California Fresno Mission May 2013 to November 2014

Monday, October 28, 2013

Semana 17 en Ceres

Querida Familia y Amigos
      Este semana fue fantastico! Nosotras miramos muchos milagros y teniamos muchas personas en la iglesia este domingo!  (This week was fantastic!  We saw many miracles and many people came to church this Sunday!)
       First of all, I'm backtracking to last Sunday. Last Sunday we had dinner with a family in the ward and we ate Carnitas Mezcla (braised and fried pork parts). That was interesting, but actually tasted okay.
        But back to this week.... This week has been a week of miracles! Especially the past two days. These two days have taught me that the Lord truly is aware of what we are doing and He knows what we need to do in order to help ourselves and our areas progress.
        On Saturday we had almost all of our appointments fall through. Then, we decided we should go and share the Family Mission Plan (this is a plan that helps families work with the missionaries to introduce their friends to the church) with our branch president. We went and shared it with him and explained what it was and invited him to do it with his family. We then sang "Love at Home ( a church hymn)." We then testified that we know that this plan will bring families closer together and help the work progress in this area.  The Spirit was so strong! We then asked him what he thought about sharing it with the entire branch. He loved it! We asked him how he would like us to share this with the branch and he asked us to do a brief introduction with the entire branch Sunday after church. Sunday when we shared this plan with the branch we explained that we would be passing by their homes and explaining more about this Family Mission Plan. Everyone seemed very excited!
         Right after this meeting an investigator (and nonmember father in a part member family) named R came and told us and the branch president that he wants to be baptized. We had stopped passing by for about a month because he was not willing to keep his commitments, but now he is ready and willing to make and keep commitments. We are so excited! He and his family want to help others come unto Christ and he is starting with himself first. What a miracle!
         We also had a wonderful lesson with L and her husband, A. We are now teaching her husband. He wants to learn more and feel more prepared but he knows that this church is true and that blessings come from being a part of it.
         Going along with the miracles on Sunday.....Almost half of the Familia R were in church! That comes to about 5 less-active families! We were so surprised and so thrilled!! When they came they all sat together and they filled up almost an entire side of the chapel. I know that because we have been focusing on helping the less-actives feel of the Spirit and remember the covenants they have made that their hearts have been touched and that they are now willing and ready to come back to church. We also had J (the 10 year-old girl who is going to be baptized at the end of November) and R in Sacrament Meeting!
            We also had a wonderful lesson with A and K this week. We were able to resolve some doubts about the church. Through truly desiring her to understand we were able to teach to her needs, help her feel the Spirit and still teach what we had originally planned to teach. The Spirit was there in abundance. As we bore testimony about knowing that we will see our loved ones again and that we can live with them forever through our Heavenly Father's plan and Christ's Atonement, she was able to recognize the Spirit as it testified of the truths which we shared. How grateful I am for the Holy Ghost! It truly is only through Him that we can discern the needs of those we teach and know what we need to say in the moment we need to say it. I know the Spirit guided every part of that lesson. How grateful I am for our third companion in our companionship--the Holy Ghost.
          Thank you for all of your love and support! Love you so much!
                                                       Hermana VanWie


