Sunday, October 25, 2015


I am having a serious struggle coming up with titles for emails because every week I just want to say across the top in huge letters BEST WEEK EVER-- Every week is seriously the greatest out here. This week had a lot of trials, but also soooo many amazing moments! I will write about as many of them as I can with the short amount of time that I have.

On Monday, we saw Blanca and Salvador for a little bit. I talked to Salvador a lot and he brought up to me that one day, he wanted to stand up in church and share his testimony and thank Heavenly Father for the things that he has learned. He told me about how much his life has changed and how before he felt like he was in a pit, feeling really low. But he said that then they came here and stayed with the Maldonados and then we came along and brought them from where they were to where they are now and he is so grateful. It made me cry, THIS IS MY PURPOSE and I got to be here for Salvador's whole conversion process, watching him come here with so many burdens and struggles and be able to see the hand of the Lord lifting him up and helping him make major changes in his life. He has come so far. :) 
Then Monday night we drove from Beaumont to Kingwood for my first Missionary Leadership Counsel!! It is a big meeting with all the zone leaders and sister training leaders in the mission. Since we are so far away, we get to drive in Monday night and stay at the mission home with President and Sister Drake, which was awesome! We were able to talk to President about our areas and advice he has, and it was nice to have a little one on one-ish time with him :) 

Tuesday was the conference! It involves a lot of training, counseling with one another, and information given to us as leaders, that needs to in turn be delivered to the zone. We learned an interesting concept called the formula for results! (In our case as missionaries, it is the formulas for baptism! Here is what it looks like in a nutshell:
(CLARITY+COMPETENCE+COMMITMENT)/ CONSISTENCY !!! Clarity means that we have a plan and a vision. Competence is the teaching and training that we give to others. Commitment is how well the people we are teaching and leading "buy-in" to what it is we present them- if they catch hold of the vision- if we present the vision and are committed to it/willing to sacrifice to make it happen, people are more likely to follow us! And the most important one is the CONSISTENCY. Consistency is the follow-up! It is how we turn everything else into action. Following up is how we show other people that what we have invited them to do really is important! 
They described it as a formula. The first 3 C's are graded on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best. The Consistency is graded on a scale of 1-5, 1 being the best. 
If you have a 10 for Clarity, Competence, and Commitment, but have the worst follow-up-- (10+10+10)/5 would give you an overall score of 6! But if you are only at level 2 for Clarity, Competence and Commitment, but have the best follow-up-- (2+2+2)/1 is also a score of 6! We were shown examples of Christ in His life, how he exemplified all these traits, and we emphasized following through with everything you do to really show the people we serve and teach that we are committed. That we have the ability to teach them by our example, but also through our trainings what is our vision and our purpose. We talked a lot about how to help others, and I realized that following up with them is the best way to show them that we really care!! It made me want to be better at this both as a missionary and also as a sister training leader. 

Tuesday night we talked to Julio-- he told us that he really wants to change his life. He said that his feelings and desires change all the time but that this is something that he really wants to hold on to! He said, "I feel like God loves me because He sent you to me". He accepted to baptism, but hasn't accepted a date yet, but we will for sure be working with him this week! 
Antonio is progressing a ton! We saw him with President Garcia on Tuesday night and HE HASNT DRANK SINCE THE FIRST TIME WE MET HIM!!! He said that before he used to drink every single day coming off of work, but he hasn't touched alcohol since we taught him. It was amazing to see his desires to follow God turn into action! 

Wednesday we were weekly planning, then at night we saw Antonio again and Hector, who has been distancing himself from us for a while because he felt very pressured to be baptized, which was really sad. But we talked to him a lot more and he said that he loves church, he loves everyone he has met and he feels good talking to them and being at the church! So he will keep coming!
Hermana Andrus and I had a serious planning session where we went through all the formers in the area book, looking for people that could be baptized in these next two weeks. We have been promised by our Heavenly Father through our mission standards that we can baptize every transfer. We have so many people that we have taught everything to, but they just don't want to make that next step. So we have been focusing on people that other missionaries have taught to see if the seed they planted in the past had been growing in their hearts. 

