July 28, 2014

Always worth it to be obedient

Dear people!

Good week. Things are speeding up, and it seems like the rest of this month is just a big "Before You Go" checklist. Crazy! But I'm enjoying every moment and trying to think of good comebacks for all the Trunky jokes that my zone is throwing at me. There are three elders that will just not leave me alone, and I am now known as Hermana Zombie, for being so close to my mission death. If you have any ideas for how to respond to them, please write me haha

Just one quick example of why it is worth it to be an example of the believers in all times, all things, and all places. As sister missionaries, we can`t be alone in the house with grown men if there isn't a woman present with us. It is a mission rule, and even though people don't always know or understand, we need to live it despite the difficulties that it sometimes presents. Well, we went by a member's house this week to pick up some scriptures that I bought for a couple people. He is a bishopric counselor, and his wife is a great ward missionary. It was a rainy, windy day, and when we knocked on the door, he opened with a sympathetic face and asked us if we wanted to come in and escape the rain. He said his wife had gone around the corner to visit someone but would be back soon.

We looked at each other, but just said we'd wait a moment while he grabbed the books. As he came out with the scriptures, he said to us, "That is true. I know your rules." And then he kinda smiled at us, as if he was testing us all along to see if we'd cave in to avoid the rain. We walked away and I was just sooooo grateful that we`d chosen to stick by the rule. If we had entered his house, we would've lost his respect as honest, obedient missionaries, and lost some of the Lord's blessings as well. It is ALWAYS worth it to be obedient.

I love this work, and I love each of you!!

Hermana Oldroyd

Maggie's twin in Chile

Have I ever sent you pictures of our view?

July 21, 2014

The Holy Ghost really is real

Dear people-

There are some goooooood things happening in Tomé. Let me tell you about just a few.

1. In our district class, Elder Clark taught us about the Spirit of Elijah. It was a different kind of class, and really expanded my understanding of that promise. President has taught us recently about the importance of the temple, especially the sealing ordinance. I understood that part, and we made lots of jokes about it... (On that note, Hermano Torres in our ward is always giving us marriage advice, not to mention that they played Single Ladies, Put a Ring On It in the street today, and I got a letter from my local Singles Ward today.... Oh no. This is not happening.) but the Spirit of Elijah is even more! Elder Clark told us that we should pray to find the people who`s ancestors are praying for us. Did that make sense?

 All those families on the other side of the veil that never met the missionaries are now ready and waiting to receive their temple ordinances, and that doesn't start until we knock the door of one of open-hearted descendants. They are praying for us, the missionaries, but are not just leaving it at that. They literally work by our side to prepare hearts and open doors to the living generation, so that their great-grandchildren can help them unlock the door to the heavens through restored temple ordinances. The Lord is hastening His work on both sides of the veil, and I want you to know that those dear spirits are READY. I have worked with angels more than once on my mission. Seen them, felt them, seen the influence they have, and now I know why. How important it is that we study and understand the prophecies of old.

2. La Familia Mora. Ohhhhh my, they are the best family I have ever taught in my mission. Want to know how we found them? Tómas went to play soccer on the church court with his cousin, and the Young Men invited them to participate in their mutual activity. One of them, Fabian Alarcón, invited them to come to church the next day, and they came! Tómas came alone the next week as well, and his Young Men`s leader grabbed us and said "Go teach this boy. He is golden."

Tómas is 13, and is a suuuuuper smart, sincere boy. We went to teach him, and also got to meet his two older sisters, Myra (20 years old) and Yesy (24 years old). They were open and interested, mostly because Tómas liked it so much. As we've gone along teaching them, they surprise me with how quickly they understand the gospel, and how willing they are to apply and defend it. They're already preaching the gospel to their friends, Tómas changed his phone background to the cover of the Book of Mormon, and they've already visited all the church websites. They always read their homework, always say sincere prayers and ask God if this message is true, and always serve us cookies and juice when we go by. I just want to cry every time we enter their house!

