Monday, February 24, 2014

Bye Burbank!

okay the deal is, saddest days of my life I am getting transferred! My little baby Is staying here and I am going to a new place! I am a little sad because we are just starting to see the fruits from all of our labors. Jose Pena is going to be baptized on sunday, and we have another baptism in March. We are finding awesome people to teach, and we are really on track to baptize monthly. We have worked so hard in this area, and it is amazing to now be able to see it growing and blossoming.
The news of the week is.... we did it! We talked to our 250 people. It's the most people we have EVER talked to, and it was super hard. But we did it! Okay so here was the promise of Elder Ballard: "You full time missionaries, if you want to teach more, you must talk to more people everyday." Oh man we are talking to more people everyday. And I tell you what, we are teaching like crazy! We are able to find more interested people, and our investigators are actually progressing!
 Now I will just share a few miracles with you:
Martin, the man we taught last week in Carl's Junior remember him? Well he is going to be baptized on March 23rd. He came to church on Sunday, and he loved it. He soaks up everything we teach him like a sponge! he is so amazing! He is the only one in his family that is interested, he has six kids and his wife that want nothing to do with it, but he says no I have found what I have been looking for, so I am going to be baptized! HE IS AMAZING!
Another amazing tender mercy of the week we went by to visit this guy we met on the street, but it turns out he gave us a junk address. Dangit. so as we were leaving the apartment complex a white guy came in. We asked him if anyone around there spoke Spanish, and he referred us to one door. So we knocked the door, and a woman answered. At first she said oh Mormons I am not interested I met with Mormons before. Well, we testified to her, gave her a card, and then told her that we were actually neighbors and if she needed anything to just call us. After we told her that her whole countenance changed. She invited us in, told us she was really lonely and had just moved from new York and didn't know a lot of people. We were able to teach her and now she is our new investigator! It was just a sweet tender mercy to see someones countenance change as they realized we really truly did care about them.
Oh here is a funny story. There is this Hermana in our ward who is a hoot. Like she is crazy. Well on Wednesday night she called us, and said Hermanas! I don't have to work tomorrow I will come to visits with you! and we said eh okay! but we don't have any visits... she said no that's okay, we can knock doors, or talk to people in the street!! What the?! no members want to do that! there are missionaries who don't even want to do that! So we were like heck yeah this woman is awesome! well we took her out on Thursday, like all day. and then we ended up taking her out on Friday as well. She is kind of crazy let me tell you! On the street she grabbed a woman by the hand, and said we are hear to tell you about the church of Jesus Christ and baptize you just like Christ! You HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT THIS! the woman got this look of terror in her eyes so we had to do some damage control. Oh my sweet Hermana Angelica. She has great heart... we will just need to train her a little bit. She is fun though.
Well the last little bit of news is that on Saturday night we got a call from President Hall, and he called me to be a sister training leader. So now I get to go help all the other Hermanas be the best missionaries they can be! I am not exactly sure how I am going to do that, but I know the Lord is on my side, and he will help me lots. I am going to miss this ward a ton, and this area. This area is doing amazing right now. We are on track to baptize monthly! We have worked so hard. I am so grateful for the chance I got to train Hermana Blacker, and help her become the wonderful missionary she is now. She is going to do amazing things!
Well that email was super long! But I just want yall to know I love you lots! I will have lots of awesome news for you next week about new areas and companions! and hopefully pictures of Jose Penas baptism! But Just know that I love you lots! and Weekly challenge:
Whatever challenge the Lord gives you, give it all your heart!
Fam. Pena
noches de hogar with my favorite family fam Ramirez!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Jan. 13, 2014

