Monday, March 27, 2017

Week Sixty-Four: Refugio!

These are pictures of the baptism. We didn't get any while he was in his suit. (They all came out super strange too. He looks like we just told him to go to his execution instead of his baptism). He was happy, I swear!

Area: Arvin Spanish Group
Companion: Hermana Luquette

This week was pretty fun! We were able to see a lot of cool things. We had a couple of exchanges, the Women's Conference, and a baptism! Things are going well in the area and we have been seeing miracles!

This week started out with exchanges! Due to the fact that we had our baptism on Friday night and the Woman's Conference on Saturday, we weren't able to have exchanges over the weekend. Instead, we chose to do back-to-back exchanges from Monday night until Wednesday night! I had never done exchanges that way, but it was a lot of fun. We started out with the other Hermanas in our district who work down in La Cresta: Hermana Zambrano, Hermana Weaver, and Hermana Galvez. I was with Hermana Zambrano and Hermana Weaver. It was a reunion of three mission generations. We were able to find a couple of people to teach and we were able to teach a couple of our investigators. Also, Hermana Galvez knows how to thread eyebrows, so she threaded our eyebrows when we came in for night. Now, they are on fleek!

Right as the Hermanas from La Cresta were leaving, we started our exchanges with the Hermanas from Buena Vista, Hermana Melendez and Hermana Wright. I was with Hermana Melendez. It was a little bit of a miracle when they came over because we were a little out of food after our last exchanges. When the Hermanas walked in, they told us that they had some food that they wanted to give to us. We didn't starve this week! Exchanges with Hermana Melendez were really fun! I don't know why, but every person that we talked to was someone that I had already met before. It was strange. . . I guess that is what happens when you work in such a small place. Halfway through the exchange, it got really cold. It had been really warm and sunny, then we started talking to a man on the street (who I had met a couple of weeks ago :) ). Halfway through our five minute conversation, the temperature rapidly dropped 10 degrees. It was freezing. Then, it started to rain. Neither of us had brought a jacket and we didn't have any solid plans. We tried to visit a couple of less actives and recent converts, but they were either busy or not home. We spent a couple of miserable hours in the rain, but we were able to be led by the spirit and I felt like it was a good experience. Hermana Melendez told me that she wanted to work on being more persistent during the exchange, so I think that we were blessed with rain to help us to learn. We were able to talk to some cool people and we have gone back to visit a couple of them.

This week, we spent a lot of time working with Refugio to prepare him for his baptism. It was really fun to be able to see how excited he was for everything. Now that he knows about the church, he wants to share it with all of his friends. He lives in a house with a couple of his family members and other people from Guerrero that he has met here in California. He started inviting them to come and sit in with us. One of them, Filemon, has been listening almost every night and told us that he would like to be baptized as well. He told us that he would like to come to Refugio's baptism and that he would drive them both there in his car.

On the day of the baptism, we decided to meet up with Refugio and Filemon at their house and drive them into Bakersfield to show them where the church building was. We went over about and hour before the baptism was scheduled to start so that there would be enough time for us to drive thirty minutes to Bakersfield and give him time to change before the baptism started. When we got to his house, however, Refugio told us that he had had to work a late at his job that afternoon and that he had just gotten home. Filemon wasn't even there yet. We ended up heading out about thirty minutes late and we got to Bakersfield about ten minutes after the baptism was scheduled to start. There were three baptisms happening in the ward on the same day, so we had a big group baptism scheduled and we were worried that everyone there would be a little mad that we were holding everything up. However, when we walked in, everyone was sitting quietly and waiting for Refugio. It was sweet. It was a great service and Refugio was so excited and happy to be baptized. He has been such a joy to teach!
He really was happy. Really!
On Saturday night, we went down to the General Woman's Broadcast. It was great! I love the fact that we are able to listen to the words of the living prophets and the general authorities twice a year. What a blessing! I felt the spirit so much and everyone was speaking.

Church was great this week, too. We started teaching a lady named Guadalupe and her husband, Rafael. We went over for a quick lesson with them before church started and they came to church. The group members here in Arvin are great at fellowshipping and they said that they really liked it. Also, Refugio was able to be confirmed. He was a little late coming the meeting because he got called in last minute to work that morning, but he came in about 15 minutes late and they were able to do the confirmation.

This week was really nice. It strengthened my testimony that we are here for a specific reason and that the Lord directs this missionary work. I love the gospel and I love being a missionary. I know that this is the true church of Jesus Christ! I hope that you all have a good week!

Hermana Blau 

Monday, March 20, 2017

Week Sixty-Three: Where I Need to Be

Area: Arvin Spanish Group
Companion: Hermana Luquette

This week has been good. We have been able to work a lot with our investigators and we have been able to see a lot of miracles in the work. Exchanges have started up again this week and it has been great to be able to learn from the other Hermanas in the mission. Things have been going great!

