Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Lord Calls Us In Our Weakness, But Then Qualifies Us For The Work‏

June 28th 2010

Ok, so I have some pretty big news to share with all of you! Last night we got transfer calls and the verdict was quite surprising to say the very least! For the last couple weeks Sis. Naylor and I have been talking quite a bit about all the possibilities that most likely would happen with transfers this next transfer. We came up with many different ideas, but none even came to close to what I am now being called to do! Here I was, slightly worried and curious as to who was going to be my 2nd trainer if Sis. Naylor was transfered (because remember missionaries are technically trained for 2 transfers) and I was playing all the different possibilies out in my mind. Of course, trusting in the Lord that whatever is supposed to happen will happen. One thing I do know is that President Palmer is inspired and he has a vision for the Spokane Mission. Not to mention that I am serving in the Wenatchee Valley, where two of the 70's came out about 2 months ago and told the new stake presidency that there is enough Spanish people in the valley to have 2 full wards...and our branch has maybe 40 active members. Last week, the Stake presidency told us they want to make the branch into a ward within the next year...meaning there needs to be about 300 active members (more or less). So we can see how the Lord has been preparing the way for His work to go forth in this beautiful Wenatchee Valley. SO what does this entail?? Ok....well, here's the verdict.....I am SWEEP TRAINING!! Which means....I am staying in Wenatchee but will be working in a more consetrated area - in the Mission Ridge ward. I will be working with both English and Spanish and will be training a new missionary! I will be meeting my new companion tmrw morning; she is a native speaker. So that is good in the sense that she can help me with the language. But, this is definitely not what I had in mind as to what was going to happen whatsoever. Oh and they call it sweep training because the elders who were serving in that area are now gone...which means my compainion and I are going to kinda have to start from scratch....working from the investigator pool that the elder's had previously and then doing alot of tracting! Which...I've only done a few times thus far on my mission because we haven't really needed to. Any of my current Spanish investigators that I have now that are in the boundaries, will remain ours. But, the rest go to the 2 sisters coming in to cover the other part of Wenatchee. (Sis. Tardiff who's been out over a year and Sis. Flowers who has been out a few transfers). This includes this family we've been teaching, that we just put on date for baptism a few days ago after only teaching them for a couple wks. So, to say the least....this is a very big change. A very big responsibility that has now been placed on my shoulders. But, I know I am not alone in this. I know that the Lord will help me every step along the way. I am deeply humbled by this opportunity to train and although I feel still a little bit out of my league....I know that it is what is supposed to happen.

After we got transfer calls, and the shock settled in a little, I felt this overwhelming feeling of love and peace in my heart. Although it is an intimidating task that lies ahead for me....I know that this is what the Lord has been preparing me for and what he will continue to prepare me for throughout the next 6 weeks. As Joseph Smith said, "The Lord calls us in our weakness, but then He quealifies us for the work." I know this to be true and I have faith that it will work out and that I will be able to do this. My faith has definitely grown since coming on my mission, and I know that if I continue to be faithful, nothing wavering....the Lord will be able to perform this miracle within me and to continue to pour out His blessing upon the Wenatchee Valley as far as missionary work goes.

Ok...well now that your shock has hopefully set in....the verdict for Sis. Naylor is she is going to be sweep training in Moses Lake-South. They are opening up the area for the first time to Sisters...so she has a pretty big responsibility ahead of her as well. But she is an amazing trainer, an amazing companion, and an amazing friend. We are sad to part ways, but excited for what blessings that lie in store. We have witnessed many miracles together. We have developed a friendship and bond that I believe will last forever, no matter how short our time together was. She is amazing!

