Monday, July 29, 2013


My dear mom,
Hermana Sorto and Hermana Warner
I loved your email! My week was good! I'm going to be real, I have no idea what happened to the time.  I bet if you went through all of my emails, they all say the same thing.... I have no idea what happened.  But I am pretty sure I was just emailing you yesterday! Somehow, the time goes by so fast! It is so crazy.  Here is a run down of our week ... we contacted a million formers.  And would you like to know the response of just about every door that we knocked? ..... no, sorry she's not here, or... no they moved, or one of them was "what do you want?!". Pretty much I figure that Heavenly Father is giving me this transfer to make me not so sensitive anymore.  And it is working!  Another thing that I thought about this week was when Heavenly Father decided to call me to this area, He thought, 'Wow this is going to be really hard, so I will give Michelle a good companion!' Every time a door gets shut we just laugh about it and keep going! I have been able to develop an attitude that I would have *never* had at home!  So, although we haven't had success, I have seen so much success in myself.  I am so blessed to be here and learn the things that I have learned. 

We have an investigator named Martha, but she can't get baptized because she is living with a man.  But she is the sweetest thing and she goes to church every week! She is so sweet and just wants to do what is right.  And that about wraps it up for our investigators, haha. We have a lot of potentials and I know that it is just going to get better!! We have found some really awesome less actives though. We had a lesson with a less active on Tuesday.  Little did we know that the Elders were on splits with the Elders Quorom to visit less actives.  So when we showed up, they were there.  It was such a powerful lesson that we had.  I haven't thought much about how important it is to use members with less actives.  The member was able to tell them how they were missed at church, and also how the church is always welcoming them again with open arms. That we love them so much.  The spirit was so strong and I truly saw a change in them throughout the lesson.  When we were leaving the Hermana asked us if we could come back on Friday!  It was so amazing! 

All in a day's work!
We also found this less active that is pretty much dad's twin.  I love him SO much. Seriously. His name is Luis and he is my best friend. He always jokes with me and is just a goof.  I tell him every time that I see him that I love being with him because he is like my dad. He is pretty inactive, but we both have a special connection with him, I know that with time he will be back. 

Sulma, Michelle's Ward Mission Leader. Love her!
I am fed every single day. And for some reason people think that we like to eat as much or more than the's way fun. My stomach is mad at me all the time.  So grateful, though.
We had interviews with the Mission President, President Weidman on Saturday and they were good!  His wife wants to do something for the Sisters in the mission, I don't know what.  Sister Weidman is the cutest thing in the world. I had Pres. Weidman give me a blessing.  It was sweet and simple.  But he said one thing that I have been thinking of a lot. During, he told me that he felt impressed to tell me that angels are preparing these souls that I am going to find.  And that it doesn't matter if someone doesn't accept it right now, but with a simple hello or a smile I can make that difference.  Right now I am planting seeds.  And as hard as that is, it is amazing.  I am doing what I can to build up this beautiful gospel and give others this happiness that I feel.  Also it made me realize that Michael isn't only watching over me.  I have never thought about that this way, but I just know that Michael is with these sweet people that I am going to find.  And I know I will find them.  But right now, he is helping them and planting that seed so eventually I can see it grow.  This work is amazing Mom. I am learning so much.  And I am so happy!  I know, I know that I am supposed to be here!  I have seen so many blessings in my life. And I hope you can feel them as well. Mom you are the best ever! I hope your week is as amazing as you are :)
I love you so much! xoxoxo

Daddy, thank you so much for your sweet simple email.  This simple scriputre is what I needed to hear.  

And if it so be that you should labor all your days in cryiing 
repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, 
how great shall be your joy with him in the 
kingdom of my Father!   D&C 18:15

The work is so slow, but it is so amazing.  And if there is just one person that I bring unto our sweet Heavenly Father, how amazing is that.  I am learning so much!  I am doing really well. And I truly feel your prayers. I feel them especially during the hard times. I don't have much to update for the week and my eyes are falling out, I am so tired.  I am tired, but that is good right?  You are always always in my prayers :)  I love you more than you know! xoxo

Hermana Michelle

Monday, July 22, 2013

Tender Mercies....

