Monday, June 24, 2013

Where is the time going?!

Hello my sweet mother!
Well, I'll just start and tell you how much I loved your email.  It made me so happy.   So here I am in week 5 of the transfer!  I literally have no idea where the time has gone.  I feel like I just barely had P-day.  The harder I work the faster it goes, I am trying to decide if that is good or not ;)  This week was full!  But sometimes I have no idea what happened... happens every week.  During the last few weeks I have felt pretty discouraged that no one wants to talk to us, all of our appointments get cancelled, etc.   Last Monday was hard, to say the least.  We got a few doors slammed and all of our appointments cancelled.  I went to bed that night, feeling exhausted not only physically but emotionally.  This is hard stuff!  I sat there wondering what I could fix, to have more success in our area.  I made it a goal for myself this week to literally put every ounce that I can into what I am doing.  I don't remember what happened but Tuesday was AWESOME!  I remember that I was exhausted when we got home, but I felt so happy because I literally did everything I could to serve others that day.  It is still a huge goal that I am working on, but I am thankful that I have seen the results from it.  I feel that I am at my most humble point.  I am learning so much patience with myself and others.  The most important part is, I am doing it.  I know without a doubt, I am supposed to be here.  Our cute 73-year old investigator, Alicia, came to a baptism last week.  She's been investigating for seven months and says she doesn't need to be baptized because she already has been.  But she felt the spirit really strong there.  She said, she wanted to be baptized, well,  she said when God told her to.  But that is a huge step!  There is such a special spirit for an investigator at a baptism.  I see so many tender mercies throughout my day.  I truly know that Heavenly Father is looking out for me.

This week was seriously crazy, so I will try and give you a run down.  First off, my companion got shingles.  She is like a 90 year old woman, we usually just laugh about it all day.  But I feel so bad for her because there is nothing that I can really do to help her.  She got them last Tuesday after we visited a less active, whose daughter had just had chicken pox.  We tried calling the mission nurse and she finally called us back this morning.  But she got a hold of a doctor on Saturday and is doing better.   So that is when we found out she had shingles.  So we had to go to a members house to have them take a picture on their phone and send it to the doctor.  We were close to a member's home and so we passed by.  Her name is Hermana Bayona and she has been a member for 34 years.  She became a member a year after she was married, but her husband has never been interested.  He is pretty much exactly like my sweet Papa.  He can't be serious, ever!  When we went over, he gave us some Wethers originals.  I told him that they reminded me of my Papa and so he stocked my bag.  Later on in the day I had a migrane.  My companion was sitting here with shingles.  What a pair! Normally it would be a good idea to just stay in for the night.  But no, we couldn't.  Because the Lopez family had a birthday party for their little girl who turned EIGHT!!  They were so cute to us.  We had called them earlier and the little girl wanted to make sure that we were invited to their party.  It ended up being such a good day, we were able to get to know our members and our investigators better. 

Este es la familia lopez o en otras palabras mi corazon!  

The Lopez family is amazing.  I cannot say enough about how much I love them!  They are progressing really well and have been reading the Book of Mormon!  I have never felt the spirit so strong in lessons, than when I do at their home.  They are so sweet and welcoming to us.  They told us how we always seem to call or show up at their house right after something hard or bad has happened.  I feel so blessed to know them!
Life is so good, momma!  Church is true, it is amazing seeing it change people's lives.  I am glad you were able to listen to the broadcast on Sunday.  Do your missionary work!  Look for opportunities to share the Gospel.  You have no idea how much referrals help missionaries.  Everything is going well and you are always in my prayers!  Thank you, mom, for your testimony and strength. I love you so much! xoxox  Hermana Michelle

Dear Dad,
This is our ward mission leader and a cute LA that we are working with. 
Her family loves me and they feed us the most amazing dinners ever.  Spanish is so hard. I am trying to hard to be patient with it, I know that it will come.  I think I am doing better than I give myself credit for. I have to remember that I am new and I'm not going to learn how to do everything in two transfers.  But truly things are going well!  I am happy.  I had an Elder that has been in my district two transfers, tell me that I have changed a lot since I have been here!  And I truly feel it.  I have a great desire to be here and I know that I have a reason here.  Time is going so fast!  I can't believe it.  I am doing well.  You are in my thoughts always daddy, I hope you are happy, healthy, and doing well.  I love you more than anything in the world xoxoxo

Monday, June 17, 2013

Reflections and Good-byes to our Mission President.....