Well since that is the biggest news, and that is all my mind can really focus on right now; I guess I'll give you a little more insight as to how all this is going to work. They are sweeping pretty much the entire valley, not one companionship is staying the same except for the zone leaders. Today, Sis. Naylor has been packing all her stuff (she has alot too since she's been living here for the past 7 1/2 months). We have a lot of things we need to do today and alot of people to see and say goodbye too (Sis. Naylor does). Then tomorrow we will be waking up around 4 and leaving around 5 to head to Spokane, which is 3 hours away. From there we will have a training meeting with President, and then meet our new "greenies" or "trainees" and then come on back home. Where I live now, with the Curry's, is now out of my area....so the Stake President will be finding us a new member home to live in. So, my address is subject to change in the near future. But for those who have sent mail to my current address or do this week, I will still be able to get it since I can just drop by the Curry's home at any time. But, as soon as I get my new address I will let you know. If ever in doubt you can send letters and packages to the mission home. Address: 820 S. Pines Rd Ste 101, Spokane Valley, WA 99206.

This is going to definitely be a very interesting week. But I am very very excited!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Testimony is the Best Thing I Have to Offer

June 21st 2010

Well it is now officially the last week of my first transfer! Can you believe how fast the time is flying by? Well, at least for me...it feels like it is zooming by. I mean 15 months still seems a little far away, but I am enjoying every minute that I have here. I am learning so much, every single day. My testimony has grown in leaps and bounds and I can feel the change that is taking place in me. It is a good change though, and I know I will not be the same person I was before I left. Being on my mission has put a lot of things into perspective for me; into an eternal perspective. It is quite the transformation that has to take place in order to be an effective missionary and to allow the Lord to mold me into WHO He needs me to be.I guess this is the quest of a lifetime, though really. We are so blessed to have the gospel. We are so blessed to have our testimonies. And we are so blessed to have one another, to support each other through the hard times and lift one another up when we're down on our knees.

My testimony is truly the only thing I could ever leave with you that matters. The Plan of Salvation that Heavenly Father has set out for us, is the ONLY thing that matters. When we look past the troubles and cares that mortality brings, we begin to see the big picture. We all came here to earth for a reason. To learn and to grow, to gain experience that we otherwise would not have been able to had we not had the opportunity to come down here and gain a body. We prepared ourselves spiritually to come down here and before we came we were forordained to our families and to our unique missions. I know this to be true and I am so passionate about my firm belief in this. THis life is but a small moment; and we have to do all that we can TODAY to show who's side we're on and who we will follow. The war between good and evil is actively going today; the world it seems is in an ever incresasingly downward spiral, but we have reason to rejoice and have hope for a better world when we understand WHO we are as children of our Heavenly Father, and our purpose here as part of God's Royal Army to fight against evil and build up the kingdom of God, for when our Savior comes again! And He will come again! I can testify to you that I know that to be true with ever fiber of my being. Every one will know Him, and will have to stand face to face with the Savior when that day comes. He will have so much love for us; that although we aren't perfect, His grace and mercy will lift us and lighten our burdens. After we have done all that we can do, and relied on HIs Atonement every single day that we had while here in this earthly existence, I know that we can return to live in HIs presence and in the presence of our God, with our FAMILIES, for eternity. This is it guys! There is no more profound or beautiful message than what the gospel of Jesus Christ brings. I feel so blessed to be apart of this work and to be able to witness the Atonement change people's lives.

Real conversion is a miracle, and conversion in itself is a lifelong pursuit. We are never fully converted because we need to always be learning, growing, changing, and progressing forward. We need to trust in the Lord with all our heart, and trust that He will lead and guide our paths so that we may be in the right place at the right time! I know that He is aware of us and He understands us. He and our Heavenly Father want to help us along the straight and narrow path so that we may partake of the tree of life and have a fullness of Joy in the Celestial Kingdom. They have given us the tools we need to stay on that path in these last days, even when times are hard. We have the scriptures, we have a living Prophet and Apostles who lead and guide this church. We have Temples and all the many blessings that come from them as we actively look toward the templ and do all that we can to be worthy to go and then to go on a consistent basis. We have church, seminary, institue, family home evening, and so many other avenues. We have missionary work; both to be the partakers of and doers. We have prayer, which is such a blessing when we understand the true importance and meaning of prayer, as it describes in the bible dictionary. We have it all! And this is it! This is why we are here. This is why I am on my mission and this is why I love this work. I know that it is by my testimony that I will be able to do my part in helping push the Lord's work along and help build up the kingdom of God. I know I was foreordained to this calling! We have a purpose! We have so much to look forward to! I am rooting for each and every one of every single day and I know that there are loved ones beyond the veil who are doing the very same. Including our future posterity, for me and you sisters, and all others who read this and have yet to have their kids. Our children are counting on us, to do the very best we can today, to prepare ourselves to be the best parents and leaders that we can...so that we can bring God's royal army to the earth, some of His most valiant soldiers. I know these things to be true and I am so grateful for the sacred personal experience I have had to help me gain this conviction within my soul. This gospel is amazing!

