California Fresno Mission May 2013 to November 2014

Monday, July 15, 2013

2nd week in Ceres,

Querida all --
I don't have a lot of time this week so I will try to write quickly.
This week I went on a split (when missionaries exchange companions to learn from others) that turned into an exchange (changing companions for the day) and an exchange. The split was with 2 other sisters that are also being trained. We worked up in Modesto and taught 7 lessons! It was amazing! We all taught together and taught equally. It was amazing to see that when we are expected to speak and no one else is there to help us with the Spanish, that we are still able to teach. I learned so much from those sisters about how to teach more effectively!
The other exchange was down in Turlock. I worked with a sister who has just been doubled-in to the area (assigned to share an area with other missionaries)  so I learned about the importance of being organized and gaining the trust of the members. I also learned about how difficult it is to open an area or be doubled-in to an area. That was an eye-opener for me and made me very grateful for the area I am in right now with a trainer who is familiar with the people and the area.
This week in our area we received 2 new investigators--S and M. M is the mother of a less active member and she is ready for baptism, but she needs to come to church and she works on Sundays. We are hoping and praying that she can change the day that she has off to Sundays. She has such a strong testimony of the Book of Mormon and of the gospel. We are still getting to know Santiago, but there was a special spirit there in the lesson we had with him.
C did not come to church on Sunday. But, we have a meeting with her and her husband and her cousin tomorrow. So we are hoping she will come to church after that. She invited us to her son's birthday party on Saturday and we went. There we met her entire family and she introduced us to everyone. She had told everyone about what she had learned from us and how excited she was. It was an amazing experience and we are so excited that she wants to share the message of the gospel with her family!
This morning we had a neat experience about how the Lord works in the details of our lives. We took a little longer getting out the door to go running this morning which was unusual. Then when we were coming back we just came back the way we came instead of making a loop. Neither one of us were quite sure why, but then we ran into F who we talked to and now have an appointment to teach him later this week. What a blessing!
I know that the Lord cares about all the details of our lives. I know that He watches over and protects us as we strive to follow the example of His Son, Jesus Christ. I know that the gospel of Jesus Christ blesses families and can change our lives for the better. I love this gospel! I love this work! I love all of you! Thank you for all of your love, prayers, and support!
Hermana VanWie

Monday, July 8, 2013

First from Fresno

Dear family and friends.  Here is Anne's 1st email since she arrived in the Fresno area last Weds.  She sounds great.  They go to the local library to use the computers to send emails.  Enjoy!  If you want to send her an email her address is  Thanks for your love, and prayers and support for her!  Love and hugs -- Pam

Querida Familia! I don't have much time to write, but I will try to get everything in......

We met the mission at the airport on Wednesday and everyone is wonderful. I love President and Sister Gelwix (the couple who oversees the missionary work in that region)! All the hermanas (sister/girl missionaries) spent the night at their house after we had training with them as well and went and talked to people on the streets. Then the next day we met our trainers!!!!!!

 My trainer is Hermana PO. She is a native speaker. She is from Los Angeles. She is so wonderful! We are so similar!  We are working in Ceres and part of Modesto(this area is at the northern part of our mission). (so it is about 8 degrees cooler than the Fresno area!)  We have a car and bikes. But right now we are using the car because it is 110+ almost everyday. (She also mentioned that she will be driving.) We have taught quite a few lessons so far. Right now our main focus is the reactivation (meeting with members of the congregation to see how to help and encourage them) of most of the branch. (a small congregation)

Also, more about the branch....... I am the pianist for sacrament meeting and relief society (sacrament meeting is the main church meeting and relief society is a meeting just for ladies)  because no one knows how to play. So far they have always had a missionary that knows had to play. When the last hermana left, the branch prayed for someone that would know how to play the piano. Well, they got me :) My playing may not be perfect, but I can play and will get better as I practice. The members are so loving and wonderful! We have dinner with them almost every night of the week and the Relief Society sisters have set up a schedule to have a sister go out with us everday! How wonderful that even in a small branch, the members are helping the work go forth!

Our only investigator right now is C. She is wonderful! I love her! We invited her to be baptized on the 21 de Julio (July 21st). She accepted and is having us meet with her and her husband tonight. We are hoping that her husband will also accept the gospel. She is so accepting of all that we tell her and truly has a testimony of the restored gospel!

