Monday, December 2, 2013

Thanksgiving in Houston

Hola Hola Hola mi familia bonita!! Como esta este dia?! Ustedes son el mejor familia en todo el muy muy verdad!
So I am just doing so so so so so so so so so so so so great right now. This past week has been absolutely incredible, like the best of the mission so far. AND...I just got to eat lunch with the Chappell's (President Pingree's counselor and wife) and Laura Pingree! AAAAAHHHHHHH!! It was just so great and I hope that you got the picture she sent you. I sure do love and miss you all lots, but I get to see you soon so I am so excited! Jake, FELIZ CUMPLEANOS A TI!!!!!! Whooo! The big 25 eh? I hope you have a stellar day. I'm glad you all had a good Thanksgiving! Erin, I hope your foot gets feeling better! Oh and Jake congrats with the publication! Wow that really is sooo cool and such an accomplishment! My family is pretty rad.
I don't even know where to begin...this week has been one of many many miracles. Our path is always divinely guided by the Lord and that is something that I am so grateful for. So first off I'll just talk to you a little bit about el dia de accion de gracias! Such an incredible day, we felt so much love and are so grateful that we are able to recognize the love of Christ in our lives. So here's our miracle for that day. We both felt very strongly that we needed to find a family that day, and we prayed to have the Lord guide us to one. We went to go visit with one of our investigators but she wasn't home. As we were driving back from her house we saw a trailer park that we have never been to and decided that we were going to knock 5 trailers, having full on faith that the Lord would guide us to someone. At the first one, as we were knocking on the door a man pulled up in his car. We gave him our usual door approach and he said that they were just getting ready to leave but that we could come by another time. As we were getting ready to leave a woman opened the door so we began to tell her our message again, and she stopped us and said mid-sentence "I know who you are, you're the missionaries!" Then she continued to tell us that she was baptized into the church but that she has been inactive for 9 years. We knocked into a part member family! WHOO!! Her name is Jasmine and she has two little boys that are 5 and 5 months I think. She is incredible and the timing that we found her was incredible. We visited her again yesterday and she told us that right before we came that first time she was doing her hair in the bathroom and started thinking about how she wants her boys to grow up in a good situation and help them become something great...and then we knocked on the door. It really is so incredible. I used to read missionary experiences and a lot of the time I just thought wow that is so great! But then when it really happens to you, WOW IT IS SO GREAT!!! I looooooooove missionary work! We get to work with the most incredible people and I am learning so so much from all of them. (Oh and quick sidenote/ funny story. We went to go set up an appointment with one of our investigators and her husband answered the his short, blue, checkered boxers. hahahahahahhahahaha he was so so embarrassed. But a little background to this guy...he is the giggliest person I have ever met. You say one word to him, or look and him, and he just cracks up laughing so much inbetween the few words that he can muster out. We were laughing so hard too. As we turned around to leave, he shut the door and we just heard him say behind the door "Oooh my gooosh." hahahaha so so funny.) Anyways, after that miracle we had Thanksgiving dinner with la familia Hales. They are an incredible family. The husband is American and the wife is from Mexico so they speak both English and Spanish. We usually speak Spanish in their house, but as Hermano started everything he was just know what, we can take a break from Spanish today. haha So my Thanksgiving dinner was very much like what we do at home! Before we ate we all went around to say what we were grateful for and then we ate turkey, potatoes, rolls, stuffing, you name it. And of course pumpkin pie! I was full to say the least. We were able to get a lot closer to their family and learn a lot more about them so that was really something special. Then Hermano started talking about how they were clearing a piece of land a few minutes from their house and talked about how they have big bonfires over there sometimes. So, we had a bonfire too! They took us over to the property and we had a bonfire for a little bit before we had to go! It really was just so great. Such an awesome day, and although I missed all of you, having all these people share their love with us made it a little bit easier. This past week has been a really incredible one for me in the sense that I am really starting to feel close to so many of the families in our ward and so many people that we are teaching. I just have so much love for all of them! It's indescribable, but so real. And now for the big miracle of the week...
