Monday, September 24, 2012

The Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt

Hey y'all:
I am working on developing my Texas accent.  Hopefully in the next 16 months, I will really speak like a native, both in spanish and english.
This has been an awesome week full of tons of miracles. 
There are a couple of apartment complexes that are gold mines.  Everytime we go to visit one of them, we meet a ton of people, who have all been prepared in some way for us to meet them.  We also receive a ton of referrals.  There are so many people to teach.  We are really working on time management, because if we don't we will never be able to teach all of the people that we need to teach.
I am definitely in the bible belt, or as people call it here especially: the belt buckle of the bible belt.  There are so many churches here.  You can't drive through more than 2 stop lights without seeing another church.  It is really really awesome to be here.  Everyone loves God and worships him the best way that they know how.  One of our favorite ways to start to talk to people is to ask them if they believe in Jesus.  And everytime so far, with only 1 exception, the response is always in affirmation.  I love it here.  There is a ton of work to be done, but everyone here already has so much faith to begin with. 
On September 19th, we went on an exchange with one of the members, Hermana Nava.  We met a tone of people and TWELSed (Talk With Every Living Soul), and Hermana Nava was really good at TWELSing. 
We met a super awesome person named Lucia.  She said that she has read a Restoration pamphlet and there were some references for the Bible, but there were also some for the Book of Mormon, and she was said that she couldn't look up the references for the Book of Mormon, because she didn't have one, but she really wanted to study it further.  So, guess what, we are missionaries, and if there is one thing that we love to do, it is to give people Book of Mormons.  So, we gave Lucia a Book of Mormon, and I am excited to see how she progresses further. 
We also taught Guillermo, and he came to church again.  During the lesson, we taught the Restoration, and the spirit was on fire.  It is really awesome to be doing such great work!
One of the times when we were teaching Emma, she brought one of her friends, Mariana over.  When we introduced the Book of Mormon to Mariana, Emma said, "Mariana, I have read parts of this book, and it is all true."  She then proceded to teach Mariana the Atonement of Jesucristo.  Emma is already a missionary, and she hasn't even been baptized yet.  She has such a strong testimony and such a strong desire to follow Christ. 
We've taught a ton of lessons, and met a ton of people.  Missionary work is super awesome!  I love it.
Best Wishes,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez
P.S.  My address is:
I would love to get mail. :D

Tuna Tostadas & Queso Fresco Burritos

Tuna Tostado
  • fresh diced tomatoes
  • fresh diced onions
  • 1 can mixed vegetables (the kind with potatoes in it)
  • tuna fish
  • mayonese
  • hard corn tostado shells
Mix everything together (except for the shells :D).  Serve cold on tostado shells.
Es muy muy bueno y muy rico!
Queso Fresco Burritos
  • corn tortillas
  • queso fresco (this is the most wonderful kind of cheese ever.  I never had it until I started eating with Hispanics, but it is so wonderfully marvelous.  Y'all should try it)
  • shredded lettuce
  • fresh diced tomatoes
  • potatoes
  • optional: salsa, limes
Lightly grill the potatoes, and lightly fry the corn tortillas.  Wrap the tortillas around queso fresco.  Place 3 or 4 on a plate, and top with lettuce, then tomatoes and potatoes.  Serve with rice and black beans. 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Howday Y'all

