Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Week 71: The Cold of San Cris is REAL

When Hna Gonzalez got transferred to San Cris a year ago and everyone was preparing her for the cold with coats and everything, I didn´t believe them....but now I do. It´s FREEZING here! I think the difference between here and SD is that at least in SD we have heating in the houses, but here it´s just always cold!!! But it´s okay, I´m hoping it helps me out a lot to adapt at home :D

It´s pretty cool here, because I´m learning a little bit of Tzotzil! [One of the native languages.] Not much, but I´ve learned that "coloval" is thank you, and "jechuk" is amen. We hear quite a few prayers in Tzotzil here, and it´s pretty awesome. It´s a little funny, because a lot of times they use Spanish words so I´ll understand a LITTLE of what they´re saying. Like, I heard two guys talking and I just heard, "tzotzil tzotzil tzotzil two weeks tzotzil tzotzil" and so I guess I understood a little :D It´s pretty incredible to hear, because it makes me think a lot about the Book of Mormon.

We were talking with our district leader last night for the verifications, and he´s going home the same time as me! So we were talking about how we´re almost at our last transfer, and so he asked me what I would like to do for my last transfer, how I would like to work totally differently this last one than my whole mission. SO I would like to ask you for ideas!!! Anything that you think would be something different to do in Chiapas, I´m ready to do it!!!

This Saturday (we´re doing Ilumina el Mundo) we gave away tea and bread outside of the church which was SUPER fun. We had more than sixty contacts in about two hours!!! And quite a few people entered to have a little tour of the church! It was really really great :D

Keep lighting the world!

Love you lots!

Hermana Owens

I didn´t have any gloves, but my hands were FREEZING my first day here,
so I used some socks for my hands :D
I don´t have any more photos in my amera, I´ll pass them next week! :D

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Week 70: I take back what I said a couple of weeks ago. THIS was the craziest week of my mission.

Hola!

[I told her a friend wanted to know if she dreams in Spanish.] People are always asking me if I dream in Spanish, but I honestly am not quite sure. I think I dream in Spanglish.

But anyway, this week was absolutely INSANE. First of all...right now I´m writing from San Cristobal de las Casas! We had special transfers in all the mission, and I´m not going to lie I was really really sad to leave Comitán, but I know it´ll be for good! Yesterday I went to visit Hno N and his family to say goodbye and we sang Angels we Have Heard on High and I started thinking about when Hna Montaño and I first met Hno N, and how great of a change he and his family have had, and I started crying pretty hard. I sure LOVE this family. Which brings me to one piece of crazy news............

Hna N was baptized this week! [Hno N's daughter-in-law. His wife was baptized last week.] 

And so here comes the story. This last Sunday, we were talking (the trio) and we had a feeling that Hna N was READY to be baptized. We had put her baptismal date for 15 December, but we all, individually, had the feeling that she was READY. So this Monday, we went to visit them, but before we entered, we did a specific prayer, that N could accept baptism this Saturday, the 25. So then we knocked on the door, and began the lesson. When we mentioned that she would be ready for this Saturday, N kind of drew back in her chair. and then she said "Wow, don´t be offended.....but today, I was cleaning the house when my mom called and said that maybe I should go back to Guadalajara, and when she said that, I thought about my baptism, and I thought, "I would like to get baptized this Saturday!" But it was just a passing thought." When she said that, I felt the Spirit hit me like a ton of bricks. We (the trio) all turned to look at each other and each one of us was just CRYING. Sometimes I have a feeling that maybe we want to put a baptismal date with someone just because it´s what WE want, but it was something so powerful and special to have this assurance that this date we had put was something that Heavenly Father had placed in our minds and in our hearts of us as companions and Hna N. Really, it was the LORD´s time. It was super special. And N told us that her husband  told her that he´s going to go to a Mormon Church and that if he likes it he´s going to get baptized (he works in the military so he doesn´t live with them).

Something that I´ve felt with this family is that we were great friends in the preexistence, so we practiced as a zone "I´ll Find you My Friend" and we sang it for Hna N´s baptism. I´m going to try to share it with you, because it was pretty powerful. If not, we can watch it in a couple months when I get back :D

Missionaries of Comitán :D

Tuesday, we had a meeting with Pres. Doman [her Mission President], and he went with us to visit an investigator, J, who´s been going to the church for about 5 years. But Pres. Doman was what J needed. He accepted to be baptized this weekend, too, at the same time as Hna N!

Pres. Doman with Natali and Jorge [It looks like her Mission President baptized Jorge]

And we´ve been teaching a little girl, too, M, and she was baptized this weekend as well!

