The Work has just gotten sweeter!

The Work has just gotten sweeter!
Espirito Santo, Brasil

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Diligent and Steadfast!


HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!!! I can't believe you have been married for 22 years. I am so grateful for you, that I have such wonderful parents who are so supportive and write me the best emails.

For Jess and Jorday: Call Sister Egan, Mom has her number. I will give her the box of stuff today and you can call her and coordinate with her where to pick up the box. I just have some clothes in it and some other stuff. The girls can share the clothes. Most of the clothes are ones that don't really work for biking or just as missionary clothes. ENJOY! I love looking at pictures of everyone and being able to see someone wearing one of my shirts or something. Just make sure that I have SOMETHING to wear when I come home :)

Speaking of pictures, President Moffat checked with the Missionary Department about the cloud and they told him that we can't use them :( ......Sorry, President didn't even know but  the missionary dept. of the Church said no:( The bummer part is that you can only attach two pictures to each email, and it takes forever!

Sounds like you all are SUPER busy and that is awesome. Being busy is the best! I remember right before my mission, when I was just working and waiting, it was HORRIBLE! I was so bored and the time seemed to go by so slow. But as a missionary, we are busy all day every day and the time just flies! This week was really hard though, but it still went by really fast.

So this week, we picked up a lot of new investigators.....but then they all dropped us by sunday!
One family, the Garcia Family, was awesome and we were really excited and had a lot of members coming with us to visit them and they were never home. We didn't see them for a couple of days. Then, Friday I think, the mom texted us and told us that they weren't interested and not to come by anymore. Of course, we don't "break up" over texts so we went over on sunday morning and she told us that she and her husband talked about it and they don't want to join a church where they have to pay 10% of what they make to be a member...referring to tithing. We explained the doctrine of tithing right there to her and explained that it is a commandment from God, not a requirement of the church, and also that we are paying back 10% of what God has given us. I think she realized that she was being ridiculous but, not wanting to look weak, still said that she made her decision and wasn't interested. Then another girl, Erika, she is really overwhelmed with her house and family, she has 2 kids and is only 21, so when we come by and offer to teach her or help her, I think she just sees us as another burden, not a help. We tried to visit her yesterday but she saw us and hid from us and had her husband, who is member, tell us that they weren't interested. So we have been having a hard week, trying to find people to teach and those we are teaching, dropping us. The thing that I need to realize is that those who are ready and prepared won't mind when we come by every other day, because they know our purpose is to help them prepare for baptism. We will try to keep working with these investigators but I am PRAYING that God will lead us to those who are ready...or they can be lead to us. It just makes me super sad to see people reject the message we share, but they do it because they just don't understand! Once they understand, they will be calling us to come back and teach them! That would be super cool!

Yesterday, we had a lesson with a friend of some members of our ward. Her name is Carolina and she has true desires to be closer to God and that her daughter can learn about God as well, and she is only 4. She seems sincere and knows the importance of baptism. I am really hopeful for her, especially because she is friends with a family in our ward, which means that she has an immediate support system. 

We are trying to work with the ward this week, to help them get more involved in missionary work. One day, about a month ago, I had an idea to do a MMTC (Member Missionary Training Center) for the ward, so in Spanish, it would be CCMM and we are doing it this Friday. It is to help the member become familiar with Preach My Gospel and the life of a missionary. One thing that I thought about is that before my mission, I had NO idea what missionaries had to do, what their schedule was like, or how accountable they were for everything that they did. I didn't know about the importance of the members and referrals! I think that if I knew these things, I would have helped a lot more. So we are doing some classes about Preach My Gospel and missionaries. I hope all the members come, so we can get them more involved. You can try doing this in the ward! I will let you know how it goes!

I am so happy that Alyssa is in the MTC! I was so happy reading her letter. What is her email? That would be so cool if I saw her at Temple Square! If we have an investigator on date, we can take them to Temple Square. That would be amazing but we we will see what God has planned :)

WE had a great Zone Conference on Thursday. I always learn a TON at Zone conference, and also how much I am doing wrong and can improve on. As a mission, we just read Mosiah 4 this morning. AMAZING chapter, I just love the Book of Mormon so much. I really like reading with a theme. Go buy a new Book of Mormon, just a generic copy and then read the Book of Mormon, highlighting anything talking about repentance or faith or the word remember...whatever you want! You get so much more out of your reading!