Hello mom and dad!
I loved your email!  I only have a few emails today so I had time to read all the way through it.   This week was way better.   I have had a lot of tender mercies this last week.  That is one thing that I am really good at on my mission - to remember my blessings, tender mercies.  I cannot even explain how discouraging it can be when you knock on so many doors and all of them say no!  But at the end of the day before we say our prayers, we say our tender mercies.  Some days are harder than others to remember, but they are always there!  I remember something someone said to me a few weeks ago in Cudahy.  They said Heavenly Father wants you to serve a mission and to put everything you have into it, but he doesn't want it to be beyond your capability.  I have remembered that in the hard times, He wants us to enjoy this journey!   I don't hide my feelings too well.  I want to be real in my emails, too.  I want people to know that just because you are a missionary, it doesn't mean you are someone completely different.  I am still Michelle!  But I am a better Michelle.  I am a happier me.  I know that I am truly reaching my potential.  I am beginning to see the potential that my Heavenly Father has in store for me.
So for this week, it was pretty good.   We contacted alot of formers and less-actives.  So we knocked on door after door trying to find these people.  Some of them had moved and some of them just really didn't want to hear us :)  But then we had those few that DID want to hear us.  That did allow us to come back.  And that is what makes it worth it.
I had an amazing experience this week.  It was Tuesday morning and I was still thinking about everything from my difficult Monday last week.  We have our studies every morning and so I was praying before my personal study.  I have never prayed as hard as I did that morning.  I poured out every feeling that I had and all of my worries.  After, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.  I knew that I didn't have to be perfect to be here.  That if we didn't have a lot of investigators it was going to be okay.  And I felt the love of Heavenly Father so strong in that moment.  I didn't feel alone.  And ever since then, I have felt peace.  I have seen the blessings overcome the hard times.  And it hasn't been hard.  I have enjoyed the moments throughout the days, and I have been able to not be discouraged in times where I would have been. 
All in all, that I want to get accross in this email, is that I am happy.  I know without a doubt that this is where I am supposed to be.  I have grown and learned so much through the things that I am doing and I am so grateful for that.
Whitewashing is hard, but whitewashing an area that has nothing is very hard!  But we are learning!  I have learned soo much and I am grateful for these opportunities that we have to learn and grow in this work.  I got your letter, dad, thank you SO much.  Thank you for the picture of the sunflower outside my bedroom window.  Sweet little reminders... I am doing well and am happy:) I love you both so much....
Hermana Warner
P.S. I have a lot of pictures, but I forgot my cord... sorry ;)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Faith and Patience!

Hello my sweet family,
Michelle and last companion, Hermana Rudd,
at a July 4th celebration!
It sounds like everything is going well this week!  I'll be honest, I'm a bit emotional right now!  I am overwhelmed beyond capacitation.  So here we are, whitewashing in South Gate!  I don't know if I have ever done anything this hard before.  We came into the area with one investigator that cannot get baptized because she is living with a man and can't get married.  And that is literally all we have.  We were left with nothing in the area so pretty much we are starting from bottom ground.  The last few days we have tried and tried contacting potentials, formers, less actives, and members.  No one would talk to us, we got some really nasty comments, and we haven't gotten in a member's home yet.  I don't think that I expected it to be this hard!  It is emotionally draining. BUT, I have a sweet, sweet companion.  She is from Honduras, but she lived in Georgia for two years before her mission.  She is a hard working and is trying her best to keep me sane!  I have learned a lot from her already.  She is teaching me so much Spanish as well!  Seriously my Spanish has gotten so much better just in the last few days.  We speak Spanish throughout the day, I am SO grateful for her.

