Tuesday, October 28, 2014

10-27-14 Happy Halloween!

Did you know that in Central America they don't celebrate Halloween because of superstitions about witches? Last year, the little primary kids dressed up in costumes for the ward activity of the week and some lady got really offended, saying "What kind of Christians are you that you celebrate this pagan holiday?" Oops... Good thing she doesn't live in the States!

It's been such a good week. I feel like every week has challenges, but this week, I just feel grateful for all our blessings. We're always working on finding prepared people and not wasting time on people that aren't ready to accept the Gospel/who don't want to change their lives/who don't want to investigate. There's a reason we use the word "investigators" when talking about the people we teach...because those that really want to find out for themselves (aka investigate the church) are those that we want to focus on. And this past week, we've found a lot of such people.

Another blessing. We're always struggling to help investigators come to church, and this week was no exception. But as we left the house, in spite of the fact, that we only had one confirmed to go to church, I felt an assurance that there would be more. Imagine my surprise when we passed by the house of our investigator, and she wasn't even there! But the Lord works in many ways, and it turns out, one of her neighbors, who we had invited earlier in the week, was in that very moment getting ready to go to church with us! We went and knocked on his door, and there he was, ready to go! (in the end, the investigator ended up going to church with her member friend...so all worked out well!)

Yesterday, I had a wonderful spiritual experience during the sacrament. This past general conference, there was a focus on how we can better take advantage of this weekly ordinance, and I love an experience Cheryl A Esplin shared about a woman who tried to do a self-evaluation every week during the sacrament: that, by focusing on her sins and repenting, "she began to feel gloomy and pessimistic. She could see that she was making the same errors over and over again, week to week. But then she had a distinct impression that she was neglecting a big part of the Atonement—Christ’s enabling power. She was forgetting all the times the Savior helped her be who she needed to be and serve beyond her own capacity."

I know that Jesus' Atonement has allowed me to "find strength beyond [my] own" (Hymn 220). I have felt this many times this week. God loves us so much that he gives us experiences that will help us grow, and he has also given us the Atonement so that when we ask for help, it is abundantly given us. May we all in this week use this marvelous gift. Let's not, as I sometimes have done, get bogged down in our own errors or feelings of inadequacy, but rather remember that weak things can be made strong through the grace of Jesus Christ.

Have a wonderful week! I love you all!
Hermana Romero

10-20-14 Earthquake!

Hey family!

Mom and Dad have probably already informed you but we had a mild earthquake (7.4) here in El Salvador last Monday. I went and stood in a doorframe because that was the only earthquake safety I could remember in the moment (although now I know that you're supposed to leave the house), and nothing was damaged or severely affected.

As far as missionary work, in some ways it was sort of a bummer week (we had a couple days of finding people that weren't super positive, and only one investigator showed up to church!)...but it's been helping me trust in God more, that He'll help us recognize where to go and who to teach and what to say. I've been asking myself every day, what I can do better, and then trying to do that.

And the other good thing is I've been learning to recognize the little blessings and miracles of every day! Yesterday, we were able to find two families that said if they recieve an answer they'll be baptized. Saturday, in spite of having to cancel all our plans last minute and run over to the chapel for a baptism, we were able to teach a ton of lessons. Little things like that testify to me that God cares about me, and that this is his work.

Other blessing of the week has been working more effectively with members. I wrote to my mission president this week about how many wonderful people we've found that want to know the Gospel, and how we two missionaries can't do all the work alone...we've got to work with the members! There's always been some challenges with that in this ward, but in my personal prayers and scripture study, I feel like I've been coming to some conclusions about what specifically we can do. What a great blessing personal revelation is! Sometimes it's hard to believe that God worries about what we worry about and that we're capable of recieving advice from him, but I know that it's possible every day of our lives. And I know that letting God take the wheel (metaphorically speaking) means we'll be able to make better choices that we'd make without him.

Love you all to bits and pieces!
Hermana Romero

10-13-14 Definitely the best baptism - Melissa

Dear family!

This week, Melissa got baptized! Thanks to the mercies of God, everything turned out well. She had planned her baptism for 11 in the morning, and despite our best efforts to invite ward members and investigators, no one, and I mean, NO ONE could come! Only her neighbor who was going to baptize her, the neighbor's girlfriend, and Melissa's two brothers.

Melissa and her two brothers, with neighbor [white clothes] & Elder
We were praying so hard that people could come and support her and help her feel welcome, because four people is a pretty sad baptismal service.

Through several small miracles (another ward had young women activities in the morning and stayed for the baptism, some other missionaries showed up, the youth of our ward were in a seminary activity and their teacher gave them permission to stay for a few minutes), we were able to fill up all the chairs and fill up a little memory book with testimonies and congratulations from those present. It was definitely the best baptism I've attended in my time in this ward. I love that God answers prayers (even if it's not the way we expect).

On another note, I think the thing I love most about being a missionary is helping people understand the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I was thinking about this yesterday in Sacrament meeting...my favorite hymn says "In the quiet heart is hidden sorrows that the eye can't see". I think we all have wounds or sorrows or worries in our hearts that we probably don't tell anyone about. I have seen people who have suffered a LOT in their lives, and I have seen that the love of Jesus Christ heals their souls. In spite of all the things that frustrate me, I know it's worth it when I see other people change their lives for the better. I know that I still have a long way to go personally, but I'm grateful that I've had this chance to learn how much I can depend on God. Matthew 11:28-30. Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek andlowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Until next week, I love you tons, and I'm always hoping/praying the best for you!
Hermana Romero

Monday, October 6, 2014

10-6-14 Where will you be ...?

