Monday, November 17, 2014

You is Kind, You is Smart, You is Important

Buenos días everyone! Shout out to anyone who still actually reads these and cares that I'm alive!! Well beginning of the week we got a surprise phone call telling us that president had gotten it approved and we would be going to the Orlando temple on Thursday! I was soooo excited....I miss the temple so so much. I miss being able to go every week, I didn't realize how spoiled I was with that until now. So Thursday morning we got up dark and early, did our exercise then left at 715 to drive to Tampa to meet the van that was taking us. It was probably the most stressful drive of my life....I've decided that Satan has control over stop lights and traffic. Because we literally got stopped at every single light and there was so much traffic, I thought I was in California again. Then at one point we were at a railroad crossing and a train came and seriously waited on the tracks for 15 minutes. We were freaking out because we were already so late we were sure they were going to have to leave us. They actually had started to leave so we ended up meeting them at a Wendy's somewhere. When we finally met up I was so relieved and back to being all happy again because TEMPLE and opened the van door and started climbing in when I realized there was only one seat...the senior couple who was taking us looked at us and was like " wait...did you guys not know that only sister Newbill gets to go?" NO THEY MISSED THAT TINY LITTLE DETAIL !! So after getting my heart ripped out Hna gibson and I watched the van slowly drive off into the distance. It's ok though, we will get to go soon. The mission just wanted to make sure that everyone who was going home this transfer got the opportunity to go first. So yeah I got to spend the rest of the day being Senior companion. Muahaha so much power. I made Gibson give me massages and make me food all day. Just kidding. But I did make her walk all around Tampa finding people for the missionaries there to teach and looking for a place to eat lunch and she got like 5 blisters so I felt a little bad about that.

Hna gibson is great though haha so as part of her first week of training we gave her the responsibility of inviting any new investigator we taught to be baptized at the end of the lesson. So we contacted a member referral this week named Marta and were able to have a lesson with her and her husband Luis ( HUSBAND AS IN ACTUALLY MARRIED BY THE LAW= SCORE!!) Newbill and I started with "How to begin teaching" ( basically kind of just explaining to them what our purpose is as missionaries, what we expect them to do, and how much this message can bless their lives) and I paused and looked at Gibson to kind of give her an opportunity to say something and I think she took that as the " ok now it's time to ask them to be baptized look" and just straight up asked them to be baptized by someone holding the priesthood authority in like the first 2 minutes of the lesson hahah I was like oh was a little awkwardly quiet for a minute but them Luis said ¡sí! It was awesome! We then went on to teach them about the restoration. But they really showed a lot of great potential and I just want to teach them so bad because I know how much this gospel can bless their life, and I know that through the priesthood authority they can be sealed and married for time and all eternity.

This week was really cool because we've already started to see the effects that the decision of those four little girls (Sheyla, Jocelyn, Itzel and Emely) to be baptized has had on their families. So Itzel and Emely are cousins. Kind of in some weird Mexican way. They are also kind of cousins with Jocelyn. But anyways, Itzel's mom isn't a member but she has been coming to church for over a year and a half. A lot of missionaries have tried to teach her ( her name is Mireya...throws me off since every other Hispanic woman and their mothers name is Maria) but she always avoided them. Ever since Itzel got baptized though I've been asking Mireya every time I see her..."So Mireya, when are you going to get baptized?" She always says oh no, I'm too rebellious I can't be baptized. But I told you guys last week that on Sunday we were able to pull her aside with our WML and help her realize that she really was ready to make this change in her life. We were able to have a lesson on Friday with her and her daughter Itzel and also Emely and her family were there too. It made me so happy because everytime we would ask a question Itzel amd Emely would excitedly raise their hands and tell Mireya the answer and I think it really touched Mireya how much her daughter had learned.

We went over to Sheylas house on Saturday to teach her. Her cousin, who wanted to be baptized but who's mom wouldn't let her, was there and we were able to teach her too. Even though Sheylas only 8 she knows a lot about prayer and why it's so important. Together we were able to teach her cousin Brandy about it. Hopefully her moms heart will soften and she will be able to come to church and be baptized soon.

