Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pictures and Snippets of Info

The Baptism of Fiorella
(Finally, she could send pictures this week!  All the new photos are posted on the pictures page!)

I am just going to catch you up with pictures this week :) I feel good! excited to start anew and learn more :) and I have gotten to spend a lot of time in the office the last couple days waiting for my companion to arrive from the south.  Then we had to go back for my trainer to have training to train me and President asked me to attend as well. Then President was in our meeting this morning and it was insane, really rare. So i feel really excited and pumped to work miracles in San Juan :) He just talked to us about being diligent and told us that if we do the work of the Lord in the way he has organized it, we will have a baptism and a rescue every week. He is amazing, just that he makes us all feel like we can work miracles while at the same time gently calling us to repentance. It is great.  

I am in the same area with a new companion. Her name is Hermana Trejo from Honduras.  She has been out for 4 and a half months and is training me for the first time.  She is really nice and funny.  She likes to work and laugh.  She is teaching me a lot already and it has been good.  She is super positive.  Oh, and she doesn't speak a lick of English.  There is a ton of potential and I am way excited.

I will be more organized next week I promise. I just wanted to get you caught up, and mostly all that happened this week was all the psychosis with cambios. I love and miss you dearly :) Luckily, Easter didnt really feel like Easter so I wasn't overly sad. Well.... I didnt cry for long. Hahaha.  I miss you too so much,  but I also am excited to be here and growing so much :) Just 5 days until the next Pday.  I love you :) Have an amazing 5 days. I love you :) I love you.  I hope these random pictures come through :) I love you! be safe and happy until next week :)


Hermana Bailey

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Living on a Prayer

Hola Familia,

I love you all so much!  I am going to arrange the email differently this week because I think the day to day thing is boring. I don't have the cable yet, so still no pictures. But is okay because I am always sweaty and I look the same other than that.  Here we go!  Let me know how you feel about the new format:)

Investigator and Lesson Highlights:

We have an investigator named Joel and he had a dream that essentially symbolized the Kingdoms of Glory.  In the dream he felt that he was going to the second highest and needed to find the path to the other.  They are really into dreams here, and it is apparently a spiritual gift of these people.  I am starting to believe that.  It is a running theme here.

Manuel.  We went to try to contact him.  He was an old investigator and we needed someone new to teach.  Apparently last time he was contacted he was very mean and like verbally abusive.  His wife and daughters are inactive members.  When we got to the house, they were super friendly and I bore testimony of the Atonement because he asked me what my favorite hymn was.  I told him "How Great Thou Art" and "I Stand All Amazed" because of how amazing the Atonement and Jesus Christ are.  It was a really good lesson, and we are going back this weekend.  :)

We taught two part member families this week. The first time we could catch both all together! In one, the dad is an inactive member and the mom is an investigator, and the other is the opposite.  I hope at least one of them will progress.  I would love to reunite a family into the gospel and get someone on the track to being sealed in the temple.  Pray for them!  Familia Padrasa and Familia (well I actually don't know) Miguel and Kelly.  :)

We had a weird lesson with a kid who kept asking about what our beliefs were on exorcism.  Then he told me that he believed I was a priestess and could cast the spirit of his great grandfather out of his bedroom.  He wants to be baptized.  When we can get through a lesson without having to hear about his great grandpas spirit or I have to bite my tongue to keep from laughing, maybe that can happen.

What I learned:

I read in Mosiah 2:19-24 about obedience and how God gives us everything and only asks that we be obedient.  Obedience is one of the things I am really learning the importance of on my mission.  I think it will slowly start to make more and more sense why I am supposed to be learning this for my future life.

Favorite conference quote of the week was in Elder Eyring's talk when he said "The happiness of eternal life comes through strong family bonds that exist forever" and I love that.  Also, I wrote Mom and Dad letters about my thoughts on General Conference.  I will send them today or tomorrow. :)


People cross themselves when we walk by sometimes....and I find it hilarious.  Also, we saw a guy cross himself while riding his motorcycle in front of the chapel.  Do you know how funny it would have been if he died like that?  Awkward.

Also, the cheek kiss greeting thing.  They do that here, including the men.  But obviously we can't.  So occasionally there are awkward situations where we must painfully explain ourselves and just generally want to die.  And this practice is slowly killing my sense of personal space.  I even greet the North American sisters with a kiss.  Awkward.

Awkward Moments (Too Many to Count):

We were walking at night on like Tuesday and there was a firework.  I thought we had been shot.  I was just waiting to feel the spot.  It was awkward because we were with Miguel and Diana and I just stopped walking.  I was mocked. Hahaha.

Someone either stole or I lost my $7.00 Walmart watch.....which I find hilarious because that is talent right there.  But my wrist feels naked.