I went on exchanges with Sister Sosa, from the Dominican Republic and she is so fun! I was in her area and the bike I was using had a flat tire so we had to walk the entire day but we just talked and talked and asked each other questions and it was super fun. I can't wait to be companions with her. Our companionship is ok, we are still working on things and I know that I can't connect with everyone, or be BFF with all my companions but I am trying to be obedient and serve her so we can teach in unity. Sometimes it is hard but I am learning a lot. I am glad that I am learning these things right now, before I am married. Once I am married, there are no more transfers :) hehe

I got letters from Lydia and Shonna! thank you so much, they made me so happy to read and I will get some letters to you today.

I am getting a hair cut today, don't know if I am going to chop it or just trim. I think I might cut it a little bit more than a trim....I just need a change! Change makes life for fun!

Two more weeks of the transfer! Then who knows what will happen! I don't really want to leave this area but at the same time, I need a change of scenery and new people. But I love everyone in this area :)

I have been studying diligence this week, and like in Mosiah 4:27, to be diligent but not run faster than I have strength. Something that I have been learning in the mission is that everything has a balance and that being extreme in ANYTHING is not God's way, but Satan's. Finding the balance is something that I am working on but something that I have been understanding here in the mission. I have been helping Sister Gonzalez with this, she goes really extreme sometimes and I have to help her balance the most important things. REad the talk in the Ensign about perfection! Super good! I read my farewell talk recently and it taught me a lot! Who knew that it would help me 6 months into my mission!

Anyway, I think that is all! I hope you all have a great week and I love you all so much. Have fun and keep praying for missionary opportunities! They will come if we show God that we want them!

Hermana Warren

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The weather is HOT and so is the work!!


How is everyone? Thanks for all of the pictures and the video of Alyssa!! 

This week went by SUPER fast, we are busy every day and we are biking in the heat! Man, it is so hot and I am sweaty all day and I come home so tired and worn out, but I am happy and don't worry, we drink lots of water and I should probably start recycling all the water bottles I get from people. 
We have been having a hard time getting members to help us...we found out that they don't like how they sign up for an hour and then sometimes, we ask them to stay out a little bit longer and they are too scared to tell us "no" so they stay out and then go home mad that they stayed out longer than they wanted to. We had no idea that they felt that way and someone FINALLY told us why no one signs up, so now we can try to fix the problem. That is something that I have learned on the mission. If you have a problem with something, don't hold it in. Spit it out and fix it! Then everyone is happier and things get resolved and there are no hard feelings. Sometimes it is hard to say things but when you say it with the Spirit, everything goes well(usually) and relationships are better. I am trying to do that with Sister Gonzalez. There are a couple of things that I have to mention or talk about with her, but it helps when no one is wondering why things feel off and then we can't teach with the Spirit. I am trying to serve her and have fun with her, I just try to look at it each day at a time. TODAY, I will serve and be happy. TODAY, I will talk with everyone. Sometimes, I get overwhelmed when I see the whole week or whole transfer or whole mission. One day at a time!

I wish I could have been there for Alyssa's talk, isn't she amazing? :) I am so blessed to have such an amazing friend. Just from this experience, I know that the most valuable things are worth waiting for. I had to wait about 4 years to find was hard, but it was worth it. Visit Sister Powell a lot! There whole family is so fun and Maddy and Kade and Braeden would have a lot of fun hanging out with Shonna and Ronnie. 

I can't believe that Kim is getting married! And also that you are singing those songs! I love those songs so much. I remember singing " I see the light" with Travis while Harrison played the ukulele. I loved it and that song always reminds me of Val-o-grams and choir.
Thanks for the visual idea about the chain and the temple! I will definitely use it! And I just love reading your emails, MOM and Dad are so PRO at writing, everything you say I want to right down and remember. Thanks for all of your support.

So this week, we have been looking for more people to teach. I have a hard time remembering what happened a week ago because all the days just seem to melt together. I just remember that each day is hot, we talk to people, we teach people and....yep. 

