Sunday, October 21, 2012

Oct 15, 2012

Hey!! :)

So, my time is kind of limited today, I needed to clear some things up with President Baker in my letter so it took a little longer then usual. BUT! Lets hope that my fingers are ready to type fast because I have so much to talk about today. Thank you for the letters I received this past week: Sister Keyworth (you're in your last transfer! send me your home address so I can respond!), Madz (love you!!), mommy (thanks for the pictures!) and then letters from my YSA ward back home! It was so unexpected and I loved it!!! Oh and I saw Elder Mike Norris this past week...he served his mission with Spencer Vance and promised him that he would come to the VC to meet me haha. Of course I looked like a frumpy grandma that day...go figure. 

Probably one of the best expressions that I love to hear from people (besides a 'yes' when inviting them to be baptized) is when they say, "That's exactly what I needed." We gave a tour last week to this father and his son. We really got to know them and I asked a very, very random question to him and it was by that question that he started to open up to us. We then showed him the famous Elder Busche talk and when he said, "that's exactly what I needed" my heart was so full! It truly is the BEST feeling in the Lord when you know that you are doing what the Lord wants you to do. Ah! I can't really explain it but boy, does it feel good. Another experience similar to that was last night. We visited a sister who is a little less active and we had prepared to share a scripture to her. She has been going through a lot of trials recently in her life and the thought "D&C121:7-8" came to my mind so faintly. I acted upon it and invited her to read out loud the verses. As she was reading, she started to cry and barely could finish it. That was another testimony builder to me the importance of listening to the spirit.

One thing that I’ve been able to learn on my mission (and quite honestly what I was reminded of a few days ago while I was reading from Preach My Gospel) is the importance of putting other people before yourself. I always felt like I was good at that; I’m always willing to do what others want to do or I’m always willing to sacrifice my wants for the wants of others but…it’s so much more than that. In PMG page 22 it teaches about study ideas and suggestions. One of the points that stood out to me was when it said, “Plan your study around people, their needs, and preparing them for baptism, confirmation, and enduring to the end.” The time that I get to have personal study isn’t the time where I get to study the things I want to study but things that my investigators need me to study in order to help them. Something that one of my MTC teachers taught us is that you have your entire life to study the gospel, but you only have 18-24 months to study the needs of your investigators. More than often I focus on myself during personal study and strive to accomplish my personal “transfer goal” whether it is to finish the Book of Mormon in 6 weeks, read all of PMG, study from the hymn book, etc. All are great goals but…I have the rest of my life to accomplish those goals. This week I have been able to re-open my eyes and remember that I’m here for the people, not for me. I need to not worry so much on what I need to do to be better because I know that as I use my study time for others, the Lord will then help me on what I need to improve on. It is while we are in the service of other people that we will reap blessings.

We had Zone Conference last week which was awesome because we just had General Conference!
The focus on this zone conference was the Book of Mormon and it was so powerful. I was PUMPED! President Baker challenged us to read and finish the Book of Mormon by the end of the year and to focus on missionary attributes from the many missionaries that could be found in the Book of Mormon. The day after conference, Sister Merciales and I made a goal to start setting goals every day on the amount of Books of Mormon we will hand out. So the day after conference we set a goal for 3. We were able to pass out three and got a new investigator and two potentials out of it! It was so cool! The Book of Mormon is SO powerful! I was reading the other day in 1Nephi chapter 7 (I think) when it talks about the vision of the tree of life. I was able to receive insight from it that I had never received before. And, lets be honest, the first book of Nephi is probably the most read book in the Book of Mormon so granted I have read that chapter dozens of time and yet, never have I made this particular connection. I would tell you what it was but I don't have my Book of Mormon on me so...maybe next week ;)