Thank you to all those who have written me; I promise I am getting around to each of you to write ya'll back. Letters and packages are always greatly appreciated in the life of a missionary. I'm grateful for every single one! Thanks for all the prayers, love and support. Keep the faith!!Oh, and
remember WHO you are :)


June 14th 2010

Well it is the blessed time of preparation day yet again. Today has already been quite eventful in itself; this morning after cleaning and starting our laundry Sister Naylor and I decided to go on a bike ride along the Wenatchee river front. It was so beautiful and such a relaxing day. Two of the Elders in our district went with us. It was pretty fun and humorous trying to fit 4 bikes onto the back of our car on the bike rack. My bike is very similar to a beach cruiser structure, so it was difficult to put it on the rack. We did it though; and with our cute little car drove to the bike trail. Since we have a car in this area full time, we dont use our bikes too much. At least not for missionary work. As long as we stay within our miles, we're golden. I do love my bike though; it's pretty. So any chance we get to take out, we're going to :)

This last week was amazing! We had 2 baptisms and confirmations! Found a couple new investigators, did lots of service, had some amazing dinners, and even went hiking up Sadlerock before sunrise on Saturday morning! Of the latter, our lovely hike up Sadlerock...we went with the Wells family (Sister Wells is kind've like our Mom here, she had us over for dinner twice this week...and I'll be honest, I probably gained 5 pounds both times haha) Her food is amazing! She bakes lots of sweets and then sends us home with all of it; which is no bueno haha. Considering it isn't my intention to gain 80 pounds in my first transfer haha. So, we've been giving the goodies to the Curry's and the Elders. But, of course, I do keep some of the yummy cookies.

Anyway, so Saturday morning we woke up at 4:30 am and drove to the point of hiking up Saddlerock mountain. It took us about an hour to get to the top, and it was sooooo beautiful. Pictures wont even begin to accurately depict how beautiful it was, but I'll send some soon. Then of course, the highlights of the week would include our 2 baptisms. Jackie's baptism was on Thursday and the spirit was so strong throughout! Jackie has a tender spot in my heart, and since we knew she likes music, I decided to sing a musical number at her baptism (also at SIster Naylor's suggestion as well). I sang "I Stand All Amazed" and acappella none the less. She really enjoyed that and many of the people after the baptism came up to me afterwards and commented on how much stronger the spirit came into the room while I was singing. I'm no professional singer by any means, but I enjoyed it. I know that it is something I want to pursue when I get home, maybe take voice lessons or something. Music truly is a testimony of the soul. Andres' baptism went good as well. We had a great turnout from the branch; much more than we were expecting. And it was really cool to see all the support.

