Monday, November 30, 2015

Double Update

Hey family! 
I am sorry that we didn't get to email this last week, it was a crazy week! But I will talk about that after I do a quick recap of the week before! 

The week before was very focused on Leo leading up to his baptism!  We had a family home evening with him on Monday with the Keffer family, his baptismal interview on Wednesday, and his baptism on Saturday! :) 

His baptism was amazing. He was so excited, and so ready to be baptized. He recognized how special that day was to him, and it was especially good to have his family involved in the program. His mom has been less active since I have been here, because of the job she has, and she has been telling us for months that her schedule was going to change and she could bring her kids to church. But then at an activity in September, she told us that she wanted us to prepare her son to be baptized. So we have been working with him and getting to know the family since then. Leo has been so excited to be baptized and kept telling his mom how badly he wanted to get baptized and how he wanted his siblings to take part in the program. It was so sweet. 
At his baptism, his mom shared her testimony about how she knew the church was true by the Spirit and she was excited for Leo to gain his own testimony. 
Sunday was his confirmation and it was incredible. Leo wrote about his experience later and said that he felt a warm feeling in his heart that he had never felt before. Even at the age of 9 he is still able to recognize the feeling of the Spirit come into his life, and I know that he will be able to continue feeling that! He was telling us that he wants to keep that good feeling with him, and as he makes the right choices he can. His siblings are both older than him, one is 16 and the other is 20, and they both are also less active, but I know Leo is setting an example for them! He is amazing :)

Saturday morning before the baptism was...interesting and really hard. We got up and went to do a service project at the church in the POURING rain. We were laying rocks around the trees and bushes on the church property but it was raining so much and all the men didn't want to "burden" us "young ladies" (good grief). Then Hna Keffer called and told us she had a special task for us. She asked us to grab any and all makeup stuff that we don't use very much. Then she took us to a funeral home where Lucina Rivera, a lady in our branch who passed away this week had been taken. It was strange. She was so stiff and grey and pasty. Her eyes and lips had been glued shut, but Hna Keffer told Hermana Andrus that she was putting her in charge of doing her makeup because her funeral was Sunday (she also informed us as we are standing by the body that she had already put us on the program to sing). So that was a lot of new information. I was in tears because being brought to a body of dear Hermana Lucina who I had been visiting and working with and teaching was really heart breaking. So everyone just sat and watched as Hermana Andrus cautiously put makeup on Lucina, who had passed of brain cancer. Her daughter and granddaughter were in there, and as we were in the room, one of her sons who I had also met and talked with multiple times came in and just held his mom and cried. It was heart wrenching. It was such a contrast to be mourning a loss Saturday morning, then celebrating Leo's baptism Saturday afternoon.

One other thing from a couple weeks ago! Pedro! :) We went up to Lake Charles, ready to teach Pedro lesson 2, the Plan of Salvation. We started the lesson, and he asked "so what is the life of a Mormon like anyways?" We didn't exactly understand what he meant, so we asked him, and he said, "How will I have to live after I am baptized?" So we decided in the moment that we were going to go over the baptismal interview questions with him. One thing that is so amazing about Pedro is that he really makes sure that he understands everything we teach him. He asks questions, shows us bible scriptures that explain what he believes, and is really open with us. He told us that in his prayers he always asks God to show him if this is what he needs to do, and he told us he would come to church!! Even though it is an hour and a half drive! :)

Ok that was pretty much the week before this last week! 

Alright, now for this last week! 

So as some of you heard, our Pday was switched to Wednesday because we somehow ended up with ALL the responsibilities in the preparation  and execution of Lucina's funeral. So we worked on funeral details from 8am to 6pm. We made all the programs for the family, and Hermana Andrus and I sang, "Divina Luz" (Lead Kindly Light) as a 3-part arrangement with our Branch Presidents wife as part of the program. It was a sweet experience, and I felt the Spirit testify to me so strongly of the plan of salvation. It is a really hard experience to be at the funeral of someone you have spent time working with and serving and loving, but it is incredible to hear the testimonies of the plan that God has for us. I know He lives and loves us, and provides the way for us to return to Him. 

