Monday, July 29, 2013

Pioneer Day - We walked and walked and walked!

Hola todos!  Ojala que todo este bien para uds. 
We realized that Alma's name is reallly Alba.  So we've been calling her the wrong name for a while.  :D It is a good thing that she likes us.
On Monday we went over to see them, and they let us right in, then the children and the husband all scattered.  The children is understandable, but I am sick of flojo husbands.  Alba was helping out some of her friends and letting them stay with her while they find a place to live.  So we taught them the restoration.  And it was almost like a member present lesson.  Alba shared about the book of mormon and bore her testimony about it.  It was really cool.
We taught Alba again yesterday, and we taught her the gospel of Jesus Christ.  We told her that the church respects the father as the head of the family, but if he isn't ready to get baptized and she is, then she can get baptized with his permission, and set an example for him.  We really want the whole family to get baptized, but Manuel won't even stay around for the lessons, and Alba is so ready for the gospel.  We set a baptismal date with her for August 31st and she wants it so badly. 
The major story of the week is that we found Adolfo.  Adolfo was an investigator that Hermana Gomez and Olander were teaching a while ago, but then, his "family" kicked him out of his house, and moved him somewhere in Joshua, but couldn't remember where he was at.  He wanted to get baptized, but he wanted to wait until his wife came her from El Salvador and get baptized at the same time.  He had been saving up money for her to come, and she should have been coming in a few months. So, basically, they had this really super awesome investigator, who was lost and couldn't be found.
But we've been trying to find this guy for a while.  Several weeks ago, we got some sketchy directions from his nephew, and drove out into the middle of nowhere, and couldn't find him.  So we called prayed and asked the Lord for help.  Then we called his nephew, and all of a sudden, he remembered perfectly how to get to Adolfo's house, and he even remembered what number it was.
So we went down and followed the new directions, and he was there.  And he had just talked to his wife, and she had already gotten baptized, so he wanted to get baptized too.  We set a baptismal date with him for August 3rd
But then we went and taught him yesterday, and he is going to be moving to Houston this week, so he won't be able to get baptized up here.  But the missionaries down in Houston are going to love him!
Our biggest problem with our investigators is getting them to church.  If they would just come to church, then everything would be great! 
We teach lots of lessons, but we spend time finding even more.  We always need more investigators.  Always.
There haven't been a lot of changes with the new Mission President.  His big push is to double all of our efforts.  Which we are going to do, and it will be awesome.
For the 24th of July, my companion and I sang Come, Come ye Saints.  Then we walked and walked and walked and walked. :) and we did lots of missionary work.
con amor,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Missionary Work is the best!

Hola todos.
Well, it was just a normal week in the life of a missionary.  We found, we taught, and we invited lots of people to be baptized. 
This week, we went and taught someone in the street.  And she told me that I barely have an accent!  That makes me so happy.  Me encanta espanol!
Our ward also had a talent show this week.  It was a fun activity.  The spanish ward is super talented!
Tenga un buen dia.
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez
P.S. as you can tell, I am running out of new things to write about.  Could you ask me questions to help the creative juices flow?

Monday, July 15, 2013

Open the flood gates!