Monday, October 21, 2013

16th Semana en Ceres

Querida familia--
           This week my companion, Hermana W, and I have been working on a list of members in our area. We have been trying to contact them and invite them back to church. As we have been working on this list we have been able to see the hand of the Lord in the work in our area.
             We had a wonderful lesson with a member named E who has been less active for quite some time now. This lesson was truly directed by the Spirit. Going into the lesson we had no idea how to help her. Under the direction of the Spirit we ended up talking about covenants and we read the Sacrament prayers with her. We helped her remember that she has covenanted (made promises) with the Lord to always remember Jesus Christ, take His name upon her and keep His commandments. We discussed how living worthily and coming to church is a big part of this promise and through partaking of the Sacrament we renew these sacred covenants. I know that through following the Spirit we are able to help her learn. She now knows the importance of coming to church. As we continue visiting her with branch members, we know that she will come back to church.
            We also had a great lesson with the Familia A this week. We have been reminding them every night to read their scriptures and it has been working. They have been reading! When we had a lesson with them we continued to read with them and even their children wanted to be involved. They also came to church this Sunday--the first time in a long time! I am so grateful for their desire to attend church and come closer to our Heavenly Father and Savior. As we continue to work with their family and their extended family, we know that little by little their family will feel of the Spirit and have a desire have an eternal family.
             We also had a wonderful lesson with two investigators--A and K. We taught the first part of the Plan of Salvation (God’s plan of happiness) to them and they understood and believed everything. She said she would love to be baptized but that she wants to learn more. We are so excited to help her gain more knowledge. She reads the Book of Mormon almost every day and so does her son. They both agree with what we are teaching them and are so excited to learn more. Right now the only thing that is holding them back is that she works on Sundays. She is trying to get Sundays off so she and her children can come to church. We are so excited by their progress and are so thrilled to have the opportunity to teach them.
            I know that our Heavenly Father is aware of each and every one of our needs and that He is watching over us every day. I know that through the strength of the Lord we can do all things. How grateful I am for the power of the Atonement in my life! I am grateful for the power it gives me to do hard things. I know that my Savior lives! I know that families can be together forever. How grateful I am for that knowledge!

"Eternas pueden ser las familias, por el divino plan. Yo quiero heredar el celestial hogar con la mia por la eternidad, por toda la eternidad." (“Families can be together forever, through Heavenly Father’s Plan.  I always want to be with my own family, and the Lord has shown me how I can – the Lord has shown me how I can.”  This is the chorus of a song from our children’s songbook entitled, “Families can Be Together Forever”)

Thank you for all of your love and support! I hope you have a wonderful week! 
Los quiero mucho!  Love,  Hermana VanWie

Monday, October 14, 2013

15th Semana en Ceres

Querida Familia y amigos--
            Espero que todo esta bien con ustedes! Tuvimos una semana bien ocupada.  (I hope all is well with you.  We have been very busy this week.)
This week we have been working with less actives as well as part member families. (less actives are people who used to attend church regularly but are not presently doing so.  Part member families are families where one person is a member and the others are not.) We had two wonderful lessons with a less active named Sa this week. After our lessons with her she expressed a desire to come back to church and help her family come back as well. We look forward to more lessons with her in the coming weeks.
The part member family we worked with the most this week is the Familia R Martinez. We had a recorrido de la iglesia(church tour) with them this week that went wonderfully! This past Sunday they came to church even though someone in the family was very sick. They are showing their desire to come closer unto Christ. We are thrilled about their progress. They are on schedule to be baptized the 30th of November or sooner. I know that if we hadn't had the church tour, they would not have felt as comfortable in church. On this church tour we had two members with us and they were able to bear testimony of the things we explained as well. The Spirit was so strong! As we explained about the Sacrament and that we partake of it to remember our Savior and come closer to Him I could feel the Spirit bear testimony of the things which we shared. We then sang "If the Savior Stood Beside Me" in Spanish. My testimony of hymns bringing the Spirit has grown more this week than ever before. Sacred hymns touch people's hearts and help them receive the witness of the Holy Ghost that the things that the hymns teach are true. I love the hymns!
I also had an exchange with Hermana B this week. She is such a wonderful a fun missionary! She knows how to be bold and have fun and how to radiate the joy the gospel brings into her life as she teaches! I learned so much from her about always staying optimistic and how to be bold.
Hna W and I also taught two other investigators this week named Yolanda and Socorro. They are from Mitchoacan (an area of Mexico) Almost all the people in this area are from Mitchoacan. We taught them the Restoration and they had many questions and were very receptive. We invited them to be baptized and they said they just need to learn more but are not opposed to the idea! We are very excited to be teaching them.
We also are working with a woman named A and her son K from Nicaragua. They are very excited to learn and she loves everything she reads from the Book of Mormon. She is so humble and hard-working and wants to find some hope again in her life. We are excited to teach her again this week and help her to get to know the other members in our branch from Nicaragua.
We are trying to find more people and the most effective way to find is through the members. When we receive a referral from a member the investigator automatically has a friend to help answer questions and help them feel more comfortable in church.
I know that working through members will bless our area greatly. I know this is the work of Salvation! I know my Savior lives and loves each and every one of us!
Thank you for your prayers and for your support! Les quiero mucho!

