Monday, October 29, 2012

Great Joy

Hola Todos,
This has been an awesome week!  I absolutely love my mission!!!
The most exciting news is that Guillermo got baptized. I feel so privileged to be able to help out in God's work and watch Guillermo make a mighty change in his life.  We didn't do much, if anything, but somehow we were privileged to be able to help Guillermo come unto Christ.
The baptismal service was wonderful.  The spirit was so strong, and I am so excited for Guillermo.  He is an example of excellent faith!  We forgot to arrange for a piano player, so I got to play the piano for the baptismal service.  I played Come Unto Christ for the opening hymn and Choose the Right for the closing hymn.  Thanks Sister Martin for teaching me to play the piano.  And Thanks Merrill Ward for giving me the experience playing in front of people during Relief Society!
Tania, Guillermo's girlfriend, came in from Utah for the baptism, and she gave the talk about baptism.  I talked about the Holy Ghost.  Well, actually, I prewrote my talk and read about the Holy Ghost.   The spirit was so strong!  Baptismal Services are so cool, as is Guillermo.
Then on Sunday, Guillermo got confirmed a member of the Church.  He has such strong faith, and such a great testimony.  This was such a great begining for him and his progress towards the celestial kingdom.
This whole week I have been thinking about the scripture that says, "And if it so be that you should labor all your days in crying repentance unto this people, and bring, save it be one soul unto me, how great shall be your joy with him in the kingdom of my Father!"  (D&C 18:15) I don't know what I did to be privileged to have this great joy, but I feel so blessed to have been able to invite Guillermo to come unto Christ. 
We were also able to teach many cool investigators, like Abel y Jacobo, Maribel y Carmen, and Imelda.  We are also teaching Celia y Delia, Manuela, Gabriel, Alberto, Nancy, and probably many others. 
We are also teaching Sammy, a little 7 year old girl "member" who is preparing for her baptism.  Last night we taught her the Plan of Salvation, using a sheet of paper for each part of the plan.  We layed them around their living room floor and moved around a lot while we taught the plan of salvation.  We laid down pictures of Jesus at every part.  It was a super awesome lesson. 
The branch had their Halloween party and Hermana Martinez and I changed name tags.  We loved our costumes and thought that it was super funny! 
Have a blessed day,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Fort Hood

What a wonderful and marvellous week!!!  Waco is awesome!  (So, is Killeen, but more about that later.)
Last Monday, I went to Cavendar's for the first time. It is a really nice boot store, and I really want to get some nice cowboy boots.  I am definitely becoming a Texan!
On Friday, I went on my first companion exchange.  I went to Killeen, which is about an hour and a half away from Waco.  It is by Fort Hood.  I spent the day with Sister Brown, and it was slightly weird to be teaching in English.  In Killeen, I felt like I had left the Bible Belt behind.  Everyone there is military, and they don't have the same Texas Christian foundation that everyone in Waco has.  In Waco, we contact a lot by saying, "Do you believe in Jesus?" and everyone always says yes, and then we go on to talk about Jesus and the Restoration and stuff.  But in Killeen that failed me.  I felt like I was in a completely different mission, with different strengths and challenges. 
We taught some cool people in Killeen.  The sisters there serve in the Singles Ward as well as the family ward, and I taught a lesson to a single army guy.  It was a completely different dynamic of teaching than what I am used to.  There were three YSA members present, and we were at the church.  Counting us, there were 6 of us all in a circle.  It was very different from the lessons that we teach in people's homes to families.  And it was weird cuz we were all the same age. 
Also, while I was in Killeen, a crazy black homeless lady just walked up to our car and knocked on the window.  We were with a 19 YSA girl, Mercedes, who was driving us around, and getting super excited for her own mission.  She rolled down her window and the black lady said, "Can I get a ride to the Jack-In-The-Box?"  When we told her no, that we didn't have a ton of time, she looked like she was either going to cry or hit Mercedes.  We gave her a pamphlet, rolled up our windows and drove away.  But we had to take an alternate route, because the black lady walked in the middle of the road and we couldn't turn left without hitting her. 
Then when I got back to Waco on Saturday, we taught Gabriel, and I was super excited, because when we met him at the door, he said that he believes in Science, and that he won't believe anything unless he doesn't have proof.  It was the first chance that I have had on my mission to talk about the "Great Experiment of the Book of Mormon!"  I love explaining religion and science together.  They both complement each other, and are part of the same great whole!  I talked about how just as gravity is a law, and if I drop a ball it will fall.  So is the experiment of the Book of Mormon.  If you read it, and pray about it with a sincere desire to know, God will answer you.  (He will do it in his own time, and in his own way, but he will answer you.)  It was an awesome lesson.  The spirit was super powerful.  I love love love talking about science and religion in the same setting, because they are both true!  AND I KNOW IT!!!
We met a family Saturday whose last name is Niño, which means Child in Spanish.  They are really cool, and I think that we are going to see cool things from them.  When we said the opening prayer, the father gathered all of his children and had them put their hands together.  He understood that prayer is something special and important.
Yesterday, Guillermo and Celia and Delia came to church!  In sunday school, they talked about the Law of Chastity, and in Relief Society, they talked about the Word of Wisdom.  I am sure it was a great review for Guillermo, because he is getting baptized on Friday.  But I hope that it didn't overwhelm Celia and Delia.  We have been taking our lessons really slow with them, and we haven't taught either of them.  During Relief Society, Celia leaned over and asked me why we can't drink coffee.  We explained it to them, and gave them a pamphlet, and I think that she is going to start living the Word of Wisdom, but I think that Church might have overwhelmed them.  Next time that we teach them, we are going to teach both Chastity and the Word of Wisdom to follow up from what happened at church, and to make sure that they understand. 
I am super excited for Guillermo's baptism this Saturday!  Wish me luck with my talk on the Holy Ghost in Spanish.  Ojala que todo este bien.
Y'all have a blessed day,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez

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. 

Queso Fresco Burritos should really be called Queso Fresco Flautas, and they are attributed to Hermana Requena.

Tuna Tostado is attributed to Hermana Rameriz

  • 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!

Monday, October 15, 2012

"Me Cae Bien"

Hello Y'all,
Tuesday, we were walking outside our apartment, and there was a huge bug on the ground.  And I mean huge.  It was like three inches long and an inch wide.  And it was such sitting there.  I thought that it was either dead, but I really thought that it was a fake bug from walmart or something for Halloween time.  Although I could figure out why anyone would put it where it was. 
My companion came outside and said it was called a Cicadia, or something, and then went to step around it, because it wasn't moving and it really looked dead.  And then it screamed at her, and I screamed and ran backwards.  Welcome to Texas, Hermana Sanchez.  Huge bugs that scream at you! 
We gave Alberto a church tour this week, and talked about the Atonement.  He came to Stake Conference, which was super cool!  They talked a lot about missionary work, and some people shared their conversion stories.
We set a baptism date with Celia and Delia for November 3rd.  They are so sweet! 
On Friday, we were able to teach Nancy for the first time since I have been here.  She is so cool!  She has been reading and praying and going to church, even though we haven't been able to teach her, because she is super busy. 
Oh my goodness, Guillermo is amazing!  We called him up on Friday, because we realized that we wouldn't be able to make it to his appointment, so we needed to reschedule.  During that conversation, he said that he wants to be baptized, and wanted to know when he could be baptized.  We had already been praying and thinking about what date we should set with him, so we told him October 27th, and he said that sounded perfect. 
When we taught him, he asked me to say the opening prayer, because he likes my spanish, which I think is super funny, because my Spanish is super broken, and is more like me throwing words together and trying to make them come out is some semblance of order, rather than anything that actually makes sense.  But it did make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. 
Then we set up the program for his baptism, and he asked me to give the talk on the Holy Ghost.  I am super honored, it will be a great opportunity for me to give a talk completely in Spanish.  
Then at the end of the lesson, Hermana Martinez asked me to pull out a chastity pamphlet for Guillermo, because that is the next lesson that we will be teaching him, and he likes to study the lessons beforehand.  While I was pulling it out, he said something directly to me (You have to understand that I don't understand most of what takes place during the lessons.  I try super hard, and just follow the spirit and hope that I am saying something relevant to the topic of conversation most of the time.), but I didn't understand it, because he said it super fast, so I looked to my companion for a translation, and she was like you will understand it, and then asked Guillermo to repeat it.
And he said, "Me cae bien." to me.  Awwwwww.  How sweet.  For you English Speakers, Me cae bien is how you say that you like someone.  It litterally translates into "you fall well for me."  But telling someone "Me gusta" is like telling them that you really like them (kinda like falling in love.. :D).  So, yes it is opposite in Spanish, but I like the expressions!
Well, I had a chasity pamphlet in my hands, and I wasn't sure what to do with it, so I was just like "Pues, Castidad."    And then Guillermo told my companion, "I hope that she knows that I don't mean it like that."  and then we all fell into a fit of the giggles.      Just some advise for all you future missionaries:  If ever your investigator tells you that they like you, don't reply by saying, "well, chastity."  Although it was muy chistoso. 
Hermana Martinez got to translate parts of Stake Conference.  And she did a super good job!  Yesterday she wrote in my journal for me (muy chistoso, I know), and here is a snippet of what she wrote: "I love being a missionary so much.  I also LOVE SISTER MARTINEZ SOOO MUCH  SHE IS SOOO COOL AND SO MEXICAN!!"  I really do love Hermana Martinez.  and I think it is so chistoso that her biggest goal in life is to be Mexican.  Here goal in life is to be able to pass for a Mexican!
Anyway, I love Texas so very much!  Waco is so cool!
Y'all have a blessed day,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez


Pineapple Drink

Blend up pineapple, sugar and cold water.  Yum!

Yummy Fruit Salad - Hermana Yamilet Cruz

3ish tablespoons sour cream
sweetened condensed milk (some)
sliced strawberries
sliced bananas
mix together.  yum.
So this recipe isn't very exact, but it was super yummy!

Missionaries Rock

{Sorry... Julie wrote this letter on October 9th and I forgot/ got busy and didn't post it to her blog.}

Hey y'all,
On Thursday, I ate pig's ear for the first time, and it tastes basically the same way it sounds.  I am trying all sorts of new food out here in Texas!  We also had a cool tender mercy on Thursday.  We stayed too long at one appointment, and we had two more after it, and there was no way that we were going to be able to make it to both of them.  Fortunately, one of our appointments called us and rescheduled for another date.  Dios nos ama.
On Friday, I had my first MOTR (Missionaries On The Run).  Since sisters can't go on exchanges with our leaders, we have combined companion study so we can get help and instruction from them.  It was pretty cool!
Guillermo came to conference!  I was so excited to hear about the new age limits for missionaries.  There are going to be so many missionaries coming out to the field in the next few months, and I am super excited.  This is going to be super awesome!  But we think that both Utah State and BYU are going to be very empty for the next few semesters and all of their students leave on missions.
Missionary work is awesome!  Seriously all y'all 18 year old men and 19 and 20 year old women.  Y'all should come out here as soon as possible.  The work is great, and there is so much to do.  We need your help, and anxiously look forward to when y'all can join us out here in the field! 
The field out here in Waco, Texas is truly white, already for the harvest.  There are so many people that we meet and teach, and find and teach, and are referred to and teach.  Texas is awesome! 
I love how many churches there are here.  There are normally 1 to 3 churches on every street corner.  You can't drive for more than 2 blocks without running to another church.  The people here have so much faith in their Saviour.  The Bible Belt is awesome. 
Y'all have a blessed day now,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Authentic Enchiladas (Hermana Rameriz)

Ok, so the enchiladas that we are all used to where you roll stuff in tortillas and bake in the oven, is really Tex-Mex, and not authentic Mexican enchiladas.  This is what Mexicans think of when they make enchiladas.
Boil some chicken breasts in chicken broth until they can be easily shredded.
1 part Chile (peppers, Hermana Rameriz used Cerano Peppers)
3 parts tomatillo (green tomatoes)
chicken broth
Heat a little bit of oil in a large pan.  Put chiles, tomatillos and chicken broth into a blender and liquify (seeds and all).  Add liquified chiles and stuff to the hot oil, and sizzle it for a bit.
Use corn tortillas and fry them a bit in another pan.  Then dip them in the sauce and fold them in half and place two or three on a plate.
Top with shredded chicken, chopped rabanos (raddishes), chopped cilantro, chopped avocado, sour cream, lechuga (lettuce), and queso fresco.
Serve hot!

