Monday, October 26, 2015

cambios (transfers)

October 19, 2015


So this past week we had changes!!! And I got a new Comp! Drumrollllllll.... Hermana Martinez! She's awesome and she trained my comp from the CCM! 

However, I didn't change areas, which means I had to teach the area last week. It doesn't sound that hard... but with being so directionally challenged and not having perfect... or even close to perfect... Spanish, I was pretty nervous! But also excited. Change is good and helps us to grow and progress. Whenever we start to feel comfortable, it probably means that we need to stretch ourselves more (: 

So on Tuesday after changes, we headed back to our area and went out to work! I've always had someone who knew the area with me, so it was weird to be the one explaining the stories of the people we were going to visit and to be the one who had to do small talk. I'm working on being less awkward with small talking, and I'm getting okay at it with contacting and stuff! But the other day I was talking to a kid who served a mission and is now less active and I was just like "so what's up, why haven't you been at church?" Spanish has helped me be very direct. When you don't have an extensive vocabulary, it's hard to beat around the bush!

This past week I really saw what a blessing it is to have the gospel in our lives. Last night we taught a lesson and this person has NO idea that we lived with God before this life and that He is the Father of our Spirits. Maybe other people just hadn't ever told us that they didn't know that, but I usually assume that other people of other religions believe that. But after that lesson I was just thinking about how sad it would be to not know that! I can't even imagine. The mom in this family has some pretty firm ideas that are different than ours, but we have a return apt. so it will be interesting to see what happens!

Lately, the weather has been a little cooler here. Like, we're talking 70 degrees instead of 75. Well, everyone here has this conception that climate change makes you sick. Like EVERY Mexican seems to believe this! And I could maybe see it if it were a dramatic climate change, but we're talking 5 degrees. However, all of our investigators and members and less actives and everyone has been getting sick! I don't know if that is just confounded with going back to school and all that.... but I'm, like, starting to believe it!

Also, agua here is not water. Agua is any drinkable liquid. And most things here are carbonated. If we eat at a members house they either make us some sort of home made fruit water or some carbonated drink. Hermana Lambert and I couldn't stop laughing the other day because this one bottle said "apple juice" and below it said "with just a touch of juice." Once we tried it, it made more sense because it was yet, another carbonated juice, but it was pretty funny.

Things here are going really well. It's amazing to see all the miracles, like the fact that I can actually communicate with people in Spanish now or that I have been able to navigate us around the area pretty well, or that my comp has talents and ideas that are just what this area and ward needs. I LOVE being here and it is such a privilege to work here.

I read a scripture this week in Jacob, I think it was 1:19, where he is talking about how he is going to work dang hard to teach the people and to help them to come to Christ and if he doesn't do everything possible, he is going to accept the sins of the people on his head. A bit intense, but it's so true. I'm going to do EVERYTHING I can here, or I'm going to be held responsible. 

Thanks for everything! I love you guys (:

Hermana Aubriana Wolferts

"¿se encuentra Jose?"

October 12, 2015

Wow, What an amazing week! Anddd I actually have time to write about it (:

So, as I think I mentioned last week, I'm in a trio with Hermanas Wong and Lambert. I was a little worried last week because they are both fluent in Spanish (Hermana Wong is from Mexico so... por esto. And Hermana Lambert came into the mission basically fluent because she has spent a lot of time in Spanish speaking countries and has had years of Spanish lessons so... por esto). And then there's me.... I sort of took Spanish in high school.... but did I learn anything? NOPE. So this has all been baptism by fire. But it actually turned out better than expected. Like, it's actually been an AMAZING week.

First of all, I really understand nearly everything that people say to me in Spanish. Sometimes if people mumble or are talking about something too specific I'm still a little bit confused, but for the most part, I know what's going on. Hermana Wong had to go to the doctor last week and I was just so happy because I even knew what the doctor was saying and this was exciting for me because usually I have a hard time with conversations I've never had before. Obviously, every conversation is a bit different, but I talk with A LOT of people about the gospel, so I'm fairly comfortable with the vocabulary for this. But I haven't had an abundant amount of medical conversations, so to realize that my vocabulary is getting big enough to be able to understand these conversations, or at least to know enough of the words that I can make inferences about the words I don't know, is really exciting! And, Hermana Wong is doing great now, so that's good too (:

Also, we had a great week as far as the work goes! It was different because when we became a trio, Hermana Wong and I inherited the area of Hermana Lambert, while still having to maintain our own. Fortunately, we are in a mission where our areas are pretty small so it hasn't been too much of a struggle, but we've had a lot of investigators to juggle! 

