Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 42- Ask God Not Google


So this has been the theme for the past few weeks.... why can people spend 5 hours a day searching Mormon "info" on the internet, but say they have no time to read the Book of  Mormon.... I feel like a broken robot...."ask the real source, don’t just google it."  over and over again.  We hadn’t heard from one of our pretty solid investigators in about two weeks... he wouldn’t return any of our calls and was never home when we stopped by.  Finally he called us last night... "So I've been thinking... I don’t really want to grow horns when I get baptized...."  umm.  Cool.  Me neither.  But apparently Google explained to him that Mormons have horns, and he doesn’t like that idea.  I kid you not, he was dead serious.  How embarrassing for me- apparently I need to do a better job at hiding my horns... people are starting to notice them!  Maybe I should buy a better Bump-it or start wearing more hats. haha   But he explained it so well to us... the reason so many girls from Utah have teased hair, is so they can hide the little horns on their heads.  Thanks google.  Anywayssss.  People just need to ask God.  So simple.  

So we made the greatest friend this week.  Her name is Anne and she reminds me of Mrs. Doubtfire.... not in a weird, I'm a man dressed up as a woman sort of way, but in a "I sit in a chair and talk to people and make them really happy" sort of way.  She is so great.  She is an inactive member of the church and Brother Repka called her last week.  (SIDENOTE:  I just love Brother Repka.  He is the sweetest gentleman in the ward.  He called us on Friday asking us if we'd be home that afternoon... and we love him so of course we made sure we'd be home, and guess what?  He brought us a 7 foot, lit-up Christmas tree!!!!  He was so worried we wouldn't have a tree for the holidays, so he went out and got all the missionaries in our ward Christmas trees!  He is so so sweet.  I'm just overwhelmed by people's love and kindness to us.  And yes, we put it up that night... we just had to because this is the last week of the transfer and we are both scared that one of us is leaving... and neither of us want to-especially with Christmas coming!  President can't take us away from our Buffalo family right during the holidays!  But Hna TV and I have been together for three transfers now, and the likelihood of us being together again is extremely slim... so on that note, send mail to the mission office this week (Kreag Rd, and not Raintree)  Anyways, we just had to put up the tree in case if one of us leaves.  And now I’m even more obsessed with our tiny apartment.  I love Christmas.  

Anyways, back to Anne/Mrs. Doubtfire.  She is so classy and dignified and I am inspired to be the kind of lady who scrubs the toilets wearing pearls when I'm with her.  (not really sure why-she hates pearls... who hates pearls?  anyways.)  She is also slightly intimidating though... I feel the need to use really big words around her and raise my pinky when I take a drink.  But I still love her.  She has 8000 PhD's and Masters and she quadruple majored.... is that even possible?  Apparently.  Oh, and she’s German.  What’s not to love?  Anyways, Bro Repka called her and she has just been waiting for somebody from the church to call her for two years! Thank goodness Bro R is following the spirit and gave her a ring!  We need to rescue our bros and sisters!!!!!

So Thanksgiving is this week--obviously we all have a million things to be grateful for!  I told you we had four diners to attend, yes?  Well we had everything perfectly timed and lined up.... we were extremely proud of our scheduling skills.  (especially cause all the people we are spending the day with get offended really easily... so none of them can find out that we are seeing others). HOWEVER, yesterday one of them moved up the time of their dinner by two hours.  Threw a huge curve-ball at us.  So now we're trying to fix it all again. Oh man, the stresses of missionary work haha...No wonder elders come home with receding hairlines.  .. trying to figure out times to eat... such a tough life haha 

But really, I am just so overwhelmed with love and gratitude this season.  I remember last Thanksgiving thinking about where in the world I would be spending my day this year.  And now New York has such a special place in my heart.  I couldn't be full of more gratitude.  Well, I probs could... but I feel pretty full at the moment. haha

We're teaching these AMAZING sisters right now from Ecuador!  They moved to the city (NYC) when they were young though, so they don’t like to speak Spanish... however... their dog only speaks Spanish (not like he barks with a Spanish accent... he only understands Spanish commands) so we can talk to the dog and then transition into talking to them in Spanish... weird?  yes.  and am I making sense talking in Spanish?  probably not.  But I gotta learn some how, yes?  But they are so great.  I love them so much.  They are students at UB and are SO excited to keep learning!  They're Baptism is set for end of December!  