Queso Fresco

Queso Fresco is seriously the most amazing cheese in the world, and I can't imagine why I have never had it before.  But here is a recipe for you to make some for yourself.
8 cups milk
1/4 cup vinegar
4 tablespoons salt
Heat it all together just until it boils.  Drain through cheesecloth and form into a cheese clump.
Queso Fresco is a crumblying cheese.  So rather than shredding it, or slicing it, serve by crumbling in your hands and topping on top of everything!

This recipe is attributed to Hermana Aguilar.

What a Week!

Hola Y'all!  Ojala que todo este muy bien!
Oh, man, what a week.  We have so many investigators, and so many referrals.  We teach and teach and teach.  And when we aren't teaching we are contacting referrals.  I love it so much.  I am so blessed to be in an area as awesome as this one!  Waco rocks my socks!  We taught 16 lessons this week, contacted 9 referrals, and have 7 new investigators. 
Guess what?!  The walmart here sells Lactose Free Chocolate Milk!  I love Chocolate Milk so much, but it has been about 7 years since I last drank real chocolate milk, not just the Nesley powder stuff.  I am so happy that I have chocolate milk to drink!  Yippee!!!
One of our new investigators is Javier.  He is really intrigued about how we have modern revelation.  But he is a little bit cautious, because a lot of churches say they receive revelation, but they never actually have anything new to show him.  Fortunately, we actually do have a ton of modern revelation, like the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants, the Pearl of Great Price, and conference every 6 months.  Not to mention, the Family a proclamtion to the World, and the Living Christ.  Our church is a very productive church.  (I am pretty sure I wrote a blog about how our church is a productive church sometime before my mission, y'all should check it out.)
On Jueves, we scheduled an appointment with Hector and Valentina.  They are two recent converts, and we were going to teach them a recent convert lesson.  But we got there, and found that they had invited one of there friends there to hear our message, and they had made us dinner!  Members are amazing! 
The dinner with them was muy chistoso!  They had made they wonderful chicken strips, and delicious rice and stuff.  But because my companera loves spicy things, they made a super spicy sauce for her.  They offered it to me, and I was like, "no gracias."  But they told me that I was in a Mexican House, so I had to try some.  So, I did.  I put a tiny bit on my plate, and put an even tinier bit on a piece of chicken, and, I felt like my mouth was on fire.  My face turned so red, and they all thought it was a great joke.  :D  But, I am going to learn to like pico (spicy), and it is going to be great. 
On Saturday it rained and rained and rained some more.  I learned the importance of having both a rain coat and a paragua (umbrella).  After about 10 minutes in the rain with just my rain coat on, I was throughlly soaked.  :D   But we met a bunch of really awesome kids who were outside playing in the rain, and hopefully their parents will let us teach them.  I am really excited for one little girl, Angelita.  She seemed to know that what we were teaching is something that should be shared with the whole world, and she kept taking to different houses to talk with different people. 
I have learned that it is important for missionaries to carry stickers around with them to give to the children.  This is something that the Primary General President told us to do when she came and talked at the MTC.  I have to admit, that at the time I thought it was stupid, but as soon as I met the children in our ward, my heart melted and I loved them so much.  So I have started carrying stickers around with me, and I give one to every child that I see.  I love the children so much, and the stickers are an easy way to let them know that I care about them.  Plus when the children love us, it helps us be able to teach their parents the gospel.  Truly the Primary President is an inspired woman!
Yesterday, I learned a new word: platicar.  My companion has been using it a lot when we try to schedule appointments with people that we meet.  She asks them if we can platicar a little bit of our message with them.  I kept hearing practicar, which means to practice, and I thought that was just a cultural thing.  That rather than asking if we can teach people, we ask them if we can practice with them.  But, no, actually platicar means to chat, to talk about, or to preach.  It all makes sense now!
The members are really good at helping me to learn spanish.  During dinners with them, I will ask them how to say a ton of things, and they are very patient with me, as I write down all of the words, and try to learn it all.
I love Texas so much!  This is an amazing place, and there are so many amazing people that I meet each day.  I am so blessed to have this opportunity to serve the Lord. 
Best Wishes,
Hermana Juile Anna Sanchez
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