  pics: flour fight
cute little lilian :(

Hey there cute family! how are you doin?? Everything is pretty good here in Burbank. Sorry this letter might be kind of lame and a little bit short, but we didn't have a super eventful week.
To sum it up, I will call it a week of heartbreak. okay no not really just a few heartbreaks. One of them was that Lilian, one of our investigators, is moving in with her son. And her son won't allow her to meet with missionaries. She is super sad about it, because she loved learning, and she was so excited to come to church, in the closing prayer before we left her home she said, dear lord, I really wanted to be baptized this year. Please help me fulfill my goal somehow. Oh my goodness break my heart EVERYDAY! I was the saddest ever to leave her :( But maybe one day.
Another saddest heartbreak, one of our menos activos, Hermana torres, her husband died of cancer on Friday. That was a really hard thing. We might have to sing at his funeral..
Hermana Pilad from the Dominican republic left. :( :( :( super sad about that. Now I am never going to be in a movie with her famous son Valentino! Danit!
lots of the super cool investigators we found last week became uncool, and started avoiding us. Well boo they are the worst. but it's fine. Because We have awesome investigators who are awesome. Jose Pena had an awesome lesson this week. He for sure is going to be baptized. He says it will probably be really soon. Alex, this investigator we picked up last week came to church!!! he liked it a lot, and then invited us to lunch after (but we didn't go... also, I hope he is not in love with us. He is like 24 so gotta be careful on this one..) anyways, some other small little miracles:
The familia Grande they gave us nail polish! haha they know we are high maintenance missionaries:)
One of our menos active familias came to church!! yay!
I caught a lizard and named him kurby.
Hna blacker makes me laugh all the days, and she peed her pants twice in one day!
OH! I almost forgot about this one! We met these way awesome white people, who let us in and we talked for an hour. They were super old, but the man Howard does a radio show. He said Hey I wanna put these nice girls on the radio! Look out California I'm coming to the radio!! haha
We had a Flour fight with the zone, and that was super fun.
I went to the ER this morning, and found out I DONT have appendicitis! So that's nice!
And last, My cute family sent me a letter. That's always a highlight to my week.
Well, now that I read this email I realize it is not very awesome at all! okay I will share my last and happiest spiritual experience to make this letter better. We stopped by a less actives house the other night, and it was a miracle she was home. We got to know her and talked to her for a bit, and found out why she doesn't come to church. She had a lot of doubts and started to bash on the church and how everyone in it is so judgmental, and she went on and on for about an hour. One thing that I really loved though, was to realize how much being a missionary has changed me. It is so hard to get investigators to actually come to church, I don't care what they show up in, as long as they come. It doesn't matter to me if there are only 50 active members in our ward, or if the ward pianist can't play the piano very well, or if the teacher didn't prepare her lesson very well. I go to church to renew my covenants I made with god, and I go for me. And even though its heartbreakingly true that there is tons of judgment that goes on in the church, the one thing I do know is that no matter how imperfect the people may be, the doctrine of the church is true. This is the church of Jesus Christ. And That is something I know to be true.
Well family, I hope you have an excellent week. Mom and dad have the funnest time in the Virgin Islands. Luckiest! I Love you all and miss you tons! besito!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

9 months? no...