WE had a rollarcoaster week with our companionship. Last wednesday was really hard, I don't know why. There is just something lacking, I don't know what it is though. Last thursday, when it was language study, we actually had a Comp. vent session where we talked about everything that we were feeling. We left the apartment feeling off still and while we were biking, Sister Gonzalez stopped, got off her bike, turned around and just started crying and saying sorry, she didn't want to feel far away from me. So we were both standing by our bikes, on the street, talking and crying. It was really weird, but really needed. We have been doing a lot better, we still have some things that we clash on, she had a really strict trainer so there are some rules that we clash on. Some of the rules that her trainer taught her are not offical rules of the mission so I never know for sure if everything she tells me is a rule from president Moffat, or one she got from her trainer. 

We have found more families to teach! I swear that families are just attracted to me! Families are so fun but super hard to teach, everyone has their own need and schedule but in the end, it is worth it. One family is super golden but the dad is super catholic and won't let us teach them :( Then next one is the Garcia family and we just put the mom, dad, and 10 year old son on date last night. We are going to try to hold on to them as hard and we can. I hate losing is the worst feeling. Hopefully the ward will help us by fellowshipping and welcoming them into the ward. Our WML is awesome, he was recently called and he is really excited to help us and help our investigators. We have a lot of fun activities coming up that will get the ward excited about missionary work.

We gave talks in church this Sunday....AGAIN! This is my 4th talk that I have given. I talked about how if we understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ, our desire to share the Gospel will increase, this is a promised found in Preach My Gospel. I talked about the Atonement and how we NEED it. That is all I had time for because that day, an boy in our ward was giving his Farewell talk too! He is serving in Texas, Spanish speaking. 

I received some really cool personal revelation this morning. As a mission, we read Jacob 4 today and there are some verses that talk about the power the prophets have, and then after that in verse 7, it says, "Nevertheless, the Lord God showeth us our weakness that we may know that it is by his grace, and his great condescensions unto the children of men, that we have power to do these things."

Then I remembered the scripture on my plague, that says,"And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them."

We came up with a cycle called the Perfection Cycle. Imagine this...

As we gain more spiritual power, God shows us more of our weaknesses. As we are humble, God turns them into strengths. As we are humble with our strengths, God blesses us with more spiritual power. As we receive more power, God shows us more and more us our weaknesses which then turn into more strengths and....the cycle goes on and on and on. As we go through this cycle, we become more and more perfected. The key is humility, though. If we aren't humble, this cycle won't work. But as we humble ourselves, we will be refined and eventually become perfect! Pretty cool, huh? I love personal revelation.

Anyway, this is pretty much it. I am trying to get lost in the work. I will apply all the advice you gave me! I love you and miss you all! Just one day at a time and soon, I will give you all hugs:) Love you and miss you!

Sorry, no pictures this week. We have been busy and nothing exciting to take picture of. I will definitely take more next week. LOVE YOU!
Hermana Alex Warren

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Seeing the Hand of the Lord

Hola Familia!

Wow, I can't believe that it has been 6 months already! Where did the time go? I feel like I have been here for WAY longer than that, but then, at the same time, I feel like it just flew. Only one year left! Everyone has told me that the next year will just go by so fast. I will see you all sooner than we think. But I have too much to do here to go home yet, more areas to be in and more people to meet :)

Como estan? I am really good :) I am glad that you had a good 4th! I love the ward breakfast, but nothing compares to Mom's pancakes and Dad's eggs. My 4th was good, of course we didn't have any members available to drive us so we were on our bikes the entire day. It is so HOT here in Utah, hot and dry! I sweat so much and I am always so thirsty but I feel like I drink so much. Anyway, we ate at the Young Women's presidents house and she is american so we ate hamburgers and talked about all the political things that have been going on involving the church. Since we can't read church news, we had no idea about anything going on so it was interesting. We helped the members with us to understand the importance of bearing their testimony when people ask about things going on...that is what we do as missionaries. We get asked a lot about plural marriage and the lady that was excommunicated and all we can do is bear our testimony. That night, we came home so tired BUT after planning, we got in our PJs and went to other sisters apartment and ate pancakes and watched the fireworks through the window and sang patriotic songs :) It was fun :) I have no idea why the Elders in your ward had to stay in after 6, in the missionary handbook, it says that holidays are usually the best days to find people at home! I am not sure but if their mission president told them to do that, they should follow his council.

