California Fresno Mission May 2013 to November 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014

Semana 36 en Kerman . . la ultima semana!

Hermana VanWie wrote this as her final mission email today, November 17, 2014. Thank you so much for your love, support and prayers in her behalf over the past 18 months.  She will be speaking in church this Sunday, November 23rd, at 11:00 am and will share some of her mission experiences.  We would love to have you join us.  It is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints located next to the D20 Stadium.  We will also be hosting a "welcome home" open house for her this Sunday at our home, 3865 Orchard Dr. from 4:30 to 6 p.m. We hope you can join us!

  Querida Familia y amigos --

Sorry this letter is a little late.....we went to part of Yosemite today with some members.
                I loved this week! I love being a missionary! I love teaching with the Spirit! I love watching the light go on in people's eyes when they understand and they just "get it." I love speaking Spanish! I love my companion! I love being in the California Fresno Mission! I love watching people's spiritual progression and recognizing my own! I love the temple! I am so grateful for this week! Truly all the things I love about the mission were all combined into one week!  There were a few main experiences that highlighted my week: J, M, and going to the temple.
               J told us on Monday and Tuesday that he wants to get baptized as soon as possible!! He invited his mother to be baptized with him, which was super exciting! They said they will talk, think, and pray about it. They will tell us for sure tonight (they just got back from Mexico). I am so grateful that the Spirit has worked in his heart as he has attended Primary. Truly attending Primary is what has aided him to be ready to be baptized. As I have played in Primary occasionally, I have come to know as well that the Spirit in Primary is very special and that we are taught sacred simple truths there.
                We had a miracle with M this week. We found M by going to visit some members that had been coming to mind recently. When we arrived she was there taking care of their father. The two sisters quickly invited her to join us and we began to get to know her and talk about the Restoration. It was a Spanglish lesson, but the Spirit was so strong. At one point, M began to cry. She was so filled with emotion and happiness. I know that the Lord placed her in our path and as we did what the Inspired Vision of the mission is, we were able to find her.
                  I loved going to the temple! I came to understand even more what my Heavenly Father thinks of me and how happy He is with the work we do as missionaries. I felt so loved and that He knows me so individually. I know that He knows me and that He loves me. As I sat in the temple I came to understand a quote, "When a missionary is placed in a mission environment of order and discipline where all that is done there is in harmony with the Spirit, the missionary experiences a great transformation. The heavens open. Powers are showered out. Mysteries are revealed. Habits are improved. Sanctification begins. Through this process the missionary becomes a vessel of light that can shine forth the gospel of Jesus Christ in a world of darkness." -Elder Bradford (Oct 1981). Reflecting on my mission in the temple, I was able to identify parts of this quote in me and that I have come to know my Savior and my Heavenly Father and learned to do their work.
I know that God is our Heavenly Father. Jesus Christ is His Son. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the World. I know They live. I know They love me. They love you. I know because They love us, they created a plan that allows us to not only return to live with Them again, but to live with our families for eternity. I know the way we can do that is through obedience to the laws and ordinances of the gospel (the teachings) of Jesus Christ. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that he restored the church of Jesus Christ to the earth once more. I know that the church is led and guided by a living prophet, President Thomas S. Monson. I know he has been called of God. I know the Holy Ghost testifies of truth and because of the Holy Ghost I know that Joseph Smith saw what he said he saw when he said, "I saw a pillar of light exactly over my head, above the brightness of the sun, which descended gradually until it fell upon me. When the light rested upon me I saw two Personages, whose brightness and glory defy all description,standing above me in the air. One of them spake unto me, calling me by name and said, pointing to the other—This is My Beloved Son. Hear Him!" The feeling that comes as those words are read and/or said is the Spirit. I know through that same Spirit that the Book of Mormon is true. It is the word of God and testifies of Jesus Christ with the Bible. I know that Joseph Smith translated the Book of Mormon by the power of God. I know as we live the principles taught within its pages we can draw closer to our Heavenly Father and our Savior, Jesus Christ. My testimony of the Atonement of Jesus Christ has been strengthened as I have studied it in the scriptures, heard about it from Apostles and Prophets, taught about it to others, and as I have learned to apply it in my life. I know with all my heart and soul that Jesus Christ is my Savior and Redeemer. He lived and died for me and for you. He knows me and understands me perfectly. He know how to help me overcome my challenges. He will lift me up when I turn to Him. His Atonement is Infinite and Eternal. It cleanses us from our sins and from our short comings. It allows us to forgive ourselves and others. But even more so, it allows us to become the people that our Heavenly Father sees us becoming. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ and we can reach our divine potential. We can do hard things. And we can become better everyday. I know that the way we can apply the Atonement is through understanding who God is and who we are to Him. I know we are His children and He loves us. Because of this I know that this life is a time to learn and grow. As we learn and grow we make mistakes and as we realize these mistakes we also come to realize the necessity of a Savior. I know as we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior, we begin to change because we want to be more like Him. As I have taught and studied about the Atonement I have learned that is enables us to do good and serve beyond what we think we can. I know the Atonement allows us to change and do hard things. I am so grateful for the Atonement. I love my Heavenly Father! I love my Savior! I love the Book of Mormon! I love this work! I know it is the work of the Lord and I know as we share the blessings of knowing the teachings of Jesus Christ with those around us we are more fully filled with love from our Heavenly Father and Savior. How grateful I am that we can share these blessings with others for all of our lives as member missionaries and not just as a full-time missionary.