M´s baptism (the little girl in white) 

 Also, at the reunion with Pte Doman and Sister Doman this week we watched the Light the World video and I realized how special it is to be able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ in this time when we´re celebrating his birth, when everyone´s a little more open. Last year, I was hoping that I would feel this "Christmas is so special in the mission!" but I was looking for that feeling as I thought about how it would affect ME. But this week I understood that it´s the best because it´s a time when I can really focus on the PURPOSE of Christmas, and why it´s so special.

Also, with the special transfers, don´t worry. The whole mission was changed up this weekend. Pres Doman loves changing it up. So, it was a crazy week! Awesome, but also sad, but I guess just another week in the mission!

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens

Our Branch Council!
Missionaries of Balun Canan Branch!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Week 69: E!

Hola!

This was a super super awesome week! I´m super super happy to say that Hna E got baptized this week! It was super cool because Hno N [her husband] was able to perform the ordinance, and it was super super special to see them getting into the water. He´s 77, and she's 72, so they had to enter the water really carefully, but it was just really incredible to see them entering together. After church, we were talking with them, and they said that they want to get sealed! And they were married 20 November, so if they enter the temple one year from now they'll be sealed on their anniversary! I LOVE this family so much! And N [their daughter-in-law] and A [their grandson] said the prayers, and both of them prayed that THEIR baptisms could be as soon as possible! :D

E´s baptism!!!
We also had a crazy week because we had a leadership council but in Tapachula! It was an 11-hour ride from Comitán to Tapachula, and we arrived Friday night at about 7, and so I took advantage of the two hours and I went to visit some people in 5 de Febrero! I saw Hno H [who she taught], and he's doing SO SO SO well! He went to a YSA covention in Tuxtla and loved it and he has some names that he's going to bring to the temple very very soon!!!! I don´t remember if I mentioned Hna R but she´s one of my favorite people in all the world, she´s really humble and sweet and she had two daughters that were on the mission! But they came home, one of them the day after I left Tapachula! I was super sad because I didn´t get to meet her, but then I met both of them on Friday! It was super super super awesome I feel like we are best friends from the preexistence :D

I also visited Hna C and her family. It was super awesome seeing them but it also made me a little sad, because I probably won´t see them again, at least in the mission! But we can hope :)

Familia C!!! :D

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Week 68: This was easily the craziest week of my whole mission. But I loved it.

Honestly, this week was absolutely CRAZY.

First of all..... I´m in a trio now!!!

Now, I'll tell you the story: Tuesday night, Hna Rivera and I laid down our heads to sleep at 10:30, everything normal. Then, in the middle of the night, we receive a phone call! I saw that it was the zone leaders and I thought they were calling about a conference we were going to have the next day and so I decided to answer to tell them that it could wait until the morning. So I spoke with the Elder, and maybe I sounded a little tired or impatient but he said that he wouldn´t call if it weren´t urgent! So when he said that I thought "Oh, no! Somebody´s threatened to kill us or something´s happening in Mexico, we´re all going to have to evacuate or something!" But then he told us (it was 11:40pm) that Hna Garcia was in the OCC [I think this is the bus station], that she´d been there waiting for about an hour and a half! She´d had special transfers (I´m not exactly sure how to translate cambios especiales) but that NOBODY had told us! Obviously, the assistants should have warned us so that we could receive her in the bus station, but they hadn´t told ANYBODY! So we put on some skirts and our coats (even though it´s only reaching about 50 degrees, that´s coat weather here) and went in taxi, and there she was, waiting!!! She´d been calling the assistants and Pte Doman, but NOBODY answered! So she called her old ZLs, who then called ours, who then called us!!!! So then we came back to the house, and we were all just like....."What is happening?" I kept talking during all this time and the next day they told me that everything I said didn´t make any sense at all :D

But now we´re here with Hna Garcia!! She´s super great, it´s pretty different being in a trio but it´s really fun :D

But anyway, we´ve been working hard this week! We have great news with the S Family!!! Only A the grandchild had accepted a date, for this Saturday, the 18, (sadly, he won´t be able to be baptized this Saturday because his dad wants to be there, so he won´t be baptized until December) but this Friday we went to visit them, and we felt that we should focus on the baptismal questions, so we decided to teach the Restoration, especially focusing on the Priesthood. So then in the end, we invited Hna E to be baptized, and she said: "I think I´ll do it, but not until January." And then she continued, "Sometimes I feel like I should do it, and sometimes I don´t." So then we asked some really simple questions that I KNOW were inspired by the Holy Ghost: "Hna E, who do you think is telling you to not be baptized?" "The devil." "And who do you think is telling you to do it?" "The Savior." "And who do you want to follow?" "The Savior." "So will you prepare to be baptized this 18 de November?" "Well, yes!"

As she said yes, I just felt a great JOY. I sincerely LOVE this family, it´s been amazing to see the change that´s happened in them in just this last month that we´ve been working with them. Hna E doesn´t like to read, and when we would visit her in the beginning (as a matter of fact, up until a week ago) she would NEVER read the pamphlets, or the Book of Mormon. But when we left her the Word of Wisdom, she read it! And we gave her a USB with the Book of Mormon, and she´s been listening to it, and A´s been listening to it and reading at the same time, following along!!

