Monday, March 24, 2014

All is well in Downey!

I am so excited to email you today. This week was soooooo good!  The week was seriously one of the best weeks on my mission, we saw soooo many miracles. I wish I could tell you all of the miracles but there are seriously too many. There were miracles coming out of the ying yang. I don't have a lot of time at this library and we have a bunch of stuff to do today, so this might be short.  But I just wanted to share some things that happened this week. First of all, I LOVE my companion, she is great!  We are super different but get along great. Her name is Sister Landon and she is from Washington state.  She has been helping me alot to become more familiar with things here.  I love, LOVE this area!  The members are great and they have been super helpful in the time that I have been here.  So all is well here, in Downey. Also, mom, I spoke in church yesterday about following the promptings of the Spirit -- you like to know things like that, so I thought I'd add it.  

What do we do as Sister Training Leaders, you ask? We train the Sisters, like ZL's.  We go on exchanges with them to help them in their areas, with their goals, teaching techniques, etc. We cover our entire zone, plus another set of sisters, so I think six or seven companionships.
Hermana Landon and Hermana Warner at the Los Angeles Visitor Center.  Michelle's new companion.
So a few quick stories.  Last week we were trying to contact a referral. We knocked a few times, but no one was home so we went down the stairs. But then my comp saw a car in the spot that he lived in and so she said that we should go knock again.  So we did and still no one answered. So we walked down the stairs and there was a man outside. We just said 'hi' to him and asked how he was. He looked at us and told us to come in his house. We were both super confused, but we followed him. His wife opened the door and told us to come in. So we sat down and started talking to her.  We asked what her beliefs were and she told us that she believed that right now we are just in an earthly state. We are here just so that we can learn and progress.  But eventually one day our spirits are going to go back with God.  We began talking to her about baptism and she said that she wanted to be baptized, she just felt like she needed to be prepared. At this point our mouths were dropped.  She accepted a baptismal date. It was one of the craziest experiences that I have had on my mission!  It was so cool to have been a part of that.  
Michelle and her old district, with Hermana Wright.

Another one is we were contacting another referral, that wasn't there.  We walked around for a minute. There was a man on his bike and so we stopped him and talked to him. He was quoting the Bible and was talking a lot.  In the end, he wasn't very interested. So we kept walking. There was an 18 year old boy on his scooter, so we stopped and talked to him (yes, it is really awkward stopping people on their bike/skateboard/scooter, but it's worth it). He told us that he had just gotten out of jail the day before. He wanted to change so badly. He wanted to be a better person.  He wanted to stop drinking and smoking. I was able to connect with his situation really well. I was able to tell him that there really was a way for him to get out of that. That Heavenly Father has a specific plan for us. My companion was able to do the same.

We had a lot of experiences like this, this whole week.  I am so grateful for the blessings that Heavenly Father provides us with when we are obedient to His commandments.  I know that he wants us to experience joy like this.  I have honestly never been this happy in my whole life.  I love what I am doing here.  Until next week!
I love you so, so much!   Hermana Michelle
They went on splits together!  Hermana Shepherd and Hermana Warner.  So fun!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sister Training Leader

21 March 2014
Dear Brother and Sister Warner,

Sister Michelle Lynn Warner has been called to be a Sister Training Leader in the California Los Angeles Mission.  This assignment has come to her because she has exhibited high qualities of leadership, demonstrated obedience, and gained the trust of all missionaries. 

As a Sister Training Leader, Sister Warner will work with between 5 to 8 companionships of Sister Missionaries and be responsible for their training and welfare. She will also be a member of the mission Leadership Council, which helps set and carry out the efforts of our mission.

Sister Weidman joins me in extending to you our sincere appreciation for your fine daughter.  We realize that your example, training, and love have contributed in large measure to Sister Warner’s success as a missionary.

Sincerely yours,

David N. Weidman, President
California Los Angeles Mission

Monday, March 17, 2014

Transfer to Downey!

