Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Week 74: Feliz Navidad!

[We were able to Skype with Tess on Christmas Eve :) so she just sent us this short note on Tuesday.]

Feliz Navidad!

All the cibers were closed yesterday so we have permission to write quick quick quick to make sure that you all know I´m still alive after so much time without seeing you :D

It was really awesome to talk to everyone! A little weird, thinking that today I have 17 months in the mission and a month from today I´ll be released! But don´t worry, I´ll be EXTRA diligent, EXTRA obedient, and EXTRA hard-working :D

Love you all lots!

Hermana Owens

p.s. Mother and Daddy: Yes, they really don´t have heating in their homes. Apart from a little room heater that we have to sleep with, during our studies in the morning I usually see my breath :)

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Week 73: Hello!!!!!! Merry Almost Christmas!!!

Hola, Familia!!!!!

This was an absolutely awesome awesome week!

Sorry that I couldn´t write the last week, I had to go to Tuxtla to go get my new trainee! Hna Cano is AWESOME. I think she´s one of my favorite people in all the world :D She´s super funny. We had a bunch of things that happened in our first days together (when we arrived at the house the first night, with all of her luggage and everything, I realized I didn´t have the keys because Hna Banda had left them with the elders, so we had to wait outside in the cold for about an hour, and that night I started feeling SUPER sick so we couldn´t go out to work until about 1 o´clock the next day, her first day in the field and she had to wait on her sick companion!) but even with EVERYTHING she's SUPER happy and excited and hardworking. She´s LOVING being in the mission. She´s from Yucatan, where it´s super hot and the cold´s been a little hard but she just keeps at it :D I love her a lot, I know we´re going to see a lot of miracles!

A 3 generation photo!!!
Hna Gonzalez: Abuela. Hna Owens: Mamá. Hna Cano: Hija :D
Something awesome....this week we got hot running water! Before we had to take bucket showers with hot water but it´s just not the same. It´s really chilly bathing that way, actually. But we got hot water this week! So we´ve been enjoying that a LOT :D

We had a Christmas party with Pte Doman, and it was super fun!

Christmas party gift exchange!!! I got a sweet leather bag :D
I´m going to enjoy Christmas here, because it´s actually going to get chilly! :D

I´m super excited to see everyone this Sunday, when we talk! It´s pretty crazy thinking that I´ll see you in person just a month later! Wow :D

Love you lots!

Hermana Owens

We went to the Center of San Cristobal as a district (like, stake district,
not mission district) and we had an activity singing carols!!!
It was SUPER awesome. Hna Cano and I were in charge of the program,
and we printed off 300 and we ran out way before we finished!!
It was awesome :D
[Victor Krum is a character from Harry Potter.] 

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.


[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!


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


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.


The trio!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Week 64: Hola! Double letter!


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!!!


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

The Church also put out a statement about the 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


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!!!


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​