I know that God is real, and that He is guiding this work. I´m so so so grateful that I could share my testimony with this family, and that Hna E could feel the truth of what we shared, and that that could be the little push she needed to realize why she needs to be baptized. The promises of the gospel are so great. Even if this happiness that it promises isn´t in THIS life, I know that we will be resurrected with perfected bodies, perfected spirits, and perfected minds. If we can endure this hard time, there will be an eternal rest and happiness. I really really know that the gospel is true. I know that God is my loving Heavenly Father, and that He wants the BEST for me and for my family. I know that if I work hard in this life, I can have an eternal family, and that´s what I want.

Love you all lots and lots! Read the Book of Mormon! I know that if we do, we have GREAT protection and GREAT happiness.

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens

We played UNO and went to a café! The best trio ever :D
Most of the zone
Zone service activity!
Before the trio, Hna Gutierrez had a birthday! :D

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Week 67: HOLA!!!!! YAY!!!

I`m a very happy person today. I`m not sure why :D

I thought I had already told you about my new compa, but I guess not!! But it`s really super awesome, she`s Hna Rivera, from Queretaro [northwest of Mexico City]!! She was my sister training leader in Tuxtla Mactumatza, but when I came here to Comitan, and I was saying goodbye to everyone, I just felt something and I thought, "She`s going to be my companion in Comitan!" So I told her, "You`re going to be my last companion." and she was like, "Hahahaha okay" but then when she came she said, "Holy cow!! You predicted it!" (That`s more or less what she said. Obviously it was in Spanish and she didn`t say holy cow but that expresses what she said :D) But it was pretty cool!

As a great surprise, I have only one sweater right now but I have to use it every day! But then Hna Montaño left me a sweater, so I now have two :D

This was a really awesome week, we`re seeing a lot of miracles in the area! We`re still teaching Hno N and his family. I`m going to say all their names so you can know of whom I`m talking: N and his wife, E, their daughter in law N, and they have three grandkids, A (10), S (6), and J (3). But this last Monday we had a Family Home Evening with their family and a really really awesome family in the branch, and we talked about the Sabbath day, and how keeping it holy includes so much more than just the three hours in the church, so we made a little Sunday Jar with ideas of activities they can do Sundays so that they can have it be a spiritual experience the whole day. But it was with their whole family, this was the first time we`d been able to talk with their daughter in law. But she`s supportive of her son getting baptized, and then they ALL went to church this Sunday!!!! And the daughter in law afterwards said that she felt really good in church, that she really liked it :D I LOVE THIS FAMILY!!! We taught them about the Word of Wisdom yesterday, and they`re all ready to work to keep it!

I`ve been reading an essay this week, it`s called "the Fourth Missionary" but it`s SUPER good. It talks about four different types of missionaries, and the fourth type is a missionary consecrated. But I LOVED this part: "The dominating desire of a fourth missionary is do the will of the Lord. But don`t think that a fourth missionary is ALWAYS fully of the Spirit, that he`s ready to work for the Lord, he`s excited to knock on a door and have it slammed in his face. There are times when he doesn`t like that, he gets sad, too. The sun and rain fall over him just like it does over everyone else. Don`t think that just because sometimes you feel disheartened or that you don`t want to go out and work sometimes doesn`t mean that your aren`t or can`t become the fourth missionary. That`s just the moment when the fourth missionary, even though he might feel disheartened, KEEPS WORKING." Also, I really really like "Have I done Any Good" the hymn, because in Spanish there`s a line: "Solo èl que trabaja se siente feliz" which means basically "Only the person who works feels happy." I can really appreciate Daddy`s catchphrase. Also, I know that Heavenly Father hears our prayers. He really answers us how we NEED, not how we want.

I love you all lots!!!

Hermana Owens

Sorry, I don`t have any pictures this week because I forgot my cable for my camera! But just so you know I bought some really awesome slippers with Hna Rivera :D

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Week 66: Día de los Muertos Numero 2 :D!!!

Hola, Familia!!!

This was a really really super awesome week! :D

First of all.... A little after President Doman arrived, he put the goal that we would all read the Book of Mormon together in the following three months. I was reading in the end of Alma, but I decided to read it with him, starting from the beginning. I finished this week, and I have now read the Book of Mormon for the first time in Spanish!!!!! It was something so so special. I am so grateful that during this time in the mission I have been able to gain an appreciation and LOVE for the Book of Mormon. I know it was written for ME and written for every single one of us. I love love love the Book of Mormon!!!! This time around I was really looking for what it said about repentance, and it was incredible to see how much the process of repentance is a gift of LOVE from Heavenly Father. I know that He´s provided this way for us to change and become better because we really truly can become like Him.