Besos de Mosa are these really unhealthy candy things and the translation of that is "Kisses of a Young Girl" which we find incredible awkward so we call them Besos de Diabetes because that is what they really are.  Hahahaha

Everyone tells me I have the face of an angel. I think it because I have chipmunk cheeks that are always red because I am slowly dying of heat.   But then the other day a man told me that I looked like a virgin.  And for like 10 seconds I didn't realize he meant like the Virgin Mary and I was like, well, um ya, but how did you know that and why would you say that.  And then I figured it out.  Awkward.

Weird Foods and Their Possible Side Affects:

Tuna.  Here tuna the fish is called atun and tuna is fruit that is like red.  I really like it:)  Google it. It is kinda weird.  Also, it made my poop a a very lovely and distressing vibrant orange.  On a side note, I have also eaten tuna the fish a few times.  Bleh.

Alfajores.  I am literally addicted.  There is probably meth in them or something.  They are so delicious.  I am in love.

Chicha.  Don't know how to feel about it.  It is a purple drink.  I think they have it at Cafe Rio.  You should try it. :)

I have a new found obsession with manzanilla, which is chamomile tea.  I love it.  So much.

Ecco.  It is a drink mix from Nestle brand that tastes like coffee and I hate, but tolerate it.  Haha

I GAVE A TALK IN CHURCH YESTERDAY!!  The Bishop called me the night before and asked me to.  It actually went really well. :)  Everyone understood me very well and complimented me on my Spanish.  I think it was good because Hermana Saenz will probably be leaving next week and I need to have the trust of the ward a little more. Ah.  Haha.  But really it was good. ;)

I don't know how you feel about this format, but it is more interesting and only hits the highlights. The other stuff is the same every week.  I love you all so much!  I miss you dearly but love Mondays to hear how everyone is doing:)  You are all so amazing.  Remember how much I love and pray for you.  :)  I feel your prayers and faith.  I love you.  Learn about Christ.  He is everything to me.  I love you familia.  I am so thankful for all of you.  :)  Have an amazing 10 days!!!  Because of the transfer, Pday won't be until next Wednesday.....ahhhhh!  Hahaha, I love you :))


Hermana Lauren Bailey

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Earthquakes (not), High Goals, Salchipapa and GENERAL CONFERENCE!!

Oh My Dear Dear Family,

How I love you!  I am so thankful to know we were watching the same conference at the same time, and it was an amazing one!  Hey Mom, it has been 18 months since the age change, so maybe there is hope this will go by decently fast?  Haha, I am going to go through the week in my usual, scattered inefficient way. :)

Monday! I am ever thankful for email time on Mondays.  I love you all so much and I love to know what is going on in your lives.  Also, I am getting very good at typing very fast. Hahaha.  After email last Monday, we went to lunch at the mall thing as a district and went shopping with the other hermanas in Tottus.  I love spending time with them, especially Hermana Dillon.  It takes some pressure off companionships and gives us all time to just chat.  We spent all of our PDay time (until 6) with them and then went to work:).  We weren't wildly successful, but we did find Dwight and Carlos and teach them. Dwight is less active and Carlos is his cousin. I love to teach them because I feel comfortable with them and we can talk Spanish.  We also had some ward missionaries with us who are all somewhere around our age and a lot of fun to go proselyting with.

Tuesday we had our District Meeting, and it turns our all of our district is struggling to have success recently (Elder De'Leon, Hermana Dillon and Hermana Rodriguez and us).  So we are all struggling and growing together.  I got a letter from Grandma.  Tell her thank you and that I love her :).  We went to eat lunch with the other hermanas after because we do not have a pencionista and we didn't want to leave them yet, so that was fun.  Then that night we heard about the Chile earthquake from our Mission Leader.  When we got to his house, they were moving all of their emergency stuff down.  I was really worried about Trevor and a lot of missionaries in our Zone are from Chile, but I felt strangely assured that we would be safe. And our Mission President didn't even tell us anything, so I am sure we were totally safe the whole time ;).  We didn't feel a thing.  Although I fell that day, so we are going to blame it on the earthquake.  It was all very embarrassing.  The sidewalks are worn and slippery, and fell flat on my butt.  Quite painful.  That night we ate salchipapa and it was amazing.  It is just french fries with hot dogs and a bunch of different sauces.  But it is heavenly, if not asking for a heart attack.  You must try it. :)

Wednesday.  I had a change of heart about study time today. :)  I still would rather be out, but I see the importance of study and planning to be able to be effective and have fun during the time we are out.  That being said, we struggled that day.  Literally all of our appointments fell through and I felt kind of like we were just working in circles around ourselves.  It was rough.  But those days come ;), more often than not I am sure.  Also, I sent letters this day. :)  Let me know if you get them!