Hey Honey Lovers! Okay. get ready for the coolest email ever! This week was super awesome!!! Kind of like a roller coaster! (speaking of those I think the analogy of a roller coaster is terribly flawed, because roller coasters are fun all the time, so therefore, life should be super fun all the time no?) Anyways, this week was awesome. Let me tell you about a couple things that happened!
Remember Jose Pena? of course. He is just our shining star. Well last week we invited him to reset his date for a closer date. I don't know why but we just keep feeling like he is going to be baptized in February. Well in our cita this week we asked him if he has been thinking more about it. He said Hermanas, I am ready to be baptized. I want to be baptized as soon as I can. I am going to be baptized February 28th!!! he is getting baptized this month!! What! I am so excited for him. He is doing so great. Reading the book of Mormon everyday with his wife, and he loves church and all the classes. Last week he even paid his tithing!! How awesome is he! just a little shining star!
Okay, now get ready for this. One of the coolest miracles I have ever seen. its kind of long, so go pop the popcorn! okay so Sunday, we had the amazing miracle of having on of our less actives come back to church! Hna torres, whose husband died a few weeks ago finally came back after months, or maybe even years of inactivity. Well remember that detail. it's important.
So there was a baptism yesterday in a different ward, and we wanted our investigator Alex to come. So we invited him, and he never showed up... lame. So we left the baptism to go out contacting. We called this one potential we have to try and set up a cita with him. His name is Jesus. Well he was like yeah I don't have work can we have our cita at 7?? at the chapel?? Cita's at the chapel=super awesome! So we were like yeah of course!! Well in order to have this cita we needed 3 things. A woman to come with us, the elders to open the chapel for us, and a priesthood holder with us. So we spent the next 45 minutes on the phone, calling every active member of the ward. No one was available. I just wanted to give up and say lets just rearrange the appointment. But we didn't cast out our little seed of faith. We kept calling people. Finally we decided to call our Less active Hna Torres. She must have heard the desperation in our voice, because even though she was super busy with tons to do, she said sure Hermanas I will come with you. This less active Hermana who hasn't been to church in MONTHS came with us to our cita. I just cannot explain to you how amazing the whole situation was. How there were so many different factors that played into this one cita, but how it all worked out. The elders opened the church, We found a woman, we had a priesthood holder there, and our investigator showed up as well!! I don't know how it all happened so perfectly, but it DID! I know that the Lord is in the details of our lives. He knows the things we need. He is eagerly awaiting to give us the answers to our prayers. All we need to do is ask.
Well the Cita was amazing. The spirit was so strong. The testimony of the members was amazing, especially from Hermana Torres. also, when the cita was over, she told us that all future citas with Jesus we could have in her house! Future member presents forever!! How awesome! I am just so grateful that I was able to witness all the little tiny miracles that played part in our great new miracle of our new investigator Jesus.
A few other things that happened this week: we found a magical little bridge! that was fun! (pictures attached)
I hit nine months in the mission! eww I am so old now!
Members fight over whose house we go to for dinner! cute them they just all love us!
It rained again on Thursday! keep praying for rain!
Well family I love you so very much! keep seeing those small miracles every week!
Love Ness


Hermana Cabrera has HUSKIES!


Okay, this email is going to be stellar. Just you wait! Okay so it starts with this. Hermana Blacker has been having a little bit of struggles as you may know. But we received direct orders from President Hall that we are not allowed to take naps during the day! Like mom always says "you can sleep when you dead!" but for real. Aint nobody got time to sleep their days away. Well Hermana Blacker is awesome, and an exactly obedient missionary, so she said, "Hermana, I don't know how I am going to survive, but I am not going to nap this week!" so want to know what we did instead? We talked to everyone!
In our mission right now there is a huge focus on talking to everyone! Elder Ballard counseled us to strive to talk to at least 20 people per day, or 140 people a week. Well this week our goal was 200 people. But do you want to know how many people we talked to??? 244!!!! and not only did we smash our goal, but we talked to the most people in the whole mission! President hall had a conference call with all the zone leaders and sister training leaders talking about how our mission is doing with their 140 conversations, and he told them that we are the leading companionship!!! WHAT!! WE ARE LEGENDS!!! I don't even know how it happened. Yes I do, we are kind of crazy. We talk to EVERYONE! we talk to people on the street, we talk to people in their houses, people in the store, people in their cars, sometimes people on the phone, I've had conversations with people in the BATHROOM! (not while they are going... yikes...) sometimes we even run when people are not looking so we can talk to more people. The Lord is really truly blessing us in this work as we are trying our hardest to talk to so many people. It's incredible.
Another awesome experience of the week is that I got to go on exchanges with Hermana Barnes. Oh my goodness she is awesome. She is a contacting Beast!! When I was with her, we talked to 50 people in one day!! it was incredible! also, we found 4 new investigators. We started our day by contacting, and then we went to a cita we were supposed to have, but we couldn't find the house, so we wandered around other houses and found an awesome girl names alondra and taught her. then we received a referral from the elders of this really awesome guy named Martin, and we ended up teaching him in Carl's Junior! haha it was a different experience, but he is super awesome! He is so hungry for the truth. We taught a less active Hermana Cabrera diner which was awesome because we had more time to contact! and the last part of the night we were contacting around our house. It was about 8:30 and we had only talked to 42 people, so we couldn't go home until we reached our 50 people of the day! So we were running from house to house knocking doors talking to people. Well I got the impression to cross the street. So we crossed the street, it's 8:55, and we knocked one last door. this woman opened, let us in, and we were able to teach her and her daughter about the restoration. Luz and Jasmine. we found 4 people that day! It was amazing. Hermana Barnes is amazing. I learned so much from her she is the most amazing worker I have ever seen.
In other news, Jose Pena is doing amazing. Perfectly ready for his baptism march 2nd. I just hope I don't get transferred so I can see it! also, Hermana blacker is doing SO much better. She isn't stressed anymore, and she is so confident! I am so proud of her and how much she has grown. I know that the counsel of the profetas and president are true. That the best cure for worry is work. And I love being Diligent, because The lord has so many blessings he is just waiting to pour out!
So this weeks invitation: be diligent in whatever you do!
Love you all so much! Miss you, and pray for you everyday!
Love Ness
Pics: familia pena! Happy valentines day!!
Hermana Barnes will even contact fake turtles! bahaha

Thursday, February 6, 2014

rain miracles

Okay, I will just start out by sharing the miracles of this week. The rain miracle. So last week I asked you all to pray for rain, well on Sunday all of the stakes in our mission joined together in this special fast for rain. I know there is a special power in fasting, but I have never before seen it first hand, or seen the miracles right away. Well we fasted all day, and as we were contacting on the street at about 6 o clock, it started to sprinkle. Me and my companion both stopped in our tracks and said no way! THE LORD HEARD OUR PRAYERS!!! He sent us rain!! I have never seen the results of fasting so sudden and so clear. It was a miracle.
Another miracle of our fast is that Hermana Blacker and I were fasting specifically to have more love in our companionship. During personal study, I was studying scriptures and ended up in some strange book in the bible and had a "how did I even get here?" moment. But I found the exact scriptures the Lord needed me to read, to know the kind of missionary he needs me to be right now. Such a direct answer to my fast. So those were my two fasting miracles.
Another awesome miracle of the week, remember last week I told you we found a new investigator Nayda? well we went to teach her this week, and we were able to teach her 11 year old daughter as well, Leslie. We asked Leslie to be baptized at the end of the lesson, and she said she has been asking her mom forever to let her be baptized. She said yes I will be baptized, and I know that the message you just shared is from God, I don't need to pray about it, because I already know it's true! So I will keep you updated on her progress. She is awesome!
The last miracle of the week was with a  less active family. We were able to have a noche de hogar with familia floridia this week, and see that they are so ready to come back to church. There testimonies are still so strong, and I know that the lord has softened their hearts and prepared them to come back to church. On Sunday the whole family was there, and the Hermano bore his testimony. it was so powerful, and I know they are going to really help strengthen our little barrio here.
Also, we asked Jose pena to pray about moving his baptismal date more closer. We really want to challenge him for the 23rd of February, and we went into the lesson ready to extend that date to him, but the spirit was just saying no, don't extend that date. I know Jose Pena is going to be baptized, the only thing with him is, he needs to decide when. So hopefully we will know by this week, and hopefully it will be soon!
My sweet family, there are miracles everywhere everyday. The lord is absolutely so mindful of us. Sometimes it may not be more than a smile someone gives as they tell us they aren't interested. Sometimes it is buying the super delicious corn the little guys in carts sell to us. And other times, it is seeing a single mother working 2 jobs and raising 3 kids, but who always makes time every Saturday night to do her Noche de Hogar, even when she can barely stay awake through it. I love being able to see these little miracles. I love being able to be a part of them. I invite all of you to look for the little miracles in your week, and then tell me about them! I love you all so much! cuidense mucho!
Love Ness
picture: us marveling at the rain!