Mommacita! I loved your email today, I am sorry that I only have so much time to email on Mondays!  I am balancing it out lately haha.   We had a lot of meetings this week, saying goodbye to the Mission President, etc.  Investigators are doing well, Timoteo finally came to church for all three hours! The Lopez family didn't... pretty much my spirits were crushed.  All is well and the work is moving. Since I emailed you a few days ago and wasn't quite sure what to talk about today, I figured I would share my feelings of a mission.  I know that a lot of my friends are either on their missions or are leaving soon.  Here I am, almost done with my second transfer, training myself, pretty much lost in Spanish all the time.  So you could say this is pretty hard.  But also, here I am working with these lambs of God that have been waiting for this message.  I may not find them immediately but I know that I will find them over the next 15 months.  There are some days that I wake up and wonder!  But those are the days where Heavenly Father really shows me His tender mercies.  Some days we work so very hard and no one listens and a lot of the time our appointments get cancelled.  But at the end of the day I can' help but be happy.  This is hard - don't get me wrong, but this is the most beautiful thing I think I have and ever will do in my life.  I have such a sacred calling here and I am so thankful that I have this time to learn more about myself and who I want to be as a daughter of God.  For those thinking of a mission, do it.  I know that I will never regret doing this.  Never.  This is my calling for such a short amount of time and I just hope that I am able to do what the Lord wants of me.  I have seen myself grow in ways that I never thought that I could.  I have seen my testimony stretch further than ever.  And I have seen people change because of our Heavenly Father's love.  And I get to be one of those people.
I figured with the things going on this week I would share my feelings about what is near and sacred to my heart.  

My brother and angel - part of my life lessons.....
I have been thinking about this for weeks and now it is finally here.  As you said, this week is 10 years since my brother, Michael's passing.  My heart aches as I have to think about that day almost exactly ten years ago.  When people ask what I remember, I always tell them about the night before.  That we had gone to pick him up in the middle of no where.  That there was something so different about that night.  I remember he and I talking and I will never forget the goodbye that we had.  I remember begging him to come with us to Grandma's house and he was busy.  But what I remember the most is the goodbye.  As I looked at him before he got out of the car, he reached over and kissed me.  I distinctly remember him saying, "I love you, Michelle".  Those words from him are forever engraven on my heart.  There was a feeling of peace and love as we left that night.  I also remember the feeling I had as we sat on Grandma's couch and you had to tell me, your little nine year old, that her brother had passed away.  Of course I don't remember everything perfectly and didn't understand it completely, but I do now. 
It hurts everyday knowing that I am here but my brother is not.  But it is one of the biggest blessings I have experienced.  I would not be who I am today if it weren't for that.  Everything that has happened in my life was meant to make me better and stronger.  I know that he is proud of me and what I am doing.  It was been amazing being here and feeling him with me.  It may not be a huge impression but there is always someone on my side during the good times and during the bad.  I am sad that I will not be there with you to hug you on that special day, but you know that you and Michael are always in my heart.  I know that this is where I am supposed to be and that what I am doing will affect my life forever.  Kris wrote me this week and said, "you will have hard, gut-wrenching days - and you'll have glorious, divine days."  How true!  Some days are so very hard, but those aren't the days that I remember.  Thank you for everything that you do for me, my sweetheart!  I am so incredibly blessed in everything I have.  Please know how much I am thinking about you.  I love you more than anything, my dear!  You are in my prayers, especially this week.... xoxox

Hello Daddy!
I am doing well. I am happy.  My companion is great!  We are seriously the same person; it's good and bad but we have learned how to work together really well.  Someone told me the other week that with companions the best thing you will ever do with them is love them, everyone wants to be loved.  I have really worked on that this week and it has been really good!  I really do love her.  I thought about you so, so much yesterday.  I am so sorry that I forgot to tell you Happy Fathers day last week, I felt so bad.  Someone shared a poem about fathers yesterday in church and I looked pretty crazy when I had tears streaming down my face.  I miss you more than you know!  But this is really good.  You are amazing dad.  Our relationship is what I am especially grateful for.  I am thinking about you so much this week as we hit 10 years with Michael.  You were always an amazing father to him. I know that he watches over you every second of every day and that his love is immaculate for you.  You are in my prayers so much this week.  Thank you for your prayers, I really do feel them daddy.  Thank you for everything you do and have done for me :)
I love you more than words xoxo
Love Hermana Michelle

Good-bye to our Mission President, 
President and Sister Baker, 
from the Downey Zone, California Los Angeles Mission

God be with you til we meet again.
By his counsels' guide uphold you,
With his sheep securely fold you.

God be with you til we meet again.

When life's perils thick confound you,

Put his arms unfailing round you.

God be with you til we meet again.

Keep love's banner floating o'er you,

Smite death's threatening wave before you.