Michelle's new district!  Lynwood Southgate First Branch.
Her new companion is Hermana Sorta from Honduras!
The Elder standing next to her is Elder Taylor Chriss,
a friend from Olympus High school.  He is serving in LA,
waiting for his visa.
We had to spend a large amount of time cleaning our apartment.  And then we spent alot of time updating the area book, to begin with. This is something really difficult for me, but I want to share what someone told me the other day.  I was talking to an Elder about how I felt discouraged and saw nothing from our work. He told me, 'you have to look for that specific reason of why you are in that area. Heavenly Father has sent you there and it is your responsibility to figure out why.'  It really hit me!!  I am in this area for a reason, and I will figure that out soon enough.  I know that there is a reason that I am doing something beyond what I feel capable of.  He is here every step of the way with me.
Hermana Zollinger and Hermana Warner - first companions! 
So I'll tell you a funny story from last night.  We went to go contact a less active (I am 98% sure we were on the border of Watts) and it was about 8:30.  We saw this woman at the bus stop with these really pretty roses, and so we went to go talk to her.  She told us that she had a friend that was LDS and that she went to church with her before and that she really liked it and said it was something beautiful.  She told us she wanted us to go to her house and talk to her more.  And right when she said that, the bus came and she was gone.  Pretty much I just stood there for about 5 minutes in shock.   We had to just laugh all night because I didn't know what else to do!  I figure that story was a good one to sum up my week.  Except for the fact that she was the only person that has listened to us so far, haha. Things are going to get better!!
"The Reyna family in my old area, 
aka my Mission family!  
I love them!"
We are in a branch, and they are amazing.  They had me talk for a few minutes on Sunday, I about died, but it was really good.  The members are awesome and they really are willing to help us.  They were my big tender mercy yesterday :)  I know that I am here for a purpose!!  This is SO hard!!  But it is so amazing.  It is difficult right not but I know that it is going to get better!  Heavenly Father is going to help us!  All I have right now is faith, and all I can do is act upon that faith. Please, please pray for me!  Things are going to get better!  Sorry this is all over the place, next week will be better.  I love you so, so much!  xoxoxox  Much love,  Michelle
P.S.  Mom, I hate to ask this, but could you send a little package to my companion?  You don't need to send me anything, but she would love something addressed to her and for her.  Her name is Hermana Sorto.  She is such a sweet, humble girl.  She comes from humble circumstances and I am so grateful to be working with her!  All is well, momma!  I am sorry for my crazy email.  I love you so much!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Transfer to South Gate!

Hello my dear family!
Thank you for your sweet email, it made my day.  It has been a crazy week!  Full of so many ups and downs. First, I will start off by what you have been waiting for all week... so I am leaving Cudahy!  I am transferring to a place called South Gate.  It is one zone over (you might not want to look it up, I'm pretty sure we cover Watts).  I am whitewashing the area, and I am finishing a sister's training!  So, all in all, my thoughts are just about everywhere right now!  We got the phone call last night.  My companion said that she had never seen my eyes so big as they were.  I feel overwhelmed beyond belief!  But the sister I will be with is one of the sweetest sisters in the world.  She was in my zone this transfer, so I got to know her a little.  She is from Honduras and has the biggest heart. I am so scared, I feel like I didn't even get trained myself!  But I also feel at peace.  I have learned so, so very much out here - that everything happens for a reason.  Everything.  And I have come to accept that as well.  I am learning.  That is what a mission is for.  I know without a doubt that I am going to grow more than I ever have this next transfer.  All I really can do is rely on the Lord because there is a reason that I am doing this.
This week was pretty similar to last week.  We don't have many investigators and it is hard!  We have spent a lot of time tracking and trying to visit potentials and haven't gotten a ton from it.  But I was able to see so many tender mercies this week.  I watched as I felt an extra push throughout the day when I felt done.  Particularly on Sunday.  We were going to go to a baptism with the Lopez family, but they forgot and couldn't go.  We called so many people to see if they could go, and everyone said no.  I was at my breaking point.  I couldn't take the disappointment anymore!  I just sat there and cried for a while.  I felt exhausted and wondered what I was doing so wrong.  But we had no other choice but to go back to work.  Nothing miraculous happened, but I felt my Heavenly Fathers love for me and my companion so strong.  I am not doing this alone and that is the most comforting part of this work. 
We had an amazing miracle happen with the Lopez family this week.  They keep saying that they need to know more before they get baptized.  We read Alma 32:21 about faith.  We were getting ready to go, and say the closing prayer when she told us she had something that she wanted to share with us.  She had read verse 16 of that chapter, it talks about humbling yourself and that you really don't have to know everything before you get baptized.  She sat there and cried as she told us that she had received her answer.  I was just in shock as I sat there.  It was one of the most amazing experiences that I think I will ever have on my mission!

