S: Hermana Lauren Sears * Returned with Honor * Feb 2013-Aug 2014
BC: And moreover, I would desire that ye should consider on the blessed and happy state of those that keep the commandments of God. For behold, they are blessed in all things, both temporal and spiritual; and if they hold out faithful to the end they are received into heaven, that thereby they may dwell with God in a state of never-ending happiness. O remember, remember that these things are true; for the Lord God hath spoken it. Mosiah 2:41 | LA IGLESIA DE JESUCRISTO DE LOS SANTOS DE LOS ULTIMOS DIAS | HERMANA SEARS
FC: Hermana Lauren Sears | California San Bernardino Mission California Rancho Cucamonga Mission Feb 2013 - Aug 2014
2: Opening the mission call at Grandma Sears' house | Your sister missionary outfits | Delicious chocolate by Ron Chappelow | Seeing Imagine Dragons in concert before your mission | "You are hereby called to serve as a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. You are assigned to labor in the California San Bernardino Mission" | Temple prep class | Grandma Sears | Grandma Behra
3: February 15, 2013: Soon-to-be Hermana Sears took out her endowments with family and friends at the Houston, Texas temple. | Tomball Ward Family
4: Being Set Apart as a Missionary
5: Farewell, Hermana Sears! | The MTC drop off! Jillian and James dropped you off at the MTC.
6: February 27, 2013 Hola Mi Familia, Things at the MTC are pretty amazing. This Wednesday 780 new missionaries are coming in. When I came in 5 days ago there were around 600. I have learned so much in the past 5 days. My companions Hermana Hearne and Hermana Ashton are basically pros in Espanol so that really helps. We have taught 3 lessons in spanish to an "Investigator". We are one of the first 6 week spanish classes. They told us that before, the 9 week spanish missionaries taught their first lesson in spanish on the 5th week. We taught our first spanish lesson on the second day! It is incredible. This past lesson we committed her to baptism and it was really exciting because for the first time I spoke in spanish without having what I was going to say memorized. Even though these lessons are not real, they feel real. You can feel the spirit so strong. I love Sundays! They are the best day. The devotional and relief society speakers are fantastic. I love my district, we have really bonded. Hermana Hearne is moving up to the Intermediate class, so it is going to now be just me and Hermana Ashton. I will miss Hermana Hearne but it is nice to see what its going to be really like in a companionship. I bet yall want to know about my sleep schedule hahaha. Well, basically it is not hard at all. I know. Who is this person and what did you do with Lauren Sears. Well I am never tired and I don't even know how that is since we are sitting for about 10 hours each day learning. I am always full of energy (the spirit) :) It helps that mi hermanas run with me everyday too. I love them! I hope everything is going well. Mom, I hope pathway has been going fine! Dad, I miss you! I hope Jameson and Emma are still taking good care of the beast. I am so thankful for Jillian and James' letters. Whenever I receive Dear Elders they make my day. Also, tell Sister Farley, Brother Barnett, and Joe Meservy their letters were incredible. I loved them. Definitely Dear Elder is the way to go. Could you send me Julia's, and Jillian's, address? Also, I forgot to ask you mom to send my retainer. Miss you guys!!! Tell the Lamkins and the Chappelows thank you for everything!!! Love, Hermana Sears 3/5/2013 Mi Familia, Well, I just got back from the temple and did my first initiatory session. The ladies in the temple really are angels. Hermana Ashton treated me to the temple cafeteria food after our session. I love her so much. She is always doing little acts of kindness for me and has inspired me to really be more charitable. We get along really well and have so much fun. We had our first TRC which is when we teach members. It honestly is amazing how the spirit guides these lessons in the little Spanish we know. M. Russell Ballard spoke at the last devotional. I love all the devotionals and meetings here. But, Sunday is by far the best day. Hermana Ashton and I always get excited for Sunday. I am very happy. I feel so much peace in my life. I am starting to really feel what the mission is going to be like and I am excited. Sorry the letter is so short but I have very little time. Love you all!! I will write soon! Hermana Sears 3/12/2013 Family!! Well, I loved the package!! Thank you so much!! I really needed some of that stuff! I have very little time to write and a really huge guy from Fiji is waiting for this computer so I don't want to test his patience, so sorry for the shortness. I am really trying to write everyone back but it is taking a while. I love all the letters so Thank you so much! Some interesting things. Hermana Ashton and I love jogging around the MTC during gym time and while passing the front of the MTC an officer asked us to jog another path. I asked him if someone special was here and he smiled and said Yeah. So, Hermana and I sprinted to an area where we could see what was going on and we saw Elder Holland leaving the MTC. An Elder who stopped with us yelled out I LOVE YOU ELDER HOLLAND and than he ran into a pole. Kinda hilarious. Elder Holland rolled down his window and waved at us! Moral of the story: jog everyday around the MTC and you might see an apostle. Also, Hermana Ashton and I and 2 German sisters auditioned for a group vocal singing "I believe in Christ" Sister Wallin is a music major and transposed the hymn. It sounds amazing. The MTC president's wife was the judge and she told us she definitely was going to use us. She then gave us a lot of advice and told us the history and importance of I believe in Christ. She told us we had a big responsibility to do our best and practice a lot before we perform because Bruce R. McConkie's daughter could be in the audience. She also told me that I need to work on my stage presence in my face haha Mom you would appreciate that. The sisters are helping me at every practice. Everything is going well. The only issue has been my foot. One of my shoes cut my heel and I just fought the pain but then I started to notice my foot began to blow up like a balloon. Luckily enough my newly called coordinating sister is an EMT and wrapped my foot up (Coincidence? I think not). I saw the doctor, have antibiotics and all is well. Time to go to the temple! Oh also, I met Brother Jarmin that knows the Farleys! He is awesome and hilarious!! Also, I met Hermana Methengaller from Helena Montana! She knows the Shaws! That's all I can think of for now. Love you all!!! I will send better Emails i promise :) Hermana Sears | First Few Weeks in the MTC
7: We have to write on the board everywhere we go :) | We have a temple walk on Sundays | March 19, 2013 Dear Mom and Dad, I really apologize for not writing sooner. This E-mail is just for you guys. Everything is going well. Spanish is coming. A little bit slower now but it is coming. You have highs and lows everyday but recently i have been in a slump. I think it might be the medicine I'm taking. I feel sick and tired and depressed. Don't worry, I don't have any desire to come home and i have been working really hard but I feel like I'm nauseas a lot. When I heard about Trevor I was really sad but I know that now he can really progress and go so much further. That takes a lot of courage to face and I can't even imagine. I want to write him a letter. Would that be ok? A lot has happened this past week it is crazy. Oh, so my companion is Hermana Alyssa Ashton. She is from Farmington, Utah. She is 20 and going to Costa Rica. She is really great. She reminds me of Sarah Nicholas at times. She is very innocent haha The other day I said I was T.O.'d and she was like, HERMANA SEARS! I laughed so hard and asked her what she thought that meant. She didn't know. So apparently saying you are "ticked off" is inappropriate. (And I thought I was being good for not saying the other thing) We sang in Relief Society on Sunday(which is all the sister missionaries in the mtc). It was really amazing. Sister Stephens from the General Primary Presidency and her husband gave us hugs and Sister Nally was really proud of us. We did really well and I wish you could have seen it mom. I smiled and performed with my face. Our Elders joke that we are celebrities because still everywhere we go Sisters constantly come up and compliment the performance. We recorded two versus of it to send home. Also, before you perform they announce where you are from and where you are going. Sister Dunn, who is in charge of the music at the mtc grabbed me afterwards and exclaimed that she didn't know I was from Tomball. She told me that she has a cousin who lives near Tomball who is looking into the Church right now. She said she has had feelings that she needed to reach out and she took me as her answer. She asked for your phone number Mom so I gave her your cell and she took a pic of me. I don't know if she has sent it to you yet but if you get a random text and picture of me it is from Sister Dunn. Also, another funny thing that happened because of our performance, while we were walking to the temple a sister stopped me and asked if I was the girl who sang that was going to California. She said she was so excited because I was the first person she has heard of going to San Bernardino. She was the first sister I met going to San Bernardino too! It was fun and we will be traveling together so it was fun to talk to her. Hilariously enough her companion was also going to Costa Rica. Crazy! Funny story about our district. So Elder Ward, has serious tooting issues and our class smells so BAD! The Elders brought in a fan that blows at me and Hermana Ashton. Plus, they put the AC at the lowest possible so Hermana and I are freezing and the fan is so loud. After lunch one day we got to class early and we thought we would steal the fan and hide it back in the utility closet. We took about 10 seconds to decide the we grabbed the fan and we started booking it down the hallway. Right before we reach this closet I take one glance behind and I see Elder Hansen (6ft. 4in tall big guy) stomping down the hall with his fists clenched coming after us with an angry look on his face. Hermana Ashton and I scream and then haul it to the closet and lock ourselves in. Elder Hansen and Elder Satre knock on the door and evilly say "You have to come out some time" "We will be waiting" I was on the floor laughing so hard. I have never been so scared at the MTC. It was so scary but so hilarious. We compromised to put the fan on only during those "Special moments" and put the AC a little warmer. I love our Elders. They are like the little brothers I never had. Sooo immature but hilarious. One day we had picture show and tell day. We all came early to personal study and brought pictures of our families and cats and dogs. It was fun because you know these people so well but you don't even know basic things like first names. We spent lunch guessing each other first names. They love hearing about Hermana Ashton and I's past life stories. When they found out about Elder Long after he left they went crazy. Every time I get a Dear Elder they ask if it is from Elder Long. I don't know if I updated you on the Elder Long situation well he is gone now. It is so much easier and not so distracting. He was only here for 2 weeks. He Emailed me and asked if we could write. I thought you would be happy to hear that mom :) Our lessons to progressing investigators and TRCs are going really well. My Spanish gets better and better every lesson. Everything is well, I just want to get out to the field but I know that I still have so much to learn. I am so jealous of all the people I see packing and leaving. I love the MTC but I wanna go and teach real investigators!! I can't wait! I hope all is well at home! I hope Emma is feeling better! Can you send me Jillian's Email? I want to Email her. I love you and I pray for every single one of you everyday. Hermana Sears