Yesterday was Sunday, and Sundays are stressful because it's the day when you get to see the fruits of your labor, AKA who comes to church. It's sometimes sad because we have people with dates for baptism and who really are progressing in the gospel and want to learn more and take the step and be baptized, but if they can't go to church we can't have them baptized. So yesterday we decided that we were going to do something more to help people get there. So on Sunday morning we sent out on a quest to pick up our people who have baptisimal dates. One guy had to work, and there was nothing we can really do about that. It's a bummer, because we are probably going to have to reschedule his baptism, but it's better that he's prepared. Second we went for a family of menos activos with a 9 year old with a baptisimal date. Our goal is to reactivate the family and have the son baptized. But they were all SLEEPING ): I mean I guess not everyone gets up at 6:30 like us.... but it was about 11am. So next we went for another menos activo family in a similar situation where they have a child who is 9 but hasn't been baptized. They mom couldn't go because one of her sons was sick, but they kid wanted to go so we started calling members to take him to church (because we can't be alone with a child and he's only 9 so he can't go by himself). One of our amazing members came to help us and he made it to church and loved it! So that was really awesome. So along the way, there were some "failures," some things that didn't work out like I had hoped, but I was just happy that this Hermanito made it to church and that his family promised to all go next week. However, the Lord decided to bless us even more. Another family, that we were teaching a while ago but eventually dropped, showed up to sacrament meeting and asked to meet with us this next week. They told us they have had some trials that have made them realize that they need the gospel in their lives. So maybe now they are ready (:

These past couple of weeks I've been practicing contacting and finding nuevos, because I wasn't very great at it before. It was hard for me to be super natural and fun to talk to when I didn't speak Spanish. But now that I can communicate with people, I realized I could do a WHOLE lot more in that area. So every day I carry around a bunch of pamphlets and when I contact people I just pull out a restoration pamphlet and show them the pictures and quickly go through it and ask them to read it, pray about it, and come to church. This is GREAT because it's hard for people to thirst after your message if they don't know what it is, and this introduces them to it just enough that they want it and start seeking for it if they are prepared to hear the gospel. 

However, the other day we weren't finding new people and we really wanted to find new people to teach. We almost never knock doors (It's not necessarily a rule that we can't, but it's also not the safest thing for sisters to do, so usually we only knock doors that we are inspired to knock) but there was no one on the street so we decided to knock a door. But we wanted to do something a little different than the standard "hi, we're missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of latter day saints...." so at the last minute we decided to just ask if "Jose" was there. We had never knocked this door or anything, we just picked a random name because having a name really helps people to open up, even if we happen to have a bad address and they don't actually live there. So we knocked the door and when someone answered we were like "se encuentra Jose?" And the guy who answered said "sorry, he's not here, he's still working etc. etc." And I sorta lost it because we just made up a name and a Jose actually lives there. So I was trying really hard not to obviously laugh but we contacted him and left a pamphlet and we are going back to visit him and "Jose" this week. It might be a little awkward when Jose realizes he's never met us. So, while that might not be a contacting activity I continue using throughout my mission, it was pretty funny and maybe they will accept the gospel (: 

Also, I want to talk about how AMAZING conference was. There were a lot of really great talks and I got to watch it in ENGLISH which was such a blessing. One impression I was left with, however, is that hard things lie ahead. That we are going to face persecution and challenges like never before. That we need to be STRONG, and get back to basics. Build our families, focus on the gospel and not just on the church that helps us live the gospel. This was both inspiring and a bit frightening. But we have a prophet and apostles to warn us and to prepare us. So, PREPARE!!!