I do know without a doubt that everything happens for a reason. Although at times we may not fully understand the reason, I know that as we place our trust in Him He will direct our paths. If we trust Him; He will lead us to be in the right place at the right time. I know that is why I am here on my mission now. Never in my life have I felt so right about the timing of everything. As I've reflected back, I've really began to recognize the times the Lord's hand has been in my life. As I learned to heed to His will, He led me here. I know now, better than ever, that this is where I'm meant to be at this time. In the beautiful Wenatchee valley, with my companion Sister Naylor, and in the Spanish Branch.Although some days are hard; and some even harder than others, I am learning so much. I am growing in ways I'd never imagined. I can feel my Savior's love for me, even when I feel very inadequate. This is His work; and I know that as we are obedient and faithful, He will continue to mold me into an effective instument for this work. I hope I can do all that I can to always be intune with the spirit. I know that there are SPECIFIC people out there, who I am meant to bring the beautiful message of the gospel to, and who I am determined to find. I know this church is true with all my soul. I will stand firm in my conviction until the day I die; and even then, I will continue to stand firm in my testimony in the next life. I know that we all can return to live in the presence of God again someday. As each of us strive to be a little more obedient, a little more faithful, and a little better at doing the so called "little things" like going to church, reading the scriptures, and praying....we will have the tools necessary to gain eternal life and exaltation.I'm grateful for every single one of you. You bring me so much strength. I know that as each of you continue to set goals and aspire to reach your divine potential, the Lord will give you the strength and understanding to get through any adversity in this life. We can do it! We can make it! I believe in every one of you and pray for you daily. Look toward the temple and have the faith that everything will work out in the end! I love you.

Quote of the day: " Work without vision is dreary; Vision without work is dreamy; but when we strive to have both, we find our Destiny." -Thomas S. Monson

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


June 7th 2010

Howdy Hey Ya'll!

Yah, I know that isn't Spanish, but I decided to mix it up a bit lol. Can you believe I am now halfway through my first transfer in the mission field?! It's crazy; the days feel like weeks sometimes, but weeks feel like days. Time is really weird on the mission and from what Sister Naylor tells me, you never really adjust to that. It really only gets weirder. The mission life is definitely like nothing I have ever experienced before, in a good way of course. We basically have two types of days: prep day and every other day lol. I made mention to Hermana last night that I kind've miss Sunday's. You know, Sunday-the day of rest. Being able to come home after church and just "veg" as Mom would put it. But, even through the times when my comp and I are both extremely exhausted we seem to push through and we've had some amazing experiences because of it. It is hard work; but I love working hard. We only feel good when we're productive and doing all that we can to bring people unto Christ.

It is amazing to see out of all the people we talk to and teach, only a smaller number are ready to accept and embrace the gospel. As missionaries we are here to find the "elect", as the scriptures say, which means we do alot of finding and teaching until we find those who are ready. Good news is, this is the Lord's work and I know that as we trust in Him and allow Him to direct our paths, He will lead us to those who He has prepared. We have definitely seen that with our 2 investigators who are on date for baptism this week! Jackie's baptism is Thursday and we are so excited for that! She holds such a tender spot in my heart and last night we were talking and she was telling us how over the last 2 years she's met people who influenced her life and helped her to soften her heart. She knows that when she first met the missionaries, that it was in the right time for her. That was nearly 7 months ago. It was when Sister Naylor was in her first transfer with her trainer Sis. Wilson.

Missionaries have weird terms they call their trainers and what not (I'm still learning them and I really dont use them much lol) But since Sis Naylor is my trainer she is my "MOM" and then that would make Sis. Wilson my "Grandma" because she trained Sis. Naylor. Confusing much? Well, no worries...moving on lol.Let's see. Oh yah, then the other baptism we have is Andres who is set on date for Saturday. Jackie is English speaking, and Andres is Spanish. We are excited for them both! PLEASE keep them in your prayers throughout this week. I know that there can be divine strength that comes from missionaries' families who pray for their investigators. So please, remember them in your prayers. Thanks.

we had interviews with President a few days ago. They went well. President Palmer is an amazing guy; I can feel my Savior's love through him. In other news, there is a likely chance Hermana Naylor will be transferred after this transfer. Both of us have kinda had that feeling the last few days; and then some of the things made mention of by President in the interviews have led us both to believe that that may be the case. Of course, whatever happens will be what the Lord wants. There is no for sure guarantee, but that is kinda what President is thinking right now. Which means, I more than likely will still be here in Wenatchee (could be here for a big part of my mission) and I will be getting a new trainer for next transfer. Missionaries are trained for 2 transfers. So since the chances of that happening are greater to none, I am trying to learn all that I can from Hermana Naylor. To get more familiar with the area and to build stronger relationships with the people in the branch.