                Que tengan una semana maravillosa! y que Dios les bendiga! Les quiero mucho!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana VanWie


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Semana 35 en Kerman -- 2nd to last

On Monday, November 10th, 2014, Hermana VanWie shared this great email .  It is her 2nd to last as she will return home next week.


Querida Familia y amigos.

I can't believe how fast time flies!!! This week was a great week!! We had 5 investigators at church and we had a family we are working with come and see a baptism! The S family came to a baptism of three little girls and loved it! Their youngest son, in the middle of the baptism, turned to his mother and said, "Mom, I will be there too very soon!" as he gestured to the baptismal font. We had a lesson with them immediately after the baptism at the church with some members and A is now for sure that this is what she wants. She explained to us that she now knows that this is what she has been searching for. She said, "Ya encontre lo que estaba buscando." As she said that the Spirit filled the room. Sunday she talked to us and wants us to set a baptismal date with her son, Jl. She explained that during the baptism and during Sacrament Meeting he was explaining to her the importance of being baptized and what it means. She was thrilled!! She has been searching for a church that helps children understand the importance of promises with God and know what they mean and she has found it. The S family is continuing to progress! This week we had a fantastic lesson with them and they invited a friend. J explained everything to him! As he taught we could see that his testimony is growing as he is studying and praying. He explained the importance of baptism and the gift of the Holy Ghost to his friend. I was stunned! He explained as well as any missionary about this important member of the Godhead. I know that it is because he is studying it out in his mind and in his heart and going heavenward for understanding and not just into books. I know that as we help others go heavenward their testimonies grow and strengthen even more. I am grateful that he came to this realization this week.

We had a wonderful district meeting this week! We talked about the Inspired Vision for the Mission and our purpose as missionaries. We broke down our purpose by the words Invite, Everyone, Come, Christ. It was a revelatory experience!

We were truly blessed as we worked this week because we were able to find and teach several less actives that have slipped "under-the-radar." They want us to be in their home and have invited us over for dinner this next week. We have also been working with a lot of recent converts and less actives this week. We are helping them set their sights on the temple. We are excited that the mother of one of our recent converts is going to go to the temple by the end of the year.

We also had a wonderful training about family history! One of the Senior couples are specialists in family history! We learned so much about how to help people who have records in Mexico. I am excited to help our recent converts understand how they can find more of their ancestors and continue in this part of the work of Salvation!