Starting with something a little mundane: Last Monday, we discovered a hidden treasure of the East Bakersfield Zone -- Mercado Latino. We heard a couple of months ago that there was a place here in the city that you could buy a ton of Mexican things. We had been asking and asking people all around if they knew where the Mercado Latino was and they said that they didn't. Finally, the other week, one of our investigators was able to tell us where it was (and also told us that he could take us there for dinner at a future point!). Last Monday, we were finally able to go. It was magical. One of my dreams when I heard that I was coming to this mission was to get a poncho and it was finally realized!

On Wednesday, we had a combined Zone Conference with the South Bakersfield Zone. It was really spiritual and I was able to find new direction for our area. It was also really fun to be able to see all of the other Hermanas on this side of the mission. I love all of the people that I am serving around right now! We learned about spiritual power and how we can be better channels of the spirit in the work. I am so excited that we are able to share the gospel with everyone and to help them to change their lives.

Speaking of helping people to change their lives, we have still been teaching Refugio and he is so excited to be learning about the gospel and coming to church. Every time we go over to talk to him, he is always so excited about reading in the Book of Mormon and all of the things that he is learning. He passed his baptismal interview and he should have his baptism on Friday, with all luck. It has been a pleasure to be able to help him through the learning process. Whenever we go over, he always tells us about all of his friends that he knows and how much he wants to share about the Book of Mormon with them. He has already given us the names of a couple of friends that he has and he wants us to teach all of his family that is in town. He is the cutest man! He is going to be a great member of the Arvin group!

This week, we started exchanges! Due to the Zone Conference on in the middle of the week, we were only able to have exchanges with one set of hermanas. On Friday, we started our exchanges with the hermanas from Lancaster, Hermana Martineau and Hermana Perdomo. I was with Hermana Martineau. It was a fun time and we were both able to learn a lot from each other. She is a wonderful missionary and we went out and worked hard! It is finally starting to get a little hotter outside and we spent a little bit of time walking in the morning, so I am starting to get a little bit of a tan and my freckles are getting a little darker. The winter has made me such a baby. It was only 85 degrees outside and I was starting to sweat. I thought I would leave the mission before the summer came back, but I think that I am still going to experience the most of it!

We went over to see out investigator, Luis, on Tuesday night. When we went over for the lesson, we were talking to him a little bit about his life and everything that was going on. He recently started working as a bee keeper and has been pretty excited about that job. As we were talking, he told us that he was going to be leaving in the morning for two months to go work on a bee farm in Missouri. We were so sad that he was going to be away for such a long time, but we left him with a pretty good lesson and we told him to text us when he got to where he was going so we could send missionaries by his house. I was secretly hoping that he was going to move to Waynesville and go to church with my family. We didn't hear from him for a couple of days and we thought that he was avoiding us when we got a text from him on Friday during exchanges. He told us that they hadn't actually sent him out of town and that he was still at his house. It was a pleasant surprise!

That is pretty much it for the week! I love being a missionary and being able to share the gospel with the world. I know that I am where I need to be and I am doing what I need to be doing. Teaching the people is so rewarding. I hope that you all have a good week!

Hermana Blau

Monday, March 13, 2017

Week Sixty-Two: People Are Great!

Area: Arvin Spanish Group
Companion: Hermana Luquette

This was a pretty good week. We have been working hard and seeing success from all of our efforts. It has been starting to heat up here. I must have been spending too much time in the cold because I am getting super uncomfortable in the heat. That is bad news because it is supposed to be in the high eighties this week.

This week has been a good start to the new transfer. Hermana Luquette and I are still together here in Arvin, so we are having a lot of fun down here. I am excited to be able to serve in this part of the Lord's Vineyard for the next couple of weeks. Everyone has been staying outside recently because of the pleasant weather, so we have been able to talk to tons of people.

Early on this week, we were walking down the road when we saw a man standing in his yard. We started talking to him and we noticed right from the start that he was a little strange. We told him that we were missionaries and he asked us if we had ever heard of Asaroth, the Angel of Death. We told him that we hadn't and he said, "Of course you haven't. They don't want you to know about him. But I got a picture of him on my phone." He proceeded to tell us that he stands outside of the retirement home and waits for people to die and then takes pictures of their windows. He showed us the picture that he took and it was just static. We told him that we couldn't see anything and he said that we must not be pure in heart. Awkward. . . Then, he showed us a picture that he took of God. It was another picture of static. After Hermana Luquette saw the picture, she said that even though she hasn't seen God, she knows that He is there. The man then said, "What do you mean that you haven't seen God? You just saw a picture of him!" It was super funny! You see and learn something new every day!