Love,  Hermana VanWie


14th Semana en Ceres

Querida Familia—
            This week has been a wonderful week full of instruction. We set two baptismal dates this week with part of the Familia R. We are very excited to be working with this family! They are a part member family and part of a very large family. The lessons we had with them this week allowed Hermana W and I to work together and share our views on how lessons went and how we can better help our investigators. We have been able to come closer together as we have been working together and teaching together more.
            (This weekend the church held a Conference in Salt Lake City where the Prophet, Apostles and other leaders spoke.  It is called General Conference and is Broadcast throughout the World.) From General Conference I learned the importance of using the (church) members in this work of Salvation more than ever before. The members are the keys to bringing souls closer unto Christ
            We also had a wonderful lesson with two families this week. In both of these lessons we sang a hymn. This is something that I haven't done consistently since being out in the mission field. But as we sang and bore testimony of the truths these songs taught and related them to the members' lives, hearts were touched and they committed to come to church this next week. I know as we use our talents to further the work of the Lord the Spirit will testify through us and touch people's hearts.
We also received 2 new investigators--a mother and a son named A and K. They are so prepared! I am grateful for the Lord placing prepared people in our paths as we make sure to be exactly obedient and follow the promptings of the Spirit.  I know this work truly is the work of Salvation!  I am seeing more and more everyday how the Lord is truly hastening this work. It is so amazing to me that a year ago so many young missionaries were given the opportunity to serve now. How wonderful it is to think that so many--now 80,000 missionaries answered the call or were already serving. How grateful I am that the Lord has given me and so many of my friends the opportunity to serve Him at this point in our lives. I love General Conference! Please watch it if you haven't already. I know that President Thomas S. Monson is a prophet of God!  Thank you for all of your love and support!  Have a wonderful week!
Love,  Hermana VanWie

Sunday, October 6, 2013

13th Semana en Ceres

Querida Familia,
            This week was the first week of the new transfer. I am so excited about this transfer! Hermana W is so wonderful! She is already settling in to Ceres 3 and I know we will be able to work together really well. We are very similar in how we communicate and we are both learning the language. It is wonderful to be learning together and progressing in our communicating skills together. 
We have had quite a few adventures together this week. One of which was discovering how we can have hot water. Our thermostat controls the hot water, so when we want a warm shower we have to turn on the heat (that would have been nice to figure out a while ago. Oh well :) ) But, we figured that out by turning on the heater a chilly morning. Unfortunately, one of us was in the shower and ended up being slightly scalded. But now we know :) 
This week we also had the baptism of L! It was so exciting!  But, I think the most exciting thing was the change I have been able to see in our investigator over the past few weeks. She truly is changed. She is more willing to follow our Savior and is trying harder and harder to be that good example for her family. I am reminded of a quote by President Harold B. Lee that says, "The greatest miracles I see today are not necessarily the healing of sick bodies, but the greatest miracles I see are the healing of sick souls." What a wonderful experience this was--to see this healing taking place. I love this work! As they strive to change, we and  they are able to come closer to our Savior. I am so excited that L has made this step and now has the support and encouragement of the branch. She radiated happiness after her baptism. How wonderful it was to see her smile and be joyful again!   
I also have gained a greater appreciation for how the promptings of the Spirit work. A while back we met a man named V who has met many authorities of the church. However, for some reason his information was never passed on to the English speaking Elders in the area. This week we found his information again and sent the referral to the Elders. They too had found his information in their potential list but were unsure as to how they would be able to communicate with him. With our information they were able to teach a lesson with his son translating.  They were able to teach the Restoration to him and discovered that there is a member in their ward that speaks Russian. What a tender mercy! The Lord's hand truly is in this work! I know that He wants each of His children to return back to Him and He will always provide a way. In the words of a Primary children’s song, "I will go; I will do the things the Lord commands. I know the Lord provides a way! He wants me to obey."   
I am so grateful for the Plan that our Heavenly Father has for each and every one of His children. He loves us! And I love Him! I am so grateful for the opportunity to serve Him!  Thank you for all of your love and support!   Les quiero mucho!
                                                    Hermana VanWie

P.S. The 1st picture is of my new companion, Hna. W and me. The next pictures are of me and Hna. W at L's baptism