Thursday we went to visit Blanca and talked to her a lot about faith-- how she can develop it, how she can recognize it in herself, etc. She is still working on buying the trailer next to the Maldonados, so we are hoping that everything works out with that!! 
THEN WE WENT KNOCKING- We knocked out an entire trailer park in Lumberton, taught everyone we talked to the Restoration, (even if they only spoke english), and we saw some great miracles. One funny story though- within 5 minutes of us arriving at the trailer park, this dog came up to us. She was very friendly, so we petted her, then started walking away. She followed us. We went and knocked a trailer and she came right up on the porch with us… the people opened the door and the dog shoved her nose in-- we assumed it was their dog. It wasn't. So I think those people got mad, and we tried to ditch the dog and move on to the next trailer. THE DOG FOLLOWED US FOR 3 HOURS STRAIGHT!! It was really funny, but there were some people who were less than happy to have a giant dog at their door. Other people's dogs were also a little angry… suffice to say at least WE made a new friend! Haha we named it, and took some pictures with her at the end of the day but I think she was very sad when we left her. Haha 
That night we tried a few of the formers on our list and had several…interesting experiences. Some of the people we visited were not quite as enthusiastic as we thought they would be to see us show up on their porch. One of the people we went to try was Jesus, we knocked on the door and a lady answered. We asked if Jesus was there and she said that he didn't live there anymore. We asked for his number and she gave it to us. We asked where he lived and she said, "I don't know. He moved out yesterday. I am his ex wife"…..awkward. But then we proceeded to tell her about the church and asked her if she would like to come with us-- I don't think she wanted to go to church with 2 white girls that just knocked on her door late at night asking for her ex husband…oops?

FRIDAY IS WHEN THE AMAZING MIRACLES STARTED POURING IN. So we had an amazing district meeting about PLANNING. Hermana Andrus and I decided to go home and spend some time evaluating the plans we had made on Wednesday and pass over the lists of formers we had selected. We spent an hour or two going through every name, where they were at in their progression with the church, etc. We made a long list of names, and then each of us prayed over that list. I wrote a list of 6 or 7 names, and Hermana Andrus wrote a list of 6 or 7 names. Then we put them together and made a list of the people that had showed up on both of our lists. We made a 1st priority, 2nd priority and 3rd priority list in order of people we wanted to see. Then we went out to work! We prayed to be able to find those whom the Lord had been preparing so that we could help them accept the Restored gospel and be baptized on the 24th. 
We went first to this family that said they were available before 4. We talked to the mother of that family, she said she didn't really remember missionaries in the past, so we went over what it is that we do, what we teach, and our purpose. She said we could come back and we were off to the next house. We decided to knock a couple doors next to her house, and as we were knocking we met someone else that let us teach her about the Restoration! She also said we could come back anytime, and so we were off to the next house. As we were walking back to our car, a police officer pulled up next to us and asked who we were and what we were doing. I assumed we were going to get in trouble, but he asked if we were Jehovah's Witnesses. We started to explain that we were the missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, but a car pulled up. Instead of saying, "Great, nice to meet you have a good day" He pulled forward and motioned for us to follow him. So we were able to teach a police officer on the side of the road!!! It was an amazing and miraculous hour of contacting, and we were able to teach 3 people within a block of walking. 
THEN we were about to go to the next person on our priority list, but I noticed a street sign up ahead that said Blanchette. I remembered that there was someone on one of the lists that lived on that street- turns out it was someone on the 3rd priority list, but we decided while we were close we might as well try and see if they are home! So we went over to that street looking for the house number. We didn't see it, but we saw a group of people sitting out on their porch. We pulled over and went to go talk to them, see if maybe they knew their neighbors Patricia and Guadalupe that had talked to the missionaries before! As we got out, we heard someone yell, "Elders!!" IT WAS PATRICIA! She was one of the people sitting on the porch! She remembered the missionaries, and was so confused why they had stopped visiting her. She assumed it was because they had left for their houses, but she missed their visits. She even told us that the other day she was moving a box of stuff and found a restoration pamphlet sitting out from when they used to visit her. We met her, and her husband Juan Pablo, and her sister Guadalupe all right then, and they set a return appointment for the next day! IT was AMAZING! 
There were a bunch more amazing experiences from Friday's contacting, and another much less amazing experience-- but I will explain that later. Short story….we had a bit of car trouble, but were able to teach 3 fireman and a policeman in the process! :) (Look on the bright side?) I think one of the firemen will now be talking to the english elders! So even THAT turned into a miracle! 