Tuesday we had an extremely productive day and found some new investigators!!! One of which is named Mario and he is so prepared!! He kept saying his biggest priority in looking for the right church is finding a church that has the complete truth... Something that we (and only we) just happen to have!! He was at Lucinas funeral on Monday and pulled President Garcia aside telling him that he wanted to learn more about the church, so as we talked to him, he explained to us that he wants to be a part of a church that encourages him to be better! He said that his dad and a lot of his friends have been telling him to join a church, and he kept seeing this one. We are excited to see him progress! 
Tuesday night our favorite person ever Michael came out with us and we were able to see Antonio, Julio, Armando, Josue, and Henry. Such a spiritual evening. Michael is applying for BYU right now and prepping for his mission so he is always an eager and powerful member-present.

Wednesday we got to take our Pday. Before I go on, let me apologize for the lack of email... We went on a fishing excursion and the member who dropped us off got a flat tire and we were left stranded until after dark.
On the plus side, IT WAS AMAZING!!!! So gorgeous and a perfect temperature. Due to the recent rain pour we found that the trail we took last time when we went trail-biking was now a we got creative and built a bridge-type structure with a bunch of logs. It took awhile and 2 of our youth fell in...but it was super fun! The fishing hole was absolutely breathtaking with the southern green and the expansive, heavenly sky above. I love it. Also I caught a huge fish!! Dad you would have been so proud :) We threw the football and fished for the afternoon then made our way back. On the way back the sun went down much faster than anticipated and that coupled with the tree coverage left us crossing our makeshift bridge in the dark.  We got to the front of the state park and continued our football game until Hna Keffer showed up with her shiny new tires.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and it was WONDERFUL!!! We started off with some service and ate with Tyler Guy's family about noon followed by games and some fairly intense kickball. The family expressed to us how grateful they are for us and we expressed how grateful we are for them! They stuffed us full with Maw Maw's stuffing and turkey, Bethany's yams, Kaitlyn's ham and rolls, Chad's boudan, and the babies' deviled eggs and cranberry sauce. Then Maw Maw and Janet surprised us with personally engraved charm bracelets in equally beautiful engraved boxes that say, "friends are the family we choose ourselves." So precious!!! We have spent so long making our way into this family, trying to create an environment of familiarity and acceptance with things of the church to facilitate Tyler's church activity while still living at home. It was such a blessing to be with them that day and see the change in each family member.
Then we made our way back to Beaumont for our second Dinner with the Keffer Family. They had a family reunion dinner so we had to move all 48 people into the church gym for dinner. They also introduced something new and delicious. It's a Stuffing WAFFLE!!!! Normal stuffing, but baked in a waffle iron. It was super tasty.

Friday we had a great district meeting where they introduced the new "A Savior is Born" Christmas initiative. I am so amazed with the work they church does, especially now with their social media and tech-friendly gospel-sharing methods. If you haven't seen it, go watch the videos the church has come out with! 

Saturday was INCREDIBLE!!! So Hermana Andrus' first baptism, Jaime Acevedo, went through the temple!!!! Jaime moved into my ward in my first area soon after his baptism, and I was able to work with him as well as a newly recent convert, so being there as he went through the temple was absolutely amazing. For me it really strengthened my testimony of the work of Salvation! I am here as a missionary to invite people to come unto Christ by helping them receive the restored gospel- starting with baptism, but that isn't the end goal! I am here to help people to endure to the end, continuing to make covenants, in the house of the Lord, so that they can prepare to inherit the Celestial Kingdom. The change in Jaime was amazing, and even though I didn't teach him completely from beginning to end, I was still able to watch the light that the gospel brought into his life and how it changed and softened his heart. The spirit in the temple was so strong, and Jaime was SO happy!! The power of the Atonement is real. Jesus Christ is our real and living Savior and through Him we can change. We can be healed. We can receive the peace and comfort the Spirit brings, and we can begin, just BEGIN to taste of the love our Heavenly Father has for us.