I love this work!! It is a never ending process of finding, teaching, baptizing, retaining, and repeating, yet it is so rewarding! How grateful I am that we are able to be here serving as representatives of our Savior, Jesus Christ! I love Him!

Gracias por todo lo que hacen para ayudar en esta obra! Los quiero mucho! Que tengan una semana maravillosa!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana VanWie


Semana 34 en Kerman -- Happy Fall and Halloween!

On November 3rd, 2014, Hermana VanWie shared the following in her email to her family and friends:
Querida Familia y amigos --

Happy Fall! And Happy Halloween!! 

On Monday we spent some time with some other sisters and carved pumpkins. It was our "American Culture Day." Sister Jimenez and Sister Reina had never carved pumpkins before, so that was fun and different for them.

Halloween was spent in MLC. I loved MLC! (Mission Leadership Council) The theme of the day was "If We Always Do What We Have Always Done, Then We Will Always Get What We Have Always Got." We talked about the Lord hastening His work and how we must keep pace by doing His work in His way.

This week can pretty much be summed up by Sunday. A,,J, J, J, and J  came to church. It was fast and testimony meeting. I have grown a huge love of fast and testimony meetings and this Sunday was one of my favorites! J bore his testimony in Sacrament Meeting about how he has seen a change in his life since we have been passing by but more specifically since Wednesday. On Wednesday we had, what we thought was,a horrible lesson.  However he explained that ever since then he has been able to identify a change in his life. L and her girls also came to church! It was the first time in 2 months! G and his family also came to church! S came and brought a friend! AND M and M and another brother came as well. It was a wonderful day at church!! (Even though the fire alarm got pulled during third hour and we all had to evacuate the building and then the electricity went out all over the city). But the work of the Lord went on without electricity. After everyone went home, M received the priesthood. His uncle ordained him and gave him such a special blessing that included things that were exactly what he needed to hear and what his mother needed to hear. I love Priesthood Blessings! Right after he was ordained, the YM's president came up and started making plans to help M and his mother to get to the temple. I would have been completely content if the day had just ended there!! But it continued on....

We had a great lesson with a recent convert and then as we were heading back toward Kerman we felt like we should go see a less active. I wasn't sure if I would be able to find her house, but miraculously we found it. It turned out that she had just barely had surgery and she needed some help in her home. I know that we were supposed to find her that day.

During the evening all of our plans fell through and Hna Jimenez and I could not get A and her family out of our mind, so we decided to go visit them. As we began talking with them, we weren't really sure what we were going to share with them, but we knew we needed to be there. Just as we were about to start the lesson, there was a knock on the door--it was their conpadre (godfather of their children) who they actually had given to us as a referral. Now, they began to teach him about the church and explain the things they like and about Joseph Smith and the importance of families in the church. As they explained and taught we were able to also teach, but more importantly we were able to understand where they are at in their spiritual progression and their understanding. As J talked to his conpadre he explained that he realizes that this is what he wants in his life and in his family's life and that in order to have his family have it, he needs to accept it and apply it into his life as well. What a tender mercy of the Lord!! We were so grateful that the Lord allowed us to have this glimpse into what J was thinking and feeling by listening to and heeding the promptings of the Spirit.

I know that this is the Lord's work. His hand is in it. He will tell us what to do as we listen to the promptings of the Spirit. I know that in order to keep pace with the hastening of the work, we must become more converted to His gospel.

I love the Lord. I am grateful to be doing His work!  Les quiero mucho!! Que tengan una semana maravillosa!!

