The Work has just gotten sweeter!

The Work has just gotten sweeter!
Espirito Santo, Brasil

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

My first week in the mission field!

<-------  Here is Alex's Mailing Address She would love letters!!!

Hola Familia y Amigos!!!

?Como estan? I miss all of you SO much.....these last two weeks have been the LONGEST and FASTEST weeks of my entire life! The last week in the CCM went by so fast. Saying goodbye to everyone there was so hard. I am so surprised at how much you can come to love someone in just 6 is absolutely amazing. I said goodbye to Hermana Childs at 3am on Monday morning...hardest goodbye for me other than saying goodbye to all of you in the airport. I love her so much.

I woke up at 2am on Tuesday and was on the plane at 6. A Bishop from a local ward in Mexico sat by me in the airport and talked with me.....he was a blessing from Heavenly Father.

Seeing Steph and Nicole, Matthew and Sam  in Dallas was the best. I am so glad they did that, I don't know what I would have done if they weren't there. THANK YOU GUYS FOR COMING!!!!!!

My Trainer Hermana Merrill
So I got to Utah and stayed with a sister who's companion went home that same day. The next day I met my trainer....Hermana Merrill, she is from Houston. She is so wonderful. She is so obedient and her Espanol is amazing. She has only been out for about 8 months and she is fluent.....the Gift of Tongues is real, everyone! We live in a tiny apartment and two English sisters live across the hall, Sister Porter and Sister Poleo ( She is from Tonga). They are all great and Hermana Merrill helps me so much.

On my first day, we visited a family who have gone to church two times but have never met with missionaries. So we visited them and gave them the first lesson......Hermana Merrill asked me to invite them to be baptized. So I asked them.....and guess what? THEY ACCEPTED!!!! They are all getting baptized on March 29th....that is when their son turns 8. I was super happy....and it was only my first day! So, including that family of 3, we have 4 other people on date to be baptized. Laura and Pedro on March 1, Jaquline y Ernesto on March 8, and now Edwin, Janderry, and Peter on March 29!  Our area is awesome. I am in the Murray Area and we cover one Spanish ward but it is huge. The members of the ward are so nice. Whenever you greet someone or say goodbye, you always do the hug/kiss on the cheek thing. I love it because you just connect with them and start to love them. I am beginning to love my investigators and the members....the language gets in the way sometimes but I try to show my love by being super grateful and happy.

So this week, I have had some hard mornings. I get homesick and stuff sometimes. Saturday was really bad. During personal study, I just went into the bathroom and just cried. I knelt down and started praying for help......I really felt like I couldn't do it anymore, this was harder than I thought it was gonna be, this wasn't like the CCM, I was really tired....these were thoughts that were going through my head. I prayed for a little bit and felt good to cry it out...I had been holding it in all week. I felt better after that though......I haven't felt too bad since then. Every morning, when I wake and feel SUPER tired and want to go back to bed, I always pray that God will help me to not think about myself, but about others....especially my investigators and how I can help them. I do that during personal study and Comp. Study and all day when I ride my bike EVERYWHERE!!!! (I will talk about that in a sec.) When I think about my investigators and finding those people, I feel so much better and the day goes by so much faster.

I love Spanish is not amazing and I struggle sometimes speaking it, but sometimes I do amaze myself when I can say a whole sentence or part of the lesson without messing up or having to think about how to say it in Spanish. I have a REALLY hard time understanding people though, it is super hard for me but I pray everyday for the gift of Interpretation of Tongues.....I really need that one :) I use my Spanish all day though. I gave a talk in Church on was super short but I wrote it by myself and everyone in the ward was so impressed at how well I speak it......they don't realize that I can't understand them though. It gets frustrating sometimes but Hermana Merrill helps me a lot.

Ok, so I asked Pres. Moffat about the wedding......he is a very rule-driven President so I am not allowed to go to the wedding because in the handbook, it discourages seeing family while on the mission. So, I am sad, but I'll be blessed for being obedient. Those days will be hard for me knowing you are all so close but Mother's day will be just around the corner so I will see (Skype) you all then.

So, about the bike, I am gonna buy a new bike next Tuesday, and I will take it home with me when I am done with my mission. I need you to make sure I have at least $550 in my account. We use our bikes everyday all day so I am gonna buy a really good one that will last me a year and a half...and hopefully longer. I also need some more skirts.......ones that are longer and work well with biking.....mine are all wearing out or can't work with a bike. Also, in the next package, if you could send me a photo album and thumb drive for my pictures, that would be SWEET!!!!