Well my dear, I don't know what to write about first!  Sister Wright is staying and training in our area. I am leaving the area this transfer.  I will be a Sister Training Leader in Downey, where I started, but am in a different area from where I was!  Still Spanish, awesome area!  My new companion is Sister Landon.  
We had a few meetings and temple service this week, so we didn't get as much time in our area.  It would take too long to go into detail about this week, but it was seriously amazing.  This was one of the most spiritually and personally uplifting weeks of my mission.  I think sometimes people see missionaries as perfect (unless they're not so obedient, then you can tell off the bat by how they act), that because we are set apart we don't have as many struggles.  Well there are still lots of struggles in missionary work, kind of like normal life!  Even when times are good.  I had a lot of prayers answered this week .  Like a lot, it was amazing.  This week I learned about faith.  I think that sometimes we make faith way too complicated and confusing.  We try and figure out how to gain more faith, what it means, why it's there, etc.  Faith is so simple.  Faith is knowing that Christ really is the Son of God.  That is literally all it is.  Of course faith branches from there, if we know that He is the son of God, we know that through His Atonement, we can be healed, cleansed, and purified.  So I changed my prayers and tried to make them prayers of faith.  I am a perfectionist, and had felt a little down on myself this week.  I was praying for those feelings to leave.  As I was praying in the back of my mind, I was thinking, well they're still here, they're not leaving!  But I caught myself.  I realized that I really had no faith in my prayer!  I took a second to think, and remembered that Heavenly Father has the power to do anything, He could take away that feeling.  As I did that, those feelings were lifted off my shoulders.  Coolest thing ever!  My faith has increased so much this week.  I have had some experiences that have helped me grow tremendously.  I am so grateful for prayer.  Prayer helps us develop more faith.  I know that we receive answers.  If we are listening for the promptings of the Spirit, we will feel it.  No doubt!  It is an amazing tool we have.  Pay attention to your prayers this week.  Make sure you aren't praying just because you are supposed to.  Remember who you are talking to.  You are talking to the most loving being!
We had a training for Sisters this week, and it was awesome.  Sister Weidman shared a story that will stick so close in my heart.  She showed a picture of her granddaughter.  She explained how much light and love she had.  And also how much they have to correct her.  She makes mistakes, she forgets things, she doesn't listen sometimes; but they still love her.  With such a deep love.  She compared it to our relationship with our Father in Heaven.  We makes mistakes alllllllllllll the time.  Does that mean He doesn't love us anymore?  No, not even close!  We forget, we don't do everything right, and we fall a lot.  But He still loves us with a deep and everlasting love.  He loves every one of His children like that.  Remember that with family, friends, coworkers, and strangers - He loves them.  
I have grown a lot this week.  More than I will be able to explain.  I realized yesterday as I was reading through my journal from a year ago, my mission has changed me and matured me.  I don't know where I would be without it.  I love it here!!  I have so much joy.  I love you so much!  
Love, Hermana Michelle
P.S... Fernando quit his job because they wanted him to work on Sunday, and he doesn't have a job right now. But, he said that he knows that God will bless him.. he's amazing.  Please pray for him :)
Sister Wright and Sister Warner outside of the Los Angeles Temple, while doing temple service.

Daddy, I am so so happy that you liked my letter!  I could have gone on for ages about you, but I'm a missionary and never have time.  I hope you were able to see from that, that you really are such a huge example to me.  I talk about you all the time to my companions! This week we got to do temple service!!  So we got to go inside and clean the temple!  I had one of the most incredible experiences while we were in there.  We went in and sat in the Celestial room, I will have to tell you about it when I get home.  It is something really sacred that I will hold to my heart.  So, I am going back to where I started my mission, in Downey, but a different area.  I am going to be a Sister Training Leader which is like a zone leader for sisters.  Yeah, I am scared out of my mind, but I know without a doubt that the Lord will make up for my weaknesses.  I just hope I can be a good example to the other sisters.  This morning in my studies, I made some transfer goals about who I want to be this next transfer.  I have a goal for the rest of my mission to be diligent, so I have been studying about it a lot. I am excited to get to my new area and just work!

I didn't feel any earthquake today... they have little ones all the time, when did it hit?  I hope everything is well with you, keep going to the temple with mom!  I love you so much!