But one talk we LOVED was the "ponderize" talk. What an amazing way to learn the scriptures! My companions and I have started doing this, and my ponderize scripture for this last week was 1 Nephi 17:50. We write them in English and Spanish and study them both ways, so that we can both feel it in our own language, and study it to help our investigators. But what my scripture for this past week says is that we can do anything, ANYTHING, the Lord commands if we have faith. If the Lord asked us to command water to be land, and if we did so in faith, water would become land. I like this for 2 reasons. 1. I want to have the kind of faith where I can make miracles happen. but 2. I also want to have the humility and faith to realize that if I'm sincerely asking for something in faith and it's NOT happening, it might not be the Lord's will. Maybe he wanted that water to be water. 

Thank you all for your love and support and prayers! I definitely feel them. Hope you know I'm praying for you too (:

Hermana Aubriana

Thursday, October 8, 2015

One goal I have is time management...

October 5, 2015

I'm sorry, I don't have a lot of time yet again! P-day time is so precious and scarce. As you can tell, I spent a lot of time sending pictures that I took with my new really cool camera my mom and dad sent to me to replace the one I lost at the CCM.

But we had a great week! I really REALLY hope I stay in my area because we are starting to see some crazy miracles. We have 4 people with baptismal dates and people who we are hoping to give a date this week.

Also, we had general conference! I will have to write all my insight and everything next week because I don't have time to even get started on how much I loved that right now! PS I got to watch it in ENGLISH!!!! I have never been so grateful for anything.

As you can tell, I love the camera (: Although... my camera case will not fit that so I might need to get another one!

This week, I'm in a trio with Hermanas Wong and Lambert. Hermana Crichton made the decision to change to a state side mission for health reasons. Being in a trio is so different, but we are doing well! We have changes in a week and I will be (most likely) getting a new companion. I'm going to miss my lovely companions. They are such strong, amazing girls!

Love you all! 

Hermana Wolferts

Okay, so my new camera is like... WOW. Haha, we are all in love. So we have just been having photo shoots right and left! Here are some pictures (:

A shot of our little apartment area from the 3rd floor down. It's pretty cute (: 

The view from our roof!
 I love all the Mexican Flags (: This one is on our roof.
The dad of the family we baptized makes us these cute little things! The flower is paper and the baskets are newspaper. My brown one is painted with normal paint, but hermana wong's is painted with coffee--they had to do something with all their coffee after they committed to live the word of wisdom!
 I ran into Hermano Silva, who was Crawford's teacher in the CCM!
Bathroom selfie that accurately displays how we feel about the camera (:
Hermanas Wong and Lambert being adorable in a members home!
We always sing "turn around..." and they snapped this pic after they sang that to me and I turned around... haha :)
These plants are like aloe things but they are HUGE. es muy loco.
We always ask people this question (except not in tu form) because a lot of people have met missionaries before! It essentially means "do you already know of us?" So when we saw it on a wall, we had to take a pic with it.

This is this fruit called Tuna. It has these big seeds in it that you just eat. But the first time I heard of it was when someone was offering us "tuna water" and I was like ummmmmm no. Because all I could think of was the fish! But they insisted it was a fruit, and sure enough, it is. And it's dang delicious!
This is our bucket with our water warming thing! I actually took my FIRST real shower in almost 3 months the week before last! But then we ran out of gas to heat the water so I had to take a bucket shower again. It's hard to go back when you've tasted (but not literally, because the water is poison) a real shower.

So we had this zone contest today where we tried to take the coolest picture! So here were some of the ones we took. Some we took after while other people were playing soccer (Mexican soccer is really intense, Trevin would LOVE it)
The idea here is "lets double our efforts" (: As missionaries, I mean.

Being Perfectly Obedient Blesses Our Lives

September 28, 2015

Well, it was another great week (:

One of the highlights was taking the family, we baptized, to the vistors center to see "Meet the Mormons"! But that last story, with the guy leaving on his mission, is always a little rough. Seeing him in the Salt Lake Airport reminds me of when I stood there crying with my family. I hugged my mom there. Yikes, rough stuff. But a great movie. 

My second 6 week cycle in the mission is about to end. Every 6 weeks we have changes, where people could get new companions or move to a new area. The last time there was a change meeting, my comp and I didn't go because we weren't being moved or split up (this is normal because she is my trainer and training in the mission is 12 weeks). However, I think we are going to be changed this next time. Hopefully I will get to stay in Oriental, but even if other people leave I will be so sad to see them go. I have made incredible friends here. Also, it's just crazy to see how fast time is flying.

