Last week as we were walking through the street, I asked Hermana Quezada how we can work to bring more souls to Christ through baptism, and she said, ¨Service.¨ Honestly I was a little surprised because we´re always offering to help people, so I asked again. She gave me the same answer, ¨Service,¨ and just kept repeating the word until we decided to commit ourselves to serve more. Well Monday night we went to visit Kilsi, an investigator that´s been attending church for more than a year. We´ve been trying so hard to encourage her to take the next step and get baptised, but to no avail. When we got to her house on Monday she had a bunch of dirty dishes and was doing laundry. Upon noticing this, we decided it would be better to help her out than to share a message, so despite her protests we started to do her dishes. Afterwards we shared a short message and left. The next day we stopped by her house to ask for water. She asked us if we had received the text she´d sent us the night before. We told her no, and she went to show us the message which read: ¨Hermanas when is the next baptismal service? I want to get baptized.¨ With chills and huge smiles we hugged her and invited her to baptism this month. She is now preparing to get married and baptized before the New Year.
Every day the Lord proves to me more and more that this is not our work. It is His. Everything that led up to Kilsi deciding to get baptized was inspired by the Spirit. The timing of everything, the service that softened her heart, passing by her house the next day by chance, everything. The Lord´s work is marvelous.
Elot and Mariette moved two Sundays ago and since then we haven´t seen them up until Wednesday when we ran into Mariette in the street! Finally we know where they live and are starting to teach them again. They are the most adorable couple.
This week is ¨Holy Week¨. As a mission we committed ourselves to being exactly obedient for the whole week. We´re just starting, but the blessings from obedience are already coming. The faith is almost palpable. I am so excited for January. There are many miracles to come.
I love you all. Keep shining!
Once upon a time four sister missionaries decided that it would be fun to go climb a mountain on PDay. Well, after being set back a bit they finally went their way, ready for the long bus ride. 1.5 hours later they arrive. However, the other two sisters they were going to meet up with and had supposedly planned everything, were not there. Nearly one hour later, the other sisters showed up. There were only 30 minutes to spare, but laughing and happy nonetheless, they went to go find a mountain. Walking along the highway they found a dirt road that looked promising. They came to the end and soon realized that it was not a path that led to a mountain, rather to a dead end. They left it and got back on the highway. The mountains were far away and the time had come to go back home. They sat, tired, but still happy, on the nearest bench to laugh at their foolishness and lack of planning. And they caught the next bus home. What a glorious P-Day! :)
This week was.... Fun. A handful of our most amazing investigators decided to move outside of our area, we got dropped by several people, and one of them hid from us, but the Lord reached out in mercy and inspired several members to give us awesome referrals at the end of the week! We are so excited to start working with new people, especially when they´re referrals from members. This work is so much better when we work as a team. Hermana Quezada and I were tired of contacting one day and just talking about how there has to be a better way. We came to the conclusion that the work is just better when the members and the missionaries work together. Well, the Lord blessed us a day later with just that!
God is good. He listens to our prayers. When we adopt faith and hope as a part of our permanent mindset, things are so much easier.
´´For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace¨ Romans 8:6
I think part of being spiritually minded is keeping that eternal perspective in mind. It´s being positive. It´s being hopeful.
I love you all, Keep shining,
Our grand adventure.
Hermana Quezada and Hermana Shaw were contacting houses when an old lady called them inside and told them to share a little bit with her. They sung and shared a short message, it was clear she didn´t want to listen as much as she wanted to talk. They ended with a prayer and she got up and started putting platanos in a bag to give to them. They accepted graciously and she goes over and puts more platanos in the bag. They accept graciously and she stoops down to put MORE platanos in the bag. Astonished and grateful, the sisters thank her and are about to leave. She then looks at Hermana Shaw, and says, with all the strength of an old lady, ´´And YOU.... The Lord has a great surprise waiting for you... You will be astonished... REMEMBER. Remember.´´
I have no idea if that surprise is good or bad but hey. Cool. A lady predicted my future this week.
