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!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Week 64: Hola! Double letter!

Hola!​

Sorry about last week: I had some very serious computer malfunctions, but we´re back now :D [She was unable to send us a letter last week because the computer she typed her letter on wouldn't send it out!]

The leadership council was super awesome! It made me realize the importance of the great goals Pres. Doman has for the mission! Where much is given, much is expected, and I know that Chiapas has a lot of people waiting to hear the gospel!

Hna Gonzalez and me!!!
 [Tess' trainer and their first time together since Tess was trained.]

We visit a LOT of people that are struggling with a LOT of things, and we went to visit a less active lady and her family who commented the other day to a member that "The only thing more that could happen is that a dog bites me!" And then the next day a dog bit her son! Basically, life´s pretty hard for her right now. But we went to visit her with our mission leader and he gave her a blessing, and we all could really just feel the comfort of a priesthood blessing. But she said something that I really really liked. I´m going to say it in Spanish first because it´s really really clear in Spanish, and then I´ll explain.

She said: "He aprendido no decir "¿Por qué?" sino "¿Para qué?" "

In Spanish, "por" and "para" basically mean for, or to in English. Por que and Para que, in English, both mean "Why" or "because". But in Spanish, there´s a distinct difference. Por que basically means, as she was saying it: Why me? Why is this happening? Why do I have to deal with this problem? But PARA que means: For what purpose is this happening? What do I have to learn from this situation so that it means something and I´m not just suffering to suffer? I really really love that a small change in wording can mean so much, and it really helped me to understand the importance of our ATTITUDE.

This transfer has been CRAZY in the zone! Pres. Doman has been making a lot of changes in the whole mission. There are a lot of branches in the mission, and Pres George had missionaries in every single branch, but Pres Doman wants us to be focusing on cities, where there are a lot of people, and so every week there´s been some sort of change in our zone! Because of that we haven´t been able to do exchanges with the sisters in our zone since we´ve been helping them look for a new house in their new area!!! It´s a little stressful, but we know that it´s for a reason!

Comitán is REALLY beautiful, but there are some pretty crazy hills in our area. I feel like I´m basically rock climbing when I´m climbing up sometimes.

A view of Comitán :D

Yesterday we spoke in church! There are two companionships in Balun Canan and we all talked about the "Light and truth" of the gospel. It was pretty fun.

Hna Montaño y yo!

We saw some pretty incredible miracles this week, especially when we went with some hermanos to give a blessing to A, the son of P and E. He´s been sick, they couldn´t go to church the other week because he was sick, so we went afterwards to give him a blessing. So in the blessing A was a little upset, a little scared of these people he doesn´t know, but we went a couple days later to check how everyone was and E was super happy to tell us that after the blessing A slept SUPER well, without a single cough! He´s super well now, and I think that really really strengthened their confidence in our message. They´re preparing for 18 November!

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens


We went to visit some members and they were working on getting rid of this giant rock in their house! So we thought, oh we´re going to work at this rock and get rid of it today so that the brother  who hasn't been coming to church wants to go to church! And we were working at it for a while when I asked them how long they´d been working at that rock. And the guy said, "Oh, several years." We lost our fire a little bit after that :D But it was pretty fun to do :D

Monday, October 2, 2017

Week 62: Leadership Council!!!

Hola!

We have to leave in a little bit to go to Tuxtla to have the leadership council with all the zone leaders and sister training leaders so we`re just going to write fast, but this was an AWESOME week!

My first Sunday here, an hno came up to us to tell us that he wanted to give us a reference, and he wanted to visit this person with us, so obviously we put a day and everything. This Tuesday we went to visit the reference, and it's a couple: P and E!! They are the humblest couple of people I`ve met in my life: When we visit, we sit on buckets, but even though they don`t have ANYTHING in their house E has left to go buy us some sweet bread and juice the two times we`ve visited, and she does it with so much happiness! They don`t know how to read, and have a little boy, A, who`s one year old. We only met them Tuesday, but they went to conference Sunday morning! The Hno that gave us the reference passed by to pick them up, and they were all ready to go! They LOVED the conference, and P commented on how he really liked when (I think Elder Bednar) spoke about how we can be new through God. I just LOVED that they could understand a little, and could see that really we have the gospel to change! I`m so so so excited to see how these people change, in just these few days that we`ve visited them I can already see that they`re more peaceful and content. I love the gospel! 

