Monday, March 31, 2014

3/31/14 Un cambio excelente

Hola familia!

It has been a great six weeks here in Americas II. Hermana G’i is about to go home (to Massachusetts, no less! I hope you coordinate your days in the temple so that you meet her in these next few months...) and we have no idea about transfers. There's only 7 or 8 sister areas in the mission, so chances are I won't be in a new one! We'll see next week...But I am so grateful for the time I have had here in this companionship. I was thinking about it last night, and I've decided the biggest things I've learned this transfer are: first, charity (from the sincere love my companions have for the people we serve & visit) and second, the power of prayer. We have prayed specifically for several investigators and have seen miracles!

For the which I would like to start with this photo (3282) of our recent convert Eva.  
Eva's Baptism March 2014

We have been praying for weeks that she would be able to have the faith to be baptized (she has been going through some difficult family/economic problems recently) and this past Friday, she was! When we went to visit her the following day, she said, "Last night, for the first time in weeks, I slept peacefully." I admire so much the faith of our investigators and watching them change their lives gives me a renewed testimony that the Gospel blesses and changes our lives so much. People like Eva are an inspiration to me. Being a missionary really is the best.

Our investigator Felipe’s birthday

This other photo is of our investigator Felipe who had his birthday this week. I think I had a photo of all of us together but I'm not sure what happened to it. We got there a little bit late, but he (and his caregiver...since he's a little bit special) were so excited! They had been waiting for a long time but gave up hope that we were going to come, and had already divvied up the cake...but it was so big there was still some left for us! We also talked to his sister in the States via phone and she gushed to us, thanking us for visiting her brother.

I love you all!
Hermana Romero

3/24/14 A week of miracles and much reflection.

Dear family,

I'm not going to lie, having an extra half an hour on the computer is throwing me off...I started an email, decided it wasn't what I wanted, threw it out, and now I'm starting again.

In my mission, I have become so much more conscious of miracles and how much the Lord blesses us with our righteous desires when we set our goals high and trust in Him (rather than ourselves). I often used to think that success was something I earned, or that when things went well, it was because of my efforts. Obviously, if I don't believe that I can achieve great things, or work as hard as I can, the Lord can't bless me, but miracles happen according to the Lord's time and his mercy. So I'm just going to keep giving it my everything and appreciating those little daily blessings.

Looking back on this week, I would describe it as a week of miracles. Nothing huge--just little things that just fell into place at the right moment... A member bringing her non-member husband to church, less active members who were ready for church when we stopped by their house Sunday morning, finding people to teach in spite of the huge soccer match that everyone was watching...and I'm sure many other blessings I didn't even notice.

It wasn't as if we were working differently than we usually do. The only difference I noticed was that we set our minds to achieve more, with the faith that the Lord would help us to do so. When evaluating what we had achieved during the week, I was surprised to discover that we had, indeed, improved in almost every single way! I have felt so grateful this past week as everything in this area that I love so much are finally starting to click.

One of my favorite experiences was last night, when the president of Young Women's in the ward called to ask us about the mom of one of our investigators, Fatima (she is 12 years old and has been waiting for months for her mom's permission to get baptized). Apparently the presidency of the Young Women's went to go visit her. Not only did this woman agree for her daughter to be baptized, but she said that she, too, would like to be a member and be able to enter the temple!! The YW President told us, "I almost put the fecha [baptismal date] right then and there, but then I told myself, you don't have the plaque..."

Speaking as a missionary, I would just like to say that members are the best. If they have faith and believe that something can happen, it will happen. That's why I want to work so hard, so that the members of this ward will begin to believe in our area and see the potential there that the Lord does. Always remember Moroni 7:37...God is a God of miracles.

Love you all. Do good things,

Love, Hermana Romero

3/20/14 The correct address

Dear Parents,

We have had a lot of confusion with the mission address. Ever since the division of the mission, the address in the packet was the address of the other mission, so much of the mail of our missionaries goes there, especially the letters sent from "Dear Elder". If you would please make a note of the correct address, that would be very helpful to us. They have finally corrected it in the packet, but for those of you with missionaries in the field, you will want to make this change. We are the El Salvador San Salvador East Mission, and this is the best address to use (even for packages).

