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

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Week 60: Cambios!!!! La Última AREA!!! (maybe)

​Hola, familia!

Well, we have transfers this week! These three months en la Salle have FLOWN by!! I can´t believe that I only have three transfers more in the mission!!! I´m going to....Comitán!!! It´s one of the coolest parts (temperature wise) of Chiapas, and I´m pretty excited to use my sweater for the first time in 14 months! :D

[Here is the Wikipedia page about it: Comitan,Chiapas,Mexico  ]

It was pretty sad saying goodbye to all the people I´ve met en la Salle, it´s a really really awesome ward. Especially Hno P! He´s my favorite person ever, I believe. [He is the ward mission leader there.]

It´s also pretty crazy that Hna Hernandez is going to be leading the area now! I keep thinking "Oh, no, I didn´t teach her this thing well enough," or "Oh, will she remember this?" But she´s a super super awesome person and is going to be just fine. I know that with her new companion they´re going to see a whole bunch of miracles :D

This week I was reading in Alma 26 and I LOVE what Alma says in verse 36: that God, and I also interpreted it as the gospel, is "his life, his light, his joy, and his salvation, and his redemption from eternal anguish." Through the gospel, we are HAPPY! We have the gospel for that one purpose! And we share it as we serve, and help other people. If we want to be happy, we share and serve with others :)

Love you lots!

Hermana Owens



We celebrated Mexican Independence Day! el día del grito! It was super fun. A whole bunch of members brought their non member friends and it was super super fun. One of their friends, E, is really interested and we have an appointment with him for Tuesday! (Well, my companion has an appointment... :D)

el Obispo (bishop) and his family!!!

hno P the rockstar mission leader

Monday, September 11, 2017

Week 59 :El Sismo!

Well, before ANYTHING else, I`m just going to make sure everyone knows that we`re all good. It`s crazy: you hear that an earthquake was 8.2, and that just sounds TERRIBLE. But there really has not been very much damage here. Everyone explains that it`s because it was a vibrating earthquake, one that goes side to side, but the earthquakes that do a lot of damage (like the one in Mexico City in 1985) are the wave-type earthquakes. (I know that I took a lot of years in physical science and I should know the actual names of those two types of earthquakes but I`m just going to go with vibrating and wavy earthquakes :D) But the power came back later that night, I think it came back at about 7 or 8. When we came back, the power was back.

But anyway, we woke up to the world shaking at 11:50 (I checked my watch because I thought that it was the middle of the night, like 2 or 3, and I was surprised I`d only been asleep for about an hour). We ran out of the room, and opened the door, and we heard some people yelling on the other side. There were a lot of people that were yelling things like, "Forgive me!" and trying to repent I guess. It made me ask if we would hear things like that in the States, where people are generally less religious.

After the quake, that I guess lasted for about two minutes, honestly....I just wanted to go to bed. I think I need some practice with having fear towards earthquakes and stuff. After seeing movies and TV shows and everything of huge quakes that throw people around and destroy EVERYTHING, I guess maybe I just don`t feel the fear so much? But I`m also going to attribute it to the Spirit. Like, I felt the importance of running for the door, for leaving, but I just didn`t feel worried. Just peaceful.

So we went down and talked with everyone outside for a while (it`s part of the earthquake experience, sharing your earthquake experience). But then at about 2 Pres. Doman sent us a message that we all had to go to our stake building. Oh! And also, it started raining! And it was POURING! But we went there in case there were big replicas [aftershocks], but there weren`t, so then we went back to our house at about 7. We then went around visiting some members to check how was everyone, but apart from the power, there`s not much damage around here!

