The Work has just gotten sweeter!

The Work has just gotten sweeter!
Espirito Santo, Brasil

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

I'm Alive!!

Hola Familia!
So I am alive! haha, I lived through another week on the mission, this one was a little bit harder than the others.
So this week I was praying for help to lose weight hehe, I know.....but Heavenly Father can help us in anything, right? So here is how he answered my prayer.

Well, first of all, we had an awesome Zone Training this last Thursday, and of course, I was in awe the whole time, listening to President Moffat and feeling guilty for any time that I ever wanted to quit or not be obedient or not work hard. I love those trainings because every missionary needs a boost every now and then. That is why we have a lot of meetings in missionary work and in the Gospel. Missions get hard, life gets hard, we lose that animo to do the things that we need to do....then we go to a meeting or a training and our gas tank is filled up and we are ready to start working hard again. But after the zone training, I started feeling kind of out- of - it and felt really hot and light headed. Then that night, during planning, my stomach started hurting really bad. Around 11:30, I woke up and ran to the bathroom and threw up. Then I went back to bed, but got up like 15 minutes later to throw up again. After throwing up like 5 times, I called my mission president and he told me that there is some flu going around among the missionaries and that I probably picked it up at the training. So I kept throwing up the rest of the night and didn't get any sleep. I slept on the bathroom floor with my pillow :P We got up at 6:30 to be obedient and then Sister Moffat told me to go back to bed. So I slept the whole day, throwing up and trying to sleep, but I had a fever and it made it really hard to sleep well. Then the fever finally broke at 3 and I was able to sleep and a member came and sat in the other room for 3 hours while Sister Gonzalez went out and taught our investigators. 

Then, I got up the next day and felt a little bit better, but I was still tired and I couldn't really eat. We had studies and I had to take a nap during language study, I couldn't think and felt really bad. Then we went to lunch with President Moffat because we reached the Standard of Excellence. We went to Cheesecake Factory! I ordered fish tacos but could only take one bite. I put the rest in a box and then ordered some ice cream, which I could only take one bite of. I put that in a cup and took it home. I really wanted to eat but I just couldn't. Sister Moffat told me to go home and take a nap, so I slept from 12:30 to 4! Didn't mean to sleep that long but I really needed the nap. 

So we didn't leave the apartment until after 6, and we went to the church to set up for the baptism for the Perez Family. With me being sick, it was really hard to be as energetic and smiley as I usually am but I did my best to think about the Perez Family. I sang "Yo se que vive mi senor". I love singing, it makes me happy :)
They were confirmed in Sunday! So they are now members of the ward! My first family of 4!!! Now I am going to pray to find a family of 5! And just keep working my way up....

I went on exchanges with Sister Sosa yesterday in a shady (scary) part of Midvale with the scariest apartments that I have ever been to. Only Elders have been in this area but President moved Sister Merrill and Sosa there. We met the cutest old lady, who was like a little kid. We talked to a lot of people and met a lot of weird people. A lot of guys flirted with us yesterday, and it just makes us laugh. A guy asked us to go to a party with him and to read the Book of Mormon with him. It was really funny.

So this week was ok, it still went by pretty fast. This transfer just flew by, transfers are next wednesday! I could stay with Sister Gonzalez or move or stay or who knows! I will let you know next Tuesday. 

Nothing else has really happened this week, it has just been a really emotional week for me. But I am alive! I am ok, and I miss you all a lot and love you. I got letters from Sammie and Ronnie and then I got a letter from Aunt Steph! I also got the box this morning when I came back from exchanges. Thank you so much and thanks to the Stevenson's for bring it to me again! You guys are awesome!! I am so excited to read the letters from everyone :)

I hope you have a great week this week, Lindsey sounds like a sweetheart, I can't wait to meet her! I can't believe that Jenna is going to HAWAII! I am so jealous! I hope you hada  good Father's Day, Dad! I love you :) Enjoy being home alone for a week, go to the temple every day!! Do it for me, I miss the temple so much!

Love you all! SLY!!!!
Hermana Warren

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

P-Day Already!!!

Hola Familia!

