Wednesday, July 23, 2014
Dear friends and family,
We have some excellent news this week! HUGE breakthrough with the Almendarez family. Who are they, you might be asking? Well they are a less active family of probably 20 people (including friends and extended relatives that they bring to church with them) that we have been working with my entire time here. This past Wednesday, we visited them with a verry direct sister of the ward who got right to the point and asked them why they hadn't been coming, since they've been through the temple and made serious covenants with God. Sister Almendarez really opened up and told us EVERYTHING. We discovered they've been having some pretty substantial family problems.
Fastfoward to Sunday (which is basically like taking the final exam for missionaries). Hermana Hernandez called to invite them to church. Brother Almendarez said that he wasn't going to come, even though he had promised the previous week that he would (which he had never done before!). My companion, who has been working with this family her whole mission, was devastated. "What more can I do for them?" I could only recommend patience, waiting for a moment when, like Enos 1:3-4 that "the words which (this family) had often heard (the missionaries) speak concerning eternal life, and the joy of the saints, sunk deep into (their) heart."
Turns out that moment wasn't too far off! About five minutes before Sacrament meeting started, we saw Brother Almendarez walk through the door. I felt so blessed, that the Lord had listened to our prayers, and that we were able to see this great change. I know the Lord can touch our hearts, and that he often does it through other people. I hope to see many more changes in this family and others as I continue to serve here in Roosevelt.
(Small miracle that probably made this all possible: This sister and her husband returned to visit the Almendarez Saturday night! I am so grateful for the members in this ward. They are definitely getting more excited about helping others come unto Christ and I am so happy for the chance to serve with them.)
And, as always, not complete without a funny experience. Hermana Hernandez asked in a lesson, "What was Jesus like?" Answer: "When he was born, he was thiiiis big, and fat, and white and curly haired...and when he was 30 years old, they killed him." I think we were expecting something like, loving, kind, humble, etc. but we just rolled with it.
Have a great week! With much love,
PS. I forget to mention this every week, but THANK YOU!!! so much for the package you sent! The nutella and peanut butter and the adorable photos have been greatly enjoyed. I love you guys so much :D
Remember Fatima, the young woman I was teaching in America [Ward] with her mom that was really excited to come to church? THEY GOT BAPTIZED THIS WEEKEND!!! I am sooo happy!
Hermana Romero is no longer in that ward, but she was sent the following pictures with the message:
Fatima y su Mama se bautizaron este fin de semana. Fatima esta SUPER feliz. Y quería que ustedes supieron! Las amo mucho. Aquí esta un ejemplo de los frutos de su labor...sigan trabajando con todo!
|Fatima is SUPER happy|
|Fatima and her Mama|
Well this week I learned (more or less) how to make valeadas, a famous Honduranean flour tortilla because we visited our bishop and prepared a dinner for him and his family. He served a mission in Honduras, and my companion is from there, so they've been talking about this for weeks! They turned out really delicious!
We had a bit of frustruation/disappointment Sunday when so many of our investigators who had promised to come to church just couldn't make it. We felt we had worked as hard as we could inviting and bearing testimony, so it was definitely a bummer. But we're just gonna keep working as hard as we can.
I'm working on a project for Mom's birthday, so I don't have time to write more this week. Have an excellent time at the family reunion! I love you lots! (but I'm happy for the chance to be for a missionary)
So happy to hear good news from all--that all has been going well with Kevin's move, that Mom and Dad are safely back home (and getting to rest), and that Pete's been hiking some pretty sweet mountains.
It's been a great week for me too. On Tuesday, we had exchanges with the sister training leaders (I was with my mission mom, Hermana Winters!), in which we set some goals that encourage me to be better in certain things that are hard for me--opening my mouth and talking to everyone, inviting people to baptism, being urgent, etc. I've had some great experiences really trying to complete these goals. In the other letter I sent to Mom and Dad, I mentioned the family of a investigator Leslie, that we started teaching recently. When we went to teach them this Sunday, her younger sister mentioned that she had been reading about baptism in the chapter we had assigned her to read (3 Nephi 11), and we read about the instructions Jesus left to be baptized. We talked about the importance of baptism, and then we invited them to be baptized and they said yes!
Other incredible experience of the week...Friday, we had an AMAZING lesson with a contact, a young mother expecting a baby boy. She almost didn't let us into her house because "in this house we're Catholics" but her mom told her she had to let us in because you can't turn away the word of God. (I love that about this country... so many people have this policy (that all the word of God is welcome in their home) because it makes it really to find people to teach.) About halfway through the lesson, the Spirit just flooded the room, and you could tell that the grandmother was really attent during the whole lesson. We invited them to pray to know if what we taught was true, and invited the grandmother to give the final prayer. She said, in her prayer, "I know that what they've taught is true."
It's moments like these that make all the walking (this area is huge!), and being rejected and having alllll your appointments fall and every other disappointment worth it! I have been so grateful for this week in which I've had the chance to learn to rely on the Lord a little bit more. Thanks to a talk I read in the Liahona and the encouragement of my companion, I was able to overcome some discouragment and improve my personal prayers and my personal relationship with God. In the words of President Eyring "You can be a great model, an average one, or a bad model. You may think it doesn’t matter to you, but it does to the Lord."
May we all try to be a great model by following the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are the light of the world, and we should live such that others are inspired to come unto Christ by us.
Looooooooove your daughter/sister/best friend,
First of all, I'M STILL IN ROOSEVELT WITH HERMANA HERNANDEZ!!!! We are soooo happy because we get to stay in this ward that is starting to make changes for the better. It still needs a lot of work, but the elders in this ward and us sisters are so willing to work to make these changes happen...We are working to activate and to baptize, and I feel like we are on the cusp of some real miracles!
I would say that working with members is probably the largest success of our week. We met with the bishop a few weeks back to try to animate him for the work, and it seems like it really worked, because this week for the fifth Sunday class (the chance the bishopric has to share a message with the whole congregation), he talked about baptisms, retention, and reactivation! It was an inspiring message, and we've seen, as we fill out our plans for the week, that there are more members willing to go visit with us--presidencies, young adults, mothers, families!
|A newly active family with their daughter |
who got baptized in May at a ward activity
Speaking of planning, here's a funny moment. This week, in the middle of our weekly planning (while discussing which investigators we were planning to visit and when), I looked at the planner and realized the fourth of July is this week! I got really excited because I had not, until this moment realized that our nation's Independence day was so soon! (But my Latina companion didn't understand the importance of Fourth of July because her Independence day is in September!) Anywyay: Happy Fourth of July!!!
Finally I would like to make a request. We have some excellent investigators that I really believe are prepared to be baptized this month: a young couple, Karina and Alex; a young mother, Leslie; and the young granddaughter of a member, Melissa. They've been recieving missionary lessons and want to be baptized, but I know that Satan always places obstacles in our path whenever we try to make changes in our lives for the better and to follow God. If you have the disposition to pray for any of my investigators, these are the principal people I would love for you ask for.
Thank you for your love, support, prayers, and encouragement! I know that this is the Lord's work, that God lives and loves us dearly and is oh so conscious of our trials. He sends us little tender mercies when we are struggling. He can't always take away our trials from us because we need to grow and learn in this life to become like him. But he can send angels to strengthen us and to carry us through. Sometimes you might wonder if He really exists or if he really cares about you, but I have seen in my life that putting my trust in Him lets me be happy and that if I look for them, He's always sending little things to cheer me up when I get discouraged. I hope you can all see the hand of God in your lives this week
Love love love!
Hermana Romero received a package from home via a friend & BHS classmate who was in El Salvadore for a while over the summer. She included the following note:
Guess who I ran into in the temple a few weeks ago? Kelly Baker! Crazy, right?
BUT if you can pass this message on to anyone else that is thinking of visiting me while I'm here...we have some rules as missionaries, and one of them specifies that in order to stay 100% focused on the work, we can't visit with friends and family during the mission. And as we learn in DyC 130:20-21, obedience is the key to blessings.
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Hermana Romero sent these two photos for the blog, which she entitled "Baratta style problem solving"
|How to get water into from the big bottle to the little bottle?|
|Well I got tired of always having to use a teeny cup so I made myself |
a funnel by puncturing a hole in a styrofoam cup we had!
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MORE PHOTOS !!!
|enjoying the package.|
|Photo of the best companionship ever - at the temple!|