I am so glad that everyone is doing well..... Dad, I can't believe that lady you gave the BOM to is getting baptized, that's so awesome! I was so happy when I read that. I wish I could see the girls play basketball, or see Jenna in  the courtroom. I am so proud of all my sisters :) I miss you and love you all so much but I truly love being here.......missionary work is amazing.

Thank you for the Greenie package......I LOVED IT! I saved it for Friday a reward for working hard :)

I miss you all and love you :) I pray for you every night. I am sorry to everyone that I didn't reply to all your questions this week.......we only get an hour and I had to write about the last 2 weeks instead of just one.

Write me letters and emails.....I love hearing from everyone. Share the Gospel with your friends and give referrals to the missionaries. Referrals are AMAZING!!

Have a great week and I will email next Tuesday.....I guess Tuesday was always meant to be my day, huh?:) LOVE YOU!!

Hermana Warren

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hermana Warren - In the Salt Lake City Central Mission Field

Hermana Warren with President and Sister Moffat
Dear Brother and Sister Warren, Hermana Warren arrived safely to our mission with her usual beautiful smile.  She was tired when we greeted her at the Salt Lake City Airport.  Behind that beautiful smile we found out that she had been up since 2 a.m. with a long 8 hour stop over in Texas.  One would never know how tired she was with her gracious comments to us as we drove her and Sister Zufelt home to where she would spend the night. We picked up Chinese for her to take back to the apartment.  She arrived to the office this morning, happy as ever and in her introduction to us is where we found that you both had served in the same mission and later met at BYU Hawaii.  

Thank you for raising an amazing daughter and we promise to take the best care of her.  We did receive your package and your soon to be son in law dropped off another box here to us.  She will be able to email you next Tuesday filling you in on more details from the MTC in Mexico.  She said it was beautiful down there but was sad that she was not able to do a session in the Temple because it was closed for renovations. 

Know that President and Sister Moffat protects our missionaries with their lives.  Sister Moffat takes care of their every need and Elder Wishart and I have the easy job of just running the office and loving these Elders and Sisters.  They have built our testimonies to a height that no one can describe.  We are so very blessed to be here.  Know that you are thought of with great respect and appreciation for lending us your daughter for this period of time.  The Lord will bless you with peace over these next 18 months. 

Kind Wishes to you both and to your family.

The Utah Salt Lake City Central Mission

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

At the feet of an Apostle - Week 5 in Mexico

Hola Familia y mis amigos!!!

 How is everyone doing? Mexico is AWESOME!!! I am super sad to leave it in 6 days :( It is gorgeous here and the CCM is so wonderful. I will miss it so much. BUT I am so excited to go to SLC!!!! It is gonna be awesome and I am so excited to finally start missionary work and to teach real investigators. I have been waiting 6 weeks for this.  

All of us decided to get our hair cut before we leave.

I haven´t gotten any more letters yet....other than Dad´s letter (which I read like every day BTW). I pray so hard and even fasted yesterday that I would get the letters before I leave. I hope they get here and I check the mail box EVERY DAY! I understand now how missionaries feel about is the best thing in the world. Send me lots of mail when I am in Utah!! nothing exciting has happened this is just the same old class and then eat and then eat more food....and then have class again and eat more food again! I am never hungry but for some reason, I eat so much! I don´t understand it! Last night, we had CORN DOGS!!! I was really happy and I thought about everyone at home and how we always ate corn dogs when Mom and Dad went out on their dates....good memories :)

Here are some funny stories....
one day, when we were practicing a discussion with some other Elders in our district, a BUG flew down Hermana Childs shirt!!! It was so funny! Haha I was laughing so made my day :)

Yesterday, we looked in the mail box and there was tons of stuff in it! Hermana Childs and I screamed and ran to our District Leader to get the key to the mail box. We ran back and we saw Elder Bulinger’s and Elder Strech’s names in there and I opened the mailbox and it was a “Best Two Years Moment”. ¨Vanpelt, Vanpelt, Vanpelt¨but this time it was ¨Bulinger, Bulinger, Bulinger¨ He had 8 letters!!!!! We were super bummed :( But it was funny.

Today, we played kick ball as a rama (branch) and it was so much fun! Seriously the best...I love my branch so much and I am gonna miss them :( It is so hard making friends and then having to leave them....but I am definitely gonna see lots of them again, either at school or just on Facebook or something.