Ok, so I swear that I was just here, writing emails to you all, this last week went by so fast. I bet it went by so fast for you guys too. From the email, sounds like everyone was busy with school getting over and family. I saw the pictures, I wish I was there, I miss everyone BUT I love being on a mission.   I just love getting to KNOW and LOVE other people. I just love the idea that I am making so many friends and that I will be able to come back and see everyone here and be able to stay at their house for more than 45 minutes :)

So Carlos was baptized this last Saturday and it was the best baptism I have ever been in. I sang Savior, Redeemer of my Soul and I just loved singing it. I feel like I connect the most with God when I am singing. I looked at my investigator, and he was crying during the song.  I couldn't look at him for the rest of the song because I didn't want to start crying either. He doesn't know any English so that touched me even more. He probably didn't understand what I was singing but he still felt the Spirit. The Spirit has no language barriers.

So, my toe is fine. I can walk just fine and I really missed my bike. I couldn't bike with the boot. Sister Gonzalez would always tease me by running past me and "tagging" me so that I would have to chase her. She is really funny and a really good missionary.

So our ward is just coming alive with missionary work, if that makes sense. We gave last minute talks on Sunday in Sacrament, our ward mission leader told us about 5 minutes before the meeting started! I basically just gave the first lesson in 5 minutes and then bore my testimony. I was really nervous but I got up to the pulpit and just started talking and I was completely fine! I am so amazed that I can get in front of a group and talk, Heavenly Father is just BLESSING me with the Gift of Tongues. I can understand our investigators and help them with their concerns. I still don't know everything but I am improving more and more. We are trying to talk more in Spanish with each other. 

So, this week, I learned something interesting. We were talking about all of our investigators and the ones that are doing great and ones that are struggling. Then it hit me......I was feeling like a parent and they were my children. We teach them, help them, love them, and then, we have to see what they will do, if they will remain strong or fall away. And we can't force them to do anything, it is all up to them. It is really hard to fully trust that they will keep their commitments and follow through, we have to trust that Heavenly Father will touch their hearts and help them make the right choice.  It is so hard! Our whole purpose is to invite, and then have faith that they will accept the invitation and actually do it! I am working on having more faith in God, that whatever happens is what is supposed to happen and have patience with people's agency. I didn't know that putting my trust in God would be so hard sometimes, and scary, because I just love these people and what them to make the right choice! Yeah, that is something that I learned this week.

I started the Book of Mormon 60-day challenge on Monday! I am excited to read with the family over the summer.

The Perez Family is getting baptized this weekend, I am SO EXCITED!!! I love baptizing families! I am just so excited, I can't wait!

I am doing great! I love just losing myself in the work and having the days just melt together. I sleep really well at night :) It is getting really hot outside and I feel like I am getting really dark....and the hottest part of summer hasn't even started! I am going to be pretty dark....maybe I will be darker than Jess? Hahaha

I loved the pictures, Congrats Jenna!!!! I am so proud of you :) I miss all of my sisters so much. And my mom and dad too! I am sorry I never asked you more about your missions, I wish I had. Tell me about them and things that happened and experiences you had. 

I was thinking about when I come home and I almost started crying.....because I don't want to go home! I love you all but missions are the hardest and coolest things in the world! Never will I have the chance to share the Gospel all day every day. I love being here and thinking about others and how to help them progress in the gospel and be baptized! Best thing in the world! 

Hna Panuncio. 20 years old and married, from El Salvador. She goes out with us all the time and is such a great missionary. She is our angel, and she freaked out when she found out that I am only 19 haha, she though I was way older

I love you all and miss you. Looking forward to letters from you all. Enjoy the summer time and swimming! I do miss that part :)

Hermana Warren

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Dios Nos Bendice Con Oportunidades (God blesses us with opportunities)

Hola Familia!

I am doing great, I have a couple of interesting stories to tell you :)

Salt Lake City Central Missionaries (I'm right in the middle 4th row)
So last tuesday, we had our Mission P-Day and it was AMAZING!! It was so much fun to just get to know all of the other missionaries and to play games and eat good food :) Towards the evening, President Moffat just let us play or do whatever we wanted so a lot of the Sisters just sat in the grass and talked and enjoyed the sun. Then, Pres. Moffat and Sister Moffat came over and sat with us in the grass and we just talked with them. I don't know about other missions but I am pretty sure that missionaries never get to just sit with their mission president on the grass and just talk and ask them questions. I love my mission president so much and his wife so much. 

I really needed that P-Day. It was a great day. So after that, I talked with Sister Gonzalez about taking time to relax and she understands. I also had exchanges with my Sister Training Leader...SISTER MERRILL!!! Haha it was interesting but really cool to see how much confidence I have gained ALREADY! From not being with my trainer, I have grown a lot in my spanish and leadership, but I still have a lot of growing to do. I talked to her about some things that were bothering me and she left me some commitments to better our planning and Spanish. 