We had our conference with Pres Doman, and then we had interviews. I LOVED my interview. It was a really, really special experience. First of all, Pres Doman showed me a little of his instagram, the photos that he`d put that day, and then he talked about how he had put all these photos, super happy photos, and that it really was for his kids, that they could see all the special things that were happening. But he didn´t show the other stuff that happens in the mission, the things that can be a little hard. But then he talked about how he imagined that we would have an interview like that with Jesus Christ in heaven: we would go into a room, and there would be two chairs, and then we would just talk: what we had done in our lives, what we´d done with his name, what we had loved of our life. And then Pres Doman said that he imagined that Christ would have something similar to an instagram page of our life: He would say, "This is what I´ve done with what you did in your life. Yes, you had hard times, you had times when you made mistakes, but I´ve taken out all that bad stuff, and what I´m going to bring before the Father is this: all these good things, all the happy moments." Pres. Doman said that Jesus is the editor of our lives, and that was when I could understand Moroni 6:4, when it says that Christ is the author and FINISHER of our faith. I´ve always asked myself what exactly that means, but as I heard of Him as the editor of our lives, I feel that as the "finisher" of our faith, He refines the little bit that we can do, the little bit of faith that we have, and he makes it bigger, more beautiful, and more fruitful. He makes it so that when we return to the presence of the Father, we will be HAPPY to be there, because He won´t remember any of the bad, AS LONG AS WE REPENT: He´ll only pay attention to the good. I sure love my Savior.

This Sunday we had District Conference, and it was AWESOME. Hna Doman shared a really powerful talk about her Top 5: the Sabbath Day, Prayer, Scripture Study, the Temple, and Missionary Work. If we work in each one of those, we´ll be good. Hno N and his family went to the conference and they loved it! There was also a fireside afterwards, a face-to-face type thing with the temple president and Pres Doman and all of them, but for the matrimonies! And Hno N and E went!!! We´re also going to have a Family Home Evening today with all their family and a reallly really awesome family in the branch, la Familia S :D We`re super super excited to work with this family! So all the prayers will be gratefully appreciated :D

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens

The P Family. Every time we go there, I meet some new member of the family.
It`s HUGE. But I love them :)

Hno C, a super awesome guy that was inactive for a really long time
but is coming to church now!
 
We had a relief society activity that we brought hna E to,
we did some crafts!!! 

We helped with the district choir for the conference because only Elder Rasmussen and I
knew how to play piano, so we helped out.
I can say that my ability to play the hymns and play the piano is getting better!
I`ve been playing a lot in sacrament meeting and everything.
Two things are getting better, as a matter of fact: my playing,
and my ability to not feel embarrassed when I make a lot of mistakes :D

Proud to be Comiteca!

Hno F, a guy that recently got baptized and LOVES the missionaries.
Also, the four missionaries of Balun Canan!

Monday, October 23, 2017

Week 65: Intercambios! Frio! Lluvia! and much more adventures

Hola!

Mummy`s been asking me a lot about the weather here, and lately yes, it`s been raining quite a bit and it`s SUPER cold. I`m just WAITING (and praying) for the moment when the drizzle I see will be snow :D I know that it`s a little bit like that saying "that`ll happen when it snows in July!" but one can always hope :D

This was a really really super awesome week! We were able to do our exchanges, and I worked with Hna Ignacio! She`s a super super sweet person, it was really fun getting to know her better.

P and E walked all by themselves to church this week! They live probably more than a kilometer from the church, and especially with a big 1-year-old, it was an INCREDIBLE miracle to see them there!

We`re also working with a less active member that we found, N! We found him two weeks ago, and then he arrived at church the following Sunday! But this week we worked really hard with his family, and his wife and one of his grandsons who is 10 years old arrived this Sunday, too! And they LOVED the church! The rest of his family aren't members, so we`re going to be working hard with all of them :D

This Friday we had a movie night, to help invite members to invite their friends, and the other one that we`ve had since I`ve been here (our mission leader puts it on) only members arrived, with ONE investigator, but this time we had a whole bunch of investigators, including the family of Hno N! We were SUPER happy, and also the movie that they watched looked super interesting! It`s called "Freetown" and it`s about missionaries in Liberia during their civil war. The story looks pretty moving. I suggest that you watch it!

I`m super super happy to be serving here, we`re seeing a whole bunch of miracles!

I really liked our class yesterday in church, we talked about the parable of the rich young man. I just really liked how when the Lord asks us to do hard things, we just have to put everything else on the side, put our trust in Him, and show our love for Him as we just DO it. I really liked that :D

Love you all lots!!!

Hermana Owens

Hna Montaño and I with some skeletons in the center part of Comitàn.

Comitán!

The trio!