What a week.  We set so many baptismal dates.  There are so many people here who are ready for the gospel.  We are going to start baptizing weekly soon.  It is going to be amazing!
We were eating dinner at what we thought was the home of a recent convert, Yesenia.  We were sharing the story of Abish, and how she was a great member missionary, we invited them to invite their friends to noche de hogar, and then Yesenia told us, but Hermanas, I'm not even baptized yet.  Hermanas Gomez and Olander white-washed this area 3 months ago, and some of the important details were lost in the switch.  So needless to say, Yesenia will be getting baptized super pronto, because she is practically a member already.  :D
On Wednesday, we had a woman, Alma, call us up on the phone and ask us to come and pray with her.  Of course, we were like, claro que si.  Nos encanta orar.  :D  So we go and meet Alma and her very large family.  There are 6 children, 3 of them over the age of 8! :D  We find out that Alma and her family have met with the missionaries before.  Then Alma was at the store, and met a mormon, and decided that she needed to see the missionaries again, so she called us. Then we taught them and taught them and taught them some more, and ojala que they are going to be baptized soon.
And then there is Jose and Lindsey.  Lindsey is a member in one of the english wards, and is married to Jose, who speaks more spanish than English and is not yet a member.  We just happened to run into them, and now we are teaching them too.  They can come to the Spanish Ward, and Jose can get baptized!
Don't forget about Jose and Fidelia.  They came to church last week, and we set a baptismal date with Jose.
And then there is Maria Rodriguez.  Hermanas Gomez and Olander were teaching her for a while, but we haven't seen her for a few weeks.  We stopped by and she had been reading from the Book of Mormon, and guess what?  We set another baptismal date. :D
Oh, don't forget about Ruben.  His wife, Lourdes, is a member, and he has a testimony of the Book of Mormon, but he is worried that he doesn't have enough faith, so we just need to fan the fire a little bit, and then we will have another baptism.
Oh, and there is an amazing family who lives in our apartment complex.  We see them almost every other day or so, and last night we were reading from 3 Nephi 11, and you will never guess!  We set another baptismal date.
Then, there is Marta.  She is Lourdes's sister.  And she has read the Book of Mormon twice.  As soon as she figures out the law of chastity issues (She wants to leave her esposo, we think, but she just needs to find someplace to live and work out the issues with her children. Her esposo is still married in Mexico and he doesn't want to get divorced.), she will be baptized soon.
Basically, it is a great time to be a missionary!
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez
The Stephenville Moo-la cow

Interesting Stuff at the Gran Plaza (the local mall here)

There are parts of the Gran Plaza that are just like Mexico.  It is super chido!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Hastening the Work

Fort Worth is the best.  There are so many people to teach and find.  I love it.  We had 3 investigators at church, and I am sure that we are going to get many more to come to church as well.
On Tuesday we met our new mission president, President Ames.  I am super excited.  He said lots of cool t hings.  Like this time when the Lord is hastening his work is comparable to the 1st vision, the coming forth of the Book of Mormon and all males getting the priesthood. 
I've been thinking about this and I feel super blessed to be out here.  I've always wanted to go on a mission.  The question has always been, when?.  Sometimes I would think that I would have my 21st birthday in the MTC, but then I would think and pray some more and I always felt like, not now.  I needed to be in school then.  And so I always thought that I would finish my degree before I came out on a mission.
But then it all changed in an instant (literally).  I was just walking across the quad at Utah State to get to class, when I knew that I needed to serve a mission right then.  So, I started talking with my parents and my bishop, and before I knew it, I had finished the papers and was just waiting for my call.
I entered the MTC when I was 21 and 8 months.  So not, very off from my desire to have my 21st birthday in the MTC, but if that had happened, I would be home now.  I wouldn't have the last 7 months of my mission here with president Ames at this time.  I probably would have returned home just as the first effects of "the hastening of the work" hit the mission field.  And if I had waited to finish my degree until coming out, I would probably still be at Utah State finishing up, and not even out in the mission field as the Lord hastens his work.
Instead in the Lord's timetable, I am still a missionary, and I am so grateful for the Lord's timing.  I am able to be a seasoned missionary and help out the Lord's work as much as I possibly can.  Really, I feel super blessed and I feel that the Lord trusts me. :D
President Ames said that we were all foreordained to be here in this mission at this time.    I've said my whole mission that God's timing is perfect, but it really hit me again.  God knew what would happen and he blessed me to go out on a mission at precisely the right time so that I could be here at this time when the Lord hastened his work.  Que maravillosa!
I am also super blessed to be serving in Fort Worth.  We have an all spanish district, and it is such a blessing to be able to speak more and more spanish.  I know that my spanish is going to get stupendiously better.  I'm excited. 
Then we had the 4th of July here.  We ate Mexican food.   Most of the day was planning day, but during the evening, we rode our bikes all around to some the parks here, and we met lots of people.  Then we did our nightly planning outside and watched some fireworks. 
On Saturday, we went to contact a referral in Joshua, a little town about 25 miles south.  It reminded me of Stephenville a little bit.  :D  We definitely cover a much larger area (in terms of people) then we did while I was in Stephenville.  (When a small town like Stephenville, is the small far-away of our area, instead of the main center of our efforts.)  We also cover Burleson, Crowley, and Benbrook. 
Sunday, we had 3 investigators come to church.  There are definitely some very good things happening here in Fort Worth.  :D
Gracias por todo,
Hermana Sanchez

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

People, people everywhere!

