Wednesday, October 29, 2014

I get to stay in Enumclaw for another transfer!

So a funny thing happened last week that I forgot to tell you. Our investigator, Juan, gave the closing prayer in sacrament last week...Haha! But he's an investigator! Hermana Mitchell and I were like, "Is that allowed??" Haha!
By the way Juan, Rosa, and Bryan have all officially set their baptismal date for November 15th!!!! I am so excited for them! It's going to be great!
Oh and just a side note...During our weekly planning Hermana Mitchell and I could not focus because there was two wasps in our apartment. We would try to focus on our investigators and discuss how to help them but then we would hear them flying and freak out! Seriously, it was hilarious because we were trying to be brave and get them out of the apartment but we always ended up screaming and running like little girls. Haha! But today a sweet old man killed them for us so they're finally gone!

So there is this couple, the Corbits, and they are in one of the English wards and they are just great! We go over to their house every  other week to get free bread that the grocery store is getting rid of and then we give a lot of it to our members or investigators.
We went over the other day to pick some bread up and we were able to eat dinner with them and chat for a little bit. Sister Corbit has MS so physically she can't really do much at all. She is super talented though! Her house is full of paintings that she did herself and they are all beautiful and have really cool and personal meanings behind them. One of them is of the Mona Lisa and I think it is just as good, if not better. She also used to be a really well known ASL interpreter among the deaf community. It's sad though because with her MS she's not able to paint or use ASL anymore.
Her husband, Brother Corbit, is a very sweet and funny man. During dinner he had to feed Sister Corbit her spaghetti and then he would put a piece of garlic bread in her hand and she would slowly get it to her mouth. It just melted my heart to see the love and care in their relationship! They are a great couple!

Also this week I bore my testimony in a lesson we had with Adan and Felecitas and it felt really good! My grammar was horrible and my Spanish was simple but it felt so good to try to speak my mission language and to feel the Spirit. I seriously love feeling the spirit. It's the best thing in the entire world. I wish I could feel it strong, like in that lesson, all the time.

This past week we also planned to have a dinner and a lesson with the Valera's at the Ramos's home but the Valera's couldn't make it anymore so it just ended up being us. Even though we didn't have a lesson we still shared a scripture which was D&C 68:6. We had a really great spiritual discussion and it was really nice!
I just love all of our investigators so much and I want them to be able to enjoy the blessings of the gospel!! I am so glad I am here for the next transfer to continue to work with them! It is going to be so sad when I am transferred to a new area.
One thing I learned more about this week was that all of our trials, tests, and just plain old bad things that happen to us that are out of our control are all for OUR good. They are all for our good and they are to strengthen us and help shape us into the valiant disciples of Christ that God wants us to be!
I love you all with all of my heart and miss you!
Hermana Soliz

Monday, October 20, 2014

Hola Otra Vez!!

Working with our main investigators is so amazing! They are all making huge strides and are progressing!
One family's 14 yr old son told us that he wants to get baptized so he can go on a mission and teach other people about the true church of Jesus Christ! How cool is that!! O mi corazon! :) Hermana Mitchell and I could hardly contain our excitement and joy. That is such a miracle! This is a boy who in the beginning didn't even really know if there was a God and now he knows the truth for himself and he has the desire to share it with others! That's a miracle! He and his family have such strong testimonies and they are so ready to make their individual covenants with God and be baptized! The mother's faith is being tested right now as she is searching for a new job that will allow her to attend church on Sundays but I know that  the Lord will bless her for her efforts and that if she makes the commitment to go to church no matter what God will provide.

Another investigator we are teaching is doing great! His wife has been a member for about two years now and her dad is an inactive member and then there is her mom, who is also investigating the church. Her mother was almost baptized before but her other two daughters convinced her to not get baptized. We are really trying hard to teach this wonderful sister's husband, father, and mother so that they all enjoy the blessings of the gospel.  There are many obstacles they are slowly overcoming and it is amazing to see them grow and make changes as the spirit softens their hearts! Reading the Book of Mormon has a big part in these changes!

We have another couple investigating and they continue to grow and are trying hard to put some things in order to get themselves ready for baptism.

One miracle from this week we were not expecting..... we dropped one of our investigators,because she was not keeping her commitments and she was always bailing on our appointments but then out of nowhere...she came to church! And she stayed for all three hours! That's huge because a lot of the Hispanics only come for sacrament.

Also, this past week while tracting,  we talked to a lot of people downtown. One man we talked to was telling us about Joseph Smith and I was shocked at the things he was saying about him. It's ridiculous how the world has twisted the life of the prophet Joseph Smith. It makes me sad to hear such things about the prophet and it makes me even more sad to see that people believe it.
The Prophet today, Thomas S. Monson, and the other general authorities truly were inspired by God to warn us to strengthen our testimonies of the true power of the priesthood and of Joseph Smith and of the restoration of the church for a reason. People in the world are going to come at us with twisted lies. They will go on and on about "facts" that they have found. They will try to convince you that your testimony- what you know to be true, is wrong. They will try to tell you that your perspective is clouded. But do not listen. They are the ones with the clouded perspective. They are the ones that contradict themselves.
So, even if you already have a strong testimony of the priesthood and Joseph Smith, pray for a stronger one. We want our testimonies to continuously be strengthened, not become weaker.
I know that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God, called by Him to restore Christ's original church on the earth. I also know that Joesph Smith translated The Book of Mormon through the power of God. He was a righteous, faithful man and his name deserves to be respected.
"Praise to the man- Millions shall know Brother Joseph again."
I now know a little bit more about why people say a mission will be both the hardest and the most rewarding thing you could ever do. It's hard because we are constantly faced with people who are wanting to challenge our testimonies. They want to bring us down and  pull us away from God. Every day we are able to experience some sort of miracle but also every day we come face to face with people who are deeply confused by Satan. Being a missionary gives you a different perspective of really living in the world and not being of the world.
Now even though we do run into many different kinds of people- some being nice and some...well not so nice, our job is not to judge. Our job is to love. Jesus Christ was the perfect example and He really showed us how to love others perfectly.
Also I really have grown to love the scripture Ether 12:27 even more! It is a great one! Satan uses despair to try and take away our hope but when we humble ourselves God gives us hope. God can make our weaknesses strengths. As long as I put in effort God can help me make my Spanish better. He can help me to be more humble. He can help me be more loving. He can help me live more like Christ.
I love you all so so so much!
Hermana Soliz :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

My first birthday out on the mission!

Hey mom! So I just opened my birthday package and it is awesome!  I loved the cardigans and the card! The birthday package was perfect! Can you believe I'm 21?? Gosh, I'm getting old ;)
I love and miss you so much!

Ok, so we just left the apartment and realized that our house key and the car keys are locked inside...woops! 
Now we can't use the car to get around! 
Anyways, we called our manager and he didn't answer so we decided to just walk around town trying to find people to teach. We did some tracting in some apartments nearby and found Jessica who speaks English. Jessica is 20 and she has a 7 month old baby girl named Avery. She also has a boyfriend named Dakota but he was at work. 
Anyways, she was really nice and let us into her home to share our message. She was also really honest with us about her feelings and her past experiences with church. Then at the end of the lesson she asked us both a really good question. She asked us how the gospel has changed us and how it felt to be so devoted to the gospel. It was a really good question that I wasn't expecting but it showed that she had a genuine interest in our message.
So then Hermana Mitchell and I bore our testimonies and it was so great! The spirit was definitely there! Jessica also said that she would pray to know if our message was true and you could tell she really meant it. She also said she would be willing to hear more from the missionaries! 
The only sad thing is that since she only speaks English we have to pass her on to the English Sisters. 
We also found another Hispanic woman named Ruby that said we could teach her at another time. 
We walked all the way downtown so we were able to talk to a lot of people. It was pretty cool because we would have never talked to any of those people or found Jessica if we hadn't locked ourselves out of our apartment without the car keys. 

Luckily we were able to get into our apartment around 5:30pm or so which was great because we had an appointment with Adan at 6:00pm. The lesson went really well.
Also we had a lesson with Juan, Rosa and their son Bryan tonight. 
The lesson was more for Bryan but it was still really good! One of the things we talked about was the word of wisdom which we have taught his parents before. Juan and Rosa have been living the word of wisdom and stopped drinking coffee but they weren't aware that there was still some in the house that Bryan had been drinking. Bryan said he only drinks coffee on Saturday mornings. I guess it's just become part of a routine or habit for him. 
Anyways, we asked him if he would like to receive a priesthood blessing to help him not have the desire to drink coffee and he said yes. He really wants to follow the word of wisdom so he can be baptized but he was nervous about being tempted and drinking coffee. He was especially nervous because the next day was a Saturday. 
So Brother Sugihara and Brother Corbit came over and gave Bryan a blessing. Rosa also found the last of the coffee and threw it away so now there's no temptation. 
It was really neat that Bryan knew that Heavenly Father would help him keep this commandment and that he wasn't afraid to ask for help.
Then after the lesson guess what?!
Juan, Rosa, and Bryan had bought me a cake for my birthday! How sweet is that!
So then they sang me happy birthday, I blew out the candles, and we all had cake. It was great!
Also Hermana Mitchell made me breakfast for my birthday and had all of these birthday notes around the apartment for me to find. She also wrote me a very sweet note and gave me a card with her favorite quote on it.
It says, 
"Tabernacles and temples are built with more than stone and mortar, wood and glass...They are built with service and sacrifice. They are built with trials and testimonies. If any...within the sound of my voice feel unprepared, even incapable of responding to a call to serve, to sacrifice, to bless the lives of others, remember the truth: 'Whom God calls, God qualifies.' He who notes the sparrow's fall will not abandon the servant's need." - President Thomas S. Monson, Ensign, May 1987 

Isn't that such a GOOD quote! I love it! And I know I have heard this and many quotes like it before but things are tough sometimes so it's a great reminder that with God we can do amazing and sometimes hard things.  
So even though we were locked out of our apartment for most of the day it was still an amazing day and a great birthday full of miracles and opportunities for me to grow!
I've only been on my mission for two months and I am already learning so much about myself and how I can improve. I'm learning more about my strengths and weakness. I'm learning a lot more about faith! 
I'm learning that I do, indeed, have some pride that I need to just get rid of. I'm learning that I need to have more confidence, especially when I try to speak the language. 
I just have so much to learn and do out here! I hope that through helping others learn about the gospel that I too can grow closer to my Heavenly Father and return home a different and a better disciple of Christ. 
The message we share as missionaries is extremely important and life changing. As missionaries we really should invite every person we see to listen to our message. Everyone needs the knowledge of the gospel in their lives. 
Some people we talk to are not interested at all. Some people don't like organized religion. Some people don't believe in God. Some people say they believe in God and that they're "good" so we should go try to help other people doing worse than they are. Some people don't even say anything, they just look at you like you have some sort of disease. 
However, some people do listen. Some people have been looking for absolute truth and peace in their lives. With some people you can just tell that God has been preparing them to hear the gospel and then he leads us to them. 
How awesome and amazing is that?!
Missionary work is just the best thing ever!

Sending you all my love!

Hermana Soliz 

Finally got out group pic from when we arrived on Sept 18th!


Monday, October 6, 2014

Sending my love from Enumclaw!

I love missionary work! It's hard but I love it!
So I realized I haven't told you much about my companion besides the fact that she is amazing and wonderful! Haha! Anyways Hermana Mitchell and I are one month apart. She turned 21 the week I arrived in the field. She loves sports and she is obsessed with cereal. Seriously, she loves cereal and is always trying different kinds. She is from Oregon but her family moved to St. George, UT. She also went to BYU for a year before coming on a mission. She will be finishing her mission and going home on December 8th, so she's almost done. She's an awesome trainer!
This past week flew by! Some of the days were long but now that it's another Monday I feel like it went by so fast!
Every other Monday the Spanish Group has Family Home Evening all together at the church. We had one this past Monday and it was awesome! Five of our investigators ended up going which made me and Hermana Mitchell very happy!! The investigators that went were Juan and Rosa and their son Bryan who is 14 years old. Also David and Yesmin went.
We ended up watching the video they showed at the General Relief Society Broadcast about temples. They also talked about an upcoming temple trip for the Spanish Group to go to. Rosa really liked it and said she wants to go to the temple!!! That's so great! We need her to get baptized first but that is awesome that she has the desire!
After that we all played volleyball which was fun! Sister Ramos also made chicken enchiladas and dessert for everyone to eat. She loves cooking, especially for the members!
Also this pasty Tuesday we had a special training with President Eaton where we discussed Effective Scripture Study Skills. We also had the opportunity to watch the movie coming out called Meet the Mormons. It was really great and guess what?! It comes out October 10th!! That's my birthday in case you forgot! LOL! So for my birthday present you should all go watch the movie! It really is great and it would be good for all of you to see!
Also I saw Elder Brown there! I walked in and out of the corner of my eye I saw an Elder waving and I looked and it was him. I was surprised because I wasn't expecting to see him but it was good to see a familiar face when I'm so far from home. He told me he has been out for 10 months and is doing good.
And of course, General Conference! Wasn't that just amazing!! I loved every second of it! And it went by way too fast! They should make them longer ;) I loved all of the talks and Eduardo Gavarrett actually spoke to us in the Mexico MTC so it was cool to hear from him again. I'm trying to think of a couple of my favorite talks but they were all just so good!
Also, I received my birthday package mom! Thanks so much! I haven't opened it yet because I'm practicing my patience and waiting until my actual birthday. Can you believe I'm turning 21? Gosh...I'm getting old. Haha!
Te amo much! Hasta luego!
Hermana Soliz