Hermana Rosemary Julia Baratta Romero
Mision El Salvador San Salvador Este
Apartado Postal #3362
San Salvador, El Salvador
Centro America

Thank you so very much. How very grateful we are to you for the faithful service of your young sons and daughters. We feel very privileged to work with them. May God continue to bless you and your family.

With love,
President and Sister G

3/17/14 Learning from the examples of those around me.

Dear family!

So today, we had a fun P-day activity of cooking a dish from our native country...My group made mashed potatoes and gravy, which turned out surprisingly well (given our limited access to American cooking supplies and the fact that we were sharing a kitchen with about 5 other companionships of missionaries!) and I got to enjoy a lot of new dishes.

One of the things I have noticed this week is how much I can learn from the examples of those around me--whether it is from the diligence and love that my companions have for being missionaries and helping others, or whether it is from the faith of an investigator deciding to make hard decisions that allow her to be baptized and provide a better future for her children. When I think of how much I can learn and change in my life, sometimes I marvel to think that I will ever be able to achieve all of it.

I was talking about this with one of the other sisters in my zone this week, and she told me that, as she thinks about it, our desires to improve show a desire to follow Christ and make repentance a part of our daily life. We recognize that we have things that we need to change, and we WANT to be better and more Christlike. The seeds of rebellion and the bitterness of not feeling good enough become rooted out of our heart as we really want to become better. Our very desires change, not just our actions. This is why repentance brings peace. Because we let go of everything that impedes us from being in tune with God's will and His commandments and we are in harmony with His desires.


Hermana Romero

PS. We're writing in a different Ciber this week...Plus side is that it's air-conditioned, down side is that there is a person playing a REALLY loud video game directly behind me!

PPS. Sorry for the short letter! I couldn't think of a funny story to include...but I'll make sure to come prepared next week!

3/10/14 Faith is what you do when you feel discouraged.

Hola mi querida familia!

Sometimes Pdays come so fast...I can't believe Hermana G’i will be ending her mission and going home in three weeks. It feels like I got to Americas yesterday! And it feels like we're really starting to see progress in our area, including the part that everyone said wasn't going to have any success--hah, we chose to have faith!

I'm very happy this week! Well, actually, I've been happy since Tuesday. Before, I was a little bit sad and stressed out...but then we had exchanges with Hermana V (former companion, current sister training leader) and that helped me a lot. I had been feeling like I couldn't do the missionary work and that feeling discouraged meant I didn't have faith, but she helped me understand that faith is what you do when you feel discouraged. Everyone faces negative feelings every once in a while, or feels tired, or limited by their own capacity...but what determines if you have faith is how you respond to them. I committed to praying for the Lord's help and working with all my efforts whenever I felt tired. I have decided that being tired is a decision...or rather, that letting yourself stop working because you feel tired is a choice. I love the talk by Elder Eyring where he talks about how Christ spent his three days between death and resurrection ministering to others in the Spirit world. He never rested or stopped serving, and as a representative of him, I want to be able to do that as well.

On Wednesday, we had a special conference about setting goals and plans. In part because of the part the Assistants to President contributed about having faith to work miracles, and in part because President had asked us to come to the conference with our own personal vision of the mission, I decided I needed to elevate my own vision. As Moroni 7;37 says, God is a God of miracles, and he is only able to work them according to our faith. I decided to get to work and elevate my vision and focus more on helping everyone I come into contact with to progress towards making and keeping the sacred covenant of baptism. I realized I needed to work harder to accomplish the Lord's vision in this area and strengthen this ward.

I have been learning so much since I set my mind more fully to the work. For instance, Thursday as I realized that we could use the how to begin teaching points from Preach My Gospel in street contacts. I have been searching so long for a way to powerfully testify in my contacts, and I really think this was the answer to my prayers. I went out and put it in practice that very day (one of my goals being to apply inspiration immediately and be promptly obedient)...It was an amazing experience! I felt happy, even as some of the people rejected me because I was testifying of Christ. And even better, some of them surprised me by saying yes! It was our best day this transfer for this key indicator, so I know the Lord is blessing us for our increased efforts.