President Doman has counseled us since he arrived that we should ask special blessings for people, that as representatives of Jesus Christ, we have the special opportunity to ask a blessing for them. It`s been pretty incredible since we started doing it to see how much it really blesses the people we visit. After the quake, we went to eat with a sister, and she was pretty....frazzled? She was worried because she didn`t have power and her gas stove moved and so she didn`t want to turn it on in case it was leaking gas or something, and I think she just felt really bad that she couldn`t give us something a little bit fancier than a tuna salad and some leftovers. (But I had actually been praying that we could eat some vegetables, so the salad was the answer to a prayer :D) But anyway, in the end Hna Hernandez offered the prayer "as representatives of Jesus Christ" and as she said it, we all could feel the Spirit so strongly. As she finished the prayer, the hermana was crying and just said, "It`s so nice to hear a blessing from His representatives." Because there hasn`t been much damage, I thought a little that maybe we wouldn`t have many opportunities to serve, but it`s so not true! Maybe it won`t be in the normal manner, cleaning up houses and stuff, but we`ll be able to share with the people as they`re more open to the gospel.

I sure love the gospel! I`m so happy to be serving here right now, and I`m so glad I have the opportunity to share the gospel with everyone here! I know that Heavenly Father loves us and that only His will can be done. I love you all LOTS.

Hermana Owens

We also had intercambios this week! I was with Hna Larsen! 2 gringas together! ha ha :D
Zone activity!

Note: While Tess was emailing us, she felt another aftershock. She wrote: 


They`ve been happening quite a bit, but just a few that are stronger. You feel it more when you`re sitting than when you`re standing. Every time it happens we all just kind of look at each other to see if it`s suddenly going to get worse and we have to get running. And yeah, there`s always just kind of this feeling like, "What if something happens right now!" It rains a lot and sometimes you hear thunder and you`re not sure if it`s thunder or if it`s the earth moving. It`s really weird.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Week 58 Update: The Earthquake

Dear friends and family of Tess, 

A dangerous earthquake occurred last night off the coast of the state of Chiapas, Mexico, where Tess is serving her mission. We have been worried about her (I admit I didn't sleep all night), but were relieved to receive an email this morning from her Mission President and wanted to share his message with you: 

EACH ONE of the missionaries who are currently serving in this mission is safe and each is with companion(s) --- and all missionaries are now located in safe locations and areas.

We have had contact with each of the areas and with each missionary throughout the mission, and are in contact principally with the coastal zones (Tonalá, Arriaga, Zapata, Chahuites, Zanatepec, Ixhuatan) to make sure that each missionary is safe. We are hoping to travel there today with supplies.

So far, other than damage to structures, there have been no reported injuries or major problems with any of the missionaries, nor any major incidents, all are well and we are aware of all issues related to making sure that all missionaries are safe and have sufficient food and water and supplies.

Thank you for your prayers!

Presidente Kevin V. Doman
MISIÓN MÉXICO TUXTLA GUTIÉRREZ

The Church also put out a statement about the earthquake:

Church-issues-statement-on-mexico-earthquake

We are so grateful that our daughter is safe, but also know that many are suffering through unimaginable hardships right now and our thoughts and prayers are with all those who are facing such incredible challenges in Mexico, Texas, the Caribbean, Florida, and others.

A little later in the day we received this update from Tess: 

The Earthquake!

We have permission to write our families quick to let everyone know that we´re okay. It was pretty crazy but we´re okay, nothing even broke in our house! Just shook everything a lot. We don´t have electricity right now, and there isn´t electricity in a lot of neighborhoods by here, but we´re okay. Don´t worry!

We´re visiting a lot of people, trying to see how we can help, and I know that everything will be okay! I know that the Lord hears every one of our prayers. Last night, as we were going to bed, I felt that it was really important that we pray as companions very specifically for our families, that they can have comfort, and then came the earthquake! I know that the Lord knows the why and when for everything, don´t worry about us!

Love you lots!

Hermana Owens

Monday, August 21, 2017

Week 56: Hola Familia!

Hola, Familia!

This week was really good, we´re planning with a couple other wards a talent show that´s going to be the first day of classes in Hogwarts! (September 1)

But we´re working super hard here, and seeing some pretty awesome miracles! L came for the first time to church, the wife of C, and she LOVED it. Now for the next week we just hope C comes, too :)

We´ve been working a lot with less actives, trying to help them remember why they were baptized, and I found this in the Liahona for this month: "Every time that a doubt or a question has come up, I've been able to remember the promise I made, and have based my important decisions in my life on that commitment." I just really liked that maybe we´ll see a lot of things in our life that maybe don't line up with how we think things should be, but if we focus on the things we promised by baptism 1) remember Christ 2) keep His commandments and 3) take upon us His name, our decisions will be easy to make because the Lord´s will will always be that we follow Him. So let´s keep the commandments! Woo! :)

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens ​

A really awkward picture
because we thought it was funny that we have very similar pajamas. 
The hermanas in our district! Hernandez, Nuñez, Zamora, Larsen, Rivera, and Owens :)
The district!