I know this work is the work of the Lord! I love seeing how much the gospel blesses families and it can change people's lives! Yo se que este evangelio es verdadero. Yo se que la Iglesia es verdadera tambien. Estoy muy enthusiasmada de ser aqui! Yo se que por medio de vivir los principios de este evangelio nosotros podemos vivir mas felices y con nuestros familias para siempre! (I know that the gospel is true and also that the church is true.  I am very excited to be here.  I know that if we live the principles of the gospel our lives will be much happier and we will be able to live with our families forever.)

Until next week my dear family and friends.  I love you all so much!!!!


Hermana VanWie


5th and last MTC Email

Here is Anne's 5th and last MTC email.  Sorry this is late.  I was cooking for church girls' camp this past week and just got back.  Anne leaves next Weds to begin her service in California. I am not sure how soon we will hear from her there.

Querida familia y amigas.  This week has been quite a whirlwind!
 We taught Fabian on Thursday and realized that although we have been taking the lessons slowly with him, and maybe talking about 1 topic 3 times in a row. He has been trusting us more and more lately, and I think that is probably because we take the time to talk to him and Listen. I saw Sister Rachel Jensen I(a BYU roomates) on Thursday too! It was so good to see her. I still haven't seen Sister Emily Wilkins (another BYU roommate) , but I look for her whenever we have a devotional.
Thursday was also Elder Kane's (one of the elders in her district) birthday. We made him a homemade pinata of sorts out of a small box and random candy. We gave it to him at the end of the day (when it was personal time). It made his day! Oh how I love our district! We all are learning so much from each other!
I also received a package from Sister Wilkins (thank you!) and from Mom ( thank you too!).
We also received a new district (an organizational term for a unit of missionaries). They have 4 new hermanas and we get another district today.
On Friday we had all the new mission presidents come. 173 new mission presidents! Wow! (New Mission presidents and their wives are called for 3 years to oversee and help the missionaries throughout the world.  They start their term of service on July 1st to they came to the MTC for training and instruction.)
Sunday was a very special day. At Relief Society Sister Ana de Agostini spoke. At one point, she had all of the sisters that had been affected by the age change stand up. (last October the age for women to serve was lowered from 21 to 19 and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of women serving missions.) Nearly EVERY sister in the room stood up! Wow! What an inspired change! She spoke about the words of the Hymn "As Sisters in Zion".  It explains that the errand of angels has been given to women, and this is a gift that as sisters we claim. Whether we are serving missions or going to school or taking care of families, we are helping bring others unto Christ. This is the errand of angels.
Then we had an MTC wide sacrament meeting. It was huge and we had two sacrament meetings splitting the MTC in half. At the sacrament meeting President and Sister Priday (Some of the leaders of the Missionary Training Center) spoke about the Lord is in the details of our lives. He truly is! I know that He knows what we need and how to best help us learn and grow. But, they said, we need to have faith in Him and trust in Him.
Then we had the worldwide leadership training broadcast. It was a historic day! It was called "The Work of Salvation: Worldwide Leadership broadcast" They told us that there are over 70,000 missionaries around the world (either in the MTC or in the field). 173 new mission presidents and their wives were there too!As missionaries, we have been called to be disciples of Jesus Christ and to take the gospel to all the world and help people come closer to Christ. It is so exciting to see that missionary work is turning into a whole family affair!  I know these changes talked about at the broadcast were inspired of God. I know that Thomas S. Monson is a prophet, seer, and revelator. I know  that if we heed his counsel, we will be blessed.
We said goodbye to Eliana yesterday. :( Oh how I will miss teaching her! I love her so much! I dread the day I will have to say goodbye to investigators in Fresno!
Last night we also went to a devotional with Sister Janice Kapp Perry (She has composed hundreds of church hymns and childrens' songs)  I was in the choir and we sang "Like 10,000 Legions Marching."
She also said that hymns and children's songs bring the Spirit faster than anything else! She had us sing a medley of 6 songs: A child's prayer, I love to see the temple, I belong to the Church of Jesus Christ, Army of Helaman(with we are Now the Lord's missionaries), and Love is Spoken here. She also sang her testimony (A song called "Like Jesus"). And then we sang the EFY Medley except it was rewritten for missionaries. It is called "The Sisters of Zion/ The Army of Helaman." Everyone stood and sang. What a wonderful Spirit was there! I love the power of songs!
I am so excited to go out to Fresno this week! Yo se que este evangelio es verdadero. Yo se que Dios nos ama. Yo se que Jesucristo es nuestro Salvador. Yo se que nuestros familias pueden vivir para siempre. (I know that the gospel is true.  I know that God loves us and that Jesus Christ is our Savior.  I know that families can be together forever.)
I love you all!
Hermana VanWie

Picture of MTC District and Branch presidency (adult leaders)