Ok, so I am gonna talk about the dedication of the training center here in Mexico City. We had to get to the Auditorium at 5:45 pm to practice the song that we sang. Then we sat in there for 40 minutes just talking or taking a nap haha....then we started singing hymns at 6:40, 20 minutes before it would start. As we were singing, my heart was pounding because I knew that an Apostle would be coming into this very room! Then, the worker opened the side door of the Auditorium and in walks Elder Oaks and his wife. I was in the front row and so I could see them coming in. After some talks, we watched a video they made for the Dedication and Hermana Childs was in it! Then we sang our song, which sounded great. Then Elder Oaks got up and gave a short talk about using PME...Predicad Mi Evangelio and then he gave a beautiful dedication prayer. I just know that this place was always meant to be a is the safest place, other than the temple, in all of Mexico. Sitting at the feet of an Apostle was absolutely amazing......this was a once in a life time opportunity and Heavenly Father sent me at the right time so I could be here for it, I am so blessed :)

 My Spanish is coming along great! I can meet a knew investigator and not use any notes to say what I want to say. My Spanish isn´t perfect but I know that Heavenly Father is helping me with it.....I really hope I am fluent by the time I get home :)

 So happy for Jenna! I knew she would get accepted to BYU-Hawaii! That is a bummer for Mitch Give him a hug for me and tell him that everything happens for a reason and God´s hand is in everything that happens in our lives. 

So I sent another letter from Mexico to you all! Di you all use international stamps for your letters? I think that is why they are taking a long time to get to me.....the one I got from dad was an Air Mail post which I think takes longer....but I am praying for those letters and I have faith that they will come :)

Happy Valentines Day to everyone! I was thinking about Valentines day while I was working out and how mom would always have sugar cookies at home for us.....and how we would sing Val-o-grams at school....there are so many things that I miss. We watched a video about a basketball player at BYU and how he left on a mission. They showed the family dropping him off at the MTC and I just started crying.....I remembered that day when everyone dropped me off. I can´t believe it has been a month already! CRAZY! But anyway, it was hard to watch but I am so happy to be here and I am so happy to share this wonderful news with everyone I see. 

 I love this Gospel and I am so happy here! The next email I send will probably be from UTAH!!!! YAY!!!!!! I already have a referral from an Elder in my District! Share the Gospel with everyone! It will bless your life and theirs........through sharing the Gospel, we can experience true joy :)

 I love you all and miss you :) I wish I could give you a big hug :) But, it will have to wait for 17 months! Hug each other and be kind to one another........the family is the most wonderful thing in the world :)

Love you all and talk to you in UTAH!

Hermana Warren

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Humility is the Key to Inspiration....can I write that down?"

Hola Familia!

Can I just say that I love you all? It really is appreciate the things that you don´t have with you all the time, and I really miss you guys but Mexico is great and I can already say that I am a different person, even though I have only been here for 4 weeks.
And yeah....4 weeks!!!! I have already been here for 4 weeks! In exactly 2 weeks.....I will be sitting in the Dallas airport, waiting to go to SLC. BTW, the mission travel resent me an itinerary and I have to sit in the Dallas airport for 7 HOURS!!!!! Can Aunt Steph come pick me up? I don´t want to be there that long :( 
Hermana Taylor Fontenot
Speaking about Steph, I met that Sis. Missionary  from Houston that Steph was a leader over...I will attach a picture :) She is super sweet!

 I wish I could have been there for your lesson Mom, it sounded awesome. And yes.. I feel Grandpa with me all the time! I wish I could watch the girls play basketball...seriously....I am so proud of you, Shonna and Lydia! Keep playing hard, ok? If you guys lose a game, that is ok, it just makes the games that you win even more AWESOME!
I hope to get everyone’s letters soon...I will send another one this week :)
So I want to talk about some neat experiences this week....and some funny ones :)
Funny one : last Tuesday, Hermana Childs and I needed to use the bathroom so we went to the auditorium and they had like a million stalls in there. So we both picked one and after a minute or so, we both realized something....out of all the stalls we could have picked, we both picked ones with NO TOILET PAPER!!!! We sat there laughing for about 5 was so funny. 
Spiritual one: So we have been teaching Daniel F (pretend investigator) for about a week and he can be a pain in the butt sometimes. There is nothing more frustrating than having your investigator fall asleep during your lesson! So Hermana and I wanted to really help him understand about the BoM and how we can receive revelation through it....we studied and planned and prayed really hard and then just went into it, fully relying on the Spirit and Heavenly Father´s help. The Spirit was so strong in that lesson and Daniel CRIED!! With him being our teacher for real, we knew that the Spirit must have been really strong and it was the best discussion ever! We thanked Heavenly Father many times for that experience. I know that if you do all you can, the Lord will cover the rest and you will be blessed for your efforts.

