Monday, February 24, 2014

20 meaningful conversations......

So I forgot to bring everything that I wrote down, so I am going to try really hard to remember!  We walked... a lot... and contacted a lot of drunk people that smelled really bad and they get really close to your face, .... it makes me really uncomfortable, but we laugh afterward.  We laughed a lot, and felt the Spirit so powerfully this week! So, it was a wonderful week!  I am so grateful that you got to speak in Sacrament meeting!  I just want to be able to explain to our ward and to those you spoke to, of how much my mission means to me, but I imagine you did a wonderful job at speaking for me.  I have been writing in my gratitude journal.  We say our tender mercies every night before we pray together, but writing it down has made me realize what a roller coaster a mission is!  Haha, there are ups and downs of everyday, but it is really cool to look for the joys that we can find throughout the harder days.  
So I had one of the most incredible experiences I have ever had on my mission.  I say things like that a lot, but I really mean this.  I have never felt the way I felt on Friday night.  We were having dinner with the S family (F. and his aunts).  They just received custody of their little 6 year old niece, after some hard circumstances with the mother. We began sharing our lesson at the end, but this little girl began speaking. We were going to teach about temples and family history. As we talked about the temple she looked at me and said, "The temple is where God walks, it is where He lives."  (she said, "Alli camina dios y arriba en el temple es donde dioscito vive, se que el esta Alli").  This pure little girl went on about how we must have faith because we are going to have hard times. She told us how much Heavenly Father loves us, how He wants us to be united as a family and to be happy. I wish there was more time and mere words to describe this experience. I have never in my mission had such an experience that powerful. The room was filled so full of the spirit, it was like feeling whole.  Allison knows Jesus Christ.  She doesn't just talk about Him, she knows Him.  One of the Sisters stopped and said that everything that Allison is sharing is what the Spirit is wanting to teach us. Sister Wright and I left after that lesson with a feeling of just knowing. I don't know how I would be able to doubt anything after that experience. I felt the love that my Heavenly Father had for me so strongly. I knew He was there and that He wanted me to feel that, on that specific night.  I was just full.  Any empty space that I had in my heart had been filled, it was amazing. 
Another tender mercy I had was yesterday.  [Our convert] F. had shared in Sunday School, that he was talking to one of his friends on the phone who lives in Virginia.  He shared his testimony of the Gospel and how it has blessed his life and made him happy.  He was wondering if he would be able to send missionaries to his friend, but wasn't sure if he could do it because he didn't live in LA.  What!?  He is amazing and truly an example to me of how we, as members should be.  I know that I was supposed to be here at this specific time. 
We found three new investigators in ONE day, it was sweet!  We had LAE [LA English] and gave a church tour afterwards.  There was such a sweet spirit as we sat in the chapel and explained to them the blessings of the Gospel, and the ways that we receive them.  Sister Wright and I teach really well together.  We have both really learned through experiences, how vital it is to rely on the Spirit at you teach.  We have been able to apply that as we've been here.  We went to Cafe Rio and we're going again today...  Haha.  I love it here!  I feel like I am getting back to myself again.  I feel the spirit all the time, and it fills me with things that I have been missing.  I can't imagine myself being anywhere else.  I am stressing out alot that I am coming up on my year mark.  I feel like I still have soooo much to do, but I don't have enough time.  Hopefully I get my thoughts together throughout this week.  I am doing great!  I love you so much!
Your favorite child - Hna Michelle
Michelle's Zone - North Torrence Zone
Daddy!  How was your week?  Did you get a bike ride?  We walked sooooo much this week.  I have gotten really good at contacting everyone I see.  I used to get scared or feel like the situation is awkward, but we received an invitation from Elder Ballard to have 20 meaningful conversations every day and so we have been really good at it.  We don't have a ton of investigators right now.  This area is super hard.  But I have been studying a lot about faith and how my faith will help us in our finding efforts.  Faith really is the base of everything we do in life, and in missionary work.  I love it. We have a car but sometimes I wish it was a biking area, our area is HUGE and there are a bunch of hills.  I need work out tips, por favor!  LOVE YOU....