So you remember Carlos right? He is the father of the less active family that we have been working with, he has the two daughters. On Sunday we passed by their apartment to see if they were going to be able to make it to church. He opened up the door and we asked him and he was straight up honest with us and said that he forgot. And he was like "no it's not okay, we need to go to church." Can I just say, the desire that this man has to become better is something that I am so grateful for. Just wait until you see what happens next. So last week he couldn't come because his car wouldn't start and he told us it was still having issues. He said that he would come to church if he could get it to start. It's a little black slug bug that he is trying to start, and no luck. You can hear the car trying to start, but the starter was having problems. So we decided to pray. He, his two daughters, and us pray to let the car work, not doubting the power of the Lord at all. He goes and tries it luck. But he is determined. He looks at us and says "I know what to do!" He goes to the car, puts it in neutral, and begins to pull it out of the parking space into the open part of the parking lot. Then he starts to push it forward, running right alongside it, jumps in and tries to start it as it is still moving, and to our surprise the car starts! So incredible! They dropped everything in that very moment to come to church with us. They were just about to go get breakfast, so they hadn't eaten anything, were babysitting their niece, the car was having problems, but still through it all they persevered until something was able to work. How incredible are their desires! It makes me think, are my desires to serve the Lord and be better this strong? Would I drop everything just like them to try to go to church for the first time since being inactive?  So they were able to come to the first hour of church with us, and we also had an investigator there! Which was a hhhuuuugggeee milestone for her. But Carlos' family truly is something special. And it doesn't end there. We went to visit Jasmine that day--had an incredible lesson with her too--and then were planning on visiting another investigator. But we got the feeling that wasn't what we were supposed to be doing right then. We didn't set up an appointment to visit Carlos, but we felt like we should go visit his family. We go to his house and he had just gotten home and he had time to visit with us, but in order to go into his house we have to bring another woman with us. We went to go find another woman and ran into one of our ward members that lives in the same apartment complex. We asked if his wife would be able to come with us. She had come with us the week before to visit Carlos and we just feel like their families would get along super well. She said yes, but she told us that they could come over to their apartment and we could do the visit there. So get this...she has been inactive and has only been to church once since Hna. Driesel has been in this area, but she came that day! So her and Carlos are both going through the same experience of trying to get back to church, they both have 12 year old daughters, and both have 8 year olds that haven't been baptized yet. Coincidence? I think not!! We were planning on teaching Carlos' family about the covenants we make at baptism so it was perfect for this family to hear too. We had a great object lesson on baptism and the Spirit was so so strong! Both Hna. Driesel and I shed tears as we testified. Carlos began to tell them the story from that morning with his car and everything, and then he started telling us that he was at his mom's house and was going to eat dinner there. But then he told his mom, "I can't stay and eat mom, the missionaries are going to be coming to my house." And he left. We hadn't set up an appointment with him, but he knew, and that was in the same time that we turned around to go visit his family. We knocked on his door 2 minutes after he had walked in. Can you talk about miracles?!!! The Lord is so so incredible and so good to us. I am so grateful for Hna. Driesel too, for her ability to recognize the promptings of the Spirit. The Lord, like I said, divinely leads us along. We have to be ready at all times to receive and act on the promptings that He gives us. In this visit it was really amazing too, because both of these families were giving us really incredible compliments. Yes, we are missionaries and the focus of the church is on our minds 24/7. We tell them what they need to hear, and I know at times it can seem like we are bothering them. Hno. Hernandez said that when we're there telling them these things they sometimes think, "yes sisters we know, we know." But then when we aren't there they wonder "why aren't the missionaries here?" It was just so incredible to hear that from them, to know that we're really making a difference. Sorry if that was so disorganized and so jumbled, I'm just so excited about it all. The work we have as missionaries is INCREDIBLE. I don't know how to put all my happiness for this work and love for these people into words! I really have just come to love these people so much and I just want the very best for them. I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY!!! This week has just been so so so good, and we have received so many tender mercies from the Lord. I love you all so much and hope that you have an incredible week! LOVE YOU!
Hermana Hoj
P.S. You're gonna get a surprise this week! :)
P.S. x's 2 I don't know that I will be decorating too much over here. Hannah Fro sent me an awesome Merry Christmas garland that I'm going to hang up, but I don't know that we'll do much else! (Thanks Hannah!! You da best)
                                      A little Thanksgiving bonfire 

My District

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