I like reading about the other missionaries. I can't believe that Kolby is on his mission already! He is going to love the CCM, it is so pretty and fun and really good food. I look back at when I was there and I can't believe that I arrived there in Mexico 6 months ago. Let me know about ALyssa's farewell. Tell her I love her and give her a hug for me.

It sounds like Mom's lesson went well in RS! That is a good idea to memorize the proclamation, I should do it too! The way you did the lesson sounds like the same way we do District meetings, we get trained on something and then we do a role play. We have to practice something to be ready for the time that we actually have to talk to people. Those words are from God, the most powerful way to say what God would say.  Today, we read 2 Nephi 25 as a mission and this is one of the most powerful chapters when it comes to whether Mormons are Christians or not. V. 26 says it clearly that we talk of Christ and rejoice in Christ and preach of Christ. The name of our church is The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints. The name of our church says we are Christians. 

Yeah, that family that I was bold with are really frustrating. He finally told us the other day that he doesn't want us to come by anymore, so we have to respect that. It just makes me so sad to see his kids and how they won't have the Holy Ghost helping through their teen years. No matter how hard we try to "wake people up", they have to choose to open their eyes.

Sister Egan went out with us again last night, and she told me that she talked to you. She really loves you all and I am so grateful for her. She supports us so much.

So some things that happened last week. So yeah, it was so hot this last week. It was 100 degrees yesterday and I drank so much. When I drink a lot, I am not hungry and therefore, Lose weight! YAY! I just kept drinking and drinking, I was scared that I was going to have to knock on a random person's door to use their bathroom! But I didn't :)

We had a few problems as a companionship this last week, I finally talked about some things that had been bothering me and we both expressed some things. Of course, later, we apologized for some things. I know the way to grow closer is to serve my companion.

We had a baptism this last weekend! Yadira and her son, Anothony! It was a good baptism. I sang Mando a Su Hijo. I really love singing in Spanish. There are hymns that I would rather sing in Spanish than English, like I Know That My Redeemer Lives. I love singing that is Spanish. 

Something that I am working on right now is prayer. I realized that I have to pray in English, even though I should pray in Spanish. I feel like I am really talking to Heavenly Father when I pray in English. Hopefully, I will get to the point where Spanish becomes my 1st language :) we are talking a lot in Spanish and there members are noticing a difference!

[Anthony and Angel, the cutest boys on the planet!]
By the way, really random, but we were in an area that we aren't usually in and someone told us that someone spoke spanish but they did know the address. So we were driving with Sister Egan, and we saw an old man cutting his lawn so we went over to him to ask him if he knows anyone in the area that speaks Spanish. It turns out that his name is Gayle Winterose, Channing Winterose's grandpa! (Bri's boyfriend, are they still dating ?) He got teary-eyed when I told them that I know them! It was really sweet. SMALL WORLD!

Then yesterday, we were in the Sandpiper apartments, ones we aren't usually in very much. We said a prayer to know where to go, because it was so hot and we didn't want to just knock doors for an hour, God knows who is there and if we have the faith, he can guide us to those who need us. After we prayed, I remembered someone we had talked to previously on the street and he said he lived in these apartments. I found the number in my planner and we realized we had locked our bikes right next to his apartment. We went over and knocked. The boy we met before opened the door and we asked for water :) Ho got some water for us and then the mom came over and we talked to her and then we asked if we could share a message. She let us in and then called her other daughter who was upstairs. All three listened as we taught lesson one and they all said they felt something while Sister Gonzalez shared the First Vision. They all seem excited to read the Book of Mormon. And the mom explained how she has been to other Christian churches and just felt that it wasn't right. She feels good listening to us. We explained to her that she was feeling the Holy Ghost and that he was testifying to her of the truth. The only problem is that the dad is SUPER catholic and they said they would talk to him for permission. They aren't on date because of that but they are really interested and WHEN they get permission, they will accept a date for sure. When we walked out of that lesson, we were so amazed at how the Lord had it all planned out, and because we asked for  his help, he was able to guide us to them. It was such a cool experience, and something I learned is that usually, we don't really realize that the Spirit is guiding us or speaking to us. If we just have faith and pray to Heavenly Father, we will be guided, whether we recognize it or not. It was a really interesting experience.