This week we had Mission Tour with Elder Zivic!! Way cool. And way good. I had the special and nervewracking privilege of playing violin and singing, ´´If You Could Hie to Kolob,¨ with Elder Auger on the piano. My voice left me on the first verse and I was dying inside... somehow I sang it through quietly as I prayed for help, and luckily it came back for the second. Yup. Fun fun stuff. I also got interviewed by Elder Zivic which was way way cool. He's pretty awesome and gave an incredible talk in Mission Tour.
Diego, my convert from Benjamin, came to visit me in church! He knew I was in Villa Verde and just decided to show up and surprise me! Go Diego go!
The Lord is preparing his children. We have seen that several times this week. A lady contacted us and asked us for a pamphlet. She told us she wants us to teach her children. In a hurry, she gave us her direction and number then scurried off. A member brought his friend to church yesterday and wow. He was participating so much, and even asked the member what he had to do to get the priesthood. On Friday I felt so drained and was dragging my feet to keep me going. We had nowhere to go and it was night time, but we decided to keep contacting until it was time to go in. We met Karolyn, a young mom that said we came right in the opportune moment. I know that God prepares His children. This is His work. I am awed at what He does.
I know that the Lord lives and that he looks out for His sheep. For those that embrace the gospel of Jesus Christ, the blessings come. Always in the time of the Lord, but they come.
¨´be of´good cheer, for I will lead you along¨ -Doctrine and Covenants 78.18
I love you all, Keep shining,
Interviews two weeks ago
Oh no. There´s no time again. Sorry.
On Wednesday, we went to the temple as a mission and it was amazing.
We had an awesome lesson with Joanna this week where the member that accompanied us committed her to baptism in December. Awesome member!! She has grown so much in her testimony and is excited to get baptized.
In short, mission life is going splendid.
I love you all, Keep shining,
We went to the temple!! Yes.
I feel strangely uninspired to write this time. We also got jipped out of our internet time so this will be short.
Tuesday we had interviews with President. That was awesome. Honestly words can´t begin to express how much I love that guy. He is beyond inspired on personal and mission-wide levels.
Yesterday, Sunday, we had a ¨Dia Santo¨ where, as a mission, we all put forth all our effort to be 100%, exactly obedient, to the line. I am grateful for a mission that values exact obedience and that tries to improve every day. Through exact obedience we access greater blessings and the grace of the Lord is shed upon us.
20 For if you keep my commandments you shall receive ofhis fulness, and be glorified in me as I am in the Father;therefore, I say unto you, you shall receive grace for grace.
On Wednesday we had an amazing lesson about the Plan of Salvation with Raquel. She asked the best questions and was so amazed at the plan. The Spirit was so strong and added to my testimony of the great plan our Father in Heaven has made for us. She came to church for the first time yesterday and brought her husband. I love visiting her. She´s something special.
We had another really special lesson about the Restoration this week with Pablo. He´s 76 and has 54 years in his church. When we teach him he tends to quote the Bible from memory and if we ask him to read a scripture, he usually can just recite it off the top of his head. Well, turns out he began talking about the 70 that´s mentioned in the Bible before we got to the part about Joseph Smith. Well when we got to explain to him that the church had been restored and that there are now modern day prophets and apostles and seventy, the Spirit was thick. I am so grateful for this restored gospel. It´s rather amazing, what God has done for us. He has provided us with the fulness of the truth.
Just got advised there are only 2 minutes left...Sorry to all that I wasn´t able to write... which I think was everyone...
I love you all. The church is true. Keep shining,
Monday. Ward Activity. We listened to Christmas thoughts, drank ginger hot chocolate, and lit up the Christmas tree. Our Ward Mission Leader then announces, ¨Hermana Shaw is going to sing ´Silent Night´¨¨. Well that was news for Hermana Shaw. Improv. Cool.
Friday. Another Ward Activity. We listened to Christmas thoughts, drank ginger tea, and lit up the Christmas tree. Our Ward Mission Leader tells me 5 minutes before everything starts that I´m going to sing, ¨Venid Adoremos´. Improv. Cool.
Saturday. Ward Correlation Meeting. Our Ward Mission Leader tells me that I´m going to sing, ´Come Thou Fount,´ and that he´ll play piano in Sacrament Meeting. We run it though 2 times. Sunday morning. No practice. Sing. A bit better than improv. Cool.