Hello from the Big City!
I love Fort Worth!  There are so many people here.  It is so wonderful to meet so many different people.  We are going to be able to contact so many people every day.  It is so wonderful to be surrounded by people instead of cows and goats.  :D
In addition to there being so many people here, there are also so many hispanics.  As spanish missionaries we are really good at picking out which houses are hispanic.  You can just look at many houses and know if the people who live there are spanish or not.  In all of my other areas, there would only be 1 or 2 spanish houses in a street.  Here there are some areas where all of the houses are spanish, with only one or two english houses.  And even the neighborhoods that are slightly less hispanic, still have many more spanish people than in Denton or Stephenville.  Stephenville may be God's country, but Fort Worth is the land of the righteous saints.  :D
My new companion is Hermana Gomez, and she is super amazing.  She is already super good at spanish and she is a really great missionary.  We teach together really well.  Hermana Gomez is from Toole (sounds like tawilla, but I can't remember how to spell it).  She is 19.  She went to BYU for a year and is majoring in BioChemistry.  She loves Harry Potter, has run a marathon and loves the gospel.  I am so excited to serve with her.
Our area here is gigantic.  (Well, geographically Stephenville and Denton and Waco were far bigger, but we really only worked within city limits)  We cover everything south of the 820 loop and west of the 35W, more or less.  I am pretty sure that Stephenville was only the size of 2 of the grids on our map, and Dublin was probably only half a grid.  I think that the civilized part of my area is 20 to 30 times bigger than Stephenville is.  Sometimes, I say things, and I feel like such a country bumpkin.  Like Fort Worth is my first area where sidewalks have been invented.  Or being excited to see a Valero, or when I told my companion that I wanted to rope during our morning exercise sometimes. 
There are so many people here to find, teach and baptize.  I am so excited.  And the ward is so big!  There are so many families.  I don't know how I am going to get to know everyone and keep them all straight.  And we don't even have a ward list right now, because the zone leaders are currently working on fixing the ward list.  But I love this ward.  Everyone here is so nice and friendly.  Really it is going to be amazing to serve here.  This spanish ward is far bigger than Stephenville both english and spanish.  There is so much work to do. 
There are 4 companionships in this ward.  2 elders and 2 hermanas.  One set of elders have a visa waiter, and the other hermanas have a visa waiter as well.  (They are both waiting for their visa to come so that they can come to Peru, but until then they get to serve in Fort Worth!!!
I am starting to get to know our investigators.  There is the Sanchez family, which makes me really happy because we share the same name.  They are catholic but they want to know if the Book of Mormon is true.  And then there is Yolanda.  She is the sweetest abuelita (grandma) ever.  She came to church this sunday, and we are really excited for her.  There are a lot more, but I haven't really gotten to know them yet. 
I think that the one of the best parts of serving here is that we work only in houses and neighborhoods.  I asked my companion if she had ever gone tracting in a trailer park and she said no.  She doesn't even know if there are any trailer parks in our area.  I remember working in Denton and trying so hard to find investigators who lived in houses and no having much success.  And in Stephenville we would work so hard just to find anyone who spoke spanish, regardless of where they lived.  (Don't get me wrong the gospel is for everyone, and I have no problem teaching people who live in trailers, but I have found that generally families who live in a trailer park or an apartment complex will make commitments easy, but they will never remember to keep them, whereas families that live in houses are a little bit more hesitant to make commitments, but once they have made a commitment, they are far more likely to keep it.  This truly is a golden area, with all of the spanish people living in houses.
We taught primary on Sunday, which was more or less a disaster.  But at least the children didn't kill each other.  On the fifth sundays, they have a special combined class for all of the adults, so they got the missionaries to teach the other classes.  Both of the hermanas taught Primary.  The elders taught Young Women. 
Estoy super emocionada para servir aqui!
Nos vemos,
Hermana Julie Anna Sanchez
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