Mom i haven't gotten the letter yet, it should come tomorrow. I got a letter from Jordan! THANKS JORDAN!! It helped me so much, you have no idea. I like the metaphor about the elephant, you eat an elephant one bite at a time. I am trying to do that, focus on my mission one day at a time. I try to be the best missionary TODAY! 

So yeah, this is what has been happening this last week. Things are going great, and I am tired by the end of the day. 

I will get a box ready for Jess and Jordan! Thanks for that, there are some things that I want to send home.

I love you all so much! I miss you and hope everyone is doing great! when does Jenna leave for Hawaii? I will give everyone a big hug and kiss on the cheek( my favorite custom about the Latino culture :)
Hermana Warren

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Power In the Priesthood

Note:  We didn't post this email from last week since it was of such a personal nature of Alex's struggle but today she told us to go ahead if it can be of help to anyone.  She just wants to "keep it real".

 Here is her letter from last week followed by this weeks letter:

June 24th

Hello Family!

How is everyone? You are all at Girl's Camp or in Rexburg...super jealous! But Dad is home with Pongo so that is fun too:) 

La semana pasada estaba muy dificil, I was kind of going through a mini depression.....all week I have been trying to figure out how to get out of it. I called my mission president and talked to him. He really helped me a lot. I got letters from Mom, Dad, and Grandma and Grandpa Warren. Thank you so much for the letters. Mom and Dad, your letters helped me more than you know. But even with the letters, I was still having a really hard time and I was crying in every companionship study. I was so frustrated with myself and how I am not feeling the desire to go out and baptize like I want to. Yesterday, I had a breakdown in companionship study and cried for a long time. I really wanted a hug from Mom and Dad, to tell me that everything will be ok, but since you weren't there, it made me cry even more. Yesterday morning, I really wanted to go home. I was having a battle within my head, weighing the good and bad to going home and all the factors, regrets, good things, EVERYTHING was in my head, making me so confused and I had no idea what to do. So we left the apartment and tried to go out and the whole time, I was just tired and not into it. So I texted President and asked him for a blessing. Last night, around 9pm. I talked with President and told him how I was feeling. He told me that I am not going home, that his missionaries don't go home unless they have medical problems. He gave me a lot of advice on how to improve my missionary work, my the Lord needs me here, that we are having a lot of success in our area and the Lord needs me to stay. He said that the year and a half of my service will just fly by, that I got past the hard part. I am almost at 6 months! I have been out for 5 and a  half months, this time just flew! 
Then President gave me the most powerful blessing, he told me so many things, he blessed me with so many things. One of the things he told me was that my family wanted me to stay on a mission, and that they are being blessed for my service. That really helped me a lot. 

So yeah, I am doing a lot better. Thank you again for your letters and Dad, thank you for your letter you sent in the package. That letter really helped me. You didn't know that your letter would help your daughter about 20 years later, huh? :)

So I don't have a lot of time today. Transfers are tomorrow so we have to be out of the mission office early because all 12 missionaries going home will be here at 2. 

I am not being transferred, I am still here in Murray! Sister Egan was super happy when I told her. She practically threatened President if he changed us. I am still here with Sister Gonzalez and we have set a lot of goals to improve out relationship, and our area. We are going to lose weight this transfer!!! One thing that you learn on a mission is how to set goals and make plans. If you don't make plans to accomplish the goal, you will never reach it. I am really grateful for learning that here.

The Perez family took us out to dinner last night, the ones that just go baptized. They are planning on going through the temple in a year, and I will still be here!!! I hope they do that while I am still here, and if not, I can just come down to see them be sealed. I love them to death, and the thing that helps me to lose myself in the work is the people. When you think about others, you have no time to worry about yourself.