8: The MTC Life
10: Our singing group after our performance | March 26, 2013 Dear Family, This past week has been good. I am glad to hear Sophie can catch! She sounds super cute. We have been busy busy here. Yesterday was Hermano Waddoups last day teaching us because he is going out of town for our last week. He was an amazing teacher. He would inspire all of us every day and was always positive and uplifting. Yesterday also, we taught our last TRC. We taught two return missionaries, Larry and Palmer. They served in Bolivia and as usual taught us so much when we were giving the lesson. we taught about receiving revelation through going to church. Before every TRC I get really nervous. At the beginning of our lesson I got embarrassed because I said something wrong and felt like what I was saying was irrelevant but then I thought about a talk we listened to by Elder Bednar that they show at the MTC about "The Character of Christ" I realized I was turning inwards and only thinking about myself and how I felt. I said a little prayer to help me feel the spirit, forget myself and have faith to not worry about my Spanish The lesson completely changed and the spirit was felt. It always amazes me how the Spirit can work through you if you let it. Going to the field is now slowly becoming a reality. Sometimes here at the MTC you forget that you are actually going on a mission. I got my travel plans and I am leaving the MTC April 2 at 5 am and I should get to California around 9 am. It is exciting. I can't wait to see Haleigh! I am hosting the day she comes in. So, I probably will be her host. I see Elder Brechter every day. It is really fun to see people from our stake. I am excited for the package!! Oh, Mom the shirt you gave me fit very well. I really like it alot. In the free box my Hermana found a pair of expensive shoes I guess no one wanted and they were my size. They fit perfectly and now are my favorite shoes. They look brand new! I am very lucky. Haz lo justo! Love, Hermana Sears | Hermana Ashton and I picked some of the flowers in the courtyard before bed on our last night to press in each others journals. Our MTC flowers! | The best district ever! This was our last night together. | SIGHT AND SOUND. Our faces we make when we are too far from each other. Elder Satre is photobombing. | The last day at tche MTC. The district with our teacher Sister Eyring. | Haleigh and me! | The District | We got our travel plans!
11: April 8, 2013 Mi Familia, This week has been really crazy but really great. I am not sure where to start. I left the MTC on Tuesday and it was really scary and overwhelming at first because I was doing it alone but, once I got to the airport I met up with all the Elder and Sisters going to California. I didn't realize how different all the missionaries must look to regular people. I am now accustomed to constant stares. You are in such a bubble at the mtc and become used to seeing people praying and kneeling in the grass and smiles and hellos from random people. The mtc really is in my opinion, the happiest place on earth. Disney World is a far second. At the airport there were 6 sisters and 4 Elder going to San Bernardino. We flew into the Ontario, Ca airport. On the plane I sat next to a woman who asked a couple of questions regarding the logistics of missionaries. I was so mad at myself because I had a book of mormon in my purse and a pass a long card but i was too afraid to give them to her. I just pray that Heavenly Father will forgive me for my lack of faith and that the woman will have another opportunity to hear more. The flight was full of missionaries and the flight attendant was announcing to turn off all electronic devices than said, "I guess we won't have a problem with that on this flight now will we." All the missionaries laughed and it was really sweet seeing how happy the plane was. Everyone was talking and laughing and having a good time. I could even see the flight attendants just sitting there and smiling watching the missionaries. Just a bunch of happy good people. We arrived in California and met with our branch president. I couldn't believe I was actually in California. The weather has been really beautiful and super windy. President and Sister Godwin are fantastic. The 6 sisters rode in the car with the Godwins. We are driving to San Bernardino and my jaw drops. The mountains are insane. The rancho Cucamonga area is gorgeous. The mountains are huge. I am so glad because I loved the mountains in Provo. I now have new mountains to fall in love with. | Well along the way we were talking about the mission and Sister Godwin asks us who were the Spanish speaking sisters. There were 3 of us. She told us that we are the first Spanish speaking sisters ever, in the San Bernardino mission. We honestly thought she was joking. They tell us we will find out more once we get to the transfer meeting. We arrived at the mission office building (this beautiful church building with the red roof and Hispanic look) and President Godwin says to just enter the chapel and sit in the very front. It was a little scary walking into the chapel full of missionaries staring at you but, there were 8 of us and we walked like proud greenies to the front. President Godwin spoke and they announced who the companionships were and what area. I am in the Hisperria area. Which is the desert. I am in the La Mesa Spanish ward. I have two companions. I have Sister (Now Hermana) Haupt. She is the trainer and up till last week has been English speaking. Our other companion is Hermana Clark from Arkansas. She is fluent in Spanish and arrived to San Bernardino when I did. Hermana Clark and I are the first 19 year olds, and the first Spanish speaking sisters. The first couple of days I was just shell shocked. I constantly wondered if I could really do this. How am I supposed to teach myself Spanish. My trainer who is supposed to know EVERYTHING can't even speak to the people. It is funny because over this past week we have found out that all of us have something to contribute that the other doesn't. Sister Haupt knows how to be a missionary. She knows the logistics and the rules and the what. Hermana Clark knows Spanish and the culture. She had only 12 days at the mtc and struggles with teaching but she is very good at loving the people. I know how to learn Spanish. I know the conjugations and rules and the lessons. So, together we create a very good team. The people here are so sweet and so kind. I love the Hispanic culture. They feed you. Then they feed you again. Then they feed you some more. They have no problem calling us whites. They also have no problem talking about us when they think we can't understand. But, I am trying to get over that. It has been a tender mercy hearing all the events that have happened in San Bernardino before we came. The Bishop of La Mesa is an amazing man. He said the La Mesa ward has not had sisters in 12 years. Him and his wife grabbed us and hugged us when we walked in and called their family down to meet us and were so excited. He gave us 5 referrals of part member families and investigators. We have learned that in the Hispanic culture some of the men have this thing that we call Machissimo or "macho man". The men are very protective of their wives and have a hard time letting the Elders teach their family. The bishop told us
12: that he is excited to have us sisters come because the men might be more willing to listen. They said that they have been asking for more missionaries for years. They said it was at a baptism most of the ward was attending that they got the call they were getting new missionaries. He said the whole ward was hollering and hugging so excited that their prayers were answered that they got new missionaries and when the heard there were 3 of us they were all jumping up and down. Then, he said when they heard we were sisters, everyone was yelling and screaming and they had a fiesta hahaha. Even typing this I get really emotional because I already know this is where the Lord wants me to be. That entire night with Bishop's family was a tender mercy and helped us feel more peace that who the Lord calls, he qualifies. Yesterday we taught Abuela Arajo. We taught the restoration. The spirit was burning inside me when I said the first vision in Spanish. At the mtc we memorized it and recited it so it was exciting to have that work pay off and feel the power of those words. She wants to become baptized!! But, it will be awhile because we can only teach her at her daughters house because where she lives the people are catholic and won't allow us over. We also taught an inactive family yesterday. The families here are so wonderful and I have learned that all the people want is to be loved. We have not been completely rejected yet. Almost everyone has been so kind to us and accept the pass along cards but when we ask to make an appointment they always say they are born catholics. :( But, they refer us to their friends. We have a huge area because its Spanish and some parts are really ghetto. I am everyday learning how blessed I am to grow up in a family that is very obedient to the commandments. Even among my companions I am learning how much of a Molly Mormon I am and I am proud of it. Never back down! OH I met an Elder here on my first day who has been out in the field for a couple weeks. He told me that someone at his farewell talk came up to him and told him to look out for me. He is from Georgia. He couldn't remember who and I couldn't think of anyone. I think he said their grandchildren lived in Georgia. We couldn't figure it out. My P-Days are on Monday. My address is the mission home address. The mission home then forwards the things to our apartment. Thank you for the E-Mails!! I am so excited for you guys! Emma your haircut is super cute and so is your belly! I absolutely love it!! Julia, I love your E-mails and I AM SO EXCITED!!! A boy! So cute!!! I was contemplating how our family will be 2 bigger by the time I get back and I got so excited. Boy or girl, they were gonna be so cute! I tell all the people how excited I am to be a Tia (Aunt). That picture of Tally is so cute. I am glad to see she is back to her fat fluffiness again. Sophie is adorable. My companions make fun of me because every time we see a dog I get so excited. Embarrassing story. Yesterday I asked a woman if I could pet her two really cute german shepherds. She said with a stern look...no. I wasn't sure if I said it right in Spanish but, it was kind of awkward. But after I just laughed and my companions laughed at me. Have you ever had pepina or something like that. It is cucumber lemon drink. They blend or juice cucumbers. Its actually really good. Also, its the thing to eat cow tongue and cow stomach. Apparently its really good. I haven't had it yet but I always try everything they give me. The bishop says I will be a Mexican in no time. I am so glad to hear everything is well. I love you guys more than anything and I can't wait to Skype/talk on Mothers day. Sorry this email is so long. Love, Hermana Sears P.S. There are chubby little chanchos everywhere. Life. Complete. | My very first district. Elder Snyder in the middle is now our zone leader. We are lucky to have him as our district leader. | C A L I F O R N I A | My first day in the mission.