Hermana G’a has been working really hard on finding as well. We talked about this in our companionship exchange with Hermana V, how the both of us have a little fear when it comes to contacting. I am so impressed that she has been doing so well in confronting that fear. I love her a lot. Hermana G’i has beenimparting her wisdom as a well seasoned senior companion and missionary to Hermana G’a and I. I have gained such appreciation for her these past few weeks. Her faith is so strong--unbreakable, it seems to me--and I want to be just like her.

Love you all so much (I just got Mom's Valentine's card...So cute!)
and I'm praying for you.
Hermana Romero
Here's us planning by candle light when our power went out

Here’s me painting a less active's home

3/3/14 It's been a good week.

Dear Family,

It's been a good week. I love my companions, and we're starting to see some success from all our hard work these past two weeks (finding new people that want to be baptized/read the Book of Mormon/come to church and follow other commandments). I can't think of anything particularly of note this week. It's been pretty funny (especially since my new companions are hilarious) and I am happy to be working hard.

Speaking of my companions, here's a photo of them!

Me and Hernanas G'a & G'I
Hermana G’a is really great at talking to people, and her faith and firmness really impress me. I'm learning a lot from her, and from Hermana G’ she values people and ALWAYS is putting them first, even when she's tired. That's one of my goals for this transfer, to develop this level of charity. I think it starts in your heart, and then proceeds to your actions, so I have been trying to change my thoughts to be more outward-focused. Lately, I have felt that when I look at people with the intention of helping them come unto Christ and seeking their salvation, I am
more able to recognize the people that are prepared and will accept us.
Okay given that I can't think of anything else to say, I'm going to share some spiritual insights I've gleaned from the past week. This morning, I was thinking about how the prophets of the Book of Mormon mention that the promises of the Lord are fulfilled SO OFTEN. It made me think about how often I recognize the blessings of the Lord in my life. How often I can say that a promise of his has been fulfilled in my life.
So I looked through Preach My Gospel to see what some of the promised blessings for obedience to the Lord's commandments are (things such as the guidance of the Lord as a blessing for praying with faith, or greater spiritual sensitivity as we keep the Word of Wisdom), and wondered how many times I think about these in my daily life. I promise these blessings to so many people, but very infrequently think of how I can see these blessings in my own life. So I'm setting a personal goal (and invite you all to do so as well!) to count your blessings and see that the Lord really does fulfill his promises.

Fun fact of note: I am, according to a slightly crazy man who attends one of the wards in my chapel, the future queen of Spain. I'll have to tell you that story when I get home I think :)

Love you all and praying for ya!

Hermana Romero

2/24/14 Welcome to AMERICAS I !!!

Hey folks!

Guess who had changes again this transfer? Hermana Romero, welcome to Americas I...which just so happens to be the neighboring ward to Colonial (we even share a chapel!) so I have the blessing/heartbreak of seeing my former converts, investigators, members, companions, etc. several times during the week. I didn't get to go to change meeting, which was a bit of a bummer, because it's always a great experience.

Attached are my last moments as companions with Hermanas C and V. Fun fact, Hermana V went on to become sister training leader this transfer (and she has as much time in the mission as me which is a little bit crazy! but I know she'll do a great job) AND Hermana W, my trainer from Montecristo, is another one of the sister training leaders (there are 4, in charge of the 30-35 hermanas in the mission)...Basically, as I have joked about it to a lot of people, I train the sister training leaders. (All three of my senior companions have shortly thereafter been placed as sister training leaders).

Okay enough about missionaries you don't know.... Let's talk about my new companions really quick. I have some exciting companions. One is Hermana G’i, who is about to finish her mission and is from MASSACHUSETTS! We have decided coming from a traditionally "hard" missionary area will help us in our new area (redivided as of last Wednesday to include the upper class part of the ward)...And the other is Hermana G’a who is quiet, but hilarious. She is from Guatemala.

It's been a pretty tough adjustment, but I know I will love my new area and new companions. Heavenly Father knows what we are capable of and he gives us the experiences we need to progress. I am learning that I don't need to excel in the eyes of the world to be of infinite value to the Lord. We are his children, and what he thinks of us is more important than anything else.

This morning, I was thinking about how I tell that to my investigators all the time, but in my heart of hearts, I don't always believe it. I let myself get discouraged with my efforts or feel that I am not good enough. We literally are children of God. Our mortal experience is a brief separation. His plan is perfect and I know that he is always willing to help us. Remember who you are.

Love you all,

Hermana Romero  

2/17/2014 Thoughts on faith

Hey family,

Wow, this week has been absolutely crazy. We had exchanges with the sister training leaders (our second for the transfer, and you usually only have one), Sister G [[Mission President’s wife]]visited our area to study/teach with us, PRESIDENT G came to visit the following night to visit an activity we have biweekly in our ward to help build fellowships between members and investigators, and we spent half of Thursday in the Peruvian embassy trying to get things straightened out for Hermana V's visa. In spite of all the commotion, we had some really good lessons, and totaling up our key indicators for the week, we found that we met almost all of our goals! And I'm sure this week will be a little bit crazy too...unless (as I have been hoping), we don't have transfers! I love Hermana C and Hermana V, and I love the area. It has been a transfer of miracles.

I have lately been thinking a lot about faith, especially as the attitude we have towards life. We've been seeing a lot of success lately in our area, and much of that is due to the work of missionaries before us, and the mercy of the Lord. Honestly, I can't say that we deserve the amount of people we have found that want to listen to and learn about the Restored Gospel. It is a blessing that we don't deserve. Well actually now that I think about it, we as humans, don't really DESERVE any of the blessings we receive. It is through the grace of Christ that we have the opportunity to repent. It isn't of our own skill or talent that we have this gift. It is only thanks to Him. What matters is if we choose to use it. I was reading this morning a talk that I loved a lot, called "Personal Strength through the Atonement of Jesus Christ" by Elder Richard G. Scott.  Since I'm out of time, I recommend that you read it.
[[ You can find this at:]]

Dad asked two weeks ago about my daily life. We get up every day at 6:30, exercise, get ready, study personally, as a companionship, and study the language (English for my companions and Spanish for me), and then we go to teach. We generally have about 6-8 lessons every day, between contacting, teaching investigators, and teaching less actives. About 80% of our references are from street contacting. We don't tract in this mission, but I often feel like street contacting is very much like tracting, since almost everyone says yes. Send more questions if you have them!

Sending all my love,

Hermana Romero

Photo from Zone Conference 2/12/14

From Mission President’s wife Hna G 2/12/14
"El foto de su conferencia de zona con Elder Duncan. Les amamos mucho. "

Zone portrait Feb 2014
Rosie - seated, far right


Rosie added:
"My eyes are shut, of course! Haha
This is from a conference we had a few weeks ago, a photo of my zone"


2/10/14 What a great week it has been.

Oh my dear family!

What a great week it has been. I realized last night as I was writing in my journal, that, in spite of all our plans and our efforts, things never work out the way we plan them to! Almost never in this world do things happen perfectly. BUT, looking back at this past week, I have been able to see so many blessings and small miracles that I know that Heavenly Father has been guiding us to the people we need to visit, when we need to visit them.

We had a miraculous lesson Saturday night, where we finally found the husband of one of our most positive investigators, Luciana. Not only did they listen to us together (with their adorable little ones), but they decided to come to church as a family! What made me even more happy was when we came Sunday morning to help them get ready, they were all ready to go! And, in spite of the fact that we had ward conference and the meeting lasted a lot longer than usual, it was great to see that the speakers talked about things that were personally relevant to them.

Tender moment of the week: Steven, the son of this young couple (5 years old), during his first sacrament meeting, kept raising his hand to sustain all the people mentioned that were being sustained for their callings (it being ward conference, they read every single person of every calling for the ward and stake).

It makes me happy being here on the mission, and the little glimpses I have into the love Heavenly Father has for us. It's a love that is doesn't change if we follow his commandments or not, He will always love us. He's of course so happy and proud of us when we change and try to be better and obey his commandments because he loves us. I'm starting to understand that a little more as I get the chance to help others to come unto Christ as a missionary. Heavenly Father loves them so much. They are precious to him, and I am learning to love as He does. This makes me happier than anything else.

Sending y'all some pictures of my beautiful companions!


Hermana Romero

2/3/14 ¿Quien tiene el barrio perfecto?

Hey folks!

So this week, we had one of the counselors of the Area Presidency (who is in charge of the church in Central America) come visit, and, as part of his presentation, he asked us, "¿Quien tiene el barrio perfecto?" ["Who has the perfect ward?"]  Without hesitation, Hermana V, Hermana C, and I raised our hands. Not a single other missionary did. It cracked me up, but I really do honestly feel that it is true. Although, just as in any ward, there are members whose testimonies aren't as strong, the majority are so willing to help us...either by going to visit our investigators with us or offering their house for lessons or by attending activities that we've organized.

Other highlights of the week:

-I got my Christmas package! It was well appreciated by all (but don't worry, I haven't eaten all the Nutella yet!) and I am so grateful for all the time you put into it, Mom. Every single thing was something I need and love, and the socks are PERFECT!

-Elections were this yesterday. It is weird to be on the fringe of a huge cultural event and not participate at all, but we received specific instructions to not talk about politics at all...which makes sense. We are here to share the Gospel, not to do anything else.

-One of our investigators fasted for fast Sunday this past week! So tender. He's for sure going to be baptized on his baptismal date, I can just tell it. He is one of our most dedicated investigators, and I'm pretty sure it's because he has support of one of his good friends, a member of the ward.

I had a new idea for my weekly emails. It's called audiovisual thought of the week. I send you the name of a song (that you look up on youtube) or a mormon message, and share some thoughts. I've lately realized the ability movies or songs of the church have to bring the Spirit.

This week, the song is called This Is the Christ, as sung by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. I was listening to it, and some of the lyrics really impressed me: "How many drops of blood were shed for me" (pondering the sacrifice of Jesus...He suffered for each of us individually. He loves each of us individually and can succor each of us individually. How incredible is that, that the only perfect human who ever walked the Earth humbled himself below all things for me and or you). The other line that impressed me "And with the saints of ages past, I too can testify--this is the Christ" I'm here to do exactly that. To testify of Christ, that his Atonement is perfect and covers everything, and that through him, our potential truly is limitless.

Dad asked about what my daily life is like, and I will write about that next week! I hope. Who knows.... I'm not always the best at managing my time on the computer!

I love you all dearly,
Hermana Romero

1/27/14 What an exciting week!

Hola familia!

What an exciting week! On Tuesday, we had interviews with President G (every three months, he interviews/talks with every missionary...we gave him a chocolate bar as thanks, but I don't feel like we did justice to the magnitude of his service). In mine, we talked about prayer, and he mentioned how one of his daughters calls him often, sometimes just to say hi. It reminded me of how I would call home during college because I wanted help or I wanted to tell you I love you or sometimes simply just because. It helped me understand that Heavenly Father will always answer our calls and he WANTS to hear from us, to hear about our day, to hear about our plans, and to encourage us to do things better.

On Wednesday, we had companionship exchanges with the sister training leaders. The majority of the things I learned apply to my area and missionary work (how to work better with members, the importance of asking for references and having members present in lessons, urgency, diligence, etc.) so I'm not sure how many details you want.

Then, Thursday, the coolest part of this week FOR SURE...Elder Quentin L. Cook, modern apostle came to visit the mission. It was an incredible experience and I loved that he said our most important duty is to help build the faith of everyone we come in contact with, and the prevailing theme that we have the capacity to see miracles here in this country. El Salvador is a beautiful country, and the people are so receptive. We need to work a little harder, perhaps, but I have confidence that as Jacob 5:72 says, the Lord himself will come down and help us if we work with all our forces.

My companion Hermana C is such a champ...She was baptized about three years ago and none of her family is a member of the church, so they don't support her very much or perhaps don't understand how much it means to missionaries to get email. This week she got a line from her family, which was the first time they had written her in three months! Instead of being disappointed, she said, "Woohoo! Maybe in three months they'll write me another line!"

((Mama, don't worry about last week...the thing about being a missionary is as you start getting more involved in the work and serving all the people around you, you stop worrying so much about home. I still love your emails and letters, but I don't rely on them for my happiness and faith like I did in the beginning.))

Oh my dear family, let me know if there is something you would like to hear about. Send me questions! I feel like I have become so involved in missionary world that I can't remember what is interesting to people outside of the mission. Although, I'm sure, being my family, you are interested in hearing whatever I have to say! But I would like to talk about what interests you...I continue loving you very much, and hoping the best for you all.

Love, Hermana Romero


Hola familia y amigos!

Me and my new companions
It's been another great week. Hermana V and Hermana C are really hard workers and I am learning a lot from their example of diligence. We have been trying this week to talk about baptism in every lesson so that we can have more people committed to baptism and help encourage those who already have baptismal dates feel excited and ready for their baptism. We have been seeing a lot of miracles because of this. It surprises me how many people accept a baptismal invitation in the first lesson, and I have learned that we can trust that, if we teach and invite by the Spirit, we can't leave a negative sentiment behind.

My beautiful new apartment

Another highlight of the week was that we were able to bring a ton of investigators to church! Living in Central America, where practically everyone is willing to listen to missionaries, it isn't that hard to get people to teach. The real challenge is finding people that will keep commitments (read the Book of Mormon, pray about our message, come to church, keep the commandments). It was a blessing to see that several had come of their own accord, that others were ready when we went to pick them up. I am really grateful to be here and to share the gospel. It has helped me learn and grow so much personally and in my testimony of Jesus Christ. I know that he is there for me in every moment, and as D&C 122:8 says, he has descended below all things. He knows how we feel in our lowest of low, and He can help us overcome our own self-doubts and fears as we choose to let faith be the thing that defines us.

Speaking of bringing investigators to church, I'm going to include an experience Hermana C and V had a few weeks ago that they shared with me this week. They were waiting at the bus stop for an investigator, Jonathan who had promised to come to church, and spotted someone they thought was their investigator. This is about how the conversation went:
        Missionaries: (very excited) Ready?
        Man: Yes, to listen to the word of God!
        Missionaries: Let's go then!
        Man: ...To where?
        Missionaries: To church!
        Man: Sorry, but I'm not part of your congregation...
        Missionaries: But we talked to you this morning, on the phone.
        Man: I think you've confused me with someone else...
        Missionaries: But we gave you a pamphlet...
        Man: No...
        Missionaries: (finally realizing their error) What's your name?
        Man: Edwin.
        Missionaries: Oh.... 
I'm not sure if this story is as funny in English or when written out, but please just try to imagine all the enthusiam of a pair of sister missionaries and the confusion of a Salvadorenean man as you read this.

Love you all so much!
Hermana Romero

Me and Mama Ruth (cook from Monte Cristo) with her
crazy dog, Zoey

1/13/14 - Va a creer, they changed my area again!

Hola parents!

We had changes this week, and I said a tearful goodbye to my (third, counting Mom) mom, Hermana W and headed off to Colonial II, stake San Salvador. Mom asked last week if I was close to the office...well now I am! The office is in my zone/my stake, so it's probably about half an hour away.

First off, the area. We are a lot higher up in the mountains, so it's a bit chillier (but still tropical!) and the whole area is pretty hilly. (Monte Cristo and Las Arboledas were both pretty flat). BUT the plus side is I'm getting in shape (since 18 months of pupusas and fried everything probably aren't going to do great things for my
health) and there are incredible views! I feel like I am in the Swiss Alps!

Unfortunately I am in a Ciber this week and my memory converter doesn't work, so I can't send you photos of my companions. Hermana V is from El Salvador (from the really hot part/the part near the volcano that just erupted, San Miguel) and she is amazing! I feel like I am going to learn so much from her testimony and the ease with
which she teaches and gets along with people. Hermana C is from Guatemala, and she is one of the sweetest people I know and she is such a hard worker.

The other day, Hermana V said "This is going to be a great change", and I echo her sentiments. I feel like I'm going to learn a lot from my companions. And the investigators here are great! Everyone is so willing to learn about the Gospel, the members are so supportive, and the leaders work so hard. I feel like I've died and gone to missionary heaven.

Love y'all lots and lots,
Hermana Romero

P.S. "Va a creer" (pronounced bah-cray-air) is a really common expression here, and it means "Are you serious?" Hermana V says it all the time, and it cracks me up.