Monday, February 17, 2014

Hello, my family!
Okay, so I am going to try my hardest to give you details this week. I figure I have this perfect memory and will just remember the little things forever... false, I have memory loss problems.  So, F.!  He shared with us an experience this week where he felt like the Lord had blessed him. He applied for a job and the same day they called him to go in and have an interview. He was so excited and he explained to us that he knew it was because of the decisions he was making.  We taught about the Holy Ghost this week and explained it in more depth. Something that really amazed me, is that as we spoke to Fernando about the Holy Ghost he said how not only was he excited to receive it, but to receive the Priesthood and go to the temple in a year.  He really understands that the gospel is a life long commitment.  He receive the Holy Ghost yesterday!  It was such a neat experience for me to be able to watch.  Last night we had to stop by his apartment to get his signature for a paper we have to send into the church, and he gave us some pan dulce (sweet bread) and it was soooo good!  He is seriously so sweet.
M. has been falling off a little bit.  We haven't been able to meet with him much due to his work schedule, but we stopped by for a second and caught him last night.  We have an apt for tonight so hopefully all goes well.  We are focusing really hard on teaching with the spirit.  Sometimes, as missionaries we just teach the lessons and assume that they get it and that they're feeling the spirit.  Well.. sometimes that isn't true.  We have to teach to people's needs and understand what it is that Heavenly Father wants them to have.  He has some great potential.  We really don't have many investigators in this area.  We are kind of starting from scratch, I feel like I have felt when I've whitewashed an area.  We spent most of our days walking and advertising LA English, which was good!  
I may or may not have woken up with sore thighs one day this week, because of all of our walking!  Speaking of soreness, here is another fun story.  We went on exchanges this week.  We had gone running in the morning and from the inside our door was unlocked.  Well, the outside was a different story.  Long story short - we locked ourselves out of our apartment.  We had to run about 20 blocks to the sisters apartment to get the spare key from Sister Wright.  I am pretty out of shape lately (I blame the rice and tortillas... or Cafe Rio) so I was a bit sore the next day.  It made for a good story though.  You asked about LA English here.  It is way, way slower than it was in Hollywood. Granted, there aren't 32,483,759,235,834 people here.  But we did get new students in our area!  Score!  I used to teach a class... but I'm way better at greeting people at the door.  Latinos are literally my best friends!  I could talk to a Latino on the street wayyyyy easier than anyone else.  Anyway, all in all life keeps going!  Things are good, hopefully the area starts picking up soon.  Actually, I know it will.  I love it here!  I can't believe time is going by sooooo fast, it needs to slow down a little bit.  I've had to start thinking a little bit about school.  But usually it just goes over my head when someone asks me about it.  The church is true!  I love you sooo much!!
Hermana Michelle

Monday, February 10, 2014

Companions again and a Baptism!!

It was a great week.  I don't have a ton of time to email - I am sorry!  I used all my time reading your email, and I am so glad I did!  It brought me a lot of joy to read it.  I absolutely love that quote by Elder Holland - please send it to me!!  Hermana Wright and I are companions again!! We are staying in Torrence.  I'll just say that I LOVE Sister Wright so much! I will MISS Hermana Shepherd, I LOVE her....
Reunited again with Sister Wright and a sweet sister from the ward, doing a mini-mission with them!

We had a BAPTISM yesterday of F. and it was so amazing!  It was an awesome experience for me to see how Heavenly Father prepares His children.  It was also a reminder that I have so many sweet angels around me preparing the people I teach.  When he got down into the water he had the biggest smile on his face! 
Baptism of F., Hermana Shepherd and myself
He was so happy.  I asked him afterward, how he felt and he said he felt light, like something had been lifted off of him.  Baptisms bring such a rewarding feeling - to know that a soul has entered into this path of joy and happiness with our Heavenly Father.  He is excited for the temple and for the things that come.  I will write more in a letter to you!  But it was a very special experience for me.  I felt the spirit so very strong as I sat there.