So Jocelyns turn. Jocelyn is Magalis daughter. Magali got baptized like a month after I got here and then Jocelyn got baptized a month and a half after that. Her dad Juan has been wanting to get baptized too but has never been able to take the missionary lessons because he works so much. We have been praying and fasting a lot for him, that he would be able to find time to meet with us and we were FINALLY able to have a lesson with them on Sunday night. Their whole family was there: Magali, Juan, yayir and Joclyn ( their two kids), Juans brother Ivan ( who is wants to get baptized but is in YSA Ward) and Juans mom Isabelle who first introduced all of them to the gospel. After they fed us about a pound of flan ( which by the way I love now) we started the lesson. We were handing out restoration pamphlets and actually didn't have enough and Magali went back into her room and came back out with a stack of them and started handing them out since she's had the lessons a million times hahah it was awesome I love her. Then when we got to Jose Smiths first vision Joclyn pretty much told her dad the entire story.  I felt the spirit so strong while she was talking. I know that Joseph Smith really did see our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, and that they called him to be the prophet to restore the fullness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. My testimony of this grows every single time we teach about the restoration. The most important part about this lesson though is the power of prayer. That through prayer we can talk to God, that he listens to us, and that He answers us. That we can know the truth of all things if we ask, with faith and real intent, through prayer and through the power of the Holy Ghost. We invited Juan to offer the closing prayer and to pray about being baptized on the 13 of December. We also invited them to pray and read the scriptures every day as a family. Yayir was like " now I have two homeworks. One homework from school and one homework from Jesus!" Hahah I love that kid. I love that family. I know that one day very soon they will be able to be sealed in the temple as a family. That they will be able to be together forever. I always picture everyone we teach in white. Everyone. Even the people that I don't especially like....I imagine them in even more white. And when necessary a little angelic glow around them. It helps me love everyone more. It helps me see them how I know Heavenly Father sees us; He doesn't see us as who we are, but who we can become. He sees us as children with an infinite potential. All of you is kind, you is smart, you is important... and you is children of God!! Don't ever forget that! I love you all and hope everyone has a maravillosa week. I love you and miss you but there is really no place I'd rather be than right here in the Tampa Florida mission:)

Con Amor
Hermana Baugh

Friday, November 14, 2014

Drop It Like It's Hot

Bringing home "baby"

Well another week has come and gone! We went up to Tampa on Thursda to pick up our baby ( by the way saying "I can't wait till we get our baby" to your companion as a sister missionary in public probably isn't a smart thing to a few judgemental looks from some people). But anyways our new companion fresh from the Provo MTC is Hermana Gibson! She's not a Guatemalan health nut philanthropist but instead she's white and from Oregon so I mean I was close. Haha she's a bit on the flaco side but I'm starting to think that president put her with us so we could fatten her up. Challenge accepted. And since she's from Oregon we can still proudly introduce ourselves to people as the "Missionaries that aren't from Utah." 

It's kind of hard having a new companion because Hermana Newbill and I are really close, but she's a hard worker and wants to be a good missionary and is willing to do all she can to get better which is what we were praying for. She's awesome though. Haha I feel like we kind of scare her sometimes though because Hna Newbill and I have been having an ongoing rubberband war....we found one rubberband in the house and ever since then one of us keeps it on our wrist and will randomly attack the other with it and we usually end up in a ball on the ground tackling each other trying to get the rubber band back and when this happens Hna Gibson just kind of gives us this blank stare and doesn't really know what to do haha. But already I feel like I've learned a lot from her and her desire to improve just makes me want to improve even more. And being with her has reminded me how I was when I first entered the mission field and now looking back I've realized how much I've changed. How much I've grown (spiritually...not physically let's hope).  I feel like I've become a lot more like the person Heavenly Father wants me to be. I think the biggest change that I've seen in myself since I've got here is that I'm not afraid anymore. When I first got here I'll admit...I was kind of afraid to just walk up to people on the street and invite them to be baptized. I was kind of afraid to speak up during lessons because I didn't want to mess up or say the wrong thing. I was kind of afraid to talk to members and ask them which of their friends or family members we could teach the gospel to and baptize.  But now I'm not. I'm not sure when I changed but I know how. It's because of the atonement of Jesus Christ. It's because I've learned and am still learning what it really means to have faith in God and how powerful faith in God can be.  Missionary work isn't scary because missionary work is just telling people the truth. And even with my Spanish too...the first week I got here I fasted asking that if I worker hard, after 3 months of being in the mission field I would feel comfortable with my Spanish and wouldn't be afraid to talk to people in Spanish. And 2 weeks ago I didn't really feel like I was going to feel that way by the time "three months in the mission field" rolled around. But I worked really hard and prayed really hard ( WORK HARD PRAY HARD...pretty much the motto of my life these days) and it's kind of amazing...this whole week I've felt like my Spanish has improved so much. Like I'm telling you it's weird...I honestly suddenly feel so much more confident in it. I know that Heavenly Father answers prayers and that He's helping me everyday.