Have a WONDERFUL week!  Happy Thanksgiving!  I love you all so much!  Good luck Daddy with all of your crazy trials!  ANDDDDDDD...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MY BUTTFECT!!!!!!!!!!!  oh P.S., at church yesterday I was writing in my planner, and our awesome Asian friends/investigators saw and she was really confused "cumpleanos de Buttfect??"  so I explained and she got SO excited that we have nicknames, that she wants to celebrate your birthday!  So we're going over for lunch on Wednesday for an authentic Chinese birthday meal!  But she's not sure if we should have cake, or soggy rice for dessert... cause naturally her favorite Birthday treat is soggy rice. We gave her cake for her birthday for the first time a couple months ago and she wasn’t the biggest fan... so I’ll be celebrating your birthday with soggy rice!!  Yummmm!  oh and thanks for the CD!  Love it!!

okay bye!!!!!!

Scripture: Moroni 10: 32  "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness...". He is the way, the truth and the light! I am so thankful for the perfect example that Christ has set before us.

pics:  Thanks for the warms socks, Sam!  

More of our walking tour through Buffalo!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Week 41

Hola familia!

Possibly this was the greatest weekend ever. Why? We had stake conference. Normally, I'm pretty indifferent towards it, but the two meetings we had this weekend were no joke, the best, powerful meetings I've ever attended. SO GOOD. It was a constant high of spiritual slaps in the face and just so much good stuff. Wow. I'm excited just typing this. So the Buffalo stake Saturday night adult session isn't the most popular thing... the highest number of people to ever attend was 330... and that was super good for them.. Well this time, the Stake Presidency set a goal to have 600 people attend. It seemed crazy, but they had faith. We've been telling everybody about it and inviting everyone to come, and President Pace promised our stake, "if you have the faith to attend the meeting, Heavenly Father will bless our stake."  Well, drum roll please, there was EXACTLY 600 people who attended. Huge Miracle. It was the most inspiring, spiritual, powerful conference, ever. They asked everyone to study Ether ch 2-3 before hand and how we need to act in faith (especially for missionary work.... okay, pause right here real fast to give a special shout-out to MYSELF! (cocky? yes. don’t care.) I am serving a mission at the coolest time ever. Go me. Everyone go share the gospel. ) Anyways, we got there and they gave us all our own stone (like the bro of Jared) and we talked all about faith and actually acting and it was so good.  
Then during it, President Pace asks who is serving in Tonawanda and to "come find him after the meeting..." ooohhh. This was exciting. And he told us the greatest thing ever. That Tonawanda will someday be a branch and then a ward and we can come back and visit it in our life. Ummm. There is one couple who lives in our area. One. and its going to be its own branch in the future. The work is definitely hastening. And we have our work cut out for us! What I took out from that, is there is definitely people prepared to hear the Gospel, here. We just have to find them! He told us we are the Pioneers for the area (because there has never really been missionaries here before) and our work is paying off... even if we aren’t seeing any of the fruits, and that we probably wont see any of the fruits, but he thanked us and told us he knows we are making such a huge difference! Aww! Thanks President! Means so much!  

So I attended a Russian Orthodox service this week! (yes, we had permission). Our investigator is struggling between the Mormon church and the Russian Orthodox... so we went to the Wednesday night Akathrist (or something.. I forget its name now.. not important haha) Anyways, we attend and we get forewarned that we cant show our hair.... okay, that’s cool... we'll make really cool burkas out of our scarves.  So we show up, so proud of our creations, and Michael says, "You look like you're trying to be Muslim." And yes, I took that as a compliment because I have been feeling extremely white lately. Anyways, we wore our cool burkas despite the fact that everyone probably thought we were really strange, and it was really interesting. Then after the service, we had a Mormon lesson, and it was SO GOOD. for all of you ex-missionaries... it was like in the District when the elders are teaching Jynx... and she drops them but then realizes the Book of Mormon is the evidence and she wont get an answer until she reads... anyone know what I’m referring to? Anyways, it was so good because he finally realized that the second he stopped reading from the book of Mormon is when he stopped receiving answers to his prayers and seeing miracles in his life. I love watching people realize how much the Gospel and Book of Mormon bless their lives!