I got sick for the first time on my mission yesterday. I was starting to think it would never happen... but it did... and it was terrible. I don't know if my stomach has ever hurt that bad. But I was really lucky and was better after just a couple hours. I feel so much sympathy for the people who have had to deal with that consistantly during their mission, like Hermana Garner (my friend from my district in the CCM who is also in the mission). Please pray for her. 

Lately, I have just felt a huge drive to be a better missionary and a better person. Every day Hermana Wong and I talk about what we can do better to be better teachers and better missionaries. And usually we realize that we are not being as effective as we could be, and that there are things that we need to change. I mean, we are meant to grow and progress, so that should always be the answer (: One thing we've talked about a lot lately, is exact obedience and why it's important and how we can be more exactly obedient. I wrote my mission president about the thoughts I had on the matter this past week:

"I learned a lot about exact obedience this past week. Obedience is so important on the mission. Even before my mission I stressed about my clothes and the preparation I was doing for my mission because I wanted to set myself up to be exactly obedient while I was here on my mission. And we have been good. We don't sleep in or skip study, and we don't linger at members houses or come up with things to do besides working. But I've really learned that being exactly obedient isn't just not doing what you shouldn't do, but always doing what you should do. It's talking to people when you are walking in the street. It's teaching with the spirit. It's studying with purpose. It's putting your heart into everything you do and doing it like the Lord would have. And really, the rules are blessings. It's the exact same principle that we teach to investigators: Heavenly Father gives us commandments and when we follow those commandments, we receive blessings. As missionaries, we are blessed enough to have rules to follow, and when we follow them, we receive blessings (and sometimes, straight-up miracles). How lucky are we? "

The same principles apply at home, even if I didn't always see this before my mission. Really the point isn't just to avoid the bad things, it's to consistantly do the good things and change our hearts in the process to the point where we really see the commandments as blessings. 

Sometimes when I write, I worry I make weird mistakes. I find myself saying "I have 20 years" because that's how it's said in Spanish, or "assist church" because asistir is the verb for "to attend." It's good because I'm learning Spanish, but it's so scary to see English going. But I'm sure it will come back soon enough. Are the accents of my recently returned friends from the ward fading yet? 

You are all so great and I love reading everything you have to say. I hope you are all doing well (: 

Talk to you next week!

Hermana Aubriana Wolferts

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I Am Exactly Where I Am Supposed to Be!

September 21, 2015

Time seriously flies here. Every Monday I wake up surprised that a whole week has already gone by! I didn't really get to write last week, so there are a couple things that happened last week that I want to tell you about! 

First of all, the temple was rededicated! Wow, what an amazing experience. 

On Saturday we had the opportunity to help clean the church in preparation to be an extension of the temple. When you are cleaning, what will essentially be, the temple, you are really motivated to do a really good job. Hermana Lambert described this well. She said "Well that chair looks pretty clean, right? But is it clean enough to be in the temple...? Alright, I'll scrape that gum off." Also, people clean EVERYTHING with brooms. Like, actually, everything. We're pretty American in our house, so we mop with an actual mop, but most people mop with a broom, and then squeegee everything, and then dry the floors with a dry mop haha. 

Elder Holland and President Eyring came for the rededication. We went to all three sessions and it was really cool because the talks were different in every session. I got a different answer in each one. I think my favorite thing that was said, was that when we were in the premortal existance we realized that we were going to come to earth at a time when we would have the fullness of the gospel. We also realized that some of our friends and our family and many of God's children would live in a time without temples and the fulness of truth. So, as those who would live in the time of temple ordinances we PROMISED our ancestors that we wouldn't forget them, that we would do their work. That was really impactful. This whole process has really taught me how important temples are and how we need to make them a priority in our lives. So, get to the temple (: And take family names! 