Well the reason that this email is titled this is because we have been praying a lot and have decided that we needed to drop a lot of people this week. And not just people...friends that I've been teaching since I've gotten here and have come to care a lot about. But we have been spending too much of the Lords time on those who aren't really willing to do their part...or at least for right now. So we are leaving Gino, Alfredo, Marcela, Rogelio, like 50 Maria's and a few others. This was really hard for me at first. Especially with Gino, Alfredo and Marcela. Both Gino and Marcela were miracles the way we found them. Both of them received witnesses that Joseph Smith was a prophet the during our first lesson with them after they prayed about it with us. Gino prayed and asked if he was a prophet and got chills all over and a warm feeling in his heart as soon as he finished praying. Marcela was the 13 minute silent prayer and afterwards she just couldn't stop crying because she felt so peaceful. And I have never fasted and prayed so much for someone in my entire life. I put literally every ounce of wisdom and life experience and effort into trying to help him recognize and receive answers to his prayers. But we feel inspired to leave all of them for a time and if learning more about the church's and progressing towards baptism is really something that these people want...they will let know. But I truly believe that missionary work is never wasted. Maybe we weren't able to help them accept the gospel completely right now but maybe we prepared them just enough to accept it the next time around. And no matter what learning more about God and Jesus Christ and the power of scripture study and prayer will help anybody. And if they didn't learn anything, I for sure did. I learned so much from these people every time I studied for, taught, thought, fasted and prayed about them. 

Something that I've learned even more this week that when you drop someone, God will always place someone new in your path. And this past week we had a lot of miracles!! We are now teaching the spouses of four part member families which is huge. Ward council was so happy to hear that we were actually able to have lessons with the people we did. And on Sunday we got 9 referrals from members when in the past we will get like one. And also we were able to have a lesson with a lady named mirea (she's related to magali in some way and is the mom of Itzel, who got baptized last Sunday) and has been coming to church for over a year but has always avoided the missionaries and didn't want to be baptized. But we had a lesson with her during church with our Ward mission leader and she left with a baptismal date in 3 weeks and she said we could start actually teaching her! It was really hard to leave those people this week and there was a lot of time where we didn't
really have anyone to teach but I know it was just because we needed to find these new people.  Hopefully we are able to make some great progress with them this week! Love you all!

Paz y bendiciones
Hermana Baugh

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Im Going to be a BIG Sister!!

Alright well ready for the big news? Just finished my 2nd transfer of the mission and  ready for it....I'm staying here!! Haha wasn't surprised about that though. Newbill is staying too! I probs would have vetoed president though if he moved her because she only has 1 more transfer left (6weeks) before I kill her off and she dies (translation- "ends her mission"). But here's the twist...we are getting a baby and are going to be training! Well Newbills the trainer so naturally I'm the assistant trainer. So yeah I'm going to be in a tripanionship this next transfer...Newbill and I were not excited about this when we found out. We had literally just been talking about how much we would hate to be in a tripanionship a few days before. Just goes to show you that Gods going to give you exactly what you need. I think we are going to learn a lot this transfer. We have been making guesses about what the baby's going to be like...I've settled on a native Guatemalan health nut philanthropist because we've each been praying and trying to speak more Spanish to each other, eat healthier and be more charitable. So knowing HF hes probably going to give us someone that's going to force me to learn these things. I'm excited though. Part of getting a trainee right now though means that I will probs finish training her after Newbill leaves since she is going home half way through baby's training. So basically here's how it's going to go down...6 weeks from now my I'm going to kill off my mom and then will be taking custody of my little sister. The mission field is a pretty messed up place. We will be going to transfer meeting up in Tampa to pick up our child on Thursday... So stay tuned to meet our newest member of the family.