Yesy and Myra came to church for the first time yesterday, and really liked it. They wore skirts, paid attention in the classes, and to be honest? There were about 3 different members that thought they were the new missionaries instead of investigators. The members received them with open arms and showed them a ton of love and concern. One man that has never worked with us before came up to me and said "I feel a really special spirit from them. Can you organize something this week to come teach them in my home? I want to help."
If everything goes well, they'll be baptized on the 9th of August. Pray for them!

3. One of our miracles this week was the ward temple trip. We thought it'd be a complicated day for us, since 44 of our most active members weren't available to accompany us, but we called lots of others and did everything we could. At the end of the day, we were surprised to see that we had done about double the work of a normal day, and all of it with members. It was an incredible blessing that the Lord shared with us because of our ward's faithful temple attendance.

4. Another tender moment. Last week Hermana López and I invited Cesar Aburto, one of the Young Men in the ward, to go visit Gladys, a recent convert, with us. He said yes, and everything started out really well in the lesson. Right after the prayer, one of Glady´s evangelical friends came to visit, and didn't have any other choice but to sit and listen to us. She was very Anti Book of Mormon, and we tried patiently to explain to her the relationship between the Bible and the Book of Mormon. That woman just would not understand, though.

As she threw out rude and passionate comments, I was surprised to see Cesar respond to her "Now just a moment, the Book of Mormon does not replace the Bible. They were written in different continents, and you just need to ask the Lord if it is true." More than once, he answered her questions calmly, but clearly, and at the end of the lesson, we congratulted him. He told us he felt so surprised and frustrated that she was so closehearted, and we could tell that the experience had really impacted him. We kinda wondered if he would ever come out to visit with us again...

This Sunday, his Mom taught the RS class about the Holy Ghost, and began sharing Cesar´s experience with the class. She said that when he came home, he told her how helpless he'd felt at first, but then said he felt that burning feeling in his chest and that the words just came to him. When I first met him, he said he had doubts about if the church was really true, but now he has decided that the next time the ward goes to the temple, he is going to be on the inside. He told his Mom that he will always come with us when we call him, and that he knows that the Holy Ghost really is real.

I almost cried when she shared that....

5. Time is up, but I love you all so much. I pray for you!! I know that this work belongs to the Lord. I hope we are participating-

Hermana Oldroyd

Daniela, an old investigator. We went by her house right on her birthday, when she was anxiously waiting for people to come by and visit her. It was a tender mercy from the Lord, even though we hadn't planned it. How obvious it is that He really loves His children!

July 15, 2014

I chose to be happy

I`m not leaving Tomé!!!!!!! Yayyyy!!!!

They had me worried for a moment there, after announcing officially that "Cambios are going to be crazy. Those who are sure that you're leaving a sector (like Hermana López) shouldn't be so sure." But I'll be staying here with Hermana Heslop, and I'm sad and excited at the same time. I loooove Hermana Lopez and will miss her so much. She is so crazy and really helped me keep nurturing my humor and happiness. I learned a lot from her.

Oh boy, today is a big trunky day for everyone around the world. jejeje My friends went home, Elder Collins took vengeance and made me a gravestone, I felt the vibes in the office this morning with all the Goodbyes and I know it`ll be me in just 6 weeks, not to mention that we have my homecoming all set up... Whew, I`m trying not to think about it all at once. Already sobbed with Hermana Lopez for Hermana Nàjera and Rodriguez this morning, and we`ll take the rest little by little. The good thing is that God really does take precautions- today I got a letter from Kristine and another package of candy from Annaleesa that I haven`t opened yet. He, and they, are taking care of me. I know that you love me and are praying for me, and I know everything will be ok. It was here in the mission ground that I learned how to really love, and I`m happy to take the pains of that, no matter how deep. It is a good trade.  