Con mucho amor,

Hermana VanWie


Semana 33 en Kerman -- Primary Program and more

This is the email from Hermana VanWie on October 27, 2014.  She loves the work she is doing! Thank you for all of your prayers and support for her. 
Querida Familia y amigos--
        We started out the week with going to the zoo!! It was a lot of fun for Preparation Day! Then Sister Jimenez and I were asked to give a training on the role of the Holy Ghost in conversion in Zone Meeting. Even though we only had a few days to prepare for it, the Lord blessed us in our efforts and everything came together including doing it in English. Sister Jimenez did wonderful! I was so proud of her! As we studied we felt like we needed to address personal conversion and how we allow the Holy Ghost to touch us and change us and help us become more converted. As both President Clark and President Gelwix have taught, we first must be converted to help others do the same. As we studied we also found a connection between exact obedience and the miracle of conversion. Like the mission culture says, "We know exact obedience brings miracles and we desire the miracle of conversion--for self and for others." We know that as we are exactly obedient to the laws of God and to the mission culture we increase in faith. With this increase of faith we can have an increase of the Spirit in our lives. And this increase of the Spirit allows us to have a personal conversion which then allows us to see the miracle of conversion in others. I love what Elder Richard G. Scott says about conversion, "Stated simply, true conversion is the fruit of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience. Faith comes by hearing the word of God and responding to it. You will receive from the Holy Ghost a confirming witness of things you accept on faith by willingly doing them. You will be led to repent of errors resulting from wrong things done or right things not done. As a consequence, your capacity to consistently obey will be strengthened. This cycle of faith, repentance, and consistent obedience will lead you to greater conversion with its attendant blessings. True conversion will strengthen your capacity to do what you know you should do, when you should do it, regardless of the circumstances....I bear testimony that as you pray for guidance, the Holy Ghost will help identify the personal changes you need to make for full conversion. The Lord can then bless you more abundantly. Your faith in Him will be fortified, your capacity to repent will increase, and your power to consistently obey will be reinforced. The Savior lives. He loves you. As you do your best, He will help you." I know this is true! True conversion comes over time and it is a consistent effort.
We had two wonderful lessons with A and J this week. J is reading the Book of Mormon and wants to know that it is true--He is seeking for true conversion. He is asking more questions of things he does not understand and is opening up more to us and allowing us to more fully address his needs. As we were leaving our first lesson with them they addressed another question they had and so we knew exactly what we needed to teach them the next time. We talked with the members who are friends with them about the lesson and they then invited the whole family over to their home for the next lesson. It was wonderful! The next lesson we started teaching, but soon it became the members teaching and it just seemed like a normal conversation. As we listened to the members explain what they do in their lives to obey the commandments and why it is important to them I could feel the Spirit bear testimony to me that indeed the hastening of the work is more about the members than it is the missionaries--it is about member missionary work!
This week I went on an exchange with Sister Henderson in Madera. She did a great job leading her area!! She is a great teacher! She is so full of love and compassion to others. She radiates it as she teaches and helps others. I was so glad I got to work with her!
Sunday was the primary program (Primary is a children's group at church.  Children learn about the Savior through lessons, songs and activities.  Hermana VanWie has been playing the piano for them.  They have a yearly program to share what they have learned.). I have said this before and I will say it again....I LOVE Primary!!! It was wonderful to see J and J (the children of A and J) up on the stand singing all the songs as well. The Spirit was so strong and A was very touched. Truly the simple truths taught in Primary are what the foundation of our testimonies are based on. There were two musical numbers that were especially touching: "Soy un hijo de Dios" (I am a Child of God) (everyone sang it in Spanish) and "Love is Spoken Here." As a group of boys and a group of girls sang it as a duet the investigators we had there were very moved. As I listened to the lyrics and felt the sweet Spirit there I realized that the home that the children were describing is exactly the type of home that we are striving for our investigators and ourselves to have. I loved Sunday!!        Yo se que esta es la obra del Senor. El esta encargado de ello y El siempre va ayudarnos. Yo se que El vive. Y que nuestro Padre Celestial escucha nuestras oraciones y que El siempre va contestarnos en Su tiempo y en Su manera. Yo se que Ellos nos aman! Los quiero mucho! Que tengan una semana maravillosa!
Con amor,
Hermana VanWie