- This week was kind of slow buuut we had 4 baptisms on Sunday so I guess you could say that made up for it haha. It was the baptism of the 4 little girls from part member families! The baptism was so good! It was kind of crazy getting everything ready for it since we had it
right after church and pretty much the entire Ward stayed for it but it was a big success. I love these 4 girls so much...they were so excited to be baptized. I loved waiting with them in the back as they all waited anxiously in line for their turn to go down into the water. One of the little girls who was baptized is the daughter of Magaly, the woman who got baptized a few weeks ago who had been investigating for over a year. When Jocelyn (her daughter) was confirmed president blessed her  during the confirmation that she would one day be married and sealed in the temple and I just got chills right then the spirit was so strong. I just felt so strongly that we really can be with our family and loved ones forever. That the priesthood and the covenants we make during baptism and in the temple are real and that the bonds we share with each other don't end at death but can strengthen eternally. After the baptism we had a huge party because it was fast Sunday and we had four baptisms and a branch full of hungry Hispanics so naturally that means tons of meat and rice and tortillas and bread. It was so much fun to just spend time all together celebrating as a Ward. They are starting to feel like my family I love them.

- okay going back in time! On Tuesday we had the sisters conference at St Petersburg which was awesome. We talked a lot about the talk from conference "approaching the throne of God with confidence" which was my favorite talk this session. I love how simple and direct it really just outlines to the point how we need to be applying the gospel in our lives. I know the atonement is real and that we need to use it daily. Repentance isn't a bad thing. In fact it's the opposite. And it's not just something we do for our big mistakes. Repentance is something we should do joyfully and constantly. It's an opportunity to try a little harder to be a little better and to be a little happier every day. Im So grateful that we have a never ending potential, that we can never reach a point in our lives where we can say alright I'mgood enough. Because of the atonement and Gods plan for us, we can always progress. There really is no limit.

- Halloween was pureety crazy this year. We went to a raging Ward trunk or treat, got like a mini sand wich bag full of candy and dressed up like missionaries. And wait for it....wait for it......we even switched name tags. I know I know we probably went a little too far but I couldn't help myself. Haha but yeah we didn't really do much for Halloween. Apparently people don't really want to hear about the restored gospel of Jesus Christ when they can walk around in costumes and get free candy. Who knew.  The trunk or treat was the night before and the night of Halloween we went to a members house for a little bit and ate hotdogs and talked to their nonmember friends there and that was about it. But we actually got some pretty solid referencias from them!

-  One cool thing that happened was on Wednesday! we have been teaching a less active who's husband is not a member and a few weeks ago we had a really awesome lesson and asked if we could have a lesson with both her and her husband and she said yes. We have been trying to set up the lesson since then and we're finally able to have it this week. Of course the only time they could meet was during the English Ward trunk or treat so we weren't able to go to that but we were like yeah this is definitely way more important than any piece of candy we could get haha. At first her husband seemed a little hesitant to be there and seemed like he was just there to make his wife happy. But as we started teaching him he got more comfortable, started asking questions and opening up more. I know it was because the spirit was there and he was feeling it! We got him to offer a kneeling prayer at the end and he said he would be baptized when he knew our message was true! He said we could come back next week to teach him again and then he came to the baptism we had on Sunday with his wife!

- We weren't able to see Gino this week again...I'm kind of worried about him. He's putting work and other things before God again and wasn't able to go to church either. We are still working with him though and he knows the church is true so it's only a matter of time
until he gets baptized.

- We weren't able to see marcela or Maria this week either...everyone just needs to stop working and having lives. We are staying positive though and are just praying that God will continue to put those who are prepared in our path!

- It's getting cold here! Either that or I'm becoming a whimp...Newbill told me that it gets kind of cold here and I didn't believe her but saturday and Sunday it was like 65 degrees! Haha ok that sounds bad I guess I am a whimp but it really was pretty cold. It's getting me excited for the holidays though. Hope everyone has a great week! Love you!

Hermana Baugh