So I had the most lovely epiphany this week. So it was just one of those days... everything that could go wrong, went wrong. and not gonna lie, we were feeling pretty sad--to the point where we popped out our hidden stash of chocolate in the cupboard. But about 4 pm, we decided "we're stupid." (stupid if we are sad, cause there is still so much good and other miracles... even if the entire city of Buffalo didn’t want to talk to us.) We were having our final lesson with one of our dear, dear friends Ron. Everything about him is a miracle. (Well, everything except the fact that he just dumped us... we'll look beyond that haha). The way we contacted him a few months ago, and just how everything worked out. When we met him, all day he was just in need of a smile, and then us three came up to him and started talking to him and the ONLY reason he was willing to talk to some Mormons that just came up to him was A) we were smiling and happy, and B) his ex-wife's parents were Mormons and they were the best people he knew. He had absolutely no interest in the church back then when they were alive, but their examples to him were MONUMENTAL. Just by the way they lived their lives, they were the greatest missionaries in the world and completely impacted Ron's life. He never told them this, but even though they are both passed away now, they forever changed his life and planted those seeds so he would be ready to talk and open up when three sister missionaries walked down his street. Anyways, so so sad, but he called us this particular day and said he needs to do thinking on his own for a while--not completely dumping us, but taking a break. We managed to see him one last time and Sister Wills came with us and we were talking about how challenges and difficulties make us stronger. (super good message for us for the day as well haha) and I got this epiphany that I mentioned before I went on this huge tangent... So when I think of challenges, I usually think how they help us--that from the hard times we grow and gain experiences and it makes us stronger for the future. Our roots are planted more deeply and we become more capable to take on challenges in the future. But I was thinking, that's not all! It is also a kick in the butt to Satan (you know how bad I want to kick him haha) Satan is mad at God--what's the way to really hurt a person? Go for their children... No I have never had my own children, haha, but I think it's a pretty obvious concept that loving parents don't want their children to get hurt, fall astray, etc. We can handle when people do bad things to us, but it's a whole different game when people go after our kids... So Satan, being the smart cookie he is, has figured this out... Go after God's children= stab in God's heart. So he has set out his dream team to attack us, He knows what hurts us, upsets us, our inadequacies, etc. BUT we can fight back. We have our own starting lineup as well. And I think one of our best plays of defense is thanking God. Thanking Him for the good, the bad, and the ugly. As we thank God for our hard times, we are growing closer to Him and not letting Satan win. His whole motive and intention is to turn us away from our loving Heavenly Father, but as we grow closer to our Savior as Satan is doing his thing, it not only helps us, but it makes Satan back off... why keep throwing crap at us if it just backfires at him and strengthens our relationship with our Father in Heaven? stupid on his part, if you ask me. Moral of the story--we need to be grateful for EVERYTHING! keep that in mind with thanksgiving coming! 

I don’t know if that made any sense and I don’t feel like going back to re-read it, so hopefully it worked out haha

Thanksgiving coming up... we are currently having 4 dinners. I think I should fast the whole week before.  But at least ppl here are having Thanksgiving.... the day after Halloween everybody started celebrating Christmas. No joke! Everyone already has up their trees, lights, and Christmas music is everywhere! And oddly enough, I’m not complaining. haha

Love you! Glad you're doing good!  

Love, Hna D

Last p-day we did a walking tour of Buffalo...5 miles in the pouring rain. woo. that was a fun one. But I found a statue of a buffalo! So that makes it worth it, yes? haha (also, I promise we aren't as huge as we look...we wear coats under our coats and I'm wearing 2 pairs of leggings under my jeans haha).
And our cool new missionary attire...

Monday, November 11, 2013

Week 40- Half way done!

Happy Hump day to me (aka I'm half way done... CRAZY!)  Okay remember last week when I told you this was going to be the BEST week ever!  well it was.  Not only because we received the Golden Plates at zone conference (again), not only cause I got the best cookies ever from Sherri, not only because I ate seafood lasagna that wasnt fully cooked and didn't die (ps, that was straight up the worst thing I've ever eaten... chunks of crab and shrimp and who knows what else... eww. I felt like I had little shrimpies swimming inside of me for a few days)  Not only, cause I memorized my B flat scale on the flute (oh ps, I want to learn how to play the flute... we used to practice on Hna Norr's, but she took it with her when she went to Argentina.  rude.  jk.  but somebody brought a flute to zone conference and I got to see if I remembered my scale... I did!!!!), not only because we got a year supply of Bugels (the weird chips that Grandma Armstrong loves) because there was a truck that tipped over (no worries, nobody is hurt) and so our investigator gave us trilliions of Bugels...   It was a good week