The hardest part is the language barrier. But I am trying to speak more and pray hard every day that the language will come. It has definitely improved, but I know I have a long ways to go. I am learning that it takes patience and faith. I can't expect to be fluent only after a couple weeks or even a couple months. But I do know that the gift of tongues is real, and it is the only reason I am able to learn Spanish at the rate I am learning it. It's amazing to be able to see the Lord's hand in every aspect of this work.

I know that life sometimes isn't easy; it hasn't always been for me. We all face trials and challenges, that although are hard during them, in the end we come out stronger and as better people. If we allow the Savior to mold us into the person He needs us to become; we will witness miracles. Not just miracles with our circumstances or in other people, but miracles in ourselves! The Atonement is real; and although we cannot fully comprehend it, every day I learn to rely more and more upon the merits of Him who is mighty to save. I've learned that through prayer; we can build a personal relationship with our loving Heavenly Father. Prayer is an amazing gift given to us. It is so personal and so profound. I have had many experiences while out here on my mission that have strengthened my testimony of the power of prayer. Times when I asked for something, and immediately it was given; other times when I had to wait for the answer, but eventually it came. This life is such a small moment family. SO often, we as mortals think that we're going to live "forever". In other words, too often we put off things until tomorrow...or until next week. Many times we put off the most important things too. But the thing is none of us have a guarantee for tomorrow. We only have TODAY. This minute, this hour. I am learning to live more fully in the present. One of my weaknesses in life has been always looking to the future, and missing out on today. SO many days have gone by wasted; or where I know I could have done better. But, because of the Atonement, we can change. We can focus are priorites on what matters most TODAY. Like telling those we care about that we love them. Asking for forgiveness when we've hurt someone by unkind words or deeds. Relied on the Atonement for the silly little things we did wrong in the day. Striving to better ourselves. Yearning to grow spiritually and individually. Loving and serving those around us. Standing as a testimony to all those we come into contact with and being an "example of the believers". In so many ways, we all could be better. THis life isnt about perfection though, it is about progression. It is about taking it one day at a time, and doing all that we can do to be better than we were the day before. THis life, this day, is the time for us to prepare for the eternities. What we do tomorrow, does not matter quite as much as what we do today. I know these things to be true. I testify that living the gospel and relying on our Savior is the ONLY way to eternal happiness and the only way to true happiness in our lives here on earth. I have 100% hope and faith in that; and I know that this church is true.With all that said, family remember that I love you. I pray for you and I believe in you. Keep the faith and keep strong. Always remember who you are.

Beware Of Wolves In Sheep's Clothing‏

June 1st 2010

Thank you for the birthday shout-outs, friends and family alike. They were greatly appreciated :)We have 2 people on date for baptism right now and we are so excited about them. Hermana Naylor and I are apart of the Spanish Branch, which consists of about 30 active members right now, so it's tiny. But there are lots of less actives who we are trying to get re-activated. One LA who's name is Petra came this last Sunday and her husband sat in on our lesson with her last week. He isn't a member so we got a new investigator. The Stake President said in a Priesthood meeting, which we got word of afterwards, that there are enough Spanish people in the East Wenatchee and Wenatchee area to have 2 Spanish speaking wards!! He can definitely see the vision, which means we have a lot of work ahead of us, but it is cool to think that we are at the beginning stages of bringing forth the gospel and pushing the work forward. The Lord has definitely blessed us with being able to find lots of new investigators, and we were able to put one of them on date just this last week. Jackie is her name. She is an amazing woman!