Our mission got to have a MINI MISSION this past weekend! So a local stake had some of their young men and young women do mini missions with us. Our mini missionary was Sister Gazdik and she is a senior in high school. Mini missionaries get to be paired up with a companionship and for 2 days they get to see what missionary life is all about it. She came on a good weekend because she got to participate in 4 lessons which for us VC sisters, is a lot haha. She has got to have an amazingly delicious breakfast appointment with this part member family we are teaching and she got to witness our investigator saying yes to our baptismal invitation! I hope she had a good experience. She wants to serve a mission and haha I hope we didn't scare her away! She even TAUGHT with us! We made sure to give her to full out, real experience :) Her and I got to have a cool experience with a guy named Larry who came to the VC to kill off time before he went to the temple to do a session. We should him God's Plan and that one hit home for him. I mentioned how I was a convert at some point of the tour so when it was time for him to leave he turned to Sister Gazdik and asked, "Did you grow up in the church?" She responded by saying yes and then he told her, "Make sure you still share your story." I felt like that was such a powerful moment and I hope that meant something to her because it did to me. Sometimes I feel awkward mentioning how I'm a convert because I've noticed with Sister Cole and Sister Merciales, that when people ask them how long they've been members and they say their whole life, members or investigators or visitors often disregard them and kind of focus more on me. And hey! They have a story too! Sure they didn't join later on in life but aren't we all converts? Don't we all need to have our own conversions?

Our new investigator, Stephen, that we met a few weeks with us was finally free to have a lesson with us. We taught him for the first time on Saturday and he accepted to baptism! Yay!! His baptismal date is for November 4th. Stephen has zero religious background so we'll have to take things a little slow with him. I just really want him to have a spiritual experience so that he can know that God really does love him and that these things are indeed true. He can only meet on the weekends which is hard because his baptismal date is less then a month away but, it'll work out somehow I just know it! We also got to have a lesson with Ernie yesterday and he is now praying every single day! Yeah! He told us in a polite way that we didn't need to send him a text every night to remind him anymore ;) When he was talking to some other Elders, he mentioned his baptismal date and how he is preparing and that was a HUGE deal! The last time we mentioned his baptismal date he acted like he had no idea about it haha. He has reduced his intake of coffee and has made the effort to try and read from the Book of Mormon. I think Ernie is ready...he just needs to realize that for himself!

Okay, so the story behind, "are we there yet?" It was actually with Larry, the same guy who I just previously mentioned. At some point in the beginning of the mini film in God's Plan one of the children says, "are we there yet?" When he had heard that, he told us to remind him about that phrase after the movie. So, I obviously did and he shared to us his insight on it. He had been a scout master for many of years and that was one phrase that he would always hear from the young men. So, whenever he was in the car with them and they asked him, "are we there yet?", he would stop and show them a map and then show them where they had to go, how many roads they had to cross and that if they focused on the map, they will know when we'll be there. He related it to us how sometimes we too hit certain trails in our life and think, "are we there yet?" and forget that it's not a matter of when we are going to get there but how are we going to use our time in the meantime. When we face a trial in life are we just going to sit there and complain and say wo is me? Are we going to give up? Sure, we don't get to see our own individual map of life on when we'll get married, when we'll have our first child, etc. BUT, we can always be prepared by reading the scriptures, saying our prayers, review talks from our prophets and apostles, and many other things that can help us get the phrase "are we there yet" out of our minds. Enjoy what life throws at you! Whether it's good or bad, it's give to you for a reason. Heavenly Father will never give you a trial that is too much for you to handle. Never! He knows our limitations. He doesn't want to discourage us He only wants to lift us. I am so grateful for the trials that I have faced in my life. I too have thought to myself, "are we there yet" during certain trails but I know that when I focused my mind on things that would lift me up spiritually, I was able to focus on other people rather then myself. I was able to be prepared so that when the day came and the trial was finally lifted off from me, I knew what to do next. I love the gospel. I am who I am today because of it. I can't imagine my life without it. I love it! I hope you all have a wonderful week. The church is true!

OH YEAH! So...Sister Baeza needs more people to call in the teaching center. So, if there is anyone that you know that you would trust me with in calling and sharing a message of the restored gospel with, if you can give me your information to my mom and the information of your friend (name, phone number and brief background of them) to (not to me because I'm not really suppose to get emails from other people), that would be amazing! I promise that I will do my very best in helping them receive the restored gospel!

Hermana Baeza

1. the elder that served with spencer!
2. our mini missioanry!
3. our indian friend! he lives in India and won't come back to LA til February but we are going to send him missionaries! Such a great man!
4. my favorite elder! he leaves in a few weeks. so sad!

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