So this week was kind of a downer week, BUT these weeks make you appreciate the amazing ones. I am excited to have those amazing weeks this transfer. President promised me in my blessing that if I work with faith, I will have success in all of my areas. I will hold Heavenly Father to that :)

I love you so much!!!! I miss you and hope your week is great!
Hermana Warren

Letter 2 -      July 1 2014

Hola Familia!

How is everyone? I hope everyone had fun at Girl's Camp, and I am so glad that Jenna is ok. My heart skipped a beat when I read about her getting thrown from a horse. She was definitely protected. 

So this week went so much better :) With President's blessing and help from Heavenly Father, I have totally done a 180, we go out and run every morning, my morning studies have been so much better ( I am filling up the journal you gave me:), and I am trying to eat better, it is hard when people feed you and you feel bad not eating the cake and ice cream they place in front of you. My desire to go out and talk to people is back!!! I love going out in the sun, on my bike and talking to people and teaching. My watch tan and my shoe tan is AWESOME!! 

Anyway, it is amazing to see how Jesus Christ can lift you up when you are falling into dark, discouraging feelings and thoughts. I always love reading the story about Peter walking on the water towards Christ. His goal was to walk to him, but because of the winds and the waves, he got scared and begins to sink. He cries out, "Lord, save me!" And immediately, Christ reaches out His hand and says, "Oh man of little faith, why did you doubt?"

I love reading this story in Spanish. I seems more clear to me and more powerful. By the way, we have been speaking spanish when we are outside the apartment, we speak English in the apartment because Hna. Gonzalez has to learn English as well. We are playing a game to help us only speak Spanish. If we say something in English, we get a point and when we have 5 points, we have to one favor for the other person, whatever they ask. My spanish has improved so much, Sister Egan told me that she has already seen a difference and we have only been doing this for like less than a week. 

Something funny from this week, I accidentally said "Estamos cerca a su cara" (i meant to say "caro") If you know spanish, it is really funny. We were with Sister Egan when I said that, so now we say it all the time.

So something that made me LOVE my mission: my two recent converts, Alberto Perez, and Edwin Roman, received the Aaronic Priesthood on Sunday!!! When they announced it in Sacrament, I was just smiling so big! We went with the Perez Family after church and we were in the room when he received the Priesthood. I love this family so much! They are moving to West Valley this month but they will still come to this ward. I don't want to move but they feel like they need to. They are planning on being sealed in the temple in one year :)

We taught a family last night, formers that we taught before. The dad is really hard-hearted and won't let his kids be baptized. I was really bold with him, I told him straight up that his kids need to be baptized because that is the only way we can live with God again. I was reading in the Book of Mormon today about not fearing men, but fearing God. That is something that I want to apply in my work. I want to say what God wants me to say, not try to sugar-coat things because I am afraid that my investigator will be offended. The truth is truth! We can't change it! PMG says that our job as missionaries is to "teach powerfully and clearly" so that out investigators can make the correct choice. That is something that I am working on. Sometimes I feel weird being bold, like I am being rude, but Jesus Christ was bold all the time, but he did it because he loved everyone he was talking to and he knew that they needed to hear these things so that they could make the right choices in their lives. Boldness + Love= POWER!! I want to be a powerful missionary, one who speaks with the Spirit, a missionary like those in the Book of Mormon. I REALLY want that so bad.

Anyway, we are reading the Book of Mormon as a mission. We are reading about 2 chapters a day, and focusing on repentance.

Also, you can post whatever on the blog, if you think that it will help someone, you can post my experiences from the last few weeks.  I want to keep things real so others can benefit.

Sister Egan took us to Olive Garden today for lunch. She is such a blessing. She extended her mission for 6 more months. I love her so much.

I am glad that Sammie is wearing all of my clothes!!! :P

I love you all so much! Sorry about no pictures this week, I have a baptism this weekend, a mom and her son, so I will have pictures next Tuesday! Next Tuesday is my 6 months day!! Can't believe that I have been out for 6 months, that just flew! Only a year left to dedicate to the Lord. Gonna live it up! It is a great time to be a missionary.


Hermana Warren