Thursday.  We had Zone/Training for the first of the month and as always I love meetings.  I love learning and I love being with everyone.  It seems like someone always gets offended in them though, so maybe I should be less happy.  Or maybe I don't speak Spanish as well as I thought.  But really I kind of think it is because I grew up with all brothers and never was in to the dramatic girl thing as much as everyone else.  I know I am dramatic, the first phrase I learned in Spanish was "Vamos a morir", which means "we are all going to die".  :) It is just different drama.  We ate lunch with Hermana Dillon and Rodriguez again.  And then we still had a sort of rough night.  But we taught one of our investigators and his little brother who is sweeter and sweet (12 years old) and is going to be a new investigator.  He is really smart.  Their names are Luis and Fabrizio. :)

Friday.  We had to go to the nice part of the city for a doctor appointment for Hermana Saenz.  It was a nice change up.  The hospital was niceish, but it was still terrifying.  It made me firmly decide to never, ever get sick here.  Firmly decide.  Hahaha.  Well it looked really nice and the guy was intelligent, but it kind of reminded me of like an insane asylum.  I don't know.  REGARDLESS. Not going to get sick. :)  After we went to the nicest McDonalds I have ever seen, for real, then we went back to the slums.  Just kidding, ahahaha.  But it is remarkable how big of a difference is like 20 minutes away.  Then we had weekly planning and we made really high goals.  But why not? I truly believe that if we are exactly obedient and pray and work our hardest, we can do anything.  So we will :). I have faith.  That day I saw a lady walking with two big bags and asked if we could help her.  After that SHE asked US when we could visit!  There are miracles to be seen here in San Juan.  We also had a lesson with one of our investigators, Lenia, and I talked the most! :)  Yay progress!  Also, that afternoon, sweet Hermana Lourdes Tapia (Miguel's mom, mission leaders's wife) asked us to come make a cake.  But really she didn't know how and that is why we were invited and I made a cake from scratch.  You would be proud, it was delicious! :)

Saturday:  General Conference!  That morning we had breakfast with the Tapias and during the sessions, we watched in English with our Zone.  I was amazing.  I have 17 pages of notes in all. :)

Sunday:  I was blown away. Apparently everyone as a tradition comes to the morning session at the Stake Center, not just the leaders and random ones like yesterday. It was PACKED.  It was a beautiful thing actually. :)  It touched my heart.  My favorite parts of conference were sitting with the other missionaries and these quotes:

"We are made of the stuff of eternity"  Elder Uchtdorf
"I pray because I can't help myself"  C.S. Lewis
"The Gospel isn't weight, it is wings." Sister Stevens
"Standing on the shoulders of giants."  Elder Walker

I like that one because that is the reference to pioneers and I also feel to all of my family.  I am standing on your shoulders and you are giants to me. :)

My all time favorite part was Boyd K. Packer's testimony.  I bawled like a baby.  Through the T.V., through his feeble physical body, came a testimony of a man called of God has seen the living Christ and walked with Him.  I know that Christ lives and that he has appeared to man. I love the Gospel.  I love my Christ.  I have goosebumps and tears in my eyes as I write this. :)

I love you all!  I love hearing what you are all doing.  I hope all is going well.  You sound busy, but we always are!  It is the best way to live life.  :)  I also noticed everything said about families and am truly thankful for mine every second of every day.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I love you so!


Hermana Lauren Bailey

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Crazy People, No Hay Limites, Temple, and The Adventures of Klepto Cat

My Dear Beloved Family,

This week was really full it feels like.  I think I can summarize it well:)  It only felt full because it was a little different than a typical week, anyway, here we go:)

Monday:  Monday wasn't really a full PDay.  We only had internet because we went to the temple Friday.  Once again, I love PDays.  I love the connection to my family and reading about everyone's lives.  It is comforting.  My family is amazing.  That afternoon we were meeting with this lady we knew was a little crazy in the chapel for a lesson.  Thankfully one of the ladies in our ward who goes out with us a lot (Gabby, 25, gorgeous and sweet) was there and she went into the lesson with us.  First, this investigator told us she needed to go to the bathroom to freshen up.  So we were just waiting and Gabby had to use the bathroom.  She came back really quick and told us in English, which was even funnier, that she (the crazy lady) was in the bathroom washing her feet.    I died laughing.  It was priceless.  The lesson was actually kind of sad.  She obviously isn't all the way there and has had some really sad things happen to her.  I don't think we will keep teaching her, because I don't think she can be baptized. She had a lot of really out there questions and it was sad.