13: Dear Brother and Sister Sears, I wanted to write to you and express our gratitude to you for sharing your daughter, Sister Sears, with us for the next 18 months. She is a fine young woman and we have enjoyed meeting and interacting with her. We met the arriving missionaries at the Ontario airport at 9:40 a.m. on April 2. When Sister Sears, along with 9 Elders and 5 other sisters arrived, they looked amazing in their new clothes, white crisp shirts, new suits and shined shoes. While we were waiting for their luggage, we had a quick visit with each of them. They were excited and just a little uneasy, (maybe more than a little) wondering what was happening next. The assistants to the president (AP's) arrived in a pick-up truck and a van, and with the help of our senior couples and with our car, we were able to fit all 16 missionaries and their luggage in and we were on our way to the Woodruff building for our transfer meeting. You could just feel the excitement in the air. All of the new missionaries were assigned a very capable trainer. After the meeting, President had a trainer and missionary meeting that explained the expectations of the missionaries for the 12 Week Training program. Following the trainer meeting we enjoyed lunch and the missionaries all got acquainted. Following lunch, we went to the mouth of the Cajon pass to Glen Helen Park where we met Sister Marilyn Mills. Sister Mills is an accomplished historian and she explained to the missionaries how the area of San Bernardino had been settled. Briefly, for your information, the first settlement efforts were conducted by Spanish missionaries, and Spanish landowners starting about 1810. During the U.S. Mexican war the Mormon Battalion (the only religiously based battalion in U.S. history) was organized in Iowa in 1847. Jefferson Hunt, a Captain in the Mormon Battalion was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints as were all the members of the battalion. Since many people call Church members Mormons, the Battalion was known as the Mormon Battalion. After a march through what would become the Southwestern part of the U.S. the battalion arrived in San Diego and was eventually stationed in what would become San Bernardino and the surrounding areas. Among its’ many assignments, a portion of the Mormon Battalion was sent to guard the Cajon pass and protect it from possible marauding indians. After the members of the Mormon Battalion were mustered out of their service, they returned to Salt Lake City to join their families. President Young saw that Southern California could be a valuable supply route for the Utah pioneers. So to establish a mail route and a supply stop/route for immigrants coming through California, President Young used church funds to buy property in the desired area from Antonio Maria Lugo, a Mexican rancher who had obtained a 35,000 acre grant after Mexico won independence from Spain. Twenty families were asked by President Young to colonize the area. Fifteen former Battalion men and their families were among the Saints who settled in the area in 1851, including Captain Jefferson Hunt. It was the third stake organized in the church. The story of the settling the area here in San Bernardino was told in a story written by Sister Marilyn Mills for the February, 2003 Ensign, if you are interested in reading more about it. Following Sister Mills presentation, we went back to the mission office for a short orientation meeting. Sister Snyder, the financial secretary for the mission explained how to use their MSF (Missionary Support Fund) cards and explained to them the proper use of the card and what to purchase with them. Elder Houser and Elder Perez, our senior missionary elders explained briefly to them about the church-owned vehicles in the mission and about the gas cards that are associated with each vehicle. Not all missionaries are assigned cars, about 1/3 of the missionaries at any given time, are on bicycles while the remaining 2/3 are in church-owned vehicles. We showed them some entertaining DVD’s made by the church with some serious expectations explained in part on the DVD by some of the 12 apostles. Sister Ball, our mission nurse, also arrived to meet the new missionaries and explained some very basic things each missionary needs to know. (We will do a more detailed meeting on April 16. After some experience in the mission, they will have more questions and be able to more fully understand what will be explained to them. The office staff will be there at that meeting as well to explain how things work in their specific areas of responsibility. After they received their MSF and Missionary Medical cards, the housing coordinator, Elder Snyder, talked to them about some basic expectations in regard to housing and talked about the importance of CO2 detectors. President started interviewing and I spent some time with the missionaries answering questions and explaining our expectations of them as missionaries. We also let them just relax a bit. I showed them around the mission office, which is right there in the building, so they could see where their mail comes and their pictures and areas on the transfer board. That evening we had dinner with them at the church. We laughed and enjoyed one another's company but they were all very tired. The trainers returned at 7:00 and they went to their various areas to sleep. They were asked to return Wednesday morning at 7:00 to have breakfast along with their trainers. President finished interviewing each of them and also talked to them more about some of his expectations of them as missionaries and role played with them some different scenarios. Those not being interviewed, did individual and companion study. After all the interviews were completed we settled in the chapel and had a testimony meeting with the new missionaries and their trainers. It is always inspiring to hear the new missionaries and their trainers bear testimony of the work they are involved in and their testimonies of the Savior and His Atonement. Following testimony meeting we went back into the cultural hall for lunch. About 2:00 we sent them off to their areas to begin, in earnest, their missionary efforts. They were all happy and excited to get to their fields of labor to start their missionary experience of finding and preaching the restored gospel. We are looking forward to working with your missionary in this most wonderful of experiences - preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the people in this area. There is a lot of diversity in this mission. The missionaries will learn a lot about other cultures. We know she will be a fine missionary. She is a wonderful young woman. | Attached are some pictures we took on Tuesday and Wednesday. We knew you would be interested in seeing the pictures of your missionary and her companion. The Lord is indeed “hastening His work” and we are thrilled to be yoked with your missionary at this very exciting and monumental time. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact either one of us. Also, if you do not know, we have a mission blog where I put pictures of the missionaries from time to time. I don't have a lot of time to work on it, but try to update it every week or so. I am sure your missionary will have pictures on there as we associate with them and have pictures sent to us. The address for the mission blog is: http://sanbmnews.blogspot.com. Warmest regards, Sister Godwin & President Godwin
14: April 15, 2013 Family, I am happy to hear you guys are well. This past week was interesting. I have a couple of good knocking doors stories. Hermana Haupt had to go to a trainers meeting all day on Wednesday so Hermana Clark and I were left by ourselves. Two inexperienced greenies. We decided to go tracting for a little bit. We had only gone to a couple houses with Hermana Haupt but we had never done the talking. Hermana Clark and I made a goal of getting 10 contacts. A contact is when you give someone something usually a Mormon.org card and they commit to looking up the website. On the way to the neighborhood we picked out, Hermana Clark and I were singing Army of Helaman and Called to Serve to get ourselves pumped up. I was so nervous. We got about 5 contacts in this neighborhood and for the most part people were nice. No one shut a door in our face just a lot of excuses. It was funny because I would start talking and then they would say they didn't speak English. "Oh no problem sir, we speak Spanish too!" Then they were trapped. We had only gotten 5 contacts when we were on our way to dinner. We went to the street near our dinner appointment and started knocking doors. The first door we knocked no one answered but right as we were leaving the porch this man called after us. We said who we were and then started to get in a good conversation with this man behind his screen door. He then told us to meet us by his garage door. The garage door opened and there was this african american man probably in his late 40's waiting for us. We talked for about 40 minutes about the gospel and what he believed in. Every single thing he said was true and exactly what we believed in. I laughed to myself because I had never met someone so knowledgeable of the bible that believed exactly what we did and so prepared. During our conversation I was constantly praying in my heart that the Holy Ghost would help me say what this man needed to hear. I could feel the spirit so strong and kept wondering if he was feeling it too. He mentioned how every church thinks their church is true. So I said, Ron, I am going to be Frank. We also believe that we are the one true church. The thing is though, I know we are the true church of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ restored His church on the earth again. I can't convince you of this. Only you can find out for yourself. Ron, you know the bible and everything you have talked about is exactly what we believe in. In the Bible it says, by their fruits ye shall know them. The Book of Mormon is that fruit. We then talked a lot more about the promise in the Book of Mormon and the introduction of the Book of Mormon. We gave him a Book of Mormon and he was very accepting. The only bummer was that we won't be able to teach him because he is english speaking so, we told the Elders that would teach that they better take care of him. After Ron, we still had only made 8 contacts and it was time for dinner. After dinner I was ready to go and pick up Sister Haupt but Sister Clark was determined to make our goal of 10. So we went 3 doors down. The door next to our appointment was this really nice hispanic man. He listened to our message and we have an appointment with him today! We left his house with the biggest smiles on our faces. Our first potential investigator. Then the next contact we got is a funny story. We knocked on this door and this big probably 270 lb. bald white man comes to the door half-naked. We awkwardly say Hi and he shyly covered his body with his arms. He then just abruptly invites us in his house. Hermana Clark and I walk in not sure if we are allowed to. We call to him asking if anyone else was home. We hear him in the kitchen yelling, "Brandy!! Brandy!!! Your friends are here!!!" Then this poor woman who had only about enough teeth to count on one hand who I am pretty sure was a little intoxicated comes to see us. She stops and says, "You're not my friends!" When we say who we are she buries her head in her hands and says, "Girls girls I am going back to Church. I am going back to church. I promise." We then left and she yelled after us, "Yall are nice, you'll have lots of followers" Yesterday we had dinner with the Rojas family. They are the nicest family and had such good food! I mentioned how I wanted a California flag and there son after dinner ran