Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Greater happiness than you have yet experienced awaits you on your mission.

What Bishop K is leaving?! Que triste!!!!!!!!!!!!!! He's just following where the Lord is guiding him I guess :) At least I got to see him down here in Brownsville before he left haha. Do they know who the new bishop is? That is exciting about Zach! How fun! He has quite a journey ahead of him. Being a missionary is something indescribable... you just have to go through it to know. He will be great! I remember reading on my call letter "greater happiness than you have yet experienced awaits you on your mission." It is so true...something that you realize gradually but soooooo true. I'm so happy here :)

That is fun! You decorated eggs with the exchange students? Awesome! Did you hide some with money too? I missed our cookie crisp filled eggs this year :) I loved opening our cereal eggs and eating them for breakfast! Actually I didn't miss them until just now - I think as you get further into a mission, you just don't have time to miss things... haha. But that sounds like a blast! We ate your Cadbury eggs that you sent :) I like the mini ones better because they are just the right size. For Easter the investigator we have been working with for a while came to both the SPANISH and ENGLISH and the baptism after church. He was there from 9am-5pm, just like we were. He was suprized at what a big program it was to have a baptism. He said to Sister Lichfield "Wow this is different. In the army we all just lined up and were dunked under - in and out in 5 minutes." haha

After church, a member invited us over to dinner with the Elders. It was DELICIOUS! Ham, mashed potatoes, and carrots...felt like home :) I'm not used to all this American food! She gave us those chocolate bunnies afterward... I ate half of it on the way home and was feeling pretty sick after... but chocolate is soooooooo good!

Okay now that I just spent a paragraph of my precious email talking about food... haha... let me just tell you how grateful I am for the Lord. I make so many mistakes each day but His mercy and atonement are always there waiting as I repent. A neat experience we had this week was talking with an older man, probably in his 70's. He doesn't have teeth and when he smiles with his little Mexican moustache it is so cute! But anyway, he told us that he has been trying to find the true church all his life but he just hasn't found it. Everytime we come by he says, "Sorry girls it's just not a good time right now, another day." But he is such a talker that we'll be there for an hour each time - so we just ignore that by now and start teaching haha. We taught the restoration and why he needs to be baptized again. He then went back and thought about his Mom. He told us the story about how she always said to them growing up "I will NEVER change my religion from Catholic. I will never change and neither will you." Then he said later on when she was 55 she ended up changing churches. Later on he asked her why she changed after all and she told him, "I never had a relationship with God when I was going to that church... I didn't talk with Him or know who He was until I joined the _________ church" and then he paused to think and said, "I think it was called something like 'The Church of Jesus Christ of the Last Days'..." When he said that I felt the spirit SO strong. His mom found the truth and made the change a while ago and now he is too. We explained to him "Manuel this church is the very same church that your Mom joined." Ahhh it was AWESOME! At the end before we left he so cutely said "Don't wave the victory flag yet, but I just might be joining your church."

I know the Lord works in our lives. I know things happen for a reason. I love you so much mama! I love you too family and friends that read this. God is real.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Repentance: I don't think I've ever been more fascinated with something before in my life. I want to study it ALL the time.

WE JUST WENT TO PICK UP YOUR PACKAGE!!!! THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVED ALL OF IT! ESPECIALLY THE GLUTEN FREE GOOOOOOOOOODNESS! I'm really excited to take over your card and picture for our investigator. He needs it really bad. He did not get baptized this week :( He needs more time to get things figured out. Thank you SO much for your prayers. I really appreciate it and I know he does too. We had to call him and let him know that he needs to show God on his own that he is ready to make this step. He wasn't doing the most basic things on his own (like reading/praying) so we told him that this week he is on his own to read and to pray and get himself closer to God. We have worked and worked and worked with him... but ultimitly it is up to him to make the little decisions of reading instead of watching TV... going to bed early so you can get up for church instead of barbequeing all night long. He told us last night on the phone "don't feel like you are failures. You did everything right, I just need to get there... I KNOW I'm going to get baptized one day... I just need to get serious and do it." He'll get there someday, I know it. He just needs some time to reflect and realize that he needs that spirit each day....and the only way to do it is through prayer and scripture and taking the sacrament. Someday :)

Other good news!!!! We are working with some part member families right now who are awesome and should get baptized next month. I'm really excited for Easter coming up. They are preparing a cool sacrament meeting.


Okay creepy moment: so we just got done with planning in our apartment... and our window was open with the blinds closed over it. We just heard something screaming outside... and we figured it was probably just the stray cats fighting (because there are like 15 at our apartments). Hearing the scream lead Sister Lichfield to a topic of some scary story. While she was telling it I thought I heard somethng outside of the window... and I was like there is probably nothing there, but I was like "I'll check anyway, why not?" So I crawl over to the blinds and open them and sure enough there was a man directly outside of our window listening to us and when we saw him he just walked away. Who knows why he was there... maybe he was just some kid listening but it was kind of freaky that he was so close to our open window just standing there... we don't open our windows anymore hahaha. The Lord protected us though! Like always!!!

Okay this is the most random email everrrrrrrrrrrrrr! HALF WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! CRAZY HUH?! TIME FLIES WHEN YOU'RE PREACHING THE GOSPEL!

