Monday, February 27, 2017

Week Sixty: Teaching, Teaching, Teaching

Area: Arvin Spanish Group
Companion: Hermana Luquette

This week was really busy, but we were able to do a lot of stuff and talk to a lot of people. I can hardly even believe that it has been a whole week since last p day, but things have been good! Time is really flying by!

We started out the week on p day by going up to Tehachapi and meeting together with all of the Hermanas from the entire mission. It was so fun! Hermana Luquette and I were in charge of planning it, but we didn't really have many ideas, so in the end we decided to tell everyone to bring their favorite snacks and to bring a white t-shirt to decorate. We decorated the t-shirts, ate the snacks, and talked to each other for a couple of hours. It was a really fun activity and it was nice for everyone to get to meet each other.

We taught a TON of lessons this week. I felt like we were either in a lesson with one of our current investigators or we were finding someone new to teach all week long. It was nice to be able to be able to see all of our investigators so much. I feel like we have been teaching a lot of people with a lot of potential this week.

This week, we got a lot of food from people. We were in dinner with a family from our ward on Tuesday and we were just about finished up when the husband came in from the backyard with a ton of cabbages in his hands. I guess he just started working in the cabbage fields and he sent us home with a ton of it. Later, one of our investigators, Luis, gave us a giant bag filled with elote. A couple of days later, we met a lady on the street. She talked to us for a long time about the benefits that come from working in the Grimmway carrot packing plant. I guess it is a pretty good place to work. The best part about the contact was that she let us teach her and after the lesson was over, she gave us a giant bag of carrots. I don't know how we are going to use all of the produce that we have been receiving. Maybe we will make some sort of stew!

We had interviews with President Layton on Wednesday. They are always a really spiritual experience for me. I love to be able to talk to him and to share my thoughts about the work in our area. He really is an inspired man!

We are still teaching Refugio and he is doing really well. He is a really nice man and he is really accepting of everything that we teach. We talked to him about all of the commandments and he was a champ while we were teaching. We asked him if he was going to have a problem with anything and he said that if we told him that was what we believed, that would be what he believed as well. It was really cool to see! It is really fun to teach him. On Saturday, we went over for our lesson and he limped out to see us. I guess that he sprained his ankle really badly. He wasn't able to come to church because of that, but he is really excited to learn more and to come next week.

During church, we were able to help one of the less active members of the ward to come to church with her younger brother. We have been working with their family for a long time and we are finally starting to see them putting their faith into action. We we called on last minute to teach the youth and we were able to share a message about the Gospel with them. It was pretty fun! I remember really stressing out about teaching lessons to the youth when I was in Young Women's, but I guess being a missionary teaches you how to teach on the fly.

This week was great! I love being out here on my mission. I can't believe that it is almost March and that I only have about four months left. I just want to work as hard as I can and to help everyone to accept the gospel! I love this church and that it helps me to come closer to Jesus Christ. I hope that you all have a good week!

Hermana Blau

Monday, February 20, 2017

Week Fifty-Nine: Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Area: Arvin Spanish Group
Companion: Hermana Luquette

This week was really good. We have been working hard down here in Arvin and we have been seeing lots of miracles through it all. I feel like everything has been going pretty well for us and we have been able to see some of our investigators really start to progress. Life is good!

This week was the last of our exchanges with the Hermanas. They are all really fun and I have been able to learn so much! Early on in this week, we went on exchanges with Hermana Martineau and Hermana Arceo. I was with Hermana Arceo, who is just finishing up with training. It was really fun to work with her and to spend some time talking to the people on the streets. We didn't really have very many plans for the last half of the exchanges, so we decided to head out and see what happened. In the morning, we knocked a couple of doors before we knocked on the door of a really old lady. She wasn't very interested in listening to us and said that she was busy. We offered to help her out with anything that she needed and she accepted. We ended up helping her to organize some things for a garage sale that she was having the next day. While we were working, she told us that her husband of fifty years had just passed away and that she was moving out of the house where she had lived for most of her married life to be closer to her children. After we finished helping her, we offered to share a message with her and she accepted. It was really nice to see how service softens the hearts of the people. We were able to talk with her and help her to find Heavenly Father's comfort. Charity really is the true love of Christ! Also, she let us pick out anything she wanted from her garage sale, so I got a sweet proselyting bag out of it! :)

Later, while I was still with Hermana Arceo, we went to go visit a couple that we had talked to a couple of weeks ago. We had a couple of hours, so we decided to park a couple of streets away so we could talk to the people who we met on the streets. We started out walking and working our way towards our original purpose, but we kept meeting people who were walking. They told us that we could talk to them while they were walking, so we would follow them all the way across town. We were able to meet a couple of cool people that way. It was really fun. We started walking up an alley to get back to the main road and we discovered that the alley was full of houses as well. We found whole neighborhoods that we had never seen before. Arvin is always full of surprises. I think that I could walk around for three years and not talk to all of the people who live here!