to his room and gave his to me. He is going to be working in Houston the next couple of months. So I told him if he was in Tomball to look out for you guys! Sorry this letter is so long. Keep Hermana Haupt in your prayers. She has been struggling a little bit. Everything is well. The mission home accidentally messed up the address to my apartment so if any mail has come it got sent to somewhere else in California. We will fix it. Oh mom, we never sent a comforter to my mission. But I have a red blanket which works. If you have time to ever send me a package. Could you send me my cat calendar and my bling watch. The watch we got at walmart broke yesterday. I guess thats how long a walmart watch lasts when you wear it everyday. You guys are the best. I try not to miss you too much. Love, Hermana Sears April 22, 2013 This week went well. The other day I had my first blatantly rude door approach. The man said he didn't want our "Trash". I knew it shouldn't of but it hurt me and made me fear tracting again. I realized that night that I shouldn't fear any man if I have Faith in my Heavenly Father and in this Gospel. I now tell myself everyday one of our mission quotes, "I fear no man!" I am hoping if I tell myself that enough times it will be unshakingly true in me. We have a new investigator that we found through tracting!!! His name is luciio and even though he has a pretty bad drinking problem we need to work on, he says he feels different when we teach. It is so exciting! The hispanics will listen to us alot but I don't think for the right reasons. The other day we approached these guys and one kept kinda flirting. It was creepy. Especially when he winked *shudder* When he told us that we were angels, we were like OKAY we gotta go. here's a card. k-seeyabye. hahaha the mission is pretty hard. I won't lie. But, our investigators make it worth it. We taught a less active this past week. His name is Gerardo. We are teaching his grandmother who is going to be baptized and while we were teaching her,
15: Gerardo's mom told us she wanted us to talk to him sometime. He actually ended up calling us . He is 21 and ever since he got in a car accident and suffered serious physical injuries, he started to stop believing in God and he told us he was an atheist. When we went to meet with him we weren't really sure why he wanted to see us. To be honest I was intimidated by him. If you saw him anywhere else besides his home you would never think that this guy was LDS. We planned on teaching the Plan of Salvation but the whole lesson became us sharing our experiences and our testimonies of the atonement. Every single one of us had something that has previously happened in our lives that he related to. What me and my companions shared was very personal but, I think it let him know that we aren't perfect and nobody is and when we give ourselves up to Christ, he can help carry us. He started to cry and said he had not felt that way in a long time. That was probably my favorite experience so far. We asked him to commit to try to say a sincere prayer. He said he would. The next day was mutual and he came to just watch and drop off his sister. His sister told us that he is happy now and talks about God and Jesus Christ a lot. We are so excited to meet with him again. I hope he continues on. I love you guys!!! Hermana Sears April 28, 2013 Buenas Dias Everything is going well. Yes, I am in a tri-companionship still. We get along really well. We come from really different backgrounds but, we really respect and understand where each other are coming from and we all contribute different aspects to our lessons. Hermana Haupt is doing really well. She is a fantastic missionary and is an amazing teacher. We had Mormon Helping Hands on Saturday and it was so fun. I love the ward. Its starting to feel like home now. At first I would see people at church and be a little hesitant at saying hi to people I didn't know and then regret it later but now I make it goal to leave no one without a hello. All the women do the whole kiss on the cheek thing which was super weird to me at first but now I find my self doing it haha. I realized that people are as afraid of you as you are of them so I decided I am just gonna forget myself and act as if everyone is my best friend. I love it. The ward now really trusts us. We have gotten a TON of referrals. We went and taught a woman named Yara with her member friend. We taught the Plan of Salvation and she told us that we had answered her prayers. I am excited to return and see her again. Also, on Sunday we had ALL of our investigators and one of our less actives (Gerardo who I talked about last time) come to church!!!! They all came late but whenever one would walk in we would silently cheer with each other. Once the last one walked in we could not believe it! Best Sunday ever! We are teaching this man, Hermano Chiquillo, his wife is a member. He really has a desire to be a better man. He was missing for a couple of weeks and we were told he was in "Mexico" looking for a job. We found out later he was actually in jail for domestic violence. He really is becoming a new person. He asks ALOT of questions and really wants to learn about the truth. We know he has a temper problem but he is open about it and how he wants to change and we have seen him control it. We are going to paint his living room this week. I am excited. The things that these people go through really humble me. They are wonderful people who have been through circumstances that I can't even imagine. Funny Story: At Mormon Helping hands the Bishops Wife, Hermana Alaya, came up to me and told me the craziest thing! Mom, she is in your pathway class. You sent her a message asking her to look out for me. She replied to your message so I don't know if you have seen it yet. She showed me your message and she was so excited about it. What are the odds?! We were laughing and crying together. She said you looked just like me. She is an amazing woman. I love her and her family so much. The Bishop is really amazing. New tracting stories: Met another half-naked man. Of course, again, it was me who was talking. He was pretty cool. We met a wicken. Well we asked her what her religious beliefs were and she said that she was actually a wicken high-preistess..... Well, I guess now I can say I have met a wicken. Anyways things are going really great. I love hearing from yall. Have fun on the cruise! Keep me updated! Love yall! Hermana Sears
16: May 6, 2013 Buenas Tardes, This past week was good. We found 4 new investigators and they were all surprisingly through knocking on doors. On Saturday we really wanted to attend the baptism of an investigator of our district leader that we are good friends with. We all really wanted to go but, deep down we all knew that while attending the baptism itself would be an uplifting experience it would not help us accomplish why we are here as missionaries. So, we stayed home that morning and finished our studies. Later that day we found 2 new really great investigators. We are excited for them. They were the 2nd to last house of the about 30 houses we went to on that street. The Lord really tests your endurance and he rewards you if you stay strong. Also, we realized that if we had attended the baptism we would have not gone tracting but spent that time finishing our studies. It wasn't a day of choosing between right and wrong but choosing between good, better and best. And the Lord wants us to do our best and he will reward us accordingly. I am excited for Mother's day! I am going to our Bishops home and so I will be able to call and get online to do anything you guys want. I can contact anyone in the family :) So that will be around 5 on Sunday. Love, Hermana Sears May 20, 2013 Buenas Tardes mi familia, Things are well in the High Desert. 42 days till the mission splits and becomes the Redlands mission and the Rancho Cucamonga mission. We have a goal of 350 baptisms by the end of this transfer. We need 140 more to make it. The Lord has inspired our leaders with this goal so I know we can do it. This past week and the next week are really being focused on finding and then the last 4 weeks are going to be focused on teaching progressing investigators. So we have been tracting A TON! We have met some very interesting people and have some pretty weird stories but the best story is when we finally found investigators. We were driving and searching for a street to tract when we saw a bunch of hispanics chilling in a garage at a yard sale. It was a bit intimidating but, we went over and they told us they could only talk for a little bit. Well we ended up teaching them the first vision and setting up a return appointment. We have 4 new investigators!! Aurie is one of their names and when she found out I was from Texas she got so excited and just fell in love with me. We got along so well with them and just had fun. One of the men also had a brother he really admired who was mormon and a niece (Not sure how to spell that word but I probably should learn since I might have one soon!!) on a mission. They just kept saying how great and giving mormons are. We told them how excited we are to meet with them again and my companera told them flat out that they are prepared to hear about the gospel. They said, "You think so?" She said, "I know so". (But in espanol) So I am excited about them. Hermano Chiquillo is doing well too. We have a lesson tonight/noche de hogar (family home evening). We are teaching the commandments so keep him in your prayers.:) We really have been so blessed with so many people to teach. I never thought we would find this many people through knocking on doors. The Lamanites are blossoming!! :) haha and to be frank they are a lot more accepting and kind than me gente (my people). Its crunch time and I am psyched for the miracles that I know are going to come on the way to achieving 350 souls. I am trying to remain always focused and becoming more bold and trusting in the gift of tongues. I have so much to learn and so much room to grow and I am starting to pray for the poor greenie next transfer I am training. It will basically be a greenie training a greenie. But again, I try to remember that Whom the Lord calls he qualifies. I love you guys so much! Stay healthy, be safe! Tell EVERYONE about the Gospel! Love, Hermana Sears | My wounds from the "accident" | Eating octopus