I have learned more than I ever thought I could this transfer.  It has been hard beyond words, but it has been one of the most incredible experiences.  I am learning so much about the way that the Savior's Atonement can affect our lives.  His hand is guiding us in every step that we take.  I have learned how to love.  Being a missionary does not help you to love everyone, as much as I wish it did!  But I have learned how to look past things and see others as they can become.  I love my companion.  I have learned so, so much from her and it is amazing.  But one of the biggest things that I have learned this transfer, is that I am supposed to be here.  I know it.  I have felt it confirmed so much.  I know that things in my life before this led to me to this point.  I am so grateful for it.
We got your package and it was AMAZING!  Seriously!  We both appreciated it so much!  It really meant a lot to my companion.   You do so much for me mom!  I am sorry this is all over the place.  But everything is going well.  I hope things at home are moving along and everyone is happy :)  You are in all my prayers and I feel all of yours!  I love you more than anything in the world!  Xoxox
Hermana Michelle

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Welcome President Weidman to the Los Angeles Mission!

My dear family!
New Mission President David and Sister Weidman (L) and
outgoing president, President and Sister Baker (R)

I met my new mission president, President Weidman and his wife. I love them!  They are the cutest and his wife is darling.  My mission president is amazing. He and his wife are so sweet and they are going to be a huge part of seeing our mission change. Missionary work is hard now a days, I would agree.  Everyone has their opinion on the church, but all I can do is help make it good by loving the people that I talk to.  It is hard and also so rewarding.  I am learning more than ever lately!  How was your week?  It sounds like things are going well at home!  This week,  all in all, was  different.  Literally every single one of our appointments got cancelled, we didn't have women to go to lessons with us, all the potentials we tried contacting weren't there, tracting wasn't working, etc.  Pretty much everything that is hard - happened to us, haha.  Our numbers were really low, and not that numbers matter, but I just felt like it didn't show the effort and work we were putting into our days.  I came home every night exhausted and wondering how our numbers got to be so small!  But through all of these things that could and did go wrong, it was a really good week.  I didn't allow myself to be very discouraged about the things that were happening.  I grew so much this week!!  I still feel pretty lost much of the time and Spanish still gives me a headache, but I am better than I was yesterday.  I have learned how to pray.  You truly have no idea how much missionaries pray on their mission!  We pray every time we leave the appartment, get out of the car, before a lesson, etc.  Prayer is the biggest thing we do.  I believe it is why we have the spirit so strong with us because we pray.  And that is what gets me through the hard times.  As I knelt on my knees this morning I thought of how lucky I am to be here.  There was so much going on in my life before my mission, that there were times I was sure when I got here, that it wasn't where I was supposed to be.  But now as I sit here, I cannot imagine being anywhere else.  I am being so blessed and learning things that I couldn't learn anywhere else.  I know that I have a purpose here, whether it is to convert myself or to find those special people that I have been called to find, I have a purpose.
The Lopez family came to church yesterday!  Investigators don't always show up to church and so you can't always get your hopes up.  But we walked into church yesterday and saw Camilla and Jose and I just melted!  I couldn't stop smiling, I was so happy!  They are doing really well.  We talked to them about baptism and they said they really want to make sure that they know for themselves that it is true.  They are scared to change because they have been Catholic their whole lives.  But they have told us all the blessings they have seen while we have been with them and it is amazing.  We have an amazing family that is fellowshipping them.  You asked how we met them? We found them one day when we were trying to visit a less active family.  The mom was sitting in the doorway brushing her daughter's hair and we said hi as we walked by.  She sat there, kind of just waiting for us to talk to her, so of course we did!  They invited us in the first time and we talked to them about what we do as missionaries.  They said that they always saw us walking to the Serranos and wanted to talk to us, but didn't know how.  I truly know that Heavenly Father lead us to them in a moment that they needed us the most.  They have strengthened my testimony as I have seen them grow through the Book of Mormon and us visiting them.  I cannot tell you how much love I have for them!
We don't have a lot of investigators right now, but I know that they will come shortly.  I am not allowing myself to feel down about anything because I know everything that I am doing right now is my very best.  I love my companion!  She has taught me a lot and I am sure I have taught her patience.  Transfers are next week!  Which means we email Tuesday.  I don't know what will happen!  We could train, we could stay together, we have no idea.  I will be happy with whatever because I know that transfers really are inspired. 
You mentioned balmy weather here?!  I don't want to hear that you thought it has been in the 70's here, ha! it has been 100 degrees everyday and we have to walk in that!  I am constantly sweating!  It has been super humid too!  I'm gonna say that I have it worse than you ;)  All is well momma!  I truly am so happy.  This is the most amazing thing in the world!  It's hard stuff just like that Elder said, but what you learn from it, is what matters.  You are always in my heart and in my prayers!  I love you so much!  I am trying my best and that is what matters!  xoxox