Monday, November 4, 2013

Hola from your favorite Houston Hermana!

Mi maravillosa familia!

Howdy! How's it going up there in the (what I'm assuming is cold now) great state of Utah?
To your questions:

Yes I speak Spanish a lot where I'm at, which I am so grateful for. We teach multiple people in Spanish every day. I am definitely still learning, but I know I am progressing. I still can't understand everything, and I sure can't speak it all, but it's feeling better as time goes on and I can see some of the progress that I've made already. So, I still get to speak English a lot...which I probably shouldn't do...with other missionaries and my companion and what not, but I get to practice Spanish every day. In my ward all of the meetings are in Spanish so I get a lot of practice there too. No callings or assignments, just missionaries! The weather is beautiful here! It gets a little chilly at nights, but for the most part it has been perfect lately! I actually have been driving the car, so I know my way around here pretty least in our area. We decided it would be good if I drove because then when I'm here on exchanges I'll know where I'm going. Okay, sorry I'm kind of pressed for time today so I've got to get on with it. haha

First of all, thank you for the packages! Both to mi familia y to la familia Dalton. You know me all too well! And p.s. that chocolate dipped coconut LUNA bar...SOOOO good. haha But thank you for your cards, your treats, and everything else. I sure do love you all!

I'm going to share two miracles with you from this week and then one thing I've learned in my studies. With our investigator Vanessa...she is our investigator that is progressing the most right now, and it is incredible to see how much she has changed and grown just in the short time that we have been teaching her. Our lesson with her this week was on reading the scriptures, praying, and attending church and how important they all are. I think she's beginning to understand that even if she can't understand it all, it's the fact that she's trying. The fact that she's showing God that she has the desires to know and learn more. When we started talking about attending church she kind of had this little smile on her face, she knew what was coming. We told her the importance of coming to church, and then she told us some great news. Her boss just decided to close on Sundays, so work won't get in the way of her coming to church! Ahh!! We were so excited and told her that God is preparing the way for her to get there and to take these steps. So I really hope that she can commit to coming to church this next week!

On Friday we had another incredible miracle. We have been focusing a lot on finding new people to teach and we are putting our whole trust in the Lord. We had a really cool experience. For our power hour that night (the time we go knocking every night) we prayed very specifically to know where we should go to find a new investigator. We picked an area that we have never been to, and while looking at the map, both picked 3 streets we felt inspired to visit. One of them was the same, so we went there. The first few houses no one answered, or no one was interested, but then we met Maria. She let us in and we were able to get to know her and tell her about our purpose as missionaries. We set a return appointment with her and I am so excited to visit her again! She is so strong and is such an incredible woman. I just felt so much love for her because I know that our way to her was so inspired. I want to be able to feel that towards every single person that we talk with. When we put our faith in the Lord, so many more things are possible.

Last but not least, in my personal study today I read the talk "Why this Holy Land?" by Russell M. Nelson. Holy cow, wow oh wow. So cool. It talks a lot about the significance behind all of the places Christ lived or visited, etc. My favorite part was about the Atonement. It says,

"Jesus came to the base of the Mount of Olives to effect the first component of the Atonement. This He did at the Garden of Gethsemane. The word Gethsemane comes from two Hebrew roots: gath, meaning “press,” and shemen, meaning “oil,” especially that of the olive. There olives had been pressed under the weight of great stone wheels to squeeze precious oil from the olives. So the Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane was literally pressed under the weight of the sins of the world. He sweated great drops of blood—his life’s “oil”—which issued from every pore."

Wow. I just am blown away by that image and the symbolism here. There really is no coincidence that everything happened where it happened. God planned out every single detail, and how perfect and flawless is His plan! My testimony of the Atonement grows more and more every single day as I try to apply it in my life, and try to help other people apply it to theirs. He then goes on to talk about how the very last thing Christ told His apostles to do is to preach the gospel to all the world. (Read Matthew 28:19-20, por favor) As I was reading this I want to tell you all to do this, apply this counsel into your lives. It may not be completely converting someone, but simply sharing the message or helping others to feel of the incredible power of the love of God. I have realized that on my mission. The goal isn't necessarily to convert every single person that I meet, however great that may be. But it is to simply live my life in a way that I can be an example to these people of how what I know has helped me in my life and has brought me so much happiness. I simply want to help them feel of the love of God and our Savior Jesus Christ. That can change the world. So, my challenge to you is to take part in missionary work at home. As a missionary I really do recognize how important members are in the work, and I cannot say it to you enough times. Have the missionaries over for dinner, go out with them to help them teach a lesson, share your Spirit and help others feel of this love.

I love you all and hope that you are doing well! Have an incredible week!!
Hermana Hoj

Advanced pumpkin carving skills!
                                                   Not sweat! Just a Houston downpour!
Wishing you were here to have one of these amazing tacos!


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