Being a missionary is "SWEET"
Ok, so even though we have been doing better on planning and resting and taking time for ourselves, both of us still felt like our companionship unity was off, and when that is off, EVERYONE notices the difference. Sometimes we were united and then sometimes we would be off and life would be hard. We would struggle with the desire to go out and teach and find. I was praying for help to know how to make us united and I didn't know this but Sister Gonzalez was doing the same thing. It is hard getting a new companion who does things their way, and you do things your way. With a trainer, it is different because you have no idea what you are doing so you just go along with whatever. But when you have been trained a certain way, it is really hard to adjust.......MARRIAGE PREP! Haha, I am not thinking about that right now but that is what I noticed :)

Anyway, you know in the movie "Evan Almighty" when God is talking to the wife in the restaurant? He says "When we pray for patience, God doesn't just bless us with patience, but gives us opportunities to be patient." Yeah, well I am a witness that "When you pray for companionship unity, He doesn't just bless us with unity, but with opportunities to be united." 
Here is the story.
Yesterday, the alarm went off at 6 so we could go to a zone workout at 6:15. I was really tired and didn't want to go, so I kept on sleeping. Sister Gonzalez got up and after a minute, asked me if we could go to the workout. So, being kind of against the idea, I slowly got up and then we were on our bikes, heading over to the church. We played scatterball and it turned out to be really fun, until an Elder stepped on my foot! I sat out because my foot hurt really bad and then I tried biking home and I had to go really slow because it hurt. I got home and my toe was HUGE! I called Sister Moffat and she told me that there is nothing you can really do for a broken or sprained toe. She said she would call back after studies. I was studying and felt really sad and homesick, mostly because I still felt off with Sister Gonzalez and my toe hurt. I went into the bathroom and prayed and cried. Then after 5 minutes, I went back out and kept studying Spanish. Sister Moffat called and said that I would need to stay in all day so my toe can heal, I couldn't walk on it anyway so I really had no choice. Staying in a really hard for missionaries and Sister Gonzalez was kind upset but we tried to make the best of it. We worked on the Area book and  called leaders and formers. Then, she made me lunch and then we started talking about our lives. She told me about Chile and I told her about our plays we would do, and how I was always the boy :) She was laughing pretty hard about that. Then we started talking about boyfriends was really fun to have girl talk again, I missed that :) So the rest of the day, we wrote in our journals and talked about lots of things and watched Book of Mormon stories. I took a nap ;) And then, right before we were gonna go on splits for an hour, she came and sat on the couch by me and read me a letter that someone sent her. Then she told me how great a missionary I was and how happy she was that I was her companion. I told her how I was feeling, about the unity and everything, and then she told me that she felt impressed by the Spirit to go to zone workout this morning. She was really confused when I hurt my toe, why God would tell us to go if He knew that this was gonna happen. Then it hit me, this day was the opportunity that God was giving us to become better companions. I just started laughing, because it just hit me! God hears our prayers.....and He answers them, but not always in the way that we expect. He was giving us the opportunity to become more united as companions. 

So that was the cool story for the week, my toe is still bruised and sore, Sister Moffat will look at it tomorrow to see if I need to go to the doctor. I am doing better though and our companionship is doing better too :)

7 of our investigators moved! All in the same weekend! Now we have Carlos, who will be baptized this Sat. and then the Perez  Family, who will be baptized on the 14th. We are working with the Avellano family still, they are not accepting the message as much as we would like them to. They might take a while :P But we are still working hard, I love all my investigators so much, Thanks for putting their names in the temple!

I am having allergies pretty bad down here, it is really stupid but I have medicine that kind of works.

I am glad that everyone is doing great, I am excited to be a part of the Book of Mormon summer challenge with everyone. I like the shirt idea too, I can think of some more slogans.

Can't believe that Jenna is graduating, and that I graduated a year ago! Time is just going faster and faster. Congrats Jenna! Have a blast at the Senior Party, mom and Dad are you still helping with the bingo game again?

Thanks for the email and your advice, Dad I loved reading what you said about the power of the priesthood! I will read Elder Oaks' talk again.
 Thanks for being an amazing family, I love you all so much! Pray for me, I pray for you all every day. LOVE YOU!!!!

Hermana Warren