2015

Whitewashing Beaumont Week 2

I. Love. This. Place. 

I think there were a lot of reasons I got sent here-- I needed to serve with Hermana Bravo first of all. She is about to go home and has seriously just DONE WORK on her mission and her example is UNBELIEVABLE and she makes me be so much better. I needed to learn a lot from her and I am so grateful that I have this opportunity! Plus I am learning so much from the members in this branch! 

We had kind of a crazy situation this past week. On Monday, we got a call from our Branch President that the building we were meeting at (which is in Beaumont-- 5 minutes from where we live) was unsafe. There was cracks in the trusses (? I don't speak roof) but basically it meant the roof could have caved in at any given moment-- so we were informed that we will now be meeting in Port Arthur (25-30 minutes from where we live) and our church is from 3:20-6:20 PM. ITS INSANE. And there are a bunch of members that live even further from that building-- but we still had them come to church. Our branch is so awesome. I LOVE IT! 

SO this past week was so full of miracles. We have 5 people with baptismal dates!! I'll tell you about them :) 

--Maggie! She is the 16 year old that we have been teaching! Honestly, she is SO INCREDIBLE. She understands the scriptures SO well, applies everything we teach and read to herself, loves church, and just has such big desires to do good! I love her so much! Maggie's mom isn't really interested, but she has given Maggie permission to be baptized! :) Initially the date was July 26, but we are trying to prepare her for either this Sunday or the Sunday after! We are so excited. 

--Noe!!!!!! OH MAN this guy is SO prepared. He was the one that I think I wrote about last week- the Elders right before him said he had disappeared but then we found him at home! The first time we taught him we asked "What do you remember about what the Elders taught you?" and he said "Well they taught me about a prophet of God named Joseph Smith, and they gave me the book he translated. They told me about faith and how I need to repent and be baptized by the right authority, and they told me that I should read and pray to know all these things are true, then endure to the end by keeping commandments" ……HE REMEMBERED ALL THAT…."uhhh…so...Why aren't you baptized?" Basically he didn't feel like he knew enough and it just wasn't his time. BUT NOW IT IS! I am grateful for the Elders that taught him before and for the Spirit which has been working in him. He accepted a date for the 26th as well! :) Teaching him is amazing. He also understands everything so perfectly and is so willing to accept commitments! His answers to every question just blow my mind. He is so perfect! Ah i love Noe! He came to church all the way in Port Arthur and afterwards we asked what he thought and he said, "It is different- you just learn so much and it leaves you wanting to come back and learn more". Yeah. So cool. He has been researching everything we teach him on the gospel library app and amazing us with the things he has learned on his own. For example-- we gave him a calendar that says when we will be teaching him everything, and it also has his baptismal interview scheduled. He looked up the baptismal interview, read all the questions and came ready with questions to our next appointment. He's so fantastic and knows that this is the change he needs in his life! 

--Yanet and Ramiro! They are a young couple that we found this past week- we had contacted Ramiro's sister on the street and she set a return appointment with us. Then when we went back, she wasn't there, but Yanet and Ramiro were! So we taught them and asked them to be baptized-- Ramiro was just saying yes to everything, and when we asked him why, he said, "Oh I just woke up this morning knowing someone was going to come for me". When he was little his parents had the missionaries coming over, and he remembered little things that they taught him, so he already knew how to pray and everything. It was SO awesome. They will also be baptized on the 26th we are hoping. Ramiro's birthday is on the 27 (your birthday buddy mom!) and they want to get married on his birthday, but we will see if they want to move that up :) They are SWEET.

-Tino! We found him trying to contact a former-- we started teaching him, committed him to baptism, left him with a Book of Mormon, and when we came back HE HAD READ TO 1 NEPHI 17!! :) He is awesome- doesn't feel as sure about baptism, but he is willing to keep listening, reading and praying (AKA learning by the Spirit that this is true). He is great and teaching him is fun too- he is just such a happy guy and loves to learn! 

Okay other miracles because we have had plenty!! 
On Thursday during our hour of power, we were in Winnie (the really far away part of our area that we sometimes go to). We had dinner with a member then took their 2 daughters out with us to knock doors. They showed us where to go where there would be hispanics, and we got out of the car to go knock. There was a huge party going on at one of the houses, and then one of the girls we were with (Dulce) said that she knew the girl that lived there! So we went over and said hi. There were 15-20 people at that family party and since Hermana Bravo is a "Fear no man" boss, we talked to all of them and started teaching the first lesson. We handed out pamphlets to literally everyone there, then taught the lesson with them all sitting around, following along in the pamphlet. At the end, we got everyone's numbers and set 2 return appointments, and the family invited us back to celebrate the 4th of July with them!! We also found out that there was more extended family that was missing from that party, and they were a member family in our branch! SO basically we met the entire non-member extended family of some of our branch and taught them all lesson 1. :) It was SO COOL.

Our 4th of July celebrations were fantastic!! We went and had breakfast with a member, and her 2 daughters (less-actives) showed up, and one of them has a husband that is not a member but lives in Houston and is being taught by missionaries over there. (actually Stiles!!) So we were there and were able to teach them! :) 
THEN we went and saw Yanet with a member, and that member was going to feed us lunch right after, so she invited Yanet, who came with us! It was SO fun!! :) We helped her cook for a while and then ate with their entire family, and it was a blast. Yanet had a good time too! 
THEN we went to Winnie to celebrate with the family we had met-- also met the member extended family! We had dessert at one house and then went to another family party and taught a couple of the family members (We went inside their house--they left their party to come hear from us so that was nice!) I don't know if that makes any sense but basically we were eating and visiting families all day and teaching lessons whenever we got the chance. It was a great 4th of July! :) 

Also we have been busy serving as well! I don't know if I already told you but our Branch Mission Leader is about to get married and his fiancee is not a member. They are getting married this Saturday and we have been doing a lot of service for her helping to get things ready for that wedding! It's been quite the adventure- who knew I would help be a wedding planner on my mission? We are excited for the wedding though-- the predictions from the branch is that she won't last more than a couple months after her wedding before she gets baptized :) She's the daughter of a member, and her sister is a member, and now her husband is a member too! ;) 

There has been so many amazing miracles. I LOVE THIS AREA SO MUCH. :) 

The talk of the week is "You Matter to Him" by Dieter F. Uchtdorf, October 2011
and wow this talk was such an answer to my prayers! Hermana Perez sent me a text message just telling me to look it up and study it, so I did and IT IS AMAZING. 
I had been feeling occasionally a little down- like there were so many expectations on me and I didn't know if it were possible to measure up to all of them. But there is a quote from that talk that says, "The Lord uses a scale very different from the world's to measure the worth of a soul". That just made me ponder how the Lord sees me. Its easy to hear the voices telling me that I don't measure up to anything and that I am not nearly good enough, but when I read this, it helped me to hear a different voice that told me that God loves me. I know that God will use me for His purposes if I "incline my heart to Him" and stay humble and work hard. I know that God loves me. He loves the people I am teaching and serving around. He wants me to be happy and serve Him! 
I want to be able to help other people feel God's love! 

Wow I am just soooo full of gratitude and love and happiness and AH this gospel is incredible and CHANGES LIVES and the mission is the greatest opportunity to see that every day! I love you all SO SO much! I hope you are having a great week and that you're enjoying your summer :) 
Until next week! 
hermana shaelyn rogers

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