Well, I have arrived safely in Texas.  I am serving in Waco, and the surrounding areas.  There are so many people to get to know, and so much to do.  There is a small spanish branch here, and a few English Wards.  But I will be primarily focusing on the Spanish people.
My companion is Hermana Martinez, but she is a Gringo just like me.  It is a lot of fun to introduce ourselves to people.  We have to tell them that we are mentirosas (liers), because we are both white with Spanish last names.  Hermana Martinez's Great Grandfather is from Mexico, and my Grandfather is from Spain.  She was studying to be a nurse at BYU and she has one semester left when she returns from her mission.  She is super awesome, and I love her.  She also is a great help and is helping me learn to be a great missionary.
I have learned some signs of recognizing if a house has Hispanics in it.  If there are Christmas lights up, small little statues in the yard, or a lot of bright colors, then it may be a Spanish house.  But we also contact the English Speakers as well, and then refer them to the Elders here. 
We have a ton of investigators, and combined with the members, I am struggling to keep everyone straight.  But I love them so much, and I am starting to learn each of them.  After we have taught a lesson to the investigators it helps with remembering who they are, but I am still trying to learn who everyone is. 
Spanish is definitely a barrior right now.  But I love the people so much, and I seem to understand more when we are talking about the gospel then otherwise.  The people talk very very fast, but they generally slow down a little when to help me when they hear my broken spanish. 
The members feed us dinner every night, which is so nice.  They are wonderful people, and they share so much with us.  I want to be more like them. 
I have received more hugs and kisses in Texas, then I think I have ever had in my life.  Don't worry, I am not breaking any rules or flirting with boys. :D  It is only with the women.  Part of their culture is to greet each other with a hug and a kiss.  But we only shake the hands of the men.  I love is so much.  I feel like I am part of a huge family.  Hugs and kisses from everyone as a way of greeting is wonderful.
We have a ton of investigators and even more potential investigators.  I want to help the Spanish Branch here become a ward.
One of our investigators is named Rito.  He has a baptism date, and I am super excited for him. 
We are also teaching Emma y Jesus.  Emma is such a sweetheart.  She has a deep love for the scriptures and the word of God. 
Nancy came to church this week, which is super exciting.  I haven't taught her yet, but she has three kids, and I really enjoyed meeting her.
We taught Dora y Juan the Plan of Salvation, and we brought a member with us named Zabdiel.  He shared a really cool experience during our lesson, and it was really awesome to see the Spirit at work.  I didn't understand a lot of what was going on then, because they started talking faster, but I was able to look at their body language and see the Spirit at work.
We were able to set a baptism date with Celia this week, but she wasn't able to go to church, because her sister was in the Hospital.  She is so nice and sweet. 
We are teaching the Morales Familia, and I am so excited for them.  One of the daughters feels the spirit very strong. 
We taught Krystal the restoration on her doorstep, and set a return appointment.  So we will have to see what happens there.
We ate dinner with Elizabeth one day.  She isn't a member, but she volunteered to feed us.  While we were eating dinner, we taught her the restoration and gave her a Book of Mormon.  Later, we went to a birthday party for her son.  There was a pi~nata, and it was really a lot of fun.  They do the pi~nata differently then we do.  They don't blind fold the kids, instead the pi~nata is much more durable.  The kids beat the pi~nata for about 30 seconds or so, while everyone chants a little song.  Then they gave us a ton of Mexican Candy, and although most of it is very different than what I am used to, some of it is pretty good.
We also got a for Guillermo.  He came to church on Sunday, and we are going to teach him later this week.
There is also Amalia, Maria, and Manuela, but I haven't met them yet.  And there might be one or two more.
So, yah, we have a ton of investigators.  But I love them all so much!
Texas is super green, and I love it.  I have also seen a few palm trees, which makes me incredibly happy.  They obviosly are native, but they can grow here, which makes me very very happy.
I am definitely in the Bible belt, or actually, the Belt Buckle of the Bible Belt.  There are so many churches here, and everyone believes in Jesus.  Although it is hard sometimes, because it is hard to introduce the Book of Mormon, it is really cool to be in such a spiritual environment.  There are so many good people here who worship God.
It rains a ton here.  The only time I have ever seen as much rain, as I see now was went I spent a week and a half in Georgia.  The rains just comes down in buckets. 
There are also a ton of mosquitos, which means that I will probably smell like Bug Spray for the rest of my mission.  :D
We had a cool tender mercy this week.  We forgot to bring a present to the party, but we had just eaten with some members, and they gave us both a Mexican Twinkie to take with us.  We were able to use the Twinkies as presents, which was very awesome.  We also gave them some church movies. :D
Anyways, I love it here in Texas and it super rocks to be a missionary.  As much as I loved the MTC, I love the Mission Field ever so much more, and I am so grateful to be serving the Lord in Texas, and more especially in Waco!!!
Y'all should write me, and let me know what is going on:
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez
4502 Lakeshore Dr. #1207
Waco, TX 76710
Bye now and Best Wishes,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Parable of the Bed Bugs