I don't have much to update you on except, I truly do feel healing in my heart and in my body.  The Atonement is so real and I am so grateful that I get to use it.  It brings us closer to our Savior and to our Heavenly Father.  I love the blessings of the Gospel that we have so graciously been given.  I love the blessings of my mission.  I feel how much my Heavenly Father loves me and each of His children.  I love you so much my dear, and am so proud of who you are! 
Love, Hermana Michelle
Love these sisters!
Meeting up again with my sweet Samoan sisters!
We had an activity in the Samoan ward yesterday in the area where I first served when I arrived in the mission field!  From left, Paul, Hermana Zollinger (my first companion), myself and J. -- my first convert in Cudahy!  I loved seeing these people again!

Monday, February 3, 2014


Buenas tardes mi amor!
Well you're in for quite a treat with this email.  I'll start off with I made it through the week!  And what a week it was.  I will give you a little update about our area.  So I told you about a man that called us last week, telling us he wanted to get baptized.  So, his name is F.  He called asking for the lessons so he could get baptized.  He had talked to his dad on the phone (who lives in El Salvador), whom he hasn't spoken to in quite a few years.  He said that there was something different about his dad as he talked to him.  He could feel that he had changed.  Well, his dad is a member of the church, still pretty recently, too.  His aunts, who are in our area and are recent converts, had talked to him about the church and he had gone to church a few times with them.  He saw that his aunts had changed and it must be something pretty "special".  Teaching him has been one of the most incredible experiences for me.  It has strengthened me so much in knowing that our Father in Heaven is preparing people.  I have never met someone as prepared as F.  We taught the Word of Wisdom and he said he would give up coffee without asking any questions.  It has been one of the most spiritual experiences on my mission teaching him.  He is so accepting of the Gospel.  He is getting baptized next Sunday, which is also his birthday :)

So it's the end of the transfer.. I usually do a run down.  Bryan told me something interesting today in his email.  He said that as he has been reading his mission journal every night, he has realized that he wrote more about his personal progress than anything else.  It made me realize that my journal is the same.  Granted, I write about super awesome lessons and really awkward experiences.  It's been amazing to go back and see the changes.  Saying these last three transfers have been hard, is an understatement.  This has been a hard area. I have never felt emotional and physical pains the way I have!  I've never slept as poorly in my whole life.  Never had so many headaches.  Never felt so much stress.  I've felt alone at times, and like I couldn't go on.  All in all, I have felt exhausted beyond belief.  So the point of all this, is to try to express to you who I have become.  I have changed immensly.  I have never felt the comfort of my Heavenly Father so strongly.  I have never felt the power of the Atonement more fully.  I have never prayed with so much of my heart.  I have never read the scriptures as deeply as I do now.  I just feel like I get it all.  I get my purpose and I get my mission.  I understand why it's been so hard, and that is because as children of our Heavenly Father, He so deeply desires that we become as He is.  He has sent us to this imperfect and hard world to become perfect like Him.  To pass through the hard days in order to be happier.  Really, I just get it!  I feel so much purpose here on this earth as I have the opportunity to help His children come closer to Him.  I know that He is there, I have absolutely no doubt about it.  I know that He is incredibly aware of each one of His children.  His plan is beautiful.  This is what these transfers over the past five months have taught me - we pass through trials to see the good and joy of His Gospel.  
The past five months has completely changed my nature and me.  I am a very different person than I was five months ago.  I love others and myself deeper. I understand what role the Gospel plays and will play in my life.  I understand the Atonement because I have had to use it for strength and to make up for my weaknesses. I know my Heavenly Father.  I know when I pray, I am literally speaking with Him.  I feel what the Gospel gives us.  It blesses us individually and within our families.  I am learning to be understanding.  These times have made me feel the true and pure joy of this perfect Gospel. It has converted me.  I could never deny it, because of the divine blessings I have participated in.  You've showed me by example, growing up.  Thank you for loving the temple, and the Book of Mormon.  I am so happy here, thank you for making it possible for me.  I wouldn't trade these five months for anything.
We all have a purpose to grow and progress.  Anyway, I'm getting preachy here.  Bottom line - I love my mission!! It is a huge definer of who I am.  I love you so very much and appreciate the endless support I receive from you and those at home, I truly do feel it.  Love you :)  Hermana Michelle
P.S. No pictures this week, I forgot my cord!