17: May 27, 2013 Family!!! I love hearing about Larissa, Rhuvana, Jared, Sarah and Braden! It is so great to hear about everyone about to go through the temple. I love those guys! I was actually thinking about them the other day during personal study when I was reading in Alma. Alma 17:2 I love it so much because Alma and the Sons of Mosiah before were a couple of hooligans at first (heehee) and when Alma sees his brethren again after a long period time he is so excited to see his brethren and what added more to his joy was that they were his brethren in the Lord. When I hear about everyone that has gone through or about to go through the temple it makes me so happy. Our reunion together will be just like Alma and the Sons of Mosiah. When we come home from the different parts of the world the Lord has sent us to, it is going to be exceedingly awesome :) Remember the young man Gerardo? Well we went and saw him yesterday after church because he didn't show up. He told us that he finally tried praying. He said at first the experience was really good and he felt like he had great communication with God but then, his depression and dark thoughts came. He said though that he wan't mad at God but at himself for allowing his depression to stop him. We advised to keep praying and fighting the dark thoughts. We were so grateful that after 2 months he finally tried to pray. Our less actives and our investigators' pain breaks my heart. On the mission you develop this love for these people you hardly know and I know that is only possible because of Jesus Christ. Remember Effrin and his wife and daughter we found through tracting? We hadnt seen them in a long time because of work so we figured that they were becoming less interested so the other day we just decided to drop by. Only Effrin was home and we talked to him. He told us flat out that he has been reading the Book of Mormon and he likes it alot. I had to control my tears because I almost started crying but I didn't want to freak him out haha. The book of mormon is key in everything we do and also it strengthened my testimony that the spirit is really working through me. The last time we saw Effrin, he and his wife kept saying that our church was "el mismo" the same, as everyone else. I started to get anxious and knew I needed to speak up but I had fear because of my spanish and fear because I wasn't 100% on everything they were saying. But, I just spat out "Hermana y Hermano, no estamos el mismo porque tenemos el Libro de Mormon" As I spoke I felt like I was on fire and in my head I thought I was yelling. I just bore my testimony that La Iglesia de JesuCristo de los Santos de los Ultimos Dias es la iglesia de JesuCristo and we can only know that for ourselves if we read the Book of Mormon. They already had one book of mormon but I handed Effrin another one so that he could have one for himself. I am so grateful for Effrin. He is a miracle. Even though people litterally laugh in our face and tell us that we are going to hell we just smile and bear our testimony. I am grateful that I have developed a thick skin and now I just laugh. The best are the ones who slam the door in your face. No time wasted. It cracks me up. The other day someone told us while tracting that being a mormon was too much hard work. I laughed and said, "yeah it is". The mission is hard. It is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. But, there is a video that they show us that is a talk by Jefferey R. Holland to Mission Presidents. It compares missionary work to the Atonement and it is incredible and helps me stay strong. "I am so thoroughly convinced that missionary work is not easy because salvation is NOT a cheap experience." -Jefferey R. Holland Love, Hermana Sears June 3, 2013 Everything is going good. This past week almost everybody canceled on us so we had long days of tracting. I am tanner than ever but still whenever anyone is referring to Guerra (white girl) They say, "they are almost as white as Hermana Sears". My heart almost broke when I heard about Tally. I am glad to hear she is all better now. That poor dog has so many issues but nevertheless I love her so much. Kelsey's wedding looked so beautiful! When you see her tell her I am so happy for her. She is an amazing girl. Also, I am glad to see Rhuvana has a safe and sturdy car :) Honestly this past week has been really tough and I can't at the moment think of anything too interesting. But, I have been very blessed with positivity. I never get down on things. I recognize that there are things I can control and things I can't control. People have free agency. All I can do is be the best missionary I can be and trust the Lord and love the people. I am becoming a Mexican! I love everything spicy now but sadly the effects are a developing acid reflux. We have eaten some interesting things. The other day we ate octopus it tasted like gummies with no sugar. We ate pigs feet. (nasty) And cow tongue tacos. Surprisingly good. Love, Hermana Sears | Pday water activity. I was the first one attacked.!
18: June 10, 2013 We were in Rancho the other day with some other missionaries and we were teaching this man outside his trailer. This woman who was balistic came up to us with this dog asking if we knew who the owner was. Appearently the dog was almost hit by a car and she saved her and was trying to find the owner but she had men working on her house right now and she didn't want to leave her house alone so we offered to take the dog for her. The missionaries we were with just wanted to dump the dog somewhere but I forced them to come with me and just try to ask one or two people if they knew. They were laughing at me because I was genuinely concerned because this dog was breathing really heavy. This is a pic of me giving the dog some water with my hands. We actually found someone who was a resident and a fellow dog-lover and she took the dog and said she would find the owner. We also gave her a mormon.org card haha. On our journey we got 3 contacts and saved a dog! :) | June 10, 2013 All is well here in Hesperria. Two weeks till we find out our fate at next transfer and what mission we will end up in. Really fun pday. We got to go to Scandia which is basically a member owned Mountasia type of place. We got to play put put (I destroyed our zone leaders and learned I am pretty darn good, A talent I think i got from dad) It was a really great Pday and it was nice to relax. We had district meeting and we got to have our last interview with our mission president. I love president Godwin. He basically told me without telling me that I am going to be in the Rancho Cucamonga Mission. I really hope I am. I am still a little nervous to be training but, I know that the Lord will help me. In two weeks we have transfer meeting and everyone in the entire mission has to pack up their stuff and go. No one is being told where they are going before hand. It is really exciting that the whole mission is meeting up at this meeting. Everyone will find out their fate. It is going to be sad saying goodbye to president and sister Godwin. They are amazing. We have 2 baptisms coming up. I really hope they won't fall through. Hermano Chiquillo is planned to be baptized this saturday. We are so excited. And this 16 year old named Arthur is ready to be baptized any day now. We just need to set up a date with his mom. I really love the La Mesa ward. The members are so humble and so kind. We had a neat experience with the Hernandez family. They are converts to the church and the nicest couple. On our first dinner with them about 2 months ago we were talking with Sister Hernandez about being sealed in the temple. She said she wants to but she is a little nervous and she wants her family to come and she is planning on it but has never set a date. We told her that there are always going to be a reasons and excuses to put it off but, there are so many blessings that await them in the temple. We found out yesterday that they got their endowments taken out on Saturday and this next Saturday their family is being sealed. We are so happy for them. I have really grown to love this ward and it is going to be hard to leave them but, I know that wherever I go and whoever I am put with it will all be ok and that I need to learn something from those experiences. I have found out the reason already why Hermana Clark and Hermana Haupt were my companeras. These past 3 months flew by and we have become best friends. We have all learned a lot from each other.
19: June 17, 2013 This past week we had our first baptism! It was wonderful. It was for Agustine Chiquillo. His baptism really was a miracle. And it was only possible through the members of the La Mesa Ward. We are so blessed to have a wonderful Bishop and amazing leaders in the ward that fellowshipped Hermano Chiquillo. One of the members even put wood flooring in his house and my companera y yo painted his living room and kitchen. I like to think that his home is kind of a reflection of hermano chiquillo because they both underwent a transformation. It is a day and night difference. (I never knew how much wood-flooring made a difference until my mission) The transformation of Hermano Chiquillo was only made possible through the gospel. Honestly, I remember thinking on one of our first lesson with him "This is going NO WHERE!!!" and considering when we first met him that he had just gotten out of jail a couple day before and he used to kick the missionaries out of his home, it really is a miracle. I know that the Lord put me and my companions here at the perfect time for Hermano Chiquillo. We never gave up on him as stubborn as that man is. Even when the ward member didn't believe he would ever get baptized. We didn't give up. I realized how important it is to view the people you teach in temple whites. As cheesy as that sounds, without that image, its hard to give it your all or "to thrust in your sickle with all your might". Also, the best thing to see out of Hermano Chiquillo's baptism is the example he is setting for his 2 kids. His son David is turning 8 next year and Hermano Chiquillo is planning on baptizing him. After the baptism though I still felt like something was missing. But after church on Sunday when he received the gift of the Holy Ghost, it all felt complete. I love that man and I love his family so much. We are going to teach the after baptism lessons and also we are offering English classes. I am excited but a little nervous, I haven't ever taught English to people who don't speak it before but we are going to try! Everything is all good. Thank you so much for sending the GPS! I am set on everything I need. I have my camera and its in perfect shape. Just a couple of the pictures I send are from my companera's camera. I am glad you got my card! :) I thought it was very appropriate :) Oh did I tell you about the seventy that came to our ward on Sunday and spoke? He was wonderful and I think the ward really needed him. He spoke Spanish and gave a great testimony and promised the La Mesa ward blessings. His name was Elder Highman. I had just walked out of Ward Council and he was standing outside and he just started talking to me. I was just chatting with him and then he said "Im the seventy". I froze and said "Im Hermana Sears soy de Houston texas" I felt so dumb but he just laughed and we spoke in Spanish together. You can feel the spirit radiate from these men. I felt like I was back at the mtc again. It was amazing. Also, about the Hernandez family that I wrote about last week. They got sealed on the day of Hermano Chiquillo's baptism. All the ward went from the temple, to the baptism to the party for the Hernandez family. Hispanic get-togethers are SO fun. I think its because Hispanics are in general really humble people and just really love to love and to dance. Everyone is dancing and hugging and yelling and its so fun. Well, I love you guys a lot. When I get home we are going to go salsa dancing and put chili & tajin on all of our fruits :) Love, Hermana Sears | Hermano Chiquillo and his family with the bishop on the right :) | The last picture in front of the Cali-SanB sign. They just took it down :(
20: June 24, 2013 Family! I am glad to hear everything is well. We got 2 new investigators this week. They are form Puerto Rico. This week has been packed with MRR lessons with the members. We have been going around and sharing the 1999 talk by President Hinkley that was quoted many times during the Sunday broadcast. The broadcast was amazing! I loved it so much. Seeing all the new mission presidents and the thousands of missionaries was so awesome! It just gives me the chills and got me more excited about missionary work. I love being mormon. The church is completely true and Jesus Christ is the head of it. I just get so excited talking about it! Transfer meeting is tomorrow and I feel as though I am staying in the Rancho mission but I am not 100% yet. I will let you know :) Love, Hermana Sears | The awesome sisters in our zone! | The Hernandez's party after they got sealed :) | Our last zone conference and Elder Pettegrew giving a demonstration of surrounding our investigators with members. | My 2nd zone! Hesperia :) | My 1st zone! The Hesperria Zone!!