Lisa, this email should be posted to my blog second, so it is at the top of the blog throughout this whole week.
The Parable of the Bed Bugs
The Kingdom of Heaven is likened to two sisters living alone in a residence hall, when they woke up one morning and discovered they had been bitten by bed bugs.
Verily, they were not sure if they had really been bitten by bed bugs and they felt that it would be easier to remain where they were.
But, I say unto you, that they went to the health clinic and the doctor confirmed that they were bitten by bed bugs.  And thus, the nurses instructed them in all the things that they should do.  And they gave them supllies for all the tasks that they had to do.
And verily, the sisters washed every single article of clothing they owned in hot water.  And they sprayed all of their stuff with bug spray.  And they showered in hot water, and they washed the clothes they had been wearing.  And they moved to a new room and got new beds and new sheets.  And they left the bed bugs behind.
Yea, verily, they were clean.  And again, they were happy because they were clean. 
The Interpretation Thereof
The sisters are like unto sinners.
The bed bugs are like unto sin.
Being bitten by bed bugs is like unto the effects of sin.
Sometimes it is hard to recognize if you have sinned,  and it always feels easier to reamin in the state you are in.
The cleansing process is like unto repentance.  It is a long difficult process, and is often times hard to begin.
The doctor is like unto the Holy Ghost who can help the sinner to feel Godly Sorrow and recognize that they have sinned.
The nurses are like unto priesthood leaders and the Holy Ghost who can help and guide the sinner through the repentance process, but they cannot do it for them. 
The cleansing power of hot water is like unto appying the blood of Jesus Christ through his Atonement.
Spraying everything with bug spray and moving to a new room is like unto forsaking sins and never doing them again.
And thus at the end of the repentance process, the sinner will be clean and their joy will be great. 

How many stars in the sky?

Hola Everyone,
To start out with I am going to tell a joke.
Cuantos estrellas en el cielo?  - Cincuenta {sin cuenta}
(How many stars in the sky?  - Fifty which sounds like "with out count" en espanol)
And now for an explanation.  Aparanently many of you are confused about who Mari and Joty (and now Jorge) are.  So I will explain quickly.  Our teachers are Hermano Stoddard and Hermana Collier (and now Hermano Williams as well).  They play investigators that they taught during their missions for us.  We teach them like it is real, and they act like it is real.  So, although our lessons are only practices with our teachers, for all intents and purposes they are completely real.  I have come to love Mari and Joty (and Jorge) and I want them to be as happy as I am.  And, even though they are practices, somewhere (in Paraguay and Chile and El Salvador) those people really do exist and made the changes we have asked them to do and have become converted to the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
We also teach each other.  We are teaching Elder Miles and Elder O'Donnell who are playing the parts of Omar and DJ.  My companion is playing the part of Jamie, and I am playing the part of Emily.  For me, Emily is the person that I think I would have been if I had not been born into this wonderful gospel.
 So, my companion found out that she had bed bugs earlier this week.  We moved her to my set of bunk beds that night and vowed that we would tell people about it in the morning.   When I woke up on Jueves manana, I found that had been bitten 3 times during the night.  No big deal at all, except it meant that the bed bugs had spread to my bed and that they were all over our room. 
So we started on the process of becoming clean.  After going back and forth from the front desk and the health center, everyone was finally on the same page.  We had to wash every single piece of clothing we owned.  Spray everything else with oderless bug spray.  Take a hot shower, and then wash the clothes we were wearing.   Then we moved to a new room.  (The silver lining is that we got free dry cleaning.)
It was a really long process, and we felt like we were forever sorting through all our stuff and decontaminating it all.  We were exhausted by the time we were done with it all.
But now, I am clean.  There are no bed bugs on me or in my new room.  It feels so good to be clean.  I am clean!  And I want to remain this way for the rest of forever!
We moved into the room next door with two very sweet Sisters, Hermana Jones and Hermana Carter.
We are now the oldest district in our zone.  There is only one week left and then I go to Texas.  I am so excited and I can't wait to get to Texas.  It is going to be an amazing journey!
Best Wishes,
Hermana Sanchez
P.S.  D&C 84:88
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