Monday, August 14, 2017

Week 55: The Fireside....more or less :D

Hola!​

Well, it rained the day of the activity, so there was no fireside....but there was still a really fun activity :D yay! :D

What we ended up doing was play some games (the human knot and then they had to give a cup of water (see Matthew 10, the last verse) but all the cups had holes in them so they had to figure out how to get the water to the last cup, which was whole. It was fun, but the biggest hit was that in the beginning we had everyone write their name on a little slip of paper, and then for this activity, to show how well we knew everyone in the ward, everyone would give hints about one person, and then the person who was "it" had to guess about whom we were talking. I had thought we would just do a couple people, but in the end we used up ALL the slips, EVERYONE in the activity! They really liked it, because it showed what sorts of things the people actually knew about one person. Obviously, they couldn´t say, "They´re the dad of such and such!" it had to be clues about what things they liked to do, things special about them. And it was just super awesome, I think it made everyone feel good about themselves, like the ward really cared. And an inactive family arrived, and one of the daughters (who isn´t baptized, we´re working with her right now) invited a friend to come! It was super awesome. But the theme of the night was basically "Light the World" like they did in Christmas, so we gave everyone a little sun, a little lamp, or flashlight, or some little piece of paper to remind them to light the world with service. In the end we didn´t share experiences, but a couple people mentioned to us this week that someone passed by to do something for them, and one hermana just smiled as she talked about it, so we hope that it was able to help more people! :D But it makes me super excited to do more activities! If you have any ideas for something we could do.... :D

But it was really pretty awesome doing the activity. I was SUPER nervous, obviously, and it started off a little shaky, but then we got going and it ended up being super super awesome. It really helped me see that as we stretch ourselves the Lord helps us to grow from our experiences. I would NEVER do something like this before the mission, but I know that it´s helping me so much to be able to keep progressing :D I sure love serving here! It´s incredible to see the ward growing closer and working together!

I was reading "A Consecrated Missionary" and I LOVED this one part I read: "Our all is a small part to give for His all." I´m not entirely sure how to translate that better, I don´t remember the word for "reembolso" but it´s talking about how if we give everything of ourselves, it´s only a little bit of EVERYTHING Christ paid in the Atonement. Really, our everything is only a tiny thing, but He works with what we have so we can see miracles! I love the gospel!

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens


Hna Hernandez, Cruz, Romina, and me :D
I don´t remember if I told you about her, but Hna E is a lady that we were walking by her house, and we greeted her as we passed but then we felt like we HAD to return and talk to her. She invited us in, and told us that she was baptized about 10 years ago in a different part of Chiapas, but then stopped going, and came to Tuxtla. But since we found her, she hasn´t missed a Sunday, and she feeds us about twice every week! She´s super awesome and everyone in the ward keeps asking from where she came, because she´s super animated to work and help out. It´s pretty awesome how the gospel works in people, to help them feel peace and tranquility in their lives.
B! She´s a recent convert, and super sweet. :)


Monday, August 7, 2017

Week 54: Another Transfer GONE!!!

Hola!

Sorry, I don`t think I`m going to have much time for this email today! But it was a super super awesome week, we had six investigators in church this week, and each one of them is progressing super well! M is working for 19 agosto, and there`s another guy, K, that`s working and progressing super well.

There are a lot of members that we`re excited to comment about their service to us! One hermana went up to share her testimony, about how the service really helped her when the person came to visit her. It was pretty nice, we`re really really excited for the activity :)

I just got an email from Hna Gutierrez, and she said that H is going to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood and that he`s a counselor in the elder`s quorum!!!! And that a cousin of R is preparing for baptism! 5 de Febrero is flourishing, and it`s incredible to see that la salle is, too!