and SO MANY MIRACLES!!!!!!!  Number one... "Afro-Joe"  our legit new investigator... ridiculously long story, but we had the strongest feelings like we needed to go to this random part of our area... our appointment had bailed, but we still wanted to go... which was completely illogical because it's a lot of miles, and as always, miles are quite the hot commodity.  But we went regardless and went to this evil womans house but then she said "try my neighbor" in the most mocking tone I've ever hear... well we decided that was a good referal.. so we tried her neighbor's... which was completely dark and sketchy looking (so we totally wouldn't have tried it if she hadn't said anything)  but then we met Joe who is so excited to learn more!  His grandma was taking the lessons a couple years ago but then she died and he lost contact with the missionaries... and then we knocked on his door and it was an answer to his prayers!  He is so awesome!  We've been working so hard to be following the spirit rather than just knock on every persons door... and its working!!!   Holy ghost = the best third companion ever!  say hello to the dynamic duo- except there are three of us, so I take it back... we're like the avengers/three musketeers/harry hermione and ron.. best team ever. 

Another miracle... this awesome lady I met at the doctors office... she's from Panama City and speaks Spanish!!!!!!!!!   aahhhh.   well the creepy part is that I was really bad and when she was turned around coughing, I read all of her medical papers so I could get her information. Maybe I shouldnt be sharing my illegal activities with you all... but anyways, it turns out that she is the wife of this inactive man that we've been trying to find/meet since we got to Tonawanda!!! So we went to their house... yes kinda stalkerish because she didn't give me the address... we just showed up... but she didn't ask how we found it. Thank goodness... and now we're going back to teach more!  woohoo!!

Exciting story for the week... Hna Carrero.. always a good story after leaving her house. This one is the best.  I told you she has birds, yes (the old Puerto rican lady that we help who is scary, but an angel).  Well the bird escaped when we were cleaning the cages... She was in the bathroom when he got loose, so we frantically were running ALL over the house searching for the stupid bird (gosh, I really hate birds).  throwing coats and getting nets and everything you can imagine.  Pretty funny picture I just gave you.  Well Hna C finishes us and we still haven't found the little rascal, so I start trying to distract her while Hna TV is in the other room trying to catch it still...  well no luck, we couldn't find it... about an hour goes by and all of a sudden hna C yells "A BIRD JUST HIT ME IN THE HEAD!!!!!"  oh crap... she frantically starts to panick cause she just loves her birds... this isnt very funny probably, but I swear it was the funniest thing ever. Okay I'm done cause it didn't sound very cool.  

Okay love you all!  You are the best!!! 

 Hna Davis

Scripture: John 14:18  “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
I love the Savior so much; He will not leave us alone, He will never forsake us. The only times we feel alone are the times that we forsake him. Remember Him and He will be there... ALWAYS. Walk with him and he will guide us, Love Him and we'll receive love in return. Jesus Christ is on of my best friends; I know that no matter what, I can always count on Him. He lives. He loves, and He gives all that He has freely. 

Cause all sister missionaries have to take this picture... happy hump day!

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 39- LaNoche de Brujas, Chalk Art Palooza, Muchos Milagros

Hola familia and everybody else!

This week was the BEST.  Why, you ask?  Cause we decided it would be (I mean it can’t compare to the week we are about to have, because we've declared this one even better... but that's beside the point).  It started out kinda rough... aka more people dropped us, and then the new ward mission plan- SUPER cool... getting the ward involved, yeah , yeah, yeah... However-slight problem.... we can only work with the members in our area.  We kindly reminded them in the meeting that we have no members that live in our area.  They smiled, told us to pray, and moved on to the next point... awkward... So basically this means we need to get moving so there can be members up here so we can do the cool ward plan!  Go team!  

Halloween!  Lots of fun!  Our ward had a party on Wednesday night, and we got to pass out the candy for all the little kids trick or treating!  Then on Thursday night we weren’t allowed to actually be out unless we had a super solid appointment lined up.  Luckily we did and had our second Halloween party!  Passed out candy at the door, talked about Jesus, and got to do tongue twisters with the Asians learning English!  Sounds like a party to me!  This was Andrea's (the sweet Asian getting her doctorate at UB) first Halloween. It was so much fun with her.  She is hilarious and doing tongue twisters is the only way we can feel better about ourselves cause she is so so smart and the English tongue twisters are pretty much the only thing in the world that she can’t do haha.  But then we try her Chinese ones and feel dumb again... "shoo shee shoo shui shee shii shie shoo shou shouusheep dkjfha;s hfsdak;f;h;"  Its real nice.