Oh boy. Not to mention that we have to say lots of goodbyes today and I know in my heart that the next time, it will be mine, and I'll have to say goodbye to everything. Ohhhh boy. Better to just shut that out of mind and keep serving like normal.

The good news is that I have a strengthened testimony of the power of our own agency. This week I woke up one day feeling great- I had all the energy to get up and go, felt that God was happy with me, felt His love and blessings on all sides. I prayed, expressed gratitude, started daily studies. As I studied, little thoughts started coming to my mind. "But you really still lack a lot of humility." or "Remember that one investigator? You forgot to call them yesterday!" I felt the beginnings of that slow, almost unnoticeable stress and self-frustration, but stopped it right there and said to myself, "You felt great this morning. What has changed that gives you a good reason to feel bad? If God confirmed to you, just 30 minutes ago, that you were doing a good job and that He was happy with you, why are you choosing to set your own failing standard?" And I chose to be happy. It was so liberating! It is an ability that God has been teaching me all my mission, and it is nice to see it as a well-developed tool that will help me for the rest of my life. We really can choose our own happiness- first with our actions, and then in our hearts.

Seba finally got baptized!!! We were sooo happy. It was a simple service on Saturday, with a hymn and a prayer, and then the baptism. This time the font was very full and warm, and it went perfectly. After three different baptismal services and 6 attempts, Sebastian is finally a clean, new member of the church. His father approached us on Sunday with tears in his eyes and thanked us for all that we've done for his family. I swear that Seba is going to be an apostle someday or something, it was so hard to baptize him haha

Traveled to Conce two times in hopes of seeing the Traumatologist for Hermana Lopez's back, but he canceled our visit both times, AFTER we had already traveled there and waited for him. Booooo. Doctors. We had some big moments this week- it has basically come to the point where she just has to finish her mission with the pains that she has. There are some distant options that might help, but she is so determined that even if they don't turn out, she'll stick it out until the end. We just have to pray that the doctors don't send her home by force-

I love the gospel so much!!!! We got to give talks this week, and it was incredible to see the Spirit really bring it all together. Hermana Lopez talked about the conference talk "Your 4 Minutes", and I talked about preparing for the Second Coming. The Bishop followed up with a little bit about repentance, and it all came across with a very clear message. If there is something holding us back from the presence of God, now is the time to get that out of the way. Now is the time to repent, because we never know when tomorrow will be the day that God calls us back. I promise you all that it is sooner than we think- Do what you need to do to prepare. I am trying to do the same.
I love you all!!!

Hermana Oldroyd

 with Hermana Lopez

July 8, 2014

Find joy in it all

Ok people, there is really no time to write today.
We've got a doctor appointment, like NOW, and then Nico, Mari, Nicole, and my baby are coming to visit me and Hermana Nàjera. Also did a funeral this morning for those who are dying, and it turned out very well.

Seba did get baptized this week, except that they didn't fill up the font right, so the water was cold and lower than it should've been. He put his foot up the first time, but the second time the witnesses said it was fine. After the whole baptismal service, one of them told us that his foot had actually come out of the water the second time as well, (we had thought the same thing, but accepted what the witnesses said.) and that we had to do it again. We tried again Sunday before sacrament meeting, but it turns out that Seba is afraid of water ever since he almost drowned at the beach... The point is, he was never submerged completely and so we couldn't confirm him. Ohhhh boy. That has never happened before. It was a big mess with lots of priesthood brethren there giving their different opinions, but it could've been much worse- Seba's family was calm, Seba is ok, and Hermano Fierro was the one baptizing him. He showed an incredible Christlike patience and love, and was really guided by the spirit in responding to the situation. I felt a confirmation during the sacrament that everything will be ok.

So I`ll let you know what happens with that!

Each day is it's own miracle, for reasons big or small. I find joy in it all, and hope that you all feel the same.

I love you!!!

Hermana Oldroyd