Because we are being blessed with so many referrals and finding people, we've only tracted twice since I've been here. Tracting is an interesting experience to say the least, but just yeaterday we found 2 new potentials with families, and also taught a mom and her son. It's awesome! I think one of my favorite most spiritual experiences I've had in a lesson since being here was last Monday evening when we taught the Mendez family. I fell inlove with that family right from the get-go. One of the daughters, Julissa looks just like Alex! Its a family of Mom and Dad and 3 daughters.

The spirit was in their home from the moment we walked into their home. There was a tangible difference that we could feel. And the spirit got even stronger throughout the entire lesson. At the end, we felt prompted for whoever was going to say the closing prayer to pray to know that that Book of Mormon was true. They then asked me to say the prayer (yes all in SPanish). SO we knelt down together and I went to offer the prayer. As I began to pray, the spirit prompted me to stay silent for a fem moments. I did, and tried to begin the prayer again, but couldnt find the words...Until finally they came. With every pause during the prayer, the spirit came into the room ten times stronger. I hardly can remember what I said in the prayer, even immediately afterwards, but Hermana Naylor said it was my best prayer in SPanish yet...so I know in that moment that the Lord was blessing me with the gift of tongues. We left that lesson just full of the Holy Ghost. We got into our car and we both were just like, "Oh my goodness was that powerful!" We were literally physically exhausted because of the intensity and energy by which the Spirit worked THROUGH us. It is difficult to explain how it felt exactly, but what I can testify of is that the Spirit is the real teacher and the true witness of truth. That is why it is so so important for us to have the Spirit with us when teaching. Having the spirit is the only reason why this work progresses forward like it does~!

And just with how amazing that lesson was, Sis Naylor and I also had an interesting experience yesterday that was the exact opposite! In other words, the spirit wasn't in our lesson....due to the fact of who we were teaching. Now, let me explain. You know the scripture in Matt 7 that says, "Beware of ravening wolves that hide in sheep's clothing" Well, the experience we had yesterday taught us exactly that. We found an "investigator" last week while tracting who wanted us to come back to teach him. SO yesterday we went to our scheduled appointment. He refused to pray w/ us in the beginning, and then started getting into all these biblical contradictions and random tangents and circles. 15 min into the lesson we knew we needed to go. We closed our scriptures, and voiced that we were going to go. But, low and behold we ended up talking for another hour after that! We both knew that we werent going to get anywhere with this guy and that it was impossible to teach him because the spirit wasnt there. We knew all we could was testify of the things we knew to be true. And we did exactly that! Finally, as we were getting ready to leave...he decided to reveal to us his true identity and said, "Well, before you go I think you should know a little more about me and my background. I'm, a Jehovah's witness." He revelaed it as if it was some big secret. He pretended to be an investigator and ended up being a JW. He had prepared all these anti-mormon things to discuss with us about...and a bunch of other weird ideas...to try and confuse us and shake our own testimonies. INterestingly enough, Hermana Naylor said, "Well nothing you say could shake my testimony of what I know to be true"..And we left. Really that is the watered down version of the experience. But it left us feeling empty and hollow. We had to say our own prayer when we got to our car to get the spirit back. But, fortunately when we did pray the Spirit came and comforted us.

I learned alot from this experience though. First, how to recognize a "wolf in sheep's clothing". SOmeone who isnt sincere in investigating the church and had alternative motives. And also, what it takes to be "steadfast and immovable" in my testimony. I know this church to be true. I will not be shaken nor broken down. I will stand firm in my convictions. I know who I am. I am a child of God. This is HIS church and I testify that I know that He lives. I know the Book of Mormon to be the word of God! That is why I am here on my mission. TO find those who the Lord has prepared, those who are ready to hear the beautiful message in which we have to share of the gospel. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ and I will continue to press forward and testify of him the rest of my life, no matter what challenges the advesary tries to put in my path. This is the Lord's work, and "by their fruits ye shall know them" it will continue to press on and spread to every nation, kindred, and tongue.Keep the faith!~Con Amor,Sister V