It has been raining a ton! I never thought that I would have to deal with quite so much rain when I learned that I was going to Bakersfield. Everyone on the streets tells us that all of the dams in California are breaking. Here in Arvin, there is a ton of flooding. The other night, we had an appointment with someone that we met on the street. We parked next to where we thought her house was and prepared ourselves to get out of the car. It was raining as hard as I have ever seen it rain out here and it was really cold. We figured that we would run to her house and run back to the car, so we got up the courage and got out of the car. When we started looking for her house number, we realized that we were on the wrong street. I figured that it wouldn't be that far of a walk, so we decided to start walking instead of getting back in the car. It turns out that it was a little ways away from where we were. It wouldn't have been that bad if we hadn't have been trudging through the rain. When we got to the lady's house, she told us that she was getting ready to get in the shower and that she couldn't meet with us. We thought that it was all for nothing that we got all wet and we started walking back to the car. On our way back, one of the people who works in the Subway that we go to all the time pulled up beside us in her car and offered us a ride. We were close to our car by that point, so we told her that we were fine, but we took a little time to share a little bit of the message and to give her our card. She told us that she had met with missionaries before and that we could come by her house. We went back to the apartment cold, but happy!

We also went on exchanges with Hermana Zambrano and Hermana Weaver during the later part of the week. I was with Hermana Weaver, who is just starting out on her mission. It was really nice to be able to work with her. She is a super sweet hermana and she likes to work hard. We were able to teach a couple of our investigators and we had a really good time!

The other day, we got a call from a random number. It was a lady who told us that she had learned from missionaries before and that she wanted us to come by. We didn't know her, but we decided that it couldn't hurt. We were a little late and we were having a hard time finding her house, but we finally found the address that she had told us. We knocked on the door and a woman answered. She told us to come in and she gathered all of the family around. We asked her how long ago it was that she learned from missionaries and she told us that she had never seen missionaries before. It turned out that it wasn't the person that we had talked to on the phone and that no one with that name lived in that house. The lady was super nice and pretty interested. Later, we tried to call the person who called us and she never answered us back.

Things have been going well for us here and I have been able to see many miracles. I know that the Lord is in charge of this work and that he leads us to where we need to be. I am so glad that I am able to be here on a mission! I know that this is the true gospel of Jesus Christ! I hope that you all have a good week!

Hermana Blau

Monday, February 13, 2017

Week Fifty-Eight: Exchanges

Area: Arvin Spanish Group
Companion: Hermana Luquette

This week was interesting. It was full of even more exchanges and Zone Conference. We have been really busy, but we are working hard and we have been seeing miracles every day!

Our first exchanges of the week were with Hermana Torres and Hermana Dye from up in Little Rock. Hermana Torres and I had a really good night and we were able to talk to a lot of people. We had a couple of appointments, but most of them fell through at the last moment and we ended up walking around in the rain for a while. I liked it because it made me feel like an authentic missionary! :) The good thing about Arvin is that there are always people outside on the streets, even when it is dark and rainy.

We had exchanges again at the end of the week with the Hermanas from Esperanza who are in a trio and I went with Hermana Badger and Hermana Galvez, a new missionary. It was really fun. It makes me a little sad that I have never really experienced the trio life for real. We had lessons with almost all of our investigators, so it was nice to be able to teach that much.

Because Julio lives in Lamont now, we are letting the elders that work there teach him his recent convert lessons, so we had a combined lesson to hand him off. I was still with Hermanas Badger and Galvez and the elders are currently in a trio as well, so there were a ton of missionaries at the lesson. We decided to teach Julio about prayer and to teach him how to say simple prayers. We have taught Julio a million times that we pray to God, but each time that Julio prays, he prays to Jesus Christ. We decided to teach by demonstration, so each one of the six missionaries that was there said a short, simple prayer. Then, we went over one more time how to say simple prayers and we asked Julio to say one. We all had our fingers crossed that he got the lesson, but he again addressed his prayer to Jesus Christ. There was an audible groan from all of us. He is a work in progress, but he is still happy to be baptized!