Needless to say, Conference was AWESOME. Daddy mentioned how he really liked Elder Andersen`s talk, and I really liked it, too, especially when he read some excerpts from the talk of Elder Hales. It was just super powerful to know that this apostle prepared these words especially for us, and I just could really feel the Spirit testify of the truthfulness of everything the apostles said. Some of my favorite "quotes" ("quotes" because they`re just kind of paraphrasing what i heard):

"Blessings will come: not by your abilities, but by your decisions." Dieter F. Uchtdorf

"Love without service is like faith without works: dead."

"We have to have the faith to NOT be healed temporally, so that we can be healed eternally."

"Remember to put Christ in the center of your life TODAY."

I know that the apostles and prophets are chosen by God, and that they truly only express what He wants us to know! I loved that the conference focused in service, and in how we treat others, and the importance of LOVE towards our neighbor.

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Week 61: Nine Stars Branch :)

Hola, Familia!

I am in Comitán, in Rama Balun Canan! Balun Cana means "Nueve Estrellas" in Tzeltal [one of the native languages in Chiapas]. Or Nine Stars in English :D

The earthquake [the terrible one that hit Mexico City so hard] happened during the transfers, but we didn´t feel anything, but all the missionaries who are from Puebla, Mexico, and near there were allowed to call home for five minutes to check that everything was okay! Hna Montaño [Tess's new companion] is from Puebla, Puebla [where the epicenter was] so she was pretty worried, but her mom said, "We´re all good here! Now get to work!" :)

But I LOVE Comitán! It feels like a day in early spring in South Dakota! When it can get a little chilly in the night because it´s still warming up, but it can get relatively hot at noon with the sun. I love it! I´ve used my sweater a couple of times and I sleep with a blanket! It´s pretty awesome! Also, we have hot water!!! :D I´m very content in Comitán :D

But it´s SUPER cool because Comitan is made up of two branches, and then there are a couple more branches outside of the city itself. We´re in Balun Canan, with a companionship of elders. I´m a sister training leader, but it´s a lot less stress than in other zones because we only have one other companionship to worry about! And that other companionship includes Hna Gutierrez, my excompanion, and Hna Ignacio, who´s just super awesome and I already basically know her because she´s been with a few other people that I know. But it´s super super fun here, I love serving in Comitán! We´re living above one of President Doman´s councilors, Pte. Soto, and his family and it´s super great because they help us out a whole bunch. But it´s a little crazy because we´re JUST moving there. The day I arrived we went to that house instead of the one where the sisters were living before! So we´ve been doing a lot of moving, but it´s all good!

A pretty awesome miracle from this week was that we went to look for this one less active member, who also sells icees, so we decided that we would take advantage of the situation and eat an icee (I don´t know how to spell that) too. But while we were there, two ladies, of about 25 and 20 years, walked past and we said hello. They kept going, and we kept talking to the hermano. But suddenly they came back and they just said, "We were planning to keep going, but we saw you guys here and we decided to come back!" and they bought five icees, and as the hermano made them, we spoke with them. The two of them were SUPER friendly and open, but especially the younger girl was super excited and asked if we visited people in their houses and we were like, well if you like!!! :D It was just super awesome to see that there really are these people so prepared to hear the gospel!

Les amo mucho!

Hermana Owens

Hna D and S, two members in la Salle that ALWAYS helped us out.
Sorry, I have yet to take photos in Comitan because we´ve been super busy moving and everything.....but I´ll take them this week :D