Our Ward Mission Leader´s got me singing.
We´re teaching an amazing and inspiring couple. Elot and Mariette are from Haiti and are the most special people. They have developed such strong testimonies and each time we teach them, they ask the best, most inspiring questions. Yesterday we had an awesome lesson where we analyzed what faith really is and what it can do. They have such a strong desire to get married, get baptized, and be sealed in the temple. Nothing distracts them from that goal. Even though each time we see them we bring news about how complicated the marriage process will be since they´re not Dominican, they continue on, just as excited as ever. It´s going to be expensive and long, but they´re willing and happy to do whatever it takes to get married and get to the temple. I love them.
This area has a handful of people investigating the church that have such large obstacles in front of them. They go to church every week but find it hard to believe that God will help them get to baptism. Or, if they do believe, they lack the faith to act and get the process going to make the changes they need. I don´t think I´ve ever read 1 Nephi 3:7 so many times in my life. The Lord always provides a way. And we must have faith in that, not just believe it. Do we really trust in Him? Elot and Mariette are great examples to me of exceptional faith. They believe it, they trust, and so they do.
I love you all. Keep shining, the world needs more light,
The internet today is chugging along like a snail. So if you wrote me and I don´t send an email back, don´t be offended. It´s not you. It´s the internet.
This week was pretty dandy and family filled. On Friday morning we went contacting real quick, and found 5 families that all accepted return appointments. Whoa. We were kind of super really excited. One of the families we started teaching last week went to church on Sunday. Joana toted her husband, Nando, and her 3 little kids to church. They were restless in Sacrament Meeting but Joana loved it just the same. Elot and Saloman, a Haitian couple we´re teaching, has plans to get married and baptized this month. They ask the best questions. Yesterday Elot asked if they would be able to get sealed in the temple after their baptism. You could just see the joy in their faces as they contemplated that fact that their family could be together forever.
Saturday morning we went up to Guaymate, a part of our that takes a 30 minute bus ride to get to. The ward went to clean the streets as a service project and we went to contact. The bishop is dreaming of opening a branch up over there. There really hasn´t been much contact from the church over there. It was strange meeting so many people that had never heard of the Mormons.
Scripture of the week: Let us cheerfully do all things that lie in our power, and then we may stand still, with the utmost assurance , to see the salvation of God, and for his arm to be revealed.
Doctrine and Covenants 123:17
I love you all,
It´s been raining a lot! We were contacting when we saw a beautiful rainbow come out.
On Sunday we ate lunch with the Stake President and his family. Hermana Quezada and I became Aunt Shaw and Aunt Quezada and their kids became our nieces and nephews. :)
We put a tree up at the church! Christmas starts in October here, no kidding. Everyone has their lights up and they´ve been up for a while now.
I´m back in La Romana. And it is HOT. Wow. I never knew I could sweat so much. The hills don´t help either. Looks like Villa Verde is going to whip me into shape if it doesn´t kill me first ;) At least the river here is beautiful and in that part there´s a lot of vegetation.
This first week in Villa Verde went really well. There is so much to do here. The work is progressing and a lot of people to teach. The Area Book was kind of a mess... turns out my companion was the only one filling it out for the last three weeks, so it´s missing a lot of information. There was a teenager that got baptized the week before I got here and she doesn´t have a teaching record. She also hasn´t been confirmed yet and her mom told us this week that she didn´t get baptized with her permission. We had a really interesting lesson where I apologized and asked for forgiveness for something I wasn´t there for. She forgived us and asked for forgiveness as well.
My new companion, Hermana Quezada, is awesome. We are laughing all the time together. She was in my group from the MTC so we´ve got the same time in the field.
A lot of our investigators here are Haitian and don´t speak much Spanish, if any. Hermana Quezada have picked up a bit of Creole by talking with the Haitian members. And by a bit, I really mean very very very little. ;)
Wednesday was my first working day in Villa Verde. We went to visit a girl named Nathali. She´s 17 years old and speaks no Spanish. That night we invited her to baptism and she accepted. That Saturday she got baptized. She was so cute. We can´t really communicate without a translator, but she gives the warmest hugs. She was so happy. We were too ¨:) She´s a cutie.