So last Friday: CHALK ART... Downtown Buffalo on the main train tracks.  Free hot chocolate. Thousands of new investigators.  We were so excited cause it was going to be the greatest activity EVER.  Unfortunately, NOTHING was working out... everything that could go wrong, did go wrong (at first).  We were supposed to have the biggest rainstorm, everybody was bailing, pretty much the entire state of NY was telling us we needed to change the date. BUT, we knew we needed to go on Friday.

Friday morning. Very windy. Gloomy. The forecast was 65 mph winds.  No, that’s not a typo.  We legitimately stared at Ether 12:6 all morning.

"I would show unto the world that Faith is things which are hoped for and not seen; wherefore dispute not because ye see not, for ye receive no witness until after the trial of your Faith." 

Then we thought of the scripture in Alma 26:27 

"Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold, the Lord comforted us, and said: Go amongst thy brethren the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success."

Dude, we needed success.  And the success and miracles came.  We went to downtown... barely able to walk because of the insane wind tipping us over.  All of the problems were solved by lots of guardian angels... somebody on the street just randomly gave us the chalk (because the original had gotten stolen), the hot cocoa ppl bailed, but then other elders just decided to bring some anyways without knowing the others had bailed... and then right when we went out to decorate the streets of downtown, the wind died down.... went to 40n mph!!!!  woohooo!  

We talked to so many great people and got lots of people interested about the church and God's plan for them!  And one of the GREATEST miracles... Downtown is FULL of Spanish speakers!  So I got to do so many street contacts in Spanish!  Woohoo!!  Only took half of my mission to find somebody to teach in Spanish!  Unfortunately, none of the Spanish speakers we talked to live in our area (story of our lives... we find a solid three investigators for different companionship's in our district each week) but that’s okay, I still got to use Spanish!  SO SO happy!!!!

Haha.. I laughed really hard at your emails this week... Harrison getting punched in the polo game and breaking his nose and Nicole being famous, and I can’t think of the other stuff at the moment.. But you gave me a good laugh.  Good work.   

MOM- my district loves you.  "THANK YOU SO SO MUCH for the Halloween goodies!"  Love, my district.  Seriously.  They praise you a lot.  (rightfully so, you are the best).  But thank you so much!  You have a big Buffalo fan club!

So this week I was reading the Alma war chapters... I don't know if I'm just weird, but I really like them!  And I learned so much!  (I feel like I usually like them because they are entertaining, but I found some good doctrinal principles this time!) What stood out the most: We get to choose how we respond to things!  This brings up one of the most powerful lessons of all the war chapters. While we may not choose what happens to us, we can certainly choose how to respond. "But behold, because of the exceedingly great length of the war between the Nephites and the Lamanites many had become hardened, because of the exceedingly great length of the war; and many were softened because of their afflictions, insomuch that they did humble themselves before God, even in the depth of humility" (Alma 62:41).  They sound tired and worn out and kinda sick of fighting, if you ask me.  But there are the two groups of ppl-- the first "who became hardened" and the second, who "were softened."  I choose to be softened.  We face different things all day, everyday... and a lot of times it's hard.  So get over it and choose to respond positively!  These poor Nephites/Lamanites were fighting for almost 20 years.  Sheesh!  That's a long time to have a trial.  But they got over it.  We can too!  Choose God and we always win!  

I love you all!!!!!  Have a wonderful week!  We're going to Target today... we just found out there is a Target in our area... HOW DID WE NOT KNOW THIS BEFORE? I haven’t been there once on my mission..  I’m just a little bit excited... we're gearing up on our winter attire.  and a snow scraper for our car... we've had one on the list to buy every week for the past month, but we always forget... its been real awkward using our Bibles  to clean our cars in the morning.  



Chalk Art

 Fall Festival with the Ward

My happy district with your treats... I actually am in the picture... we set up a timer and apparently I stood outside of the view on the left hand side haha.  And then was too lazy to retake it.. 

 So did I ever tell you I have a really messed up bed... it has A LOT of issues, to say the least.  About once a week, in the middle of the night, it just falls apart.  Literally.  It happened again last night around three in the morning.  So we figured it would be a good time to document it.  We found some rope and got real boy-scoutish and we hope we solved the problem!