This week, during planning, we decided to shake things up a little bit. Normally, we look through our records for people who stopped learning from the missionaries a while ago and plan them in to see. Normally, they are either not home or not interested, so we decided that we were going to call the numbers that are listed on their records. The first person that we called that way was named Refugio. He was taught by the missionaries here right before I came to Arvin. When we called to set up the appointment, he was super excited and told us that we could come over that night. We went to see him and he told us that we could sit and talking to him on a tree stump that was in his yard. I felt like I was in a fairy tale or something. He told us that he didn't know why the other missionaries had stopped coming by and that he wanted to be baptized. We asked him if he still wanted that and he said that he did. He is super cute and has a lot of faith. He has trouble reading, so we have gone over every day since then and read from the Book of Mormon with him. On Saturday night, he told us that he wouldn't be able to go to church this week because his boss told him that he had to work. We told him that we understood, but we were praying with him for a miracle that would let him come to church. On Sunday morning, right before church, he texted us and told us that he got off of work earlier than he thought that he would and that he was able to come to church. He got there a little bit late, but he really liked it!

Things are going well here. I am so happy that I have been given the chance to serve a mission here in Bakersfield and to meet all of the people that I have. I love working here! Every day, I am able to see the blessings of God on the work and that he really cares about us all. I love the gospel and I love being a missionary. I hope that you all have a good week!

Hermana Blau

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week Fifty-Seven: Julio Got Baptized!!

Area: Arvin Spanish Group
Companion: Hermana Luquette

Hello! This week was pretty good. We have been seeing a TON of miracles and the work is really progressing down here in Arvin. The Lord has been blessing us a lot and we are living the life.

Biggest news of the week: Julio got baptized! I never would have expected him to have gotten baptized when we first started teaching him. At the beginning of the week, we went over to Julio's house to talk to him about baptism again. He told us that he was finally done waiting and that he wanted to go through with it. The entire time leading up to the day was full of miracles. From the very beginning attempts of trying to set Julio with a day to be baptized, he always told us that he didn't want to be baptized when it was cold outside. He made it a little hard for us, but we told him that if he set a date to be baptized in January or February, he would see a miracle with that. As we started this week, the weather was beautiful. It has been raining pretty much nonstop for the last couple of weeks and it has been cold and miserable outside, but on the day of the baptism, it was unseasonably warm and the sun was shining. The spirit was so special at Julio's baptism and you could tell that he felt excited (even though he was trying to hide it) We asked him how he felt after he was baptized and he told us that he just felt warm. It was so sweet!

We went over for one of our last lessons with Julio before he got baptized. Despite looking for one of the sisters from the group to come with us, we couldn't find anyone. We ended up just going, knowing that we wouldn't be able to go inside his apartment. When we got there, Julio invited us to go inside and we told him that we couldn't because of the mission rules. He got super sad and told us that he had gone to Bakersfield to buy pots and plates and then had walked all over Lamont to buy groceries in order to make us mole. He was sad because he thought that we wouldn't be able to eat it with him because there wasn't a table. In a sudden moment of creativity, we decided to turn over a couple of cardboard boxes form a table and we ate the food there. It was the cutest lunch/dinner ever!

At Julio's makeshift table eating rice and mole.
Speaking of our investigators, we started teaching a person named Luis. He is young man who recently returned from serving a mission for the Catholic church. We started talking to him after we saw a dove in a cage on his porch and he let us hold it. We have had a couple of lessons with him and he really liked reading in the Book of Mormon. This Sunday, we invited him to come to church, but we didn't really expect that he would come. Imagine our surprise when he walked into the church building right after it started! He was wearing a giant cowboy hat and told us that he had walked all the way to the church building. He also was friends with one of the members and her nonmember brother who we are also currently teaching. We went over for a lesson after church and he said that he really liked it. He tried to pay to take one of the Gospel Principles books home so that he could study it, but they ended up giving it to him for free. 
At the Mission Leadership Council.
This week, we started the exchange season again. We had two different exchanges, but both with new missionaries. Our first exchanges were with Hermana Wright and Hermana Melendez and I went with Hermana Wright. She is such a good missionary and has a strong testimony. We were able to teach some good lessons and find some cool people to start teaching. Later this week, we went on exchanges with Hermana Latimer and Hermana Perdomo. I was with Hermana Perdomo. She is from Honduras and has been living in the United States for the last couple of years. It was super fun to be able to practice my Spanish with her. Plus, both she and Hermana Melendez knew Laney from the MTC, so we talked a little bit about her. That was really strange, but it was fun to be able to talk to them!
with Hermana Wright

with Hermana Perdoma

That is just about it for the week. We have been seeing the Lord's hand in the work and I am more and more grateful everyday for the chance that I have to be a missionary here. I love that I get to study and teach about the Doctrine of Christ every day of my mission and that I have the opportunity to truly change people's lives. I hope that you all have a good week!

Hermana Blau

Frozen yogurt we got during some extra time on P-day.