This week, my district was bugging me so BAD!!!! Me and Hermana Childs are the only sisters in our district and the rest are elders...boys who are only 19 and haven´t really matured yet J They never focus when we are supposed to study, and when we try to address the problem and point out that they aren´t being exactly obedient, they just act too prideful and continue with their behavior. I was so frustrated and I felt like our district wasn’t gonna be blessed if they didn´t start doing what there were supposed to. So we talked to our teachers and they showed videos and talks and talked to us about the importance of being obedient and I think the Elders were humbled because things have gotten a lot better.

It was our teacher´s birthday on the 30th...we made him a crown and wrote him a nice letter....I will send a picture of him next week. He is awesome. So all of my teachers are just amazing....they are all 21 or 23, not much older than us but they are so wise and I just love them. We have a maestra, her name is Hermana Leslie and I adore her.....I love hugging her. I can´t hug very many people because most of the people I am with are I try to hug her every time I see her.
Random Stuff: I found another Elder going to UTAH!!! He is going to SLC West but at least I won´t be the only person trying to teacher everyone in Utah haha.
I play tennis almost every day with Hermana and some elders in our district....I suck at it but it is so much fun :)

Spiritual: We listened to a talk from Elder Holland and I got really overwhelmed at all the things they expect from us and missionaries.....that day have been kind of tough and I was tired for some reason and I started doubting if I could actually do everything they want us to do....I kept wondering "How can I meet these standards?" "I can´t do this" Then a thought entered my head and it said "The answer is really very simple: Do what the Savior would do and you will be the missionary God wants you to be." It was a very comforting experience and I Try to represent my Savior in EVERYTHING I do.

A great companion makes it all better!!
So on a mission, you have a lot of humbling experiences.....but those experiences always remind you to turn to the Lord. Saturday was probably the hardest day so far. I missed home and we had been praying all week for the letters to get here. We tried to be obedient so we could receive help from Heavenly Father. We were both really tired and the language was hard. We found out that we might lose our favorite teacher and so that made us sad. Hermana Childs started crying so we took a walk to the mailbox. I was praying the entire way that the mail would be there. I was trying to have faith that God would put the mail there because we have been working hard all week. We went there wasn´t there. I was literally crushed. We both started crying and we just sat on the ground outside the Post Office and cried for about 30 minutes. In that moment, I just wanted to hug you all again...even if it was just for a minute or so.....just to feel like everything would be ok. I missed you all SO MUCH! I had never felt so homesick...but I am doing better now…

BTW….I got dad´s letter today..finally… and I was so happy!! I can´t wait to get the other letters :)

So on Sunday, I felt a lot better. The Sacrament has a whole new meaning to me! I just cherish that time when I eat the bread and water......I love it. So I sang “Savior, Redeemer of my Soul” as part of my testimony. I have always wanted to sing it because I love it so much. It just explains my feelings about the Savior perfectly. I was so happy to do that and all the missionaries were in tears when it was done, even some Elders haha..
So I and Hermana Childs are in the choir for the dedication and guess where we are sitting.....FRONT ROW, BABY!!! Be jealous everyone, an Apostle of the Lord will be sitting 5 feet in front of me. I am so stoked for Sunday.....I will email next week about it :)

Mexico City Temple Visitors Center
Today, we went to the Mexico City, Temple! We couldn´t go inside (it’s under renovation) but it is beautiful. I am coming back after my mission to go through it. We went through the Visitors Center and it was great. I loved the Spirit there.....I wish I could go back.

The Mexico City Temple

We drove thru the streets of Mexico City and it is crazy! I have pictures to send so you can
see :)

We are getting a new District this week....6 Hermanas! And they are all going to Houston East! Is that were Steph lives?
So my foot has been hurting this week....walking and wearing church shoes have made it hurt so pray for it. I know that sounds weird but the little things can make a big different...for the better or worse.

This week has been such a learning experience. Yo se que la iglesia is verdadera. Yo se que la obra misional es muy importante y debemos compartir el Evangelio a todas personas! Yo se que Jesuscristo es mi Salvador y Redentor. Yo se que Dios vive y por medio de el Libro de Mormon y oracion, podemos sentir su amor y recibir revelacion.
I love you all and miss you. Thank you for your prayers...I feel them every day :) Share the Gospel with someone, ok? You´ll never know who is searching for the truth until you share the truth.

Read 2 Nefi 31-33. Those chapters are my favorite right now :)
I love you! Only one more email from Mexico and then I will be in SLC!!!
Hermana Warren