This week I was studying about the Holy Ghost, and I liked a quote from Joseph Smith: "If you listen to the first whispering, you will be in the right 9 out of every 10 times." It was pretty incredible. We have the gift of the holy Ghost, this RIGHT to have a member of the Godhead with us always. So, we should listen to that first thought, because the second will always be the adversary, trying to make us NOT do what we should. We have the Holy Ghost with us if we`re living worthily, and if we have the Holy Ghost, we can do everything that God requires of us! I know if we listen to EVERY whispering, every single one, we`ll do what God wants us to.

Love you lots!

Hermana Owens

Me corté el cabello!

I cut my hair!


A photo of a bunch of kids dressed up like undersea creatures
that I thought was pretty funny.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Week 53: Satz!

This was a really awesome week!

We were able to meet with C and L this week, and they´re REALLY interested in the church. They weren´t able to go to church this week because they had something already planned, but they promised for the next Sunday! I´m SUUUUPER excited for them. They have two sons who, as of right now, haven´t listened to us, but we hope that little by little we´ll gain their confidence.

This week was pretty crazy, because Hna Hndz and I planned my first (and her first) mission activity! Like, it´s a ward activity but we´re planning it. We´re doing a fireside, with fire and marshmallows and everything, and it´s going to be about service, but as preparation we assigned each family in the ward another family or two that they would have to serve. And then we´ll celebrate Friday 11 August with the fireside. So pray that everyone does their act of service this week! We had to write these "invitations" 40 times!! Our hands were pretty tired. But we´re SUPER excited for the activity. Pray lots so that it´s a success!

Workin´ hard or hardly workin?
The assignments!
In my study this week I was studying a lot about spiritual gifts, and I really liked this quote from Heber J. Grant (I´m translating it from Spanish, so if it´s not exactly right, sorry): "Whatever thing in which we persevere becomes easier to do, not because its nature has changed, but because our ability to do it has increased." I loved this, because I feel like I´ve really been able to see that in the mission. Gospel Principles shared the story of Shelly Mann, who had polio but then kept working and working until she won the olympic gold medal. It was really really cool to see how God really does make our weaknesses become strengths. During the mission, I´ve been making a list of scriptures that I find that back up Ether 12:27, that the Lord will make our weaknesses strengths. It´s INCREDIBLE to see all the scriptures I´ve found. God´s work and his glory is our progress in this life, and it´s awesome to see that He helps us to do it if we turn to Him. If you feel like something is hard right now, just keep working and ask for help from Him! And read 1 Nephi 17:50!

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens

 I tried....satz! Or.....caterpillar!

Ah............but the truth is, it´s not even that bad!
They told us how you clean it so that you´re not eating poop.....
You break off the ends of the caterpillar and then you basically milk it.
The description of the process did not make the caterpillar that much more appetizing.
But in the end, it was actually pretty tasty!
Everything´s better with a little chili! :D​

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Week 52: ONE YEAR.

How crazy!!!!

I seriously can´t believe that in two days I´ll have been in the mission, in Mexico, waking up at 6:30 and going to bed at 10:30, talking with EVERYONE, for ONE YEAR!!! The time literally FLIES. I just got a message that I have to go to immigration tomorrow so that I can renew my green card! Ah! 

This week was really awesome. We´ve been visitng O, and it´s super awesome because this Friday there was a Young Single Adult dance and so some of the YSAs from the ward invited O to go, and he loved it!!! Yay for friendshipping in the church!!

We ate with a really nice family this Sunday, that we don´t know super well. But as we were sharing the message, I feel like we were able to really gain their confidence. and they gave us the names of three family members and their families that they want us to visit! It was like......"AHHHHH!!!!!" we were pretty excited.

This week I´ve been studying the sacrament a lot, but studying that this week also included reading about His death, and His resurrection. It was pretty incredible reading the three different accounts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and then just thinking about how EVERYTHING He did was for love. We can really overcome any sadness, any trial, anything thanks to Him. I will forever love Alma 7, when it talks about Him taking upon Him our sicknesses. I was also reading about how the Savior can heal anything. It talked about a Japanese man that had to deal with a lot of racism because of WW2, but that as he shared his testimony of our Savior, he was able to help other people see that hate is NOT the answer. I liked a quote from Pres. Monson: "Mother Teresa spoke this profound truth: "If you judge people, you have no time to love them." The Savior admonished, "This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you." I ask, can we love one another, as the Savior commanded, if we judge each other? And I answer, with Mother Teresa: No, we cannot." Love is so important! Charity, the pure love of Christ, is so powerful.