We also had some... interesting... food adventures these past couple weeks. Last week, we were walking to go find a reference when we saw this adorable old lady dragging this little rolly cart thing. We didn't have any pressing appointments, just people to find, and service opportunities are the BOMB so we decided to help her. She gladly accepted our help and we started chatting to her about the gospel and about her family when we ran into this food truck. When I say food truck, I mean a normal truck with food in the back of it haha. And what were they selling?? Good old chicken feet!! So they lady was buying some and then insisted that we get some as well. But we don't really carry money on us so we were like "ohhhh no tenemos dinero, esta bien, blah blah blah" BUT THEN the owner of the food truck thing decides to give us chicken feet for free out of the kindness of his heart. And don't get me wrong, we appreciated this gesture very much, but we weren't exactly craving chicken feet at the moment. But they really wanted us to try them (Hermana Wong may be Mexican, but sometimes she's more American than I am! She had never tried chicken feet either) so we did. They were interesting... it's just a lot of different textures. They taste like chicken, but there's a lot going on... You eat everything, the little soft fat pockets...the tendons and everything. They say it's good for your hair and nails. My strategy is always to eat fast and not think too much about how sanitary or well cooked or how yummy something is, because I know I'll have to eat it no matter what haha. But sometimes, that backfires because I get offered more. I was just like "no, estoy bien, gracias."

THEN this past week we ate pig foot! I liked it better than the chicken foot because it had more meat on it... but there was this one part of the skin (because you literally eat everything) that was a little hairy and that was kinda rough. But it wasn't bad! Normally the food is pretty good and pretty normal, but those are some of the adventures we've had recently. 

We really felt like missionaries this past week. First all the food stuff, and then we didn't have water. Not having water is really, really interesting. The thing is that this is like a somewhat common thing here. The water system is very different here. Water is not in unlimited supply flowing to your house whenever you need it. Water here is kept in a tank and when your tank is empty, you no longer have water. And sometimes, water doesn't get pumped back into your tank. I don't know if there is a water storage or what, but a lot of people in our ward didn't have water, and neither did some of the other missionaries in the area. You really don't think about how much you use water until you no longer have it. No showers (not even bucket showers!), no washing hands or dishes, you can't even flush the toilet... But we have water again now, so yay! 

Also, Mexico's Independence Day here was the 15th! People were just crazy excited! Because there's a lot of partying that happens on the 15th, we had to go home around 4 pm. It's so weird to not work. I don't really like it. It was super nice to relax and talk and read scriptures for about 2 hours and then I was like "Can we just save some souls already!?" But it was so fun to see the patriotism of the people here. Celebrating the 4th of July in the CCM was so special and one of the only times I felt a tinge of homesickness. There's just something special about your home and your country, and it was so fun to see people here celebrate their country and the love they have for their home. I'm going to have to come back here after my mission and celebrate it with them because I pretty much love Mexico as much as they do (:

The mission is amazing. It's a very refining experience. Every time I pray I find myself just begging to be a better missionary, a better tool in the hands of the Lord. When salvation is on the line, how could you not? I'm realizing more and more that the time I have here is so short. When I tell people I've been here for just over 3 months, missionaries, members, and investigators alike look at me like I have so much time to go, but usually I feel like I wish I had more time to serve the Lord like this. The mission is hard, but it's also the best thing I've ever done in my life. I can't really explain why it is so special, but those who have served a mission know what I'm talking about. And those who will serve, have a lot to look forward to.

On the note of just loving my mission, I've had these weird dreams about returning home lately! The other night I had this dream that I was with mom at a restaurant and I looked down at the food, and was like, "this isn't Mexican food!" Then I looked around the room and thought, "These people don't look Mexican..." Then I asked Mom, "What month and year is it?" And she told me, "It's december of 2016!" And I was like, "Am I home from my mission?!" And Mom told me, "Yes, you got home 3 days ago!" And I just started crying and crying, and I just woke up like, "Thank goodness that wasn't real!" Haha I love and miss you all tons, but I know that I'm supposed to be here. When we were at the temple rededication, Elder Holland shared a quote by Brigham Young about how the only thing he has ever cared about was where he stood with the Lord and whether or not he was doing what He wanted him to do. There in our carpet-less, airconditioner-less chapel surrounded by people that I love even if I can't always communicate with them, I felt the Lord tell me that I was where I needed to be. That this was my place, my mission, and that I was prepared to be here. I reread my patriarchal blessing this week and the promise that the prophet or person under the direction of the prophet who assigned my mission call, would be lead by the spirit. I can testify that that promise was fulfilled.

I love you all so much. Thank you for your love and support. Have an amazing week (: 

Hermana Aubriana Wolferts