21: July 1, 2013 Familia, (Warning: This E-mail is super long. Disculpame.) This past week has been probably one of the worst but, I have learned a lot. Tuesday, which was transfer meeting was crazy. Hermana Clark was really ill and was having seizures during the night. I feel terrible because she was doing strange things like taking my pillow and hitting me but, she wasn't making any noises (that was what she told me was a sign of her having a seizure) so I didn't pay attention to it. But, then she got up and started to shake. Hermana Haupt and I from 5am made her check her blood sugar and take insulin because she couldn't at the time form sentences. Our wonderful ZL's came over and gave her a blessing and afterwards she felt better. She still had a hard time getting up so from her chair, I blow dried and straightened her hair and helped her get ready for transfer meeting which was about 45min away down the hill. Our AP's called and told Sister Haupt that she could just get a ride down the hill and leave us because we were staying (so we knew our "fate") But Hermana Clark knew that I really wanted to go and so did she because it would be the last time we would see half of our friends in the mission (because the mission was splitting) and president and sister Godwin. So she gathered up all her strength and we made it down the hill and made it just right before transfer meeting started at 10:15. The meeting was so fun. The chapel was full of about 200 missionaries and as they called out what zone you were entering you found out if you were going to the Redlands mission or the Rancho Cucamongo mission. President Godwin gave some last advice and then we sang The EFY medley. Its funny because that song has always meant so much to me because of the years I spent at EFY but it has much more meaning now. The part in the Army of Helaman that says,"and we will be the Lord's missionaries" was changed to "and we are now the Lord's missionaries" (That is the first song you sing at the mtc too) After my mission I am going to miss singing it that way. I love being surrounded by missionaries who are all singing with booming voices. It is always so powerful. After the meeting we took a big mission picture with prez and then said our goodbyes. I was crying so hard every time I shook presidents hand. Also, we said goodbye to our friends in our zone who were going to the Redlands mission. Out on the mission all you have is fellow missionaries and the Lord. You become a big giant family of different people with the same purpose. I never thought I would make such good friends. After the meeting it was a wake-up call to Hermana Clark and I that we needed to step up our game. I won't lie, this week was pretty terrible. We actually had quite a few miracles but relationship wise with my companion it has been a challenge. I am not one to express my feelings and if I am ever quiet or feeling sad I constantly hear in a non-comforting tone "What are you thinking about?" "Were you crying?" "Why were you crying?" I missed my trainer who was a listener and a comforter and one of the most unselfish people I have ever met. I quickly learned though that I can't change my companion but, I can change myself and how I react. I decided to be like my old trainer and just be happy all the time. I didn't let comments that normally felt like a stab at me bother me. It is sooooo hard but ever since I have had this new attitude I am alot happier and I have seen a change in my companion. Because of all the things I have to worry about on my mission I don't want my relationship with my comp. to be one of them. Because it effects other things. And ain't nobody got time for that. On the lighter side of this past week. Some of the really great miracles that happened. We were working with a girl named Kelly. She is 18 and has taken all the lessons with her brother Bruce who already got baptized. She kept telling us she was not ready for about 3 months but we went to see her family recently and popped the question and she says she wants to be baptized in July. She had just returned from Girls Camp and so we think her testimony grew at camp. Also, we are just waiting to set a date with Arthur. He wants to get baptized but his Mom wants the entire family to attend the baptism so its been complicated but we are excited. When we went tracting the other day a man offered us tequila. (Not sure if that is how it is spelled ha) We also came across this super awesome african american family. All these cute kids came out to talk to us as the parents disappeared in the house. We asked the parents if they were interested and they all said yes but, they were busy. I gave the kids some of my spongebob stickers before we left and as we were leaving we could here the kids yelling when they ran into the house "WE GOT STICKERS!!!" We referred them to the Elders and the Elders have an appointment with them :D yayyy Sorry I know this has been long. Probably the best experience of this past week was Magda, a very stong catholic. She is 15 and a friend of Brenda, one of the Young Women in the ward. Magda's mother approached Brenda's mom at Vallarta (amazing mexican super market that we go to instead of wal-mart) and told her she wanted Magda to attend church with Brenda. We just dropped by Magdas house with Brenda and talked to her. Our discussion led to teaching the first lesson and as we talked about The First Vision, Magda began to cry. She attended church yesterday and she is a really great girl. But, tomorrow she is leaving for Mexico until August 14 so we will have to wait till she returns :( Mom, yes I received those letters you put in my box and they were perfect and came at the perfect timing :) Thank you! I am in the same ward and area with the Ayalas. Haha yesterday at church she told me she talked to you online and that you guys comment on each others stuff. Makes me laugh. Love yall! Hermana Sears
22: July 8, 2013 Buenas Dias, This past week was a great week. Hermana Clark and I have been trying to work very hard. It has gotten really hot here and the sweat feels absolutely beautiful when we tract,(haha). Even though when we tract, we are suffering in the heat, it feels very satisfying. The suffering strangely feels good because it lets me know that I am working hard and I am trying to do my small part. I know that I can't complain. I have absolutely no reason to complain or whine. We have a car and a nice apartment and I know there are so many missionaries who aren't nearly as blessed as we are. We have to make sure we are well hydrated and have glucose tablets because of Hermana Clark's diabetes but she is doing well and taking good care of herself. I feel as though Heavenly Father has blessed us for our diligence. On Saturday we found 2 new investigators and 2 other potential investigators on the same street. All of them Hispanic. "GOLD MINE" We were blown away. My biggest goal right now is trying to always be receptive to the spirit. Last transfer, when we had Sister Haupt, during opportunities to teach (when we found someone), she would usually do the teaching. It was a transition this transfer from doing not very much talking to doing all the talking on the spot. (But don't get me wrong, I could not have asked for a better trainer than Sister Haupt :) We came across an English woman that was willing to listen to our message and we found out she already had a Book of Mormon and has read parts of it before. As we were talking to her I prayed the entire time for the discussion to be guided where it needed to go. I had a prompting to ask her if she has ever prayed about the Book of Mormon. She told us she had not. We were then able to teach her about the Holy Ghost and how it feels to recognize it and the promise that is in the Book of Mormon. She said she will read the Book of Mormon again and this time pray and ask if it is true. The Elders are going to visit her next week. I am grateful for the opportunities the Lord is giving me to follow the Spirit. I am striving to not have fear and to always follow those promptings because I know if I don't, the Lord won't trust me with them. I feel that the Christ-like attribute of Hope is slowly developing in me. I am starting to view more difficult situations as opportunities rather than trials. I know I still have a lot to learn and so I am just trying to keep moving forward. Sister Ayala told me you were texting her. I think that is pretty funny. The Astros Game sounded so sweet! All you can eat Hot dogs?!? Aww man my mouth is watering! Sometimes I miss American food but, I still have not gotten sick of the Hispanic food. I could eat tacos everyday. That is exciting that Julia is coming down for a while! It still blows my mind that I will have 2 little sobrinos by the time I get home. Tan Loco. Dad, I hope you have fun in Alaska! Is it pretty in Anchorage? When I say I am from Houston everyone asks if you work in oil haha yup. That picture of Tally in the baseball hat is so cute. It is well known in the ward and in my district how much I love animals. I love birds so much. A member and I helped rescue this bird that was attacked by a cat. Because of a funny inside joke my DL is looking for a "dog" to buy me. I am guessing it will be a stuffed animal from the dollar store. Also, on p-day I groomed a members dog. I just felt so bad for the poor thing. All his fur was matted and nasty. (mom, you would be horrified) I had to basically cut it all off. He looks so much cuter and happier now. Everyone asks if I am going to be a vet. I had never thought of that before but, now I am starting to almost consider it as a possibility. It would be a job that I would love. It is fun to discover things about yourself on the mission. Te quiero mucho! Yo se que podemos estar juntos para siempre! Con muchissimo amor, Hermana Sears July 15, 2013 Dear Familia, This past week has been great. Ok, i can't lie, this past week was super tough. That is what I get for praying for humility and hope. We have been working really hard trying to find. We have been tracting everyday and people can be a little less than nice. But its ok. We know that there are people out there who are ready but we don't seem to have found any yet. We are going to start up some English classes very soon and we hope that will bring in many people that we can teach. Right now, we have a couple "eternal" investigators who want to get baptized but because of family circumstances and other problems they can't and we have many people who we teach but they are just not interested and don't want to change. It has been tough but, I am just trying to hang on. I love you guys so much and I am missing you so much. I know I am put in my situation right now to learn something. I love you guys. Hermana Sears
23: July 22, 2013 This week has been great. Many new investigators are coming out of the wood work and some old investigators are coming back. Things are going a lot better as I am learning how to just be happy all the time. I remember in Relief Society back at home someone taught a lesson about charity and there was poster with the acronym T.H.I.N.K. Is what your about to say True? Helpful? Inspiring? ???? and Kind? I am trying to apply everything I say to this. I am making sure that nothing I say is negative. I am on my tip toes but its ok. When I get offended I brush it off and make sure I am listening to the other person. We are teaching a young girl named Jasmine who is 18 and has 2 kids. She is very catholic but will be baptized if she finds that its the best thing for her family. :) Love, Hermana Sears July 29, 2013 Dear Family, I hope you guys are having a good week this week. Forgive my past short email and PLEASE forgive that super upset email that I sent 2 weeks ago. We are doing better we are communicating whenever we have issues and we have been making things fun and positive so things are looking up. The past couple of weeks have been tough. I hit my lowest last week. It is interesting how I miss you guys so much and I become completely unhappy but I would never consider going home. Sure, it would be so much easier and I would get a heck of a lot more sleep but for right now, I know I am supposed to be here and this ward has become my family. Sometimes I forget I am not brown and that 99% of the time, I am the only white person in the room. I am part of this huge latino family. They are always there for us. I think I have said this before but, its funny because now I always kiss on the cheek when I hug. It just how we do. haha A couple of weeks ago a woman from the English ward hugged me and I kissed her on the cheek. It was awkward. I couldn't help it. Its a habit.