Dear family!

What an edifying week. We had the chance to attend General Conference and listen to the prophets and apostles of God. Every conference, there are themes that stand out to me. Something I heard testified over and over was that there IS an absolute truth in the world, and that the best way to discover this truth is asking it of God.

I also loved a talk, given in portuguese, about how essential it is that we have a vision of the future consequences of our actions. I have been carefully pondering future decisions I will have to make (regarding career, family, etc.), and it is of great comfort to me that these questions I have are important to God and that He is willing to guide me. What a great blessing, having the most powerful and wise being in the universe willing to listen to our trials, pleas, and requests! He answers us and He will do it in his own time.

The work continues along. We're always working to change small things in the way we teach, in the way we find (especially that we're focusing on and praying to find the prepared people), and the way we work with the members. At some points in my mission, I've become complacent with what I'm doing, or started to think "This is too hard" or "I don't know what more I can do."

But as I have changed this attitude to one of faith, that I can do things differently and better, I've felt specific guidance (through the words of church talks, conference talks, impressions, and scripture study) about what I can change. And with these changes and new ideas have started to come so many miracles. People that come to church or commit to baptism in the first lesson. People that want to find the truth. Members giving us references of their friends and family. It's always work, but it's filled with faith and hope now.

In the end of this letter, I'd like to share a question of introspection that was posed in Conference, that has been really making me think. Where will you be in 20 years if you continue in the course you are currently on? In 50 years? In the eternities? What small changes do you need to make? We aren't here to stay the same. We're here to change and to grow, and if we don't do it ourselves, God will help us (usually by putting trials in our lives).

Have a great week! I love you tons. Your daughter/sister/friend,
Hermana Romero

Sunday, October 5, 2014

9-29-14 Jefferson's Baptism

Dearest family and friends!

It's been another excellent week. We have a couple themes of the mission: looking for people that are prepared and willing to make changes in their lives, and testifying of the temple and how families can be together forever. We've recently started sharing Matthew 16:19 with people in the first lesson (where we teach about the church of Christ in the time of Christ and how it's been restored), and testifying that this is the power to seal families together that has been restored.

We had a super awesome experience with a new investigator just yesterday, where he said that he really wanted to be with his family forever, and we told him he could, through the priesthood power. One of the greatest promises we can make to people. That, and the forgiveness of their sins and mistakes. The Gospel doesn't take away our problems, but it gives us strength during them.

I feel a great happiness in the service of the Lord. We were blessed to see the baptism of Jefferson this week (son of a less active sister that, at the request of the bishop, we've been teaching)

and to visit the temple.

I have had so many experiences with personal revelation this week, looking for answers to personal questions and challenges of my area. I wish I could share all of them with you - How I got my answer, how I felt that God was conscious of every single one of my concerns and challenges! But suffice it to say that I know that God has been listening and answering my prayers. I know that he has given us the gift of the Holy Ghost to guide us in the right path.

Have an awesome week! muchismo love,
Hermana Romero

So this little 9 year old just got baptized in our ward, and he and his little cousin and little sister want to be missionaries. Awww. Just wanted to send y'all the cutest photo ever to brighten up your week. :)

9-22-14 Still in Roosevelt! ...with my new companion!

Dear Famsauce!

What a wonderful week as always. I feel like the Lord is helping me change in so many ways that I need to change. I feel happier and more satisfied with my work...and I had a great birthday, thanks to you guys (LOVED the birthday package! I've been repassing the notes from everyone and the photos this whole week), my wonderful new companion Hermana Fuentes, and the wonderful members.

Rundown of the birthday day: we had a missionary meeting, and everyone sang to me afterward. The zone leaders gave me Books of Mormon

and the other elders in my district gave me a machete...

haha just kidding, they only pretended to.

Then we taught a 9 year old boy who is getting baptized next week (his family is less active, and have started coming to church again, and their son is Soo excited to get baptized. He wants to be a missionary and bless the people. Awww so cute!), and his family gave me a cake.

Awww. Hermana Fuentes gave me earrings. Awww. And in the evening, we ordered pizza delivery, my treat. Such a great day!

Pizza and new earrings  - how much better can a birthday get!
Other great news of the week...I got sick and my feet started swelling up. No wait, that's not the good news. The good news is I got a priesthood blessing. I started to feel frustrated because it wasn't working right away, but I realized I needed to have faith in order to be healed. So I said a silent prayer that if it was the Lord's will that I keep walking, that I would accept his will and keep walking, but that if he wanted me to rest, I would go home and rest. Since my companion is new and doesn't know the area, I decided to try to do what I can...and after about an hour of my feet hurting real bad, suddenly the pain went away!

In spite of the pain in my feet, I was grateful to know that Heavenly Father had listened to my prayers and to KNOW for the first time in my life that the Lord really has restored his priesthood power...the same power Jesus had to work miracles. I love to testify of the Restored Gospel and to help people make changes in their lives that allow them to feel the love of God in their lives. There is nothing else I'd rather be doing right now. I hope you all have the chance to feel that your Heavenly Father is pleased with what you're doing.

Hermana Romero

PS If you can please include Brenda's (investigator) daughter Ashley in your prayers. She's been in the hospital for about five days and we haven't heard what's wrong with her and she's only two years old. Thank you for all your love and support. I can feel it from here.