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens

A girl from the Grijalva! [Her first area.]
She´s the girlfriend of a guy in this ward! 

The Tuxtla night skyline :D


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Week 51: Semana de Milagros Numero ____ (however many weeks I have in the mission. I guess almost 52? :D)

Hola!

To clarify some questions that some people asked me (but as we all know, as Mummy asked me): 

There were missionaries in this área before. Just this last transfer the área was closed, but we´re reopening the área.

[I asked her why she called us “papas” when Google Translate said that means “potatoes.”] 

No, "papas" is potatoes. Papás is parents 😀 With the accent, you put the emphasis on that syllable. So, potatoes would be PApas. But parents is paPAS.

[I also asked her: Scale of 1 to 100: How would you rate your Spanish speaking? And what do you still need to work on?]

90? 85? An A minus? There are still a LOT of words that people just use sometimes. Like, my vocabulary is pretty good, it´s just that in each part of Mexico there are a hundred different words for each thing. So you´re always learning new words for things. Also, there are some things that I still might not say right. Like, I say it more in a manner english-ish than spanish-ish, but it´s generally pretty good.

It rains here, but generally not as much [as in her last area] and not every day. But that brings me to one miracle! We were in a part of our área pretty far from our house, so we have to take a combi [bus] to return to the part more central of our área. And we THOUGHT that we had to go to this one street to wait for the combi, but after we had walked there and waited for a bit we realized that, because it was late, the combi didn´t pass by there! So we had to walk about 15 blocks to go to this OTHER part of the área where the combi would pass. But when we arrived, not a single combi passed! We were getting pretty frantic, it was, like, 8:50, and all this time I was thinking, "Don´t worry, Heavenly Father, I´m praying in my heart, we just don´t have the time to do a real prayer! But I´m praying in my heart for a combi!" But then, it started to RAIN. When it started I was just like, "Nooo, this is the salt in the wound, PLEASE don´t let it rain." But then I just heard that little voice, but SO CLEARLY: "Say a prayer." So I closed my eyes and just thought, "Please, Father, let the combi pass right now." I opened my eyes, and 10 seconds later there was the combi! We got on, and then it just started to POUR!!! As we drove, I felt like we were more in a boat than in a combi! It was a pretty awesome miracle, but I also felt a little bad for not having really prayed BEFORE.

Another miracle we saw: yesterday we met a guy, C! We were asking how to find an address (and contacting while doing so) so we asked him if he´d ever spoken to missionaries. And WOW. He said that he had spoken to elders a few years ago, but that he wasn´t that interested then. But then he was diagnosed with diabetes, and ever since then he´s been looking and looking for a church, to get closer to God! He´s gone to all different types of churches, but then he asked us if the church has the power of healing. It was really really awesome to be able to explain that the same power and authority that Jesús Christ had, and has, is here on earth. We couldn´t promise that he would be healed, because we don´t know if it´s the will of God, but that we could promise him peace and tranquility, even WITH the sickness. We have an appointment for tomorrow, so pray lots for him! He said he would invite his wife and kids, too!!! (So, pray even more :D)

We went this Thursday to talk with the boyfriend who came to church, O, but nobody was home! We were pretty sad, but then this Saturday we felt that we should go visit him. He lives WAY up a hill and there aren´t very many other people to visit if we would go and he wasn´t there. But we were with hno P, our líder missional [mission leader], and we decided to go for it! And he was there! It was worth it :D It was our first official visit with him, and he accepted a baptismal date for August 12! It´ll be a lot of work, but he´s super excited! He mentioned that he wanted to ask permission to have his rest day as ALWAYS Sunday...without us even mentioning it!

I´m so excited to keep seeing the miracles la Salle has prepared for us!