24: I am grateful for the wonderful missionary leaders in our zone that we can trust and learn from. On the day I was feeling pretty low, my district leader gave me a blessing. It was a great experience that Ill never forget. As I received the blessing, my head felt as if it was on fire. It was a tender mercy and a beautiful experience that reminded me that my Heavenly Father loves me. I am now just taking everything one day at a time and I know that He is by my side. On Wednesday I had a great day. I went on an exchange with the Sister Training Leader. That is the new calling that they recently created for Sisters because so many sisters are coming out. Sister Winert and Sister Haupt (my trainer) are the new sister training leaders. I went on the exchange for 24 hours with Sister Winert and my companion went with Sister Winert's companions for the day. Sister Winert goes home in 2 weeks so she is "wise" and basically one of the best sisters. The day with Sister Winert was amazing for many reasons. 1. It was nice to be with someone different for a change haha and someone with a different view and experience. 2. Her and I are like twins so we got along really fast and had fun. 3. She understands the challenges I have and gave me confidence that I am dealing with them in a good way. 4. She told me that I am a great missionary and I learn fast. (Don't mean to toot my own horn :) ) 5. Without my espanol companion to depend on for Spanish, I had to teach 2 lessons on the spot by myself. I did it! :) We got 2 potential Spanish investigators. Helped me realize how far I have come. It was a great day and things are going well. Investigators are coming out of the wood work and we are excited about them. We have 5 progressing investigators right now. One of them is Mariah Guardado. She came to church on Sunday with her 2 kids. They all loved church. During relief society, Maria asked me. "Cuando voy al ser bautizado?" or "When am I going to be baptized?" I didn't know what to say. I was shocked! She wants to go to the temple and when she was told she has to prepare for a year after baptism, she wanted to get baptized as soon as possible. We are excited about Mariah. Our other investigator is Jazmine. She is one of my first investigators that I feel I was sent to this area to teach. She is 18 and has 2 kids. She lives with her boyfriend Johnny's family who are all members. Johnny is almost exactly my age, just 10 days younger. Johnny's family are all former Jehovah witnesses. Johnny has a strong testimony, he was one of the first in his family to join the church and Jasmine has grown up Catholic and is used to Catholic tradition with her family but, she has decided to take the lessons and she has told us that she wants to do whatever is best for her 2 sons. We have become really close with both Johnny and Jasmine. All we have to do is get them hitched then baptize Jasmine. Easy right? So far she loves all that we have taught her and she really wants to go to the temple with her family but, we got to help build her testimony. We are seeing her tonight and we are soon teaching chastity. I am excited ;) Also, we are teach someone who is golden!! We found her last week and her name is Esther and never have we had an easier baptismal date. She is 17 and looking for a place where her family can be united. We have been so blessed. Fun Experience: The other day when I was on my exchange with Sister Winert, we had a woman tell us straight out that we are not making it to Heaven. The sad thing was that she was genuinely concerned for our welfare. She was thoroughly convinced our message was demonic and evil. I remained completely calm as she babbled on until she began to say negative comments about places and people that are sacred to me. I finally cut because I couldn't hear it anymore, I was frankly ticked. I stopped her by first thanking her for "Looking out for us" but then I bore my testimony about all those things she talked about. I said that I know they are from God and they are true. Then I ended with a "We hope you have a great day" and we left her door. While we were walking off my heart was a little hurt but I knew I did all I could. I am grateful I had that experience because usually when people try to bash us, we just walk away and say "ok" or "sorry". I never want to regret ever again not bearing my testimony. I know now I can do it!!! Mission life is good. I really love my new mission president. I miss president Godwin very much but already I have become close with President Hobbs. He kinda reminds me of you Dad. He grew up in Idaho Falls. He didn't go to Bonneville High school but the other one. He and his wife are wonderful. Some news that will make mom happy. I got an email from her favorite Elder. ;) Yes, Elder Long. He asked me if I have received any of his letters. Apparently, he has been writing me back but I have not yet received any. He asked how CA was going and how my Spanish was. He is a good Elder. I thought he just forgot about me/didn't care to write back and strangely I didn't really care but It is always nice to feel loved. Tyler leaves for the Philippines Aug. 26 so his weekly emails are probably going to stop then. I never thought it would happen but my feelings for all these young men before the mission are fading faster everyday. I do still care about them and I don't want to burn any bridges but my perspective is slowly changing. I think that all my worries of boys is slowly going away because I am developing the faith that as I am being prepared for my future family, my Heavenly Father is preparing someone for me. Well, I love you guys a lot. Dad, I laughed so hard when you said that mom bought a chicken coop for the "next" house. bahaha don't worry mom, I loved those little guys too. The baby shower looked amazing!! Emma's decorations were amazing! I tell everyone I am going to be an aunt. I am so excited! I really don't believe it yet. Well, I hope you got all the way to the end of this letter. Hope it fills ya in! I LOVE YALL! Te quiero Muchissimo, Hermana Sears p.s. I saw a black widow the other day. It was cool. p.s.s. Julia and Joe/ Sister Meservy sent me an awesome package. Made my day! I love it!
25: August 5, 2013 Things are going pretty darn well. We have had 2 miracles just this past week! The 18 year-old girl named Jazmine who has grown-up always catholic that lives with her member boyfriend, Johnny and have 2 kids together. We have become super good friends with them. This past week we taught the Law of Chastity. When Johnny realized that they had to be married in order for Jazz to be baptized, in order for them both to the temple, they set a wedding date, right there, for the 15th of this month! Then Jazmine will be baptized on the 17th. We were shocked! And so insanely excited! The 2nd one is with this woman named Mariah. We are teaching her and her two children Jaun and Crishelle. We taught them the Plan of Salvation and they loved how they could be with their family forever. Afterwards they all agreed to be baptized on the 24th of this month! The only thing is that Mariah needs to stop smoking. So, my companera and I have quit sweets until she gets baptized to sacrifice something as she is giving up smoking. It has been torture. (You know me and my chocolate chip cookies) But I know she can do it! We have started to go walking with a mother and daughter in the ward who are very large. They are really struggling and loathe ejercisio but, they are getting to the point where that cant get out of bed. So, we are going to make them walk and help them get healthy. We created a little plan for them to lose weight. :) Also, transfers are coming up on the 13th. That is when I will find out what happens. This past transfer was 7 weeks, so a week longer because of the mission split. That is why my end date is no Aug 26th. All is going well. Just usual Spanish ward drama. I am learning everyday how much the Bishop of the Ward really undertakes and how much many of the leaders of the ward deal with. I have learned the HUGE importance of visiting teaching and Home teaching. I want to always magnify every calling I receive in the church, especially Visiting Teaching. I want to make sure I always stay a member missionary. "When all is said and done, there is no greater work than spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ." Mom- I have received the letter from the primary. It was so cute. I have written everyone back today. I love you!! Hermana Sears | August 12, 2013 This week has been great and crazy and miraculous and stressful but most of all, really great! Sunday Night the AP's called. Sister Clark answered and they were talking for a while so I assumed Sister Clark would be the one training the one new Spanish sister. Then, I could hear the AP say, "Can I talk to Hermana Sears?" My heart was beating like crazy. I am going to be the trainer for the new Spanish sister. I am pretty nervous but, I just keep telling myself once again. "Whom the Lord calls, He qualifies". Tomorrow Sister Clark and I part for the first time in 6 months and I meet my new greenie. I just hope she likes me. :) I want to be as good as a trainer as my trainer was for me. Just taking one day at a time. I feel bad that Sister Clark is leaving because we are working with so many people right now. Greenies usually witness miracles and so I am excited for what awaits us here in La Mesa Ward. I will be in this ward for half my mission when I am done training my greenie. This past week we taught this man named Simon for the first time. I love Simon so much. He is the cousin of really good members and he is living with them right now. He is 40 years old and is going through many trials in his life right now. He has rheumatoid arthritis (I think that is what it is called) and he has many other physical issues. On top of those, his wife recently divorced him and together they have 2 young sons. He sees his kids every other week. He loves his children so much. We met Simon for the first time when we had dinner with the members he is living with and he agreed to meet with us. Sister Clark and I taught the first lesson and the spirit was so strong. I was praying while we watched the 20 min video of the restoration that he could feel just a fraction of what I was feeling. Afterwards I asked him how he felt. He said he felt relief. He said he needs this right now in his life and that he is going through alot. He agreed to be baptized on September 7th. He attended church yesterday and brought his sons who LOVED it :) He was carrying with him at church the Book of Mormon we gave him. We are so excited for him. I really love Simon. The picture I attached is of my comp and I and Johnny. The other day, Sister Clark and I needed to finish our studies after a lesson and we were going to find a park to study at but then we both felt like we should go to the library. We went and because there was no where in the library to sit we went to find a place to study in a part of the library that we don't normally go. There, we saw Johnny. He is actually in the ward next to ours and we always just say Hi to him and talk a little bit but that day he looked very bad. We felt like we should talk to him. Johnny is a recent convert of about 3 or so years. He has come a long way. He still says he is a rebel because he refuses to tuck in his shirt at church. He is funny and rough around the edges but he knows the church is true. He always has on his iPod talks from Jefferey R Holland. He is only 30 but he looks like he is 45 because of his past. Well, we got talking to him and finally he told us that he is really mad at himself because he succumbed to the temptation of meth for 3 days straight. His goal was to go to the temple in October but now he doesn't think he can and is upset. We talked to him for a while about accountability and repentance and called the Elders in his ward who came and gave him a blessing. Afterwards he told us he was praying for someone to come and help him. He said he got "two angels". The spirit really is amazing. I love you guys. Next weeks E-mail should be interesting. Who knows what awaits! Con mucho Amor, Hermana Sears
