Monday, August 25, 2014

We're Famous!

Okay fam here is the deal. I am pretty sure I tell you ever email how we are going to be famous someday. I mean we are in the heart of Hollywood! Of course we are going to be famous! Well here is the deal. We did it. We are FAMOUS! Just maybe a little different than you might think. We are totally superstars with all little children, homeless people, and all of the drunk guys here.

First I will start with the kids. Okay stop I just love all the crazy little kids here. They are so much fun. This week we went into this apartment complex and met a bunch of kids jump roping. So then obviously we challenged them to a jumprope contest. They were actually way good. Jumproping in a skirt... a lot harder than you would think. But it was so fun! as we were jumproping with this little group of girls all the neighborhood kids just started coming out of the woodwork! "Hey are you the church people??" "I wanna jumprope with the church people!!" haha they are my new favorite! you see our genius plan is to win the kids hearts, and then the parents will listen to us!

Okay well then that exact same night we go to a different apartment complex, and run right smack into a squirrel funeral. I kid you not there is a group of like 15 kids trying to dig a hole in the ground to bury their pet squirrel that fell out of the tree!!! hahaha they were the funniest! Okay so the squirrel wasn't exactly dead yet... just dying. So being the missionaries we are we gathered all children and we prayed for their little baby squirrels. I just love kids. They make my life so happy.

The last group of kids is this cute little family we are teaching. The familia Castillo. Stop I love them so much! so the mom Brenda is a menos active and The two little girls Linda and Kimberly are going to get baptized soon. Everytime we go we teach them a new primary song, and they just love us and make us feel so famous!

alright enough with the children. now onto the homeless people stories! mom you will probably die reading this part! haha! so we were walking down the street this week, and we met our friend Preacher (preacher is a homeless man in his like 20's and he's hilarious) well we say hi to him and he holds out his hand full of tacos and says I want you to have one of my tacos! and obviously we say no because it's not kind to take tacos from homeless people. But he says no I want you to take them. God blessed me with all this extra food and these tacos, and I want to bless your day. So we ate tacos with our homeless friend preacher! (don't worry mom they were from the taco truck, so they were very edible and not sketchy at all:) ) and then after we ate this poor homeless mans tacos, he insisted we take his burrito as well! What the heck preacher! so just like the other week when we walked around with stolen beer, this week we walked around with a burrito in hna Jensen's backpack! haha I love this area.

Oh man I just can't tell you how much I love being a missionary! it is an adventure every day. Aside from all the crazy things we did this week, I assure you we did spiritual things as well. We talked to everyone about jesus and how much he loves them:) I just love this work oh so very much. Sorry family but I am never coming home!!!! haha just kiddin love you! have an awesome week!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

My Favorite People

Dear Family,

HEYYY!!! okay well I don't really know what to write about this week. So I will write you about the people here!

First person, my new compie. She is Hermana Jensen. From Kaysville Utah. she is tall blonde and beautiful and so I never stand next to her! haha just kiddin. umm yeah she is probably the cutest lil thing ever and just so excited about missionary work. I forgot how much fun it is to have a brand new missionary! They are just so darn excited and ready to work! But I keep forgetting she doesn't know Spanish, or doesn't know how to ride a bike in a skirt, or how to weekly plan or all these things. It's fun to be a new missionary again!

Second person of the week: our super star PEDRO!!! I love him so much! Pedro Flores-- newest member of the church of jesus Christ of latter-day saints! he was confirmed yesterday!! I am so proud of him! but the funnest thing ever, is even before he was a member we used him in missionary work! This week after one of our lessons in the park with him he was walking with us to our next appointment. Of course we had to stop to talk to everyone on the way and mid contact we would turn to pedro and say "this is our friend Pedro, he was actually just baptized last week. Pedro how has the church changed your life??"  then Pedro would just jump right into bearing his testimony "I know joseph smith was a prophet and that the book of Mormon is the word of God and Joseph smith translated it by the power of the priesthood!!" ................. thank you pedro.. we actually hadn't mentioned joseph smith yet but hey your testimony is way solid!

we are also working with another super star her name is Stephanie. Oh poor Stephanie. She is having a hard time with some pretty big commandments... not anything little like tithing or reading the scriptures everyday. Well. we had to move her baptismal date. But the saddest part is the reason she does what she does is because her family just doesn't love her! She just wants her mom to be happy and proud of her, but she doesn't get that love from her momma so that's why she does bad stuff. But she came to church yesterday, and LOVED IT! she is so cute. Then that afternoon she also went to a meeting for seminary. Yep she is going to take seminary. Are you kidding me! what kind of 17 year old who is not a member and who's parents don't push them out of bed at 5:30 to get to 6:00 seminary would wake up that early? only super star stephanie!!

We are also teaching this way sweet part member family the Castillo family. Yeah the two daughters are going to get baptized.... if they will ever come to church! dangit. But they love learning the book of Mormon stories song! we sing it every time with them. I love visiting them.

hmm lets see what else was fun? oh man there is this one sister here from China (not Spanish speaking. She is learning English) and she is SOOO funny! haha we had dinner with an English family, and these English sisters (and when I say English sisters I mean this Chinese sister and her English companion. And she was the funniest little thing to walk this planet! I want her in my pocket! She was going on and on about the food and how it's okay to eat lots and then at the end of the meal she starts cleaning the table, "this is how we do in China!" haha sister Xu.(pronounced shoo) My favorite missionary evah!!!

and the last cool thing we did is while contacting one night we met this drunk guy, and told him that Christ can help him change his life, and then I asked him if he would trade me his beer for a picture of Christ and he said yes! so then we finished our night contacting with a huge bottle of beer in Hermana Jensen's backpack. haha it was fun! Don't worry mom. We are still being safe :)

yeah that was our week. It was just way fun. Lots of adventures learning how to ride a bike, and how to be a missionary. But I just love having a new missionary! I especially love it because it makes me realize oh man! look how much I have grown! I used to not know any Spanish or not know how to talk to people! I am so grateful for the mission, and how it has changed me. I love you so much famiky thanks for your love and support!

All my love,

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pedro :)

WOW! okay familia this email is going to be WAY long today. Bear with me here, cause the story is just awesome! it comes in two parts.

Part one: I have this companion and her name is Hermana Barnes, and she is super awesome. Like way way good missionary. And she has had one grand dream her whole mission: to BAPTIZE! She has dreamed and worked hard and planted the seed and not casted it out, but for some reason she just has never seen the fruits of her labors. She has never had any of her investigators be baptized. She has been so faithful, and worked so hard, but just has never seen it. She also has had a triple combination and bible in Spanish she has had with her her whole mission, just waiting to give it away to her convert. But just never happened. Well. So I get with Hermana Barnes the last three weeks of her mission and I say oh man. This is it. We are going to BAPTIZE!!! Well we had this way solid investigator Stephanie, that is really excited and willing, but it was just too rushed for her to get baptized in three weeks! So we decided it would be better if she wasn't baptized on aug. 10th (the last sunday Hermana Barnes has here.) Well oh no. How in the heck are we supposed to baptize now???

Part two: along came PEDRO!!! okay how do we explain pedro? The best explanation could be a miracle that fell straight from heaven. So here is how his story begins. He is 21, and from Peru. and actually he happened to be an atheist! But he started coming to our English class. Then from there, he wanted to know a little bit more about the church. So he started meeting with the missionaries Hermanas Hall y Glauser. He knows the bible like super good, and originally he just wanted to bash with the hermanas. But after a few visits he started opening up. They loved teaching him and would always tell us stories about him. Well.... as Pedro continues to learn more, come to church, and read the scriptures, he starts changing. One day he tells the hermanas "hermanas I have good news. Well, it's good news for me at least, I don't know if it's good news for you.... But I want to be baptized." The Hermanas are stunned speechless of course I mean Pedro the atheist wants to be baptized! They say okay when? he says as soon as possible. So they set the date for Aug. 10th......

Now you're probably thinking, that's nice... but how do these stories go together? Well my friends. Three days after Pedro says he wants to be baptized, he moves into our area.... meaning we become his missionaries. There you have it. A golden investigator handed right to us on a silver platter all ready to be baptized! Guess why he wants to be baptized?? so he can serve a mission!!
So we taught him all of lesson 5 (about priesthood and the temple and missionary work...) He is probably the cutest little thing that has ever existed!! here are some cute pedro quotes:

(sunday after noon after fast and testimony meeting) Hermanas what is a testimony? we explain a testimony to him. Two days later... "hermanas good news! I think I have a testimony! I was reading in the book of Mormon, and my heart felt all warm and then I stopped reading, closed the book and said this book is from God!"

Hermanas how long do I have to wait to get my priesthood?

Hermanas I didn't take the sacrament today, I didn't know I could cause I was fasting.

Hermanas, I took the sacrament today, and I felt something amazing! Like the feeling I felt when I got my testimony!

I swear he is the most golden human I have ever worked with. He is so amazing. And I think one of the most amazing things is not only did Pedro completely change his life and learn to trust in God and how to make covenants with him, but Hermana Barnes got to see her dream come true! Her very last sunday in the mission field she got her very first baptism!!!! And also, Hermana barnes got to give away her Spanish scriptures finally! To someone who will love them and cherish them. All four of us hermanas (Barnesy, me, Hall, and Glauser) wrote our testimonies in them, and on Sunday night Pedro called us crying because he found the testimonies. He is so amazing. The whole experience was just surreal. I am so happy for him and the covenant he has made and the completely different person he is. I am also way happy to have been able to see Hermana Barnes dream come true as well. I know it's true what is says in DyC 10:15--
And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying 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!

I know God prepares his children. The gospel changes lives. And the church is true. I love you family! Have the best week ever!

The Lord is full of Surprises!

Well Family. It's been a strange week to say the least. How about we start from the beginning. Once upon a time there was a little mission called the Great California San Fernando mission. It was a tiny happy mission with the happiest of missionaries. And then it got struck with the plague. No but for real. This huge poopy plague of depression, anxiety, strange health problems and all sorts of things. Well as a result, lots of missionaries died from this plague. (and when I say die it's just for the story purposes. They actually just had to go home from their mission early.)
So we lost two missionaries from the Burbank zone, one of them happened to be sweet Hermana Blacker, who I trained. well that left her companion Hermana watts (Ashley watts) companionless. So we adopted her!!! TRIO!!! it was so much fun! We had a blast being in a trio. It was like a sleepover every night! And we got to work two Areas, and go to two different wards on sunday! 5 hours of church! We got to introduce ourselves as the hermanas Watts and Labanc. and everyone asked us if we were sisters. So yeah. We spent the week in a trio just waiting for the call from president telling us what would happen with Hermana watts.
Well. The call Finally came. Saturday morning while eating my nice Yoplait yogurt president called and asked to talk to us each individually. so he started with me. He said "Hermana Watts there are some really strange and unexpected things about to take place, so just follow me for a minute. I know we are in the middle of the transfer, but in about three weeks there will be new hermanas coming in. I have called you to be a trainer of one of the new missionaries."
instantly my thought is "OH NO!!! he is going to put me and my new missionary in the North Hollywood 4to area, and then I am going to end my mission exactly where I started it and I am never going to leave the Burbank zone my whole mission!!!!" but no. luckily that didn't happen.
He said "I am going to extend to you a release as a sister training leader, and you will be leaving  your area." WHAT! didn't see that one coming!!!
"Sister Watts is going to stay there and replace you, and you will be coming up to Santa Clarita to be companions with....HERMANA BARNES!!!! you'll be with her for her last three weeks, and then train a new missionary in that area."
Okay what. no way. I about died of excitement!! Reuniting the Dream team?! President are you sure? I think the world might just die of too much awesomeness. (oh p.s. Hermana Barnes' companion also went home early because of health reasons, hence she was companionless as well.) It is so incredible how all the pieces just seemed to fall right into place. Although it was so very strange, and completely out of left field, and no one saw it coming, I know that these changes are inspired. While I was talking with president I just felt so at peace with all the changes. I know that the lord is in the details of this work, and he guides it. He has the master plan and all we need to do is trust him, and everything will fall into place. The church is true and I love you all!


Okay momma, this email is just for you! So remember how we got given the task of getting rid of lice in our recent converts hair?? Well yikes. It is the biggest nightmare that has ever existed.

Mom. It is the worst case of lice I have EVER seen. We were there for 2 and a half hours and didn't even make a dent!!! the mom has it, the three kids have it, the mean awful older brother has it, even the BABY has it!!! oh man. We washed the hair mom for like ever, and then we tried to comb out the nits... oh man. Yeah we didn't get like any of it out. We had to wash out the comb like every two seconds because there is just way too much lice. I would almost say there is more like than there is hair!

But enough complaining. I am going to go straight to heaven for getting lice in the service of others right? This is me and barnsey washing out OUR hair with lice shampoo...

Sunday, August 3, 2014

dreams do come true!!! AGAIN!!!

Hey family! What's good? so here is the deal. About 5 months ago I had a way stellar email about how all my dreams were coming true and I got to be with my dream companion. Well awesome news the dream team is REUNITED!!!!! It is SOOO good to be back with Hermana Barnes. She is just my favorite. It's been fun to see how much we've grown, and all the new things we have learned. She is just my best friend!

here are some of the adventures we have had together:

well first we are on bike. I mean stop everything that in itself is a dream come true!!! I've wanted to be on bike my whole mission!!! It was a little rough in the beginning. especially cause I don't know anything about bikes! but it's okay, my bike (the beast) and I have settle our differences and decided to be friends. And also the guy at the bike shop is an angel and fixed my bike for free! (how was I supposed to know how to put the tire on correctly? I'm just a white girl!)

The next awesome adventure is every single day in our area! It's a missionaries dream! its super paisa (latina) and the people here are so so nice! I love Mexicans way more than white people. wait did I say that out loud? sorry America I take it back!  But for real. They are just SO nice! this one lady I just barely met invited us into her home and made us enchiladas! Almost everyone we see offers us water. And even when the people reject us I still feel way good about myself! I love it!

Another way way fun thing we did was we got to walk to church with a caravan of teenage girls! haha it was like a little parade! picture attached. the girls are all way awesome. they are the only members in their families, but they still come every week without fail!

We made a drunk man cry! We have an investigator named Beto, who is a big time alcoholic. We just met him last week and we shared a scripture and he was in tears just saying "I want to change! You have to help me!! I know you two will be my angels." 

We got to do this way fun service! we were trailblazers! (that's people who make trails right?) cause that's what we did! we made trails! holy tolito it was so hot and super hard manual labor, and I was for SURE feelin It the next day. But it was so so so much fun! now I am an expert ground tiller, and I can use a mccloud like no ones business.

but out of all the fun and all the adventures, we have seen so many miracles. I am so happy to be in this area. It is so amazing the people her are just amazing. I am so excited for all the adventures we are going to have in this area, and all the lord has in store for us.

Well honey lovers, I miss you and love you! Besitos!

Love Ness