Note from Mom: Our Ward Bishopric asked for Mary to provide her testimony to share over the pulpit. Here is what she wrote:

There are two things made possible by the Savior that I have really come to love on my mission. The first is repentance. I don't think I've been more fascinated with something before in my life. I want to study it ALL the time. It is so beautiful to me that even though we make mistake after mistake we can become clean, without blemish. Like the sons of Mosiah, even the most vilest of sinners can be forgiven... even me as a regular person there are so many things that I am working on - I commit the same little sins over and over again but through God's mercy I can repent and He will remember them no more. Repenting should really become a favorite pastime :)

The second is partaking of the sacrament. I have never partaken of it so meaningfully as I have the past few months. There is a true promise in the sacrament prayer that we will have Christ's spirit to be with us. I know that is true. If we take the sacrament, we will have the spirit of Him to abide with us. I know that is the only way I have been able to overcome the challenges and hardships of serving a mission.

I know that no matter where we are in life, God has a plan for us. He knows what He wants us to become. He is putting experiences in our path so that we can reach our true potential. Sometimes we trip and fall along the way, but I know through repenting and taking the sacrament, we can just keep going on that path to eternal life. I love you all for the examples you have been to me in my life. You have all helped me get to where I am today.

I love this gospel with all my heart!!!!!


Monday, April 11, 2011



COMO ESTA MAMA Y FAMILIA? Estoy bien aqui en Tejas. Estoy viviendo la vida! La vida es muy buena aqui... estoy predicando y quemando :)

My goal this month was to budget my money well for once! So I want to stay within my $120. So I have $12 dollars to spend each week on food for the rest of the month! Lentils, apples, bananas and peanut butter! I can do it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The members are so nice here though so we have dinner a lot this week! I never knew how much coin laundry takes up money! Hijole!

Saturday was our walking day and it felt like we were in the desert of the Sahara! I thought I was hallucinating a little bit... but instead of an oasis... baptismal fonts... haha just kidding. But really it was SUPER hot - I put sunscreen on though :) Soy negrita ahora (as Sister Salan would say). Sister Lichfield forgot to put some on her neck and it was seriously purple by the end of the day. Yay for Texas!!!!!!

Sister Salan is awesome. She is helping our Spanish out and teaching us all the Guatamalan phrases... and guess what?! SHE IS A CHEF! Really she went to school and everything so I'm going to learn how to make some Guatamalan masterpieces for you! And we have one more place we can stop on our South American tour :) We were talking with this man and we were setting up a return appointment... I wrote down all our names on the back of the pamphlet and gave it to him. He was looking at them and all of a sudden said "Woah, wait a minute... who is Sister Satan?!" hahaha we explained to him that her name was SALAN not SATAN haha and he said "Oh okay... that is better. I was going to say, maybe I was talking with the wrong people if her name was Satan."

Okay so let me tell you something.... THIS WEEK HAS BEEN ONE OF THE BIGGEST ROLLERCOASTERS OF MY MISSION!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can't exactly tell you why over email but maybe when you call for mother's day :) But all is well hopefully! I've never come to appreciate the Atonement of Jesus Christ so much in my life and also for the lives of others. The one investigator has been a rollercoaster. I called to tell him yesterday that we couldn't come over anymore until he lived the Word of Wisdom... and he broke down and practically begged us to keep his baptismal date for this coming Sunday. We told him that he would have to be willing to act RIGHT NOW and give it all up. He agreed. We called the District Leader and we had his interview and he passed. The Elders gave him a blessing of strength to give everything up. The spirit was strong. He is having a hard time because that is the culture of his family - to drink/smoke/party... there are temptations basically everywhere. If you could keep him in your prayers this week that would be AWESOME! He needs all the Heavenly help he can get. I know he'll get baptized this Sunday and I'm SUPER SUPER EXCITED FOR HIM! He has been the investigator with the biggest lifestyle change that I've worked with.

Pues... que mas? We are just working working working and trying not to burn! I love you so much mom! Thanks for your support and prayers always. I love being a missionary. I want you and Dad to feel this someday too! You will love it mom! Well you are already a missionary but you'd love to serve full time.


Monday, April 4, 2011

It didn't come when I was on my knees, but while I was on my feet working for the Lord.

That sounds like such a funny trip with Anna and Andrew. Of course, somebody always has to throw up on trips. I always remember that one story Debbie told of when Connor ate a whole bag of starbursts. After he puked them all up, Debbie said "that was the best smelling puke ever!" haha. I have everyone's pictures up on the wall over my desk... Sister Lichfield always looks at the ones of Anna and Andrew eating their mexican candies and admires their toe-headed cuteness!

BY THE WAY I GET TO STAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAYAY I'M SO EXCITED! I get to stay here with Sister Lichfield and we will be getting Sister Salan. She is from Guatamala :) I'm excited! Hopefully she will teach me how to make some delicious things ;) I'm really excited I will get to stay here to see the baptism of an investigator we have been working with for a while. Oh and we went by last night and his mom joined our lesson... we invited her to work towards this step with her son and she said she'd prepare for baptism as well :) There are such great things happening in this area!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The field is white my dear family!

Conference was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved a lot of the talks. I especially liked what Uchtdorf said... something like "I don't usually recieve answers to prayers while I'm on my knees, but rather while I'm on my feet working for the Lord." I loved that! As missionaries our prayers are often "help us find the people who are ready for this message." So many times before the mission, I heard amazing stories about people just seeing in a dream the house that they needed to knock on or something like that... but it doesn't happen that way (well sometimes in special occasions :)! The answers to our prayers come when we get out there and work and are obedient. I've been asking God lots of questions lately because it has been hard for us to help people get to baptism. The answers never came while I was praying... but the next day we were teaching a lesson and Sister Lichfield was bearing testimony to the investigator and what she said TOTALLY answered my question. It didn't come when I was on my knees, but while I was on my feet working for the Lord. It is just funny how you never know who your testimony is going to touch... or when it is going to be an answer to someone's prayer. I really love that quote of President Uchtdorf. We need to just keep pressing forward and answers will come!

I PRAY FOR YOU ALL ALWAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!