26: Johnny, we have a cool story about him. | August 19, 2013 Family, So sorry this is going to be really short because once again our library we usually go to went down so we have to share few computers. Well Hermana Alba Baez is my companion/greenie :) She is AWESOME! I love her alot. She is 20 and from Maryland. Her parents are from Nicurauga so she speaks pretty good Spanish. We get along really well. She went to BYU-I for 5 semesters before her mission. this past week has been FANTASTIC :) Simon on Sunday told us that he wants to be baptized as soon as possible. He already quit drinking coffee and he want to baptize his son when he turns 8 in a couple of weeks. We explained to him the process and what will need to happen and he was so accepting. He told us a neat story of when he first went through his divorce. He said he started smoking to cope but then one day his son came to him and told him he was going to die if he smoked. Right after that, Simon never smoked again. He loves his kids so much. It breaks my heart to see how much pain he is in because of his ex wife and also physically with his illness. But, he told us that he loves the church and he wants his sons to be a part of the "truth". He probably thinks I am such a baby because every time I talk with him I start to cry. I think he can just sense how much we really love him. He tells us he can feel the spirit very strong now. Johnny and Jaz. Johnny and Jaz didn't get married when planned but, it was because we haven't been able to get ahold of the bishop. They still want to get married as soon as possible and Jazmine this past lesson told us that she has been getting feelings that she needs to get baptized "right now" haha. She says she is still thinking about it but it is a lot better than before. She made an insight I thought was really neat. She said. "Maybe once we get married, I will be able to feel more that this is right." I was so happy when she said that. She understands the spirit. Johnny and jaz already picked out a temple they want to be married in once she is baptized. The Newport Temple. I can't wait to go :) We have a ton of new investigators this week. 2 families. We are excited and never than before have I felt pressure like this. But I know we can do it. I love you guys! Dad have fun in Australia!! Can you send me the Snideman's new address? haha I remember when Sister Snideman was my Secret sister! I can't believe I gave her a picture of me haha que verguenza!! Tell her that she is amazing! I miss her amazing family! Love, Hermana Sears | August 26, 2013 Hello Family, Well, this past week has been really great. The only downer was that our AC doesn't work. So we drive with windows rolled down everywhere we go. Sweating is my life. Hopefully it will get fixed this week. Jasmine is married! I am so happy :) The wedding was literally planned in 2 days and it was crazy. On Friday we went over to the Cabrera's house | (Jasmine's in laws' house where she lives with Johnny, her boyfriend/now husband) and it was 4:00. The wedding was in 2 hours and there was absolutely nothing done. Hermana Baez and I just mopped the floors and cleaned the windows then we did Jasmine's hair. We were so nervous but it really turned out cute. The ceremony was sweet and many members came to support. Now she can be baptized and we can't wait. This Friday is her baptism. Jasmine already picked out the temple where she wants to be sealed with Johnny and her 2 sons in one year. The Newport Temple. I can't wait to go :) Simon is our miracle. He comes to church every Sunday and is planning on finishing the Book of Mormon. I just bought him a triple so that he can read D&C. His native language is Spanish but he prefers the English books. On Saturday we taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have these amazing visuals that help everyone when we teach. When we finished up the lesson I finished with "La Vida Eternal". The spirit as we teach Simon is so strong and I teared up as I talked about how I wanted to be with my family and my Heavenly Father forever. After the lesson as usual I always ask our investigators how they feel. Simon just stared at the visuals that said "Faith", "Repentance" and "Baptism" etc. etc. and he began to choke up and tell us that it all makes sense and that he feels that "the veil" is being lifted from his eyes. He is amazing and so intelligent. He is excited to get the Priesthood so that he can baptize his son.
27: Funny Story: So the first night with Hermana Baez, I warned her about my sleep walking/talking. There have only been like 3 incidents these past 2 weeks but about 3 nights ago she said I was speaking full out Spanish with someone really loud. Its funny because in my dreams, I always speak Spanish but everyone else speaks English. hahaha I am glad my companion doesn't get scared easily like my last one :) Dad, how is Australia? Where do you go next? I tell everyone that you are traveling and they all think its pretty cool :) Mom, can you send me more contacts :) Hermana Ayala was texting you while I was at her house. So crazy :) Love, Hermana Sears September 3, 2013 Howdy! Sorry I couldn't email yesterday. It was labor day weekend so the library was closed. This week has been absolutely great. We have seen so many miracles. Miracle #1 Jasmine was baptized on Saturday. That was a crazy day. I am pretty sure Satan tried to do everything in his power to stop that baptism but let me tell you I was not having it. That baptism was going to happen even if everyone doubted it or all heck broke loose. It was going to happen! I won't bother you with all the little details of how it almost fell apart multiple times but after 1 mental breakdown and many phone calls, as I knew it would, everything turned out fine. We had faith and Jasmine was baptized :) After she was baptized she told us she felt clean and she knew it was a fresh start. I am so happy for her. Now its only in 1 more year that her and Johnny and their 2 sons can be sealed in the temple. I can't wait to go :) Miracle #2 Simon! We are teaching this man named Simon. He is going to be baptized this Sunday and sometimes I feel as though he has been member as long as I. We bought him a triple and he loves it :) We assigned him to read Alma 31 and when we came to the lesson, he told us he read it twice and he loves it. He just loves the church. At this past lesson he told us that Alma 31 reminded him of an experience he had. He said that one day he was feeling completely lost. (Not only does Simon deal with severe physical issues but he is dealing with trying to get part custody of his 2 sons) He said he decided to just start walking in the desert not knowing where he was going. He was walking all night. He told us that he was crying and felt completely alone and lost. He said he looked up at the stars and asked God to give him something. Give him a sign that he is there. By dawn, he somehow found his way back home by guiding himself by the mountains. He told us that not too far in the future he was cooking dinner for his cousin and her family and there was a knock at the door. He said he remembers seeing Sister Clark and I walk in for dinner and he said that right when he saw us, he felt something. He said he knew right away that we were that sign. From what he told us, I would never had guessed that was how he felt that dinner. It seemed like any other dinner and like any other dinner we shared a scripture and asked for a reference. When we asked if they knew someone we could teach, Hermana Medina (Simon's cousin) pointed at Simon haha. I didn't think he was interested at all but we still went for it. And who would've thought he would turn out to be the most golden investigator I had ever met. Miracle #3 One day we planned to teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ to our investigator, Yara. She is friends with an amazing member, Hermana Victoriano. I made these awesome visuals and before we left the house I had a feeling that I hadn't seen them in my purse and that I might have left them at the church but I put the thought out of my mind and we left to the appointment. Before Yara arrived to Hermana Victoriano's house, we told Hermana Victoriano that we would just catch up with Yara (she has been in Mexico for 2 months since we last taught her) and share a scripture because I can't find my visuals. Hermana Victoriano disappeared in her house and then came back holding my visuals in her hand. I was speechless and so confused. She told us that she was at the church and she saw an envelope sitting on the ground in the primary room. She said she had a feeling she needed to put it in her bag. She followed the prompting and so we were able to teach Yara the Gospel of Jesus Christ effectively with visuals and the lesson went really well. Which leads us to miracle # 4. Miracle # 4 Yara just recently returned from a 2 month trip to Mexico. She accidentally brought the El Libro De Mormon we gave her to Mexico and she started to read it. She says she loves it and she can feel peace when she reads it. She decide one day to pray and after she prayed she received a powerful answer. We are excited to teach her again. So, we are super excited. Things are going great and I am very happy. I love Hermana Baez so much. We get along perfectly. Every morning we have been doing Insanity. Its a crazy work out video. Its awesome. Yesterday I got a call from President. My old comp, Hermana Clark is going to join me and Hermana Baez for 3 weeks. Her companion has been having health problems and so I am assuming she is going home. When I was told the news last night I was honestly terrified and then a little mad. Everything has been going so well. But, I know that this is needed in the mission right now and everything happens for a reason. So I am just taking it on and I am praying so hard to be the best person I can be.
28: This past week was Zone conference with President Hobbs and his wife. Its usually about 2-3 zones. It was a great spiritual experience. Before Zone conference they always ask everyone to prepare a 5 min talk and then they randomly call an elder and a sister to speak. I knew from the beginning that it was going to be me. