Friday, August 31, 2012

"Wait...we also serve in Beverly Hills!?"

Hiiiiii! :)

Okay, I'm going to try and type this real fast so I can send everyone in my family a little message...wish me luck! :) Thank you for the letters I received this past week: Abby (i love you!), Madz, Alex (haha! you beat me to it!), Hermana Marroquin, Elder Gilray, and the package from mommy! You are all the best :) It really makes P-day fun when you got something to's like, having Christmas every week (Christmas is less then 4 months away!!! wooo!)! JOSH PAUL - I met Valorie Reevs, she served with you. She says hi! Oh and Josh, I met so many people (okay, like 3-4) from France this week and it made me think of you each time! I'm going to try and learn from simple phrases in France so I can talk to them!...after I learn Spanish...

I also met Richie's old roommate from school and I can't remember his first name but his last name is Russell! He remembered me from when I was in Provo my last day before the MTC but I forgot how he looked like lol. His brother went to the MTC the same day as me and I saw him all the time. It was fun to talk to him, he says he'll write you a letter! Other random things this week...oh yeah,  Mitt Romney's sister is in our ward. Haven't met her yet but saw her picture in the ward directory. Pretty cool. Oh yeah! Mommy and daddy, can you email me your cell phone numbers? Because, well, if we're being honest here...I've never memorized them. I just always had you on speed dial! And you know, I should probably give your numbers to the mission office because I remember my first day here I left those boxes blank...thanks! :) I saw Hermana Gutierrez yesterday!!!!! She was a sister in my Spanish ward who would feed Hermana Cole and I EVERY single week! I would leave her little notes to find around the house saying thank you for the food (got the idea from Chrissy ;) ) and one day I went to go hide one in her room and found all of my notes on her mirror :) Well, when I saw her at the VC yesterday I was in a hurry but stopped dead in my tracks and gasped and when she saw me, she gasped and we embraced in a HUGE hug to her whispering in my ear how much she misses me and loves me! Man...I miss that sister!

This week was great! A lot of plans didn't go according to plan haha but, what's new? However, we did get in contact with some of our referrals. Only one has been interested...but we haven't had contact with her for a week or so until during the middle of the week! We were out knocking doors and because I drank so much water at the VC...I forgot to use the restroom before we left. And we all know I have the smallest bladder in the world. So, we're knocking doors and asking people if I could use their restroom haha! We were able to find some members but there was never a woman home so, we were out of luck. Until...we saw one of our referrals! She was walking with her ipod when she turned and looked at us and freaked out and ran towards us to give us a hug! Crazy coincidence, right? Well, she let me use her restroom and then we were able to set a return appointment with here haha. Hopefully she comes to the VC on Saturday so we can teach her :) We'll see! We also had this other family that came in that were golden but...we can't get in contact with them. Actually, their phone number doesn't work on our cell phones but it works in the Teaching Center phones...weird right? But, we're not giving up on them. They seem so ready to learn more about the gospel! We also have two new investigators as of yesterday for the YSA ward! There is Joan and then the other is Lillian (Lily). Joan came to church because of the Salt Lake City Temple Visitor Center Sisters! Joan went to Salt Lake with some friends and heard about Temple Square so they went to visit! The sisters got her information and then was able to give her an address to the closest church building which was us! She is truly seeking for truth so we are excited. Our first lesson with her will be tomorrow! The other one, Lilly, came to church with her friend Maddie! She had a class with Maddie at UCLA and they became friends because Maddie served in Hong Kong for her mission and they speak whatever the language it they speak there together! Yay for members bringing friends to church! We have a lesson with her this Sunday and it's so helpful that she already has a friend to go to church with. Hopefully Joan and Lily can be friends! And get baptized on the same day :) That would be so cool. We also met this couple at the VC a few days ago where the wife (they are both pretty young) is a less active recent convert and the husband is a non-member. He is super supportive of her and is willing to learn more just for her! BAH!! So awesome, right!?!? We think they live in our area but we'll probably find out for sure today...we hope they are!

Our family ward is doing this 40-day fast (no...they don't fast for 40 days. I know, that was my first reaction as well) where a family picks a day to fast and then break their fast with the missionaries by feeding them :) Whoever created that idea is amazing! It's been fun because I have been able to meet some of the members in the ward through this challenge. We ate at the Mammon's this past week and it was such a wonderful experience. We shared the family ward mission plan to them which is primarily focused on getting to know your neighbors so then you can feel comfortable with sharing the gospel to them. I shared my testimony of how strongly I believe in members bringing others to church because of what the Barkdull family did for us! I started to cry and the spirit was so strong in their home. I really would NOT be here today if it wasn't for the Barkdull's who simply invited us over for dinner and then asked if we wanted to stay for Family Home Evening. We are ALL missionaries and what a great responsibility we each have for the rest of our lives!

Sister Merciales is awesome! It's funny, I thought not serving in a Spanish area meant I would never be speaking Spanish and I couldn't be more wrong. Because she is super outgoing, she likes to talk to EVERYONE that comes into the VC. Whenever a spanish speaking family comes in, she always starts to talk to them in Spanish (the little that she knows) and then tells them that she only speaks a little but her companion knows how to speak Spanish! :) Haha she's great at helping me speak the language. A few nights ago we taught a recent convert from the YSA ward and her grandma is also getting taught but missionaries but in Spanish. Of course, Sister Merciales told her that I speak Spanish so the grandma starts talking to me. She tells me of her concern about her baptismal date that she feels like it's too soon. I didn't want to say much because she isn't my investigator and I didn't want to be to blame if she all of sudden decided to stop meeting with the Elders but I comforted her in explaining to her that she doesn't need to know everything before joining the church. "You don't know everything, but you know enough" - Elder Andersen. I love that quote! And it's so true! She seemed a lot better after me explaining that to her :) She was such a cute old lady!

Yesterday we had a little lesson with one of our investigators for the family ward named Ernie. He's great! He's old. He likes to think...a lot lol which can make things a little difficult but nonetheless, a great guy! We had him watch the 20 minute long Restoration movie and then briefly taught the Restoration to him. Sister Merciales had him read a verse from the Restoration pamphlet in Amos talking about the great apostasy. She then testified saying how God KNEW that there would be a great apostasy when all of sudden he cut her off asking us how did we know that God thought that or how do we know that what the scripture said is true. He then goes into explaining to us the "Telephone" came where you have a big group of people sit in a circle and one person whispers to another a story and then that person has to turn to their left and tell the person next to the what the person before just told them. The point he was trying to get to was that by the time you got to the last person, the story is entirely different then the original and how he thinks it could be the same with the scriptures. I was getting really frustrated in my heart with the accusations he was saying and so the second he took a pause I stepped in and told him that the Bible and the Book of Mormon ARE the word of God. There is NO mess up. There is NO questioning whether these events happened or not because they did. He then starred at me in complete silence haha. Sister Merciales then finished the lesson and he realized that he needed to be more humble, especially in his prayers and that he needs to be praying more specifically to know if these things are true. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't mean or anything haha I was just bold and wanted to get my point, my testimony across to him.

A quote that I've been thinking about lately is one from Elder Holland from his talk, "We are all Enlisted" that is also quoted in that one mormon message a sent a few weeks ago (which is my favorite!! it's called, stayed within the lines? i watch it like...every day). He says, "Brethren of all ages, unbind your tongues and watch your words work wonders in the lives of those “who are only kept from the truth because they know not where to find it.” I have been able to witness that on my mission. I have been able to see myself saying things that I never thought I was capable of saying. Some experiences have felt like an inner - outer body experience where I know I'm testifying of truth...but I focus so much on the investigator rather then the words that are flowing out of my mouth. I don't know if that makes sense...but it's true, we get to declare truth, every day! What a wonderful opportunity that is! I love my mission. Like, I really do love it. I can't imagine myself doing anything other thing in my life right now then here in Los Angeles. I hope everyone has a wonderful week! I know this church is true. Share it those who are kept from the truth because they know not where to find it! I love you ALL! Yay for missions!

Hermana Baeza

1. sister hildalgo and hi. she leaves this transfer :(

sorry i can't write emails to you all this weeek! i love you soo much daddy! and mommy! and chris! and richie (well, i kind of sent you an email was kind of lame. write me more and i'll have more to write back!)

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