SATURDAY!!!!!!! We had a recent convert from the Young Single Adult branch, Angela Johnson, come out with us during the early afternoon. She came with us to contact more of our list of formers. We tried this one lady named Mariela Flores, who lives on 909 Amarillo street. She had talked with us on the phone the day before and set the appointment with us, but then when we knocked, she wasn't there. So we left her a note, and then decided to go to this street called Angelina because there were 2 people that lived on that street. We went to the first house, and no one answered. We went around to a side house and saw a number taped to the door that said Adan! So we called it, and he answered and told us that he wanted to come to church with us the next day! He asked us to leave him something that he could read, so we did. Then Angela suggested we WALK to the next house-- so we did! As we were walking, we heard someone speaking in Spanish, so we went around the side of the house to talk to him! We started a conversation, found out he isn't even really in Beaumont that much but he will be this week. We asked if we could stop by and teach him and he said yes!! So we asked him for his address, and he said he didn't remember it… but he said he thought it was 090 Amarillo street. He then proceeded to explain in detail where it was, and as he explained, we realized it was the house we had went to earlier!! We asked if he knew Mariela Flores and he told us that he is currently renting a room from her! What a small world!!! It was amazing to see how God put us in the place where we could contact him, in a short period of time that he was working in the street we were knocking down. And if we didn't hear his voice, we wouldn't have stopped. But now we have 2 more people to teach, and they both conveniently live in the same house! :) It was awesome. 
We continued down the street until we got to the next former investigator's house. We saw a woman outside, and asked if she knew a Zarafin. She pointed around the side of the house and we met him! (In case you were wondering--- I know it sounds creepy to walk around asking for people by name as we knock on their door…and….it probably is, but we start the conversation telling them we are the new missionaries and are trying to get in contact with the people that have talked to the missionaries before. It has worked really well for us so far!!) Sarafin also remembered the missionaries and said he would bring his wife and daughter to church tomorrow! HE has been before and really liked it!!

Saturday night we watched the full Joseph Smith movie with Antonio at the Keffer's home, and talked about why the Restoration was so important. We discussed all the things Joseph Smith went through because he knew this was true. Afterwards, we asked Antonio what we could do for him and he said, "well just keep visiting me! I will keep coming" :) it was great. He is awesome, had to work on Sunday so he wasn't able to come to church, but we were able to see him after church.

Sunday Salvador bore his testimony and it was the sweetest thing ever! It made my heart so happy to see him stand up and share his feelings about how the gospel has changed his life. He is AMAZING. :) His daughter Irene also shared her testimony! And our investigator little Michelle <3 it was the greatest testimony meeting ever :)

Afterwards we went on splits and continued to meet more people! Hermana Andrus went down to Winnie and taught with Dulce, a recent convert in our branch :) I stayed here in Beaumont with Hermana Keffer and talked to another few former investigators! One of them named Manuel, remembered exactly everything that the missionaries had taught him- his sobrino (nephew) Francisco also sat in on the lesson and loved it- he had a lot of questions, and said as well that we could come back anytime because he loves to talk about religions and learn more.

Overall this week was absolutely incredible. I am CERTAIN that God's hand is in this work. He loves His children and wants them to be happy! I am so grateful for the opportunity to share that happiness with others and remind people of the happiness they felt with missionaries in the past. I have the greatest calling in the world :) I love being a missionary! And I love all of you :)
Have a great week! :)
Hermana Rogers

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