Tuesday:  We had a multi-zone training!  President and the assistants came from 10 to 3 and we had training.  I actually loved it.  I love the criticism and the advice to be better.   I think it means I am more humble now because usually hate criticism.  A lot of missionaries hate the "Call to Repentance", but I love it.  I just want to be so much better and do everything I can.  That night we had FHE with the family of the little girl we baptized, and the older inactive sister was there. :)  It was the best thing ever.  Then that night I talked a lot with Miguel (he was accompanying us) and we talked about the atonement.  It was really good.  And in Spanish:) always Spanish, it is getting better:)

Wednesday:  I got the package!!! With the peanut butter and Nutella and Starbursts and the CD.  It saved my life. Also this day we had interviews and so everyone was in our chapel.  I gave the Starbursts to everybody because everyone was a little stressed and hungry.  The package literally saved lives.  Thank you.  Endlessly. I also got a letter from Shay and Grandma:)  Anyway, like I said, we had interviews with President that afternoon (you have them like every three months) and it was really good.  He just makes me feel empowered.  He reminds me a lot of dad.  They both have that special spirit that is like an apostle.  He told me to never stop wanting to work harder and to not be afraid to say I want to.

Thursday:  Every thursday we have service.  But our District was kind of lost.  We ended up walking like two miles (really) to try and find it.  And then when we did, it was hard work service.  But I loved it.  We dug out cement and trees and so forth.  It was hard work.  Then throughout the day it was a little rough because we were really tired and the Spirit wasn't really there.  Then that night we had to go see the Bishop to get Florella's baptismal record signed because the Elders lost it.  I was our ward conference priesthood meeting and every one of our less active men were there:)  It made it all worth it. Everything happens for a reason.

Friday:  This was our full PDay, but it was crazy.  We woke up at 4:30 to go to the temple.  We met the Hermanas of Facebook/Institute in front of the chapel at 5:30.  We caught a moto and all four of us not-so-little women got in it.  It was one of the more terrifying things of my life.  We finally got to the massive like bus stop thing where we were supposed to meet and all of our zone (like 30 missionaries) piled on an already packed bus.  We stood and swayed for like 45 minutes and then finally got off.  But  we still weren't in the right place, we we had to catch another combi to the temple.  It was hilarious, but the temple was amazing and I love the hermanas in our zone.  After the session, we all ate in the cafeteria.  And then  me and Hermana Saenz went to the office because she had asked for another interview the President. It was a good (rare) reason to go to the office and seen President.  I talked to the other Elders there for the interviews and such and they made me feel better about my Spanish abilities, hahaha.  They were all very sweet:)

Saturday:  We had breakfast with a family and then lunch with another, so I was feeling a little full.  But thankfully it was Fast Sunday the next day.  Then we didn't have much success that night, but ended up teaching  one of the younger investigators with two of our ward missionaries (Diana and Cristian).  It was really good.  Then right after we ran to the General Women's Broadcast.  We got to watch it in a little room (Me, Saenz, Dillon, and Jameson) and I loved it.  I thought that all combined was really cool.  I did not anticipate how hard it would be though. Oh mom, I missed you!  When President Erying said "Send your moms a thank you and a smile" we all lost it. I was sending one to you:)  Throughout the whole meeting I was just thinking how grateful I am for you and how much I love you.  Thank you:)  Actually it hit everyone of us just as hard.  We were all bawling at the end and really struggling.  We all said a prayer together and it was amazing.  I am grateful for these sisters around me.  Especially Hermana Dillon.  She is really helping me a lot.  We are very similar so we have gotten pretty close.  I talked to her and the members for like a half hour and it made me strong again.

Sunday was ward conference.  It was a good conference.  This ward is really strong.  We had lunch in the Carnavaro Ward with Hermana Dillon and Hermana Rodriguez with a really nice family with two returned missionary twins.  They were fun and it was a good lunch.  Then that night, we didn't have a lot of success again.  But Miguel looked up FWAH on Facebook and he is a fan now.  Miguel Tapia.  He cracks me up :)  It is amazing to see what the gospel can do for a person.

The Story of Klepto Cat:

First, one morning I was using the bathroom and saw Hermana Saenz' pen in the shower....we were a little confused.  Then one morning we woke up and someone had eaten all our cake from a member.  Then I was using the bathroom and all of a sudden a cat appeared in the window and just came in and watched me.  It has no fear of people.  It gets weirder.  It started stealing trinkets from Hermana Saenz' desk and taking them to the roof.  It is very weird.  Now we have to close the door to the bathroom whenever we leave so that we aren't robbed.  So that is the story of Klepto Cat:)

I love you all so much!  Seriously, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything.  You are my best friends, my rock, and my purpose!!  I love you!  Be happy!  Be safe! :)


Hermana Bailey