 Sunday was AMAZING!!!! Seriously so great. So, we showed up at church knowing that Pedro and Hermano Ortiz were coming from Lake Charles, and when we got there, we saw that they had brought 2 other friends with them!!! :) Hermano Ortiz brought these guys we hadn't met named Eric and Alexis! We were able to have all of them and the BaƱuelos in our Gospel Principles class, and it was an opportunity for them to ask questions and get to know the new members in our branch. Salvador chimed in and shared his testimony of what it was like to be a new convert, and it was so sweet how he was able to relate to their concerns and bear testimony of how he has overcome trials. Salvador is amazing and has progressed and overcome so much, so having him share his testimony with the 3 investigators in our class was so powerful and sweet. :) 
Sacrament meeting, I gave a talk about faith and shared ways that I have seen examples of faith in my mission and how we can increase and strengthen the faith we have in our lives. Our branch mission leader Danny also gave a talk- his wife Carmela is still coming every week to church! This past week we went and visited her to talk with her about baptism, she is open to learning and coming to church, and is saying her prayers alone and with Danny! She has come a long way, and Danny keeps reassuring us that her time is coming! Tyler Guy was also there at church with us! :) He got his ecclesiastical endorsement done to be able to apply for BYU! We are really excited about that!
After church, we went to President Garcia's house to watch Christian Maldonado open his mission call! He is the first young man to leave on his mission from this branch, and has been waiting to leave on his mission since I have been here, and now he has his call! He will leave for the Baton Rouge, LA mission on February 16! He is family of Blanca and Salvador and was there the whole time we were teaching them, and has helped us a lot with fellowshipping our investigators, he is going to be a great missionary and we are excited for him! :) 
Later that night we went to Winnie and did service with Tyler's family! We love them so much, they have shown us so much love as well, and even tell us that we are adopted into the family! They are the sweetest, and every day we are grateful that they are a part of our lives. :) We know everything that we have been through with them has been a miracle, but was all according to God's timing that we were led to that family and were able to get in and be a part of their lives. They have become some of our greatest friends! 

All in all it has been an incredible past couple of weeks! This next week is Hermana Andrus' last week in the mission, which has been pretty hard for her. But we are going to finish strong! Watching and talking with her about finishing her mission has made me realize how fast time has gone and how fast it will go, but also made me appreciate every moment I have with the people I am serving around. I know that I was called to the Texas Houston East mission for a reason, and that the people here and the experiences I am having are changing my life. I love being a missionary. Love it with my whole heart. Thank you for your continued support and patience. Have a wonderful week!  
Love you all! 
Hermana Rogers

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Hola familia! 
Les quiero mucho y quiero que sepan esto!

I hope you all have had a great week, we definitely have! :) I will go day by day and talk about the biggest miracles we saw :)

Monday we had a family home evening with the Keffer family and Leonardo and his mom and brother :) It was so fun! We taught about the gospel of Jesus Christ: Faith, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end. As we taught, Leo asked the most adorable questions, and gave such sweet answers! I love this kid so much! His mom asked him if he wanted to be baptized and he said yes and just looked so happy! I will send a picture we got with Leo and his mom so y'all can see him. He is adorable. 

Tuesday we went to dinner with President Garcia and his family, and then President Garcia came with us to a couple appointments. We brought Dulce Caudillo out with us, it was SO good! Her family got a new car, so they are able to come to church now, which is so amazing to see! :) 
But with Dulce and President we were able to see BRANDO, who we hadn't seen in such a long time! All last week, his grandpa had been telling us that Brando obviously didn't want to talk to us anymore, and that he was too rebellious to come to church, but we had a really good lesson with him on Tuesday, and in his prayer, he asked Heavenly Father that we could come back as soon as possible. It was amazing! 
We also taught Antonio and Julio with Dulce, while President and Julian Venegas were able to visit Armando and Josue!!! They welcomed them right in, and had a great talk. It was a miraculous night, where we were able to see a lot of people we hadn't seen in a while! 

Wednesday morning, we went to practice our musical number that was for zone conference on Thursday. Sister Longhurst, one of the senior missionaries that serves in the YSA branch in Beaumont, accompanied us. We love he Longhursts! 
We also had a lot of planning to do! One thing that has changed in the Beaumont zone, is there is now a set of Sisters in Winnie! There is one English sister and one Spanish sister, and they will be contacting and teaching down there, and we will teach in Spanish as well whenever we are there. It's new and a little bit different to have Sisters there, but it will be good! That area hasn't had missionaries in it for 10 years, besides when we go there to visit people that speak Spanish. 

Thursday we had a zone conference with the orange zone! It was awesome. 
They had called Hermana Andrus and I ahead of time and asked us if we would do a musical number, so we sang this song called "Here am I, send me". The lyrics were really pretty, about the desire we have to serve God. Hermana Andrus and I have had the chance to sing together at a lot of mission conferences and meetings, it's been so fun throughout our missions! 
The Assistants to the President also asked us to present the Restoration lesson using the pamphlet, so during the breakout sessions, we gave 3 different presentations, and I learned a lot by presenting and teaching in front of other missionaries. I have to admit, I was really nervous, but the Spirit was so strong, even when it wasn't a real lesson. I am grateful that we had that opportunity! 
At the end of the conference, they asked the missionaries that are going home this transfer to share their testimonies. To my surprise, they also asked the missionaries that are going home next transfer to share their testimonies! So I stood up to share my testimony of the lessons I have learned throughout my mission That minute to reflect was so overwhelming and I felt so much love for my mission. I know I have learned so much and just want to experience every moment to the absolute fullest from here on out.
That night, we went on splits again. I went to Lake Charles to see Pedro, and that lesson was one of the most powerful lessons I have ever had in my entire life!!! We taught him about the Book of Mormon, and throughout the whole lesson, I could see in his eyes how much he already appreciated the Book of Mormon. He had such an enthusiasm to learn about it, and accepted the invitation to be baptized when he knows it's true! Pedro is so humble and incredible and I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to teach him and see his desire to learn. :) in his prayer, he blessed the missionaries around the world that they would be protected and that the people we teach and visit will be accepting of the true gospel. He is so prepared! 

Friday night we saw Armando and Josue!!!!!!! I hadn't seen Josue since....before general conference! I was sooooo happy. They invited us right in and we met a cousin of theirs that is living with them now, and so we talked about the Book of Mormon, Josue told us why he hadn't talked to us in so long, and then after a while of us teaching, DANIEL WALKED IN! It was the happiest moment of my life seeing them all sitting there on the couch, hearing them express their feelings about the Savior and His church, and the things they needed to do to follow Him. Armando and Josue told us they were planning on going to church, and that President and Julian had talked to them about it on Tuesday! :) The Spirit was really strong in that lesson as well, and I just felt overwhelming love for them! I have really missed teaching them, and hearing the testimonies that they have. 

Saturday I turned 21! We played ultimate frisbee with the Elders in the morning which was really fun! Then my companion made me breakfast and decorated the apartment while I was in the shower, which was so sweet of her. We went and got Frosties at Wendy's with the Elders which was also a surprise for me, and then there was a big Family History event at the church building. We didn't really get a chance to sit at many of the booths, but it made me so happy to look at all the different resources the church has come out with or joined with that makes family history work so much easier! I want to learn more about Family History, I know that is a big part of the work of Salvation! 
After the event, we taught Leonardo Guzman at the church! We went over the baptismal interview questions with him, and he knew all the answers! He is such a sweet kid, I love him! He is so sincere and honest in everything that he says, I love teaching him and working with him! :) his baptism will be this Saturday! It came so fast!
We stopped by Tylers cousins soccer game on our way to Winnie, and said hi to a bit of Tyler's family who was there, then left! 
The Caudillo family fed us a delicious dinner, and Dulce got me a Columbia jacket and slippers!! She is seriously the sweetest girl ever. I think I have mentioned this before, but she reminds me of my times in high school where I would go out with the Sister Missionaries- it makes me so happy to have Dulce with us, I just want to set the best example for her and help her with her testimony and desire to serve like the Sisters from our ward have done for me. 
After the Caudillo family, we went to Tyler's house! His aunt Quanah told us she is coming with us to church Sunday, even if it means Tyler has to drive over to her house to wake her up, she wants to go so bad! We spent some time with the family before heading back home. 
It was an amazing day, full of a lot of happiness! :) Thank you all for your birthday wishes as well! I can't believe I am 21, that seemed forever away, but life is happening and time moves so fast! But anyways...

Sunday was also a great day!!!! Quanah came to church with Tyler! She loved it, and I am sure we will see her back. Also Danny's wife Carmela came again, she has been coming for a couple months now, and seems really happy there. Danny doesn't want to push her to be baptized, but I know her time will come! Michelle (who lives with the Licon family) and Gizelle also came! :) And our friend Leo, he got dropped off by his non-member dad at 9 AM and stayed until 1:20!! So he went to English and Spanish wards! He is awesome :) :) 
After church, Hermana Andrus rushed me around to run a bunch of errands with her, little did I know, the whole branch was setting up a potluck in the gym! So we came back in, and there was this huge event set up for mine and Norma Caudillos birthdays!!!! It was so sweet, and pretty much melted my heart! This branch and my companion are amazing. :) they had gotten me a cake and we all spent time together, it was so fun :)
We went and visited more people that night, and all in all it was an amazing week! 

THIS WEEK HAS BEEN SO MIRACULOUS! :) I am so grateful for everything we have seen, and I can't wait to see what will happen this week. I love the gospel, I love the mission, and I love all y'all! Thanks for the support and love this week, you are amazing :)
Hope you have a great week! 
Love, Hermana Rogers

Monday, November 9, 2015

He Can Make All Things Happen

Hey family!

This week went by so fast! Monday and Tuesday we went to Kingwood for
the mission leadership meeting!
We learned a lot in the meeting about unity as leadership, and worked
a lot with our zone leaders and all the district leaders. We were able
to spend some time planning with each other, and focused a lot on
communication and vision. We set a goal as a zone to baptize 38 people
this transfer, and the way we set that goal was really cool. We went
into a separate room and said a kneeling prayer about what we could
accomplish with the Lords help. I felt the Spirit so strong testifying
to me that God loves His children here and wants them to receive His
saving ordinances. HE CAN MAKE ALL THINGS HAPPEN! I think that so
often we as missionaries focus on ourselves and what we can
accomplish, instead of turning ourselves over to the Lord and seeing
what He can accomplish through us. But as we were praying with all the
leaders, I felt so so so strong that I need the help of the Lord, and
I have to act in His strength. I know that we can do all things with
the Lord and His power!

One of the biggest miracles of this week was on Thursday, We went on
splits and I went to Lake Charles again, where we have been working
with the Hispanic members over there to bring their friends to the
chapel while we are there so we can teach lessons. We have gotten 4 or
5 referrals from them, and they were planning on all coming, but
unfortunately most of them had to work late. BUT one of their friends
Pedro did come and he is INCREDIBLE! :) Within a few minutes of being
at the lesson, he told us how open minded he is, especially after
hearing what his friend had to say about the church! He told us that
he wanted to learn, and was very accepting of everything we taught.
After the Joseph Smith story, he said, "WOW. Those words are
beautiful." He felt so strongly and told us that he was going to pray
about everything we taught and would be there next week. It was so
cool, and the Spirit was really strong. :)
While I was gone, Hermana Andrus got back in contact with Josue!!! He
had told us over general conference that he was distancing himself
from us, and then wouldn't answer us, and was never at home. But
Hermana Andrus saw him AND one of his friends that they had already
told about the church! :)

We also had an amazing experience with a less active family that had
been....a little less than enthusiastic about having Hermanas in the
branch. We have been trying to work with them since I have gotten
here, and there has been a lot of ups and downs with them. But this
week, we had set up an appointment to meet with them (we found out the
husband in the family that is a recent convert had been talking to
Jehovahs Witnesses because he felt he hadn't been learning in the
church). When we went over, neither of them were home, so we were
about to leave. There was someone in the garage and she was cooking
for his birthday! As we were walking away, the husband pulled up and
asked if we had our phone because he had called us to invite us to his
birthday party! So we helped set up and stayed for a bit and it was a
really positive experience.

There is a quote I read this week that I want to share about facing
the future with faith. And becoming who He wants us to be.
"You have a choice. You can wring your hands and be consumed with
concern for the future or choose to use the counsel the Lord has given
to live with peace and happiness in a world awash with evil.
As you continue to center your mind and heart in Him, He will help you
have a rich and full life no matter what happens in the world around
As a young man or woman, though life may seem difficult now, hold on
to that iron rod of truth. You are making better progress than you
realize. Your struggles are defining character, discipline, and
confidence in the promises of your Father in Heaven and the Savior as
you consistently obey Their commandments. You are so important. You
are so needed. There are so few willing to make the sacrifice you are
making to live righteously. You can develop the sensitivity, love, and
kindness to gain supreme happiness within the covenant of an eternal
marriage. You will bless your children with insight the world can
never give them. Your example will set the course for their successful
life as the world becomes even more difficult. You are needed to
strengthen the growing kingdom of the Lord and to be role models for
so many who lack the light of truth you have"
Richard G Scott

I love you all! Thanks for everything sorry this is so short!

We have to go to dinner, but I want all of you to know that I love you
so much! You are the greatest family ever :)
Hermana Rogers

Hermana Rogers