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens

CHIAPAS <3

"Todo lo puedo en Cristo, que me fortalece."
[I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.]
The sister training leaders gave us this!









Monday Movie Day!
Featuring "On the Way home"
30 minutes about a family that lost their daughter,
but then a good friend shares the góspel with them.
A message of hope and inspiration.
And "The Testaments" with sign language in English
because we couldn´t figure out how to change it.
We only watched a little. It was pretty fun to watch
because the signer was VERY expressive.
Hna Hernández was embarrassed
because she hadn´t bathed yet, but ah well.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Week 50: Hola Familia!

Hola!

This was a super awesome week! We had a conference with President Doman and interviews, and it was super awesome talking to him!

We had a huge miracle in the church this Sunday. All of the investigators that were planning on going ended up not being able to go, but we prayed that we would be able to see a miracle and that investigators would be able to come. And then when we arrived there, a family that we had visited this week came to church, and the daughter brought her boyfriend! And he loved going to church! It was awesome, we have an appointment with him for this Thursday, so pray that everything goes well!

We had interviews with Pres Doman, and he sure is a sweet man. He´s very different from Pres George, but his energy is catching! I´m super excited to work with him. he says that he wants to come out into the field, go on visits and everything! I´m pretty excited for that :D 

Well, love you all lots!

Hermana Owens

The compañerismo!

The familia! They helped us out a LOT here.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Week 49: I still don´t have a new camera....but next week! :D

[We’ve been noticing for a while that all her pictures are out of focus, so we have been begging her every week to get a new camera!]

Hola!

I didn´t notice how bad the pictures were until I saw a bigger image the last week. They´re more or less clear when I´m looking at them in the camera, but they´re obviously REALLY not in focus when they´re big. I will buy a new camera next week. And it´s not that I don´t WANT to or that I don´t want good photos, it´s just that there´s no TIME!!!! NONE AT ALL!!! But it´s okay. We´re going to hope for good pictures next week.

Presidente George left this Friday, and that very same day President Doman [the new Mission President] came to get to know all the missionaries here! He had two conferences Friday, to get to know the missionaries here in Tuxtla and in Comitán, and then two conferences Saturday, to get to know the missionaries from Tapachula and Chauhites. He´s COMPLETELY different from Pres George. Pres George was very calm, a very, well, CALM person. But Pres Doman is like, "YEAH let´s go to WORK!" It´s a little different but I´m also really excited to learn from him! I guess the football coach is coming out... Also, his wife is like that, too. I think she´s even more enthusiastic than him!

So, my companion! She´s Hna Hernandez, from Hidalgo!!! [Hidalgo is just north of Mexico City.] It´s pretty awesome working with her, because she´s way more prepared for the mission than I was! Like, she already knows about a lot of the things we do as missionaries, it's more just explaining ways to teach, ways to contact, etc. It´s pretty fun working with her :) It´s funny, because Hna Gutierrez, my last companion, is training the companion from the CCM [Missionary Training Center] of my companion. (I feel like I didn´t explain that very well. Hna Gutierrez and I were companions. Hna Hernandez and Hna Moreno were companions. Now Hernandez and Owens are companions, and Moreno and Gutierrez are companions.)

All of the companions! The great cambio!
Opening the area is pretty crazy. Our area is HUGE. It has about 8 different colonies (like, suburb areas? I´m not exactly sure how to define how big they are but they´re big, and 8 of them is a LOT).

The house en la salle
The view from our house in Tuxtla!
This week I´ve been really trying to listen to the Spirit even MORE because it´s a little crazy opening an area, and it´s pretty awesome! We´ve found a family that we´re going to be teaching. I´m most excited to work here because we have the most incredible mission leader here. [Each congregation has someone who is assigned to work with the missionaries.] He was baptized three years ago but he has a HUGE desire to do everything really really well. We´re working hard with his son right now to help him get baptized.

Love you all lots! Pray for us so that I have time to buy a camera to send nice pictures!

Hermana Owens


 "What comes from the heart is worth gold
and tastes like chocolate."
We ate with an hermana this week that has a fruit bouquet store.
We enjoyed eating there a lot :D