I love you all. I know the church is true. I know that the Lord hopes that we are exactly obedient and that we give all of ourselves to Him. We can not pick and choose the commandments we wish to live. Neither can we pick and choose how obedient we want to be to them. Rather, it is expected of us to be exactly obedient to each and every commandment that he gives us. When we are exactly obedient, that´s when the miracles begin to come.
On Wednesday we were at the Arache Family's house when the other sisters called and told us we were invited to go have dinner with President Corbitt. We were just explaining to the Arache Family that transfers were coming up and it was possible we might leave. The lesson was emotional and ended in Pamela getting up and running to her room because she was crying so much when she said the prayer. After the lesson we met up with President Corbitt, Hermana Silva, and Hermana Antonio, and headed over to his house. We laughed way too much and ate some dang good food. He then told us about transfers. Hermana Delcompare and I are both leaving Gazcue. I'm going to be in Villa Verde (La Romana again!) with Hermana Quezada, a Dominican from my group. I don't know if knowing so soon was good or bad... it definitely brought a lot of mixed feelings. I guess I anticipated leaving Gazcue, I've got 6 months here... but I'm really going to miss this place. I love it here and all the new friends I've made. I'm excited to go make more in Villa Verde.
We saw Pamela again this week and when we told her the news, she couldn't stop crying. We're going to miss her. She told us she'd invite us to her baptism and she talked about how she's going to serve a mission someday but that she'll never get close to anyone because the changes hurt too much. She's so sweet. I love her.
Well friends. I know the church is true. I know that our Heavenly Father knows us and loves us. He is wonderful. The mission has been such a beautiful refining fire and I hope I allow it to change me still. The Lord's hand is in this work.
I love you all! Keep shining!
Yesterday was Hermana Delcompare's birthday. We celebrated with brownies and ice cream and homemade empanadas and balloons and by losing the phone. Yup. We were in a guagua (70's car type thing filled with people they use as public transport here) and it fell out of Hna. Delcompare's pocket. Oops. Well luckily someone found it and the missionaries in her area are going to go look for it.
Today for P-Day we saw El Faro de Colon, which is a lighthouse/museum thing. It was cool. We met up with some other missionaries as well. Party party.
Consejo de Lideres was steller. We had an amazing discussion about the sheer power of imagination. If you look for the word "imagination" or "image" in the scriptures, there is so much to learn about the subject. We are asked in Alma 5 if we have received his image in our countenance. We are commanded to not worship graven images. What we choose to imagine affects us. And the images we see and choose to consume have great impact. We go so far as to pay another to take control of our imagination for an hour or two when we go to the theatres. Do we realize how valuable our imagination is and how much we must protect it? It is a very part of how we exercise faith in Jesus Christ. As we imagine good and imagine the approval of our Father in Heaven, we exercise faith in Him (Alma 5:17).
Luis' kidney stones aren't bugging him as much. He's still got them but they're supposed to pass soon. Bethania is so happy and is constantly rejoicing that the gospel came to her life. We're still working with the Arache Family and trying to help them overcome the fear of their grandma, who is against the church. I never thought I'd run into that here in the DR, but Carolina told us she doesn't even want to mention baptism in our church to her mom because she has heart problems and thinks it'll scare her too much.We're praying so much for them.
One cool thing about the DR is that they have delivery for literally EVERYTHING. If you want something as simple as a small bag of cinammon, all you've got to do is call up the nearest colmado (little stores that are on every corner). Well when we lost the phone we couldn't do that and we wanted juice SO BAD. Walking just across the street never felt so far in my life. I've gotten way too used to this delivery thing.
Well. I know the church is true. God loves us. He's our Father. This is His work. It's not ours. I am humbled and grateful for the time I've been given to serve and for the miracles that happen daily.
I love you all! Keep shining,
Faro de Colon or Columbus Lighthouse
Homemade Venezuelan empanadas
Write me! I would love to hear from you! :)
Santo Domingo East MIssion
SDQ 4102, 2250 NW 114th Ave.
Miami, FL 33172-3652
8540 NW 66th St.
Miami, FL 33195 - 2698
Dominican Republic Santo Domingo East Mission