Love,  Michelle

Monday, March 10, 2014

Buenos dias!
Actually, it's not morning, and I have no idea what time it is there.  This week was super awesome.  We saw a lot of the Lord's hand in our work this week.  The last few weeks have been really hard --- in a working sense.  We have had a lot of rejection and it's been pretty hard.  Sometimes I don't want to contact someone because I'm a little tired of the 'no's', haha. BUT, we still contact them and life goes on.  Anyway, I thought I'd share a cool experience that happened this week.  We contacted a potential on Tuesday and she told us to come back on Thursday.  So we went back on Thursday and she was on her patio sweeping.  She asked how long we would be and we said, about 20-30 minutes.  She told us that she didn't have that much time, so I said "Okay, 5 minutes."  We go inside and we were just planning to share the Book of Mormon with her and then set up another appointment.  Well, while we were in there she opened up a ton!  She told us everything that had been going on, all of the trials that had happened, etc.  It was really neat because as we were listening, we were really able to see her needs and the things we could say and do to teach to those.  We told her about the Book of Mormon and she was super excited.  She accepted it and really said it made sense.  It was awesome.
        Another cool thing I thought of was a lesson we had this week with a less-active.  She used to be super active in the church -- RS president, temple worker, etc.  She is so, so sweet.  Some things had happened over the years and she fell away.  We had a lesson with her and she said that she has been seeing lately as we have passed by, that the church really isn't how she had been seeing it.  She has been praying and told us that she would come to church when she was ready.  Long story, we talked about a lot of things.  But in the end, she told us that she had been feeling more ready to go back to church.  It was a great lesson, but what we had felt was even greater.  We had so many promptings in that lesson with her.  We left a bit in shock at how clear the promptings had been.  We talked about things that were said in the lesson and why we felt they were inspired.  It was really an amazing experience.  
       This transfer is going by soooo fast!  I've never had a transfer like this.  It has been a huge blessing to feel the power of the Atonement to help me physically and spiritually through everything.  Our year mark was weird, but I am super grateful for the time I have left to give what I have.  I love being here and seeing all of the many miracles of the mission. So I forgot the camera cord today....I'm sorry! But I promise to take those pictures next week. I will do better!  I can't remember what else your email said....but, I love you! I know I'm forgetting something I needed to tell you, but I'll think about it.  I love you so much!  
Hermana Warner   

Monday, March 3, 2014


Buenos dias mi amor!
(L) Waving good-bye to her family at the MTC, and 
(R) one year later in the mission field
I have thought a lot about what I am going to write today.  I starting writing a list, but I am not sure if I am going to follow that today.  A missionary reminded me yesterday that today is our 6 month mark to the end [I'm due to come home 09/03], and we hit the one year on Thursday.  My mind has just been running in every direction about this.  I have had some times of worry.  I worry that what I could have given more in this last year, I worry that I didn't talk to everyone that I passed (because well... I didn't), worry I wasn't a perfect trainer and my companions will remember that!  But I have taken some time to just sit and really ponder about today.  I have made a few big goals that I hope to accomplish in these next six months.  One of those goals being to focus on today - focus on the day, the hour, the minute, and what I am doing in that second.  I read an amazing talk by President Monson that he gave a few years ago.  He says, "...there is no going back, but only forward.  Rather than dwelling on the past, we should make the most of today, of the here and now, doing all we can to provide pleasant memories for the future."  I had been praying about what goals to make and this was one of the biggest answers.  I have realized that I can't look back and think of what I could have improved on, or that I could have talked to more people.  I still have 6 wonderful months of my life to do this work.  I am going to take advantage of every day that I do have to be here.  It is still shaping me into the missionary that I so desire to be. 

I have also thought about what I have learned.  Oh boy!  Sister Wright and I were talking the other day about the things we did before the mission.  We talked a lot about the people we were.  I thought about who I was before my mission.  I was still a pretty cool person, jk, but my coolness has just shot through the roof.  Okay, humor is really hard over emails, ha ha!!  One of the biggest and most important things that my mission has taught me is to love the Gospel.  I love the Gospel so much.  There will not be a day that the Gospel is not in my future and present home.  I will know what to teach my children and how to strengthen my relationship with the most important people around me.  I love the scriptures.  The Book of Mormon has brought me the most peace.  I learned a lot about the Spirit last transfer.  It really spoke to me as I read the Book of Mormon, in my attempt to not feel so alone.  And I didn't, I always felt that companion of the Spirit as I read.  I love the basics of the Gospel that we have to use, to be able to strengthen our relationship with Heavenly Father.  Another big thing, is that I have learned how to love myself as a child of God.  As we truly and fully love ourselves and know that we are children of our Heavenly Father, we will be able to share that with others.  As missionaries we have to be able to love other people or they won't be able to feel it.  I have learned how to love others, and I'm still working on it :)  But as you all know, the thing that has touched my heart the most is the Atonement.  Whether it be for a mistake I have made or a day that I don't think I can finish, it is there.  That is where every second of comfort has come to me.  I know without a doubt that it is real.  It is there for us no matter what.  Jesus Christ suffered for us.  He knew what every single one of us would suffer here on the earth, and to Him, it was worth it.  I have felt loads taken off my shoulders because of Him.  I love what I do.  I never, in a million years thought I would be here on a mission!  I can't imagine myself anywhere else.  I don't want to be anywhere else.  I love the Gospel that Jesus Christ has taught us. 

Sorry this is super preachy, butttt that's my life!  We had a great week and things are going to be great this week as well!  I love you with all my heart!
The picture I sent was of another mini-missionary with us. She is from Hollywood and spent the weekend with us and wants to go on a mission.  Sweet story, and I wish I had time to share it, but must run!

I Love you, Michelle