God be with til we meet again

Til we meet, Til we meet

Til we meet again at Jesus' feet

Each life that touches ours for good
Reflects thine own great mercy, Lord.
Thou sendest blessings from above
Thru words and deeds of those who love.

What greater gift dost thou bestow,
What greater goodness can we know
Than Christlike friends who gentle ways
Strengthen our faith, enrich our days.

When such a friend from us departs
We hold forever in our hearts
A sweet and hallowed memory
Bringing us closer, Lord, to thee.

For worthy friends whose lives proclaim
Devotion to the Savior's name,
Who bless our days with peace and love,
We praise thy goodness, Lord, above.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Hello my beautiful Mother!

You are right, we just got back from the Los Angeles temple!  It was beyond amazing. I miss being able to go to the temple whenever I want, so it was nice being able to just sit in the Celestial room and breath.  I didn't have to think about anything-  my Spanish, appointments, laundry, silly things.  It was the first time in a long time that I was just able to sit.  I am so thankful for the time we had there today. And it is BEAUTIFUL! Seriously amazing.  I was in awe the whole time.  So that was our morning!

I had a list of things I wanted to write you about but I forgot it all this morning! Overall it was a good week! 

So to start off, we had our baptism with Jose on Sunday!  He is so cool.  He asked last lesson if there was just a list of "rules" we could print out for him and he would follow them.  Last week, we had a super awesome lesson with him before Sister Moeller and Zollinger left.  It was easily the best day of my mission so far!  In Jose's lesson, we were wanting to really see how he was feeling.  He had a cool experience after he read the Book of Mormon and prayed, where he said he was super happy.  This is how he explained it - "I felt like God brought His hand down and gave me a heavenly high!"  He gives explanations like this all the time.  And he also told us that night that he felt like he had taken a Godly shower from the inside.  His baptism was Sunday and it was great.  There was an awesome spirit there.  If only you could have experienced a Samoan baptism... hopefully you will one day!  
Jose' baptism!  With Hma Zollinger, Hma Warner, Hma Moeller (who originally taught him before being transferred), and Hma Rudd
Second I wanted to tell you about the Lopez family.  They are amazing.  Seriously.  We went on exchanges this week and that is when we had their lesson.  It was probably one of the strongest times I have felt the spirit in a lesson.  There is more to this, but there were just some things going on with them before we had gotten there.  We talked about how the Gospel blesses families.  They both told stories about how they felt that God had blessed their lives.  There was a little contention between the husband and wife at the beginning, but as they talked and were able to feel the spirit, everything went away.  By the end, they both were crying as they were talking to us.  The father gave the prayer and I can't even tell you how sincere his prayer was.  He thanked God for his wife and everything that she does for him.  It was the sweetest thing.  I wish I could fully explain this in adequate words but it is hard.  It was one of the best moments I have had thus far.  They are so prepared for us and they are so open and willing to learn more.  
We had a really great lesson with Timoteo the other day too.  He was not progressing very well for a while and we hadn't seen him in about two weeks.  We recommitted him to a baptismal date and he responded completely different.  He is excited to learn and progress towards baptismal.  It was such a tender mercy to see him begin to grasp onto the things we teach him.  He said his second prayer with us and it was awesome!  
So many things happened this week that I feel bad because I literally cannot remember anything at the moment.  But hey, all you need to know is that I am doing well!  My companion's name is Sister Rudd and she is from Idaho.  We are pretty much the same person, which is good and bad, haha.  So I have been working a lot of having patience, not with her but with myself.  Ever since I have sincerely been working on this, things have been so much better.  Let's be real, patience is my worst attribute.  Our area is awesome and I love our wards!  Our members are so wonderful......  

The other day we didn't have a dinner appt and brought our dinner to eat at the church before a meeting.  Well, after this meeting a member had us go into the kitchen and said to us, "my daughter is on her mission right now and I don't ever want her to go without a dinner."  She'd had her son bring food from her house and fed us dinner.  It was one of the biggest tender mercies, from a small act of service.  I thought of you when she said that, because I know you feel the same way :)  Things are going well, and I really do feel your prayers!  Thank you for your support and love for me, momma.  I love you so so much!! xoxo
Hermana Michelle  

P.S.  The Samoan bishopric asked if we were being fed and we said, yes!  (trust me, most nights I have dinner every night and sometimes, two meals!) and the Bishop said, "Well, it doesn't look like it!"  Man, it looks like it alright.  Please don't mind that I have gained about 500 pounds
Hey Daddy!  How are you? Well you guessed correctly, we went to the temple today and it was seriously amazing.  The analogy is perfect to what I am doing right now.  This is so incredibly hard. Like hard beyond words.  But I am doing it, I don't know how, but I am haha. And every day I get a little bit better than I was the day before.  Nothing is easy here, but everything is worth it.  I know that I am doing what our Heavenly Father wants of me right now.  It has been shown over and over again. I hope that everything is going well at home, I think about you all the time!  Send me a letter if you get time :)  You are in my thoughts and prayers.  I love you dad xoxox
Michelle's zone at the Los Angeles Temple

Monday, June 3, 2013

First Week of new Change....

MOM!  Hi!
Well I am still alive if you were wondering, barely!  It is crazy out here, and I can't even begin to explain it to you.  So here I am in my first week of the transfer again.  But it is completely different.  Our district leader called last night and asked what some of my goals were for the week, and I told him that my goal was learning how to be a missionary!  My companion is a sweet, sweet girl.  We are learning how to work together and how to be better missionaries together, because, well, let's be real - neither one of us know what we are doing. I miss my other companions so, so much, but this is just part of a mission. I learned more than I thought I could from them and I am so grateful for that.  

So I will try and give you a little recap of this week.  So we had transfers on Wednesday.  We whitewashed this area, so I still don't know yet, where everything is.  On the way home back to our apartment we got lost ... twice.. on the CA Interstate 110.  And then we had an appointment in Watts (Oh yes, we are teaching someone in Watts... surprise!) and we called when we were close, and he cancelled on us.  We didn't have time to go back to the apartment and we didn't have miles either.  So we sat in the car and just cried for a while.  I haven't felt that overwhelmed in a long time!  So we'll say I was pretty happy when that night was over.  The next couple of days were literally were a blur, but they were good!  Since I have been on my mission I have been SO tired.  Like more than I ever have been in my whole entire life!  But I have had so much energy the last few days, it is amazing how that works, eh!  We have been able to visit a lot of people and get to know the area better.  My companion had her first day of Samoan Sacrament ... think of a full hour of Sacrament in a language you don't understand. I have gotten used to it, but it was hard for her!
We haven't had a ton of appointments this week, just trying to stop by and see people.  So the other day we went to see a less active family.  They are seriously so, so sweet and they are ready to go back to church.  But after we saw them we were walking out the door.  Their neighbors screen door was open, and so as we passed by, we said, 'hola'.  And then she looked at us like she wanted to keep talking.  So we just asked how they were and they opened their door and told us to come in.  They told us that everytime the three girls pass by their house, they always want them to come and talk to them.  Wait, what was that?!  Okay, this doesn't happen!  So we talked to them for a long time and they are super interested.  We have another appointment with them this week, but they were a huge tender mercy from our Heavenly Father.  It was amazing!

Jose is getting baptized next Sunday!!! WOOHOO!!  He is so cool, seriously so cool.  It is amazing seeing the change in him since the first time we saw him.  I wrote you a letter that had more stuff about it so I will try and send that today.

My Spanish is really, really improving because I actually have to talk now!  It is amazing to see what the Lord is helping me with.  Thank you for your prayers, and for all that you do for me.  Well my dear heart, next week will be even better I promise!  I am doing so well!  I am really starting to love this.  I have felt so blessed over the past few weeks with comfort and the sure knowledge of what I am doing is right, and it's what I should be doing.  I love seeing these lives that I get to be a part of, change.  This work is beautiful, and I get to be a part of it.  I am happy and doing well, and learning so very much out here!  I couldn't learn this anywhere else!  I am thankful for this beautiful Gospel and how much it blesses us.  I hope yours and everyone's week is great!  
I love you!! Xoxox  

Hello sweet dad!  This week was crazy!  I gave you an idea of it in mom's email.  I love that story that you shared!  I bet that little girl will always remember that moment.  There is a lot of pressure here, especially because this is my area.  I am learning my area more and more and have felt the blessings of the Lord in my life.  It is amazing when I am able to speak and fulfill my purpose.  I am doing really well, daddy!  I don't know what in the heck I am doing, haha, but I am learning how to do it and I know that the Lord is preparing me for something!  The Spanish is much, much better and it will get ever better with prayer and time.  And I'd say I'm pretty darn humble right now, because all I ever do is pray!  Things are going well and I know we will start seeing miracles.  I forgot to tell mom this story.  Our investigators, Norma and her husband Luis are so cool.  They really want to get baptized but Luis is still married to his past wife.  So he told us that he started the divorce papers so that he and Norma can get married and be baptized.  But he also told us that he wants to go to the temple with her!  Coolest things ever.  He hasn't had a job for months and he got one last week!  They have seen so many blessings in their life.  The work is hastening, that's for sure!  I hope your week is wonderful, I'm always praying for you!  I love you so much!!xoxox