Early one morning, we were parked in an area and got out of the car to talk to people. There was a lady on the phone next to where we were parked, so we asked her if we could just give her our card. She said that we could. As we were writing out our information, we started to notice that there were tire marks all over the yard. The yard was completely destroyed and there was glass and broken car parts all over the yard. We found out that a car had been doing donuts in the street when it lost control and crashed into a parked car. We were able to help out a little bit and later, we were able to take advantage of the fact that everyone had come out to see the rubble in the street.

We were walking down the street on Saturday when we saw a man destroying a plastic rake with a hammer and a chisel. He never made it clear to us why he was doing that. We started talking to us and he started rambling about the Bible. He talked to us nonstop for about ten minutes. While he was talking to us, another man came up and interrupted our conversation. I started talking to that man and Hermana Luquette was left to talk to the man with the rake. While I was talking, I heard the man talking to Hermana Luquette. He said that he was looking for a wife and then he asked her if she would marry him. It was super awkward. We made a quick retreat!

This week, we started teaching a lady named Josephina. She is the friend of a member in the ward and has been to church a lot of times already. She is super sweet! The first time we went over to teach her, she was making lunch. She told us to sit down at the table and made some for us as well. It was sweet. We dined on sauteed cactus and scrambled eggs. Que rico! To top it all off, she gave us a stack of homemade tortillas to take home with us in a beautiful hand-embroidered towel. It was beautiful.

We are still teaching Refugio and he is doing wonderfully. It was nice to see him at church yesterday. We went over and taught him afterwards and he said that he was able to feel a special spirit there and that he knows that going to church is a responsibility and a blessing. He is so cool! I love teaching him.

I love being a missionary! I have been able to see the hand of the Lord in so many ways this week. I know that I am in the place I need to be right now! I love the gospel and I know that it is true! Have a good week!

Hermana Blau

Monday, March 6, 2017

Week Sixty-One: Fourteen Months Down!

Area: Arvin Spanish Group
Companion: Hermana Luquette

This week was busy. We have been teaching a lot of people recently and we have been having back to back lessons most days. It is really fun to have so many people that we are working with and to be able to see everyone progress in their own little ways. Things have been going well and we have been seeing miracles everyday.

One of the people that we are teaching is named Luis. He is a young man and he works in the fields. He told us that his New Year's resolution this year was to hold down a job and that he felt like we have been helping him with that, so we are always excited to ask him how work is going. The other night, we had just gotten out of dinner when Luis sent us a text asking us to pray for him to get a new job. We assumed that he had lost his old job, so we told him that we would go over to his house and pray for him. When we got to his house, he opened the door and we said, "We are sorry to hear about what happened." Then he looked really confused and asked us what we were talking about. After some initial confusion, we discovered that he hadn't lost his old job, he was just looking for a better job working with the honey bees. We were able to say a prayer with him and he told us in our lesson yesterday that he got the job! Prayer works.

We also have started to teach another man named Ricardo. He likes to sit around his house and whittle old table legs into baseball bats. He also has about a million chickens. The other day, he let us hold a couple of his newly hatched chicks. So cute! We have been teaching him for about a week and a half and he has a real desire to learn about Jesus Christ and to change his life. The other night, we went over for our lesson and a lot of his friends were also sitting outside of his house. We started talking to the group, but a couple of the people were wanting to Bible Bash. We were trying to bear our testimonies and Ricardo started bearing his testimony as well and quoting from the parts of the Book of Mormon that he had read to answer his friends' questions. It was neat  to see!

Also, we started teaching a woman named Maria this week. The other week, I wrote about receiving a phone call from someone that wanted us to come over and about how we couldn't find their house. We thought that it was just a fluke and that the house didn't exist. Later, I was looking down at what I had written in my agenda and I found the address for Maria. It turned out that we had been looking for the wrong house all along. When we went over to her real address, we found Maria at home. She had a stroke a couple of years ago and as a result, she hasn't been able to walk for a long time. We went over and were able to share some scriptures with her that helped her to find a little bit of comfort.

Things have also been going well in teaching Refugio. He gave us dinner the other day. He doesn't have a lot of cooking skills, so he took us out to eat at the local Mexican Restaurant. It was super nice. He told us during the dinner that about his wife and children who are still down in Mexico. I guess he came here to the United States to make money and that after a couple of years, they will be able to come up here and join him. Then he told us about how we helped him to find peace and that we helped him to feel better about being away from his family. It was sweet!

We had Mission Leadership Conference, Zone Training Meeting, and Stake Conference this week. That all added up to be a lot of time in meetings, but it was nice to be able to learn from the spirit and to receive direction about the things that we need to be doing in our area of the mission and in life in general. I love this gospel and all of the things that it gives me. I know that I have so much happiness now because of the things that I have learned and the ways that I have come closer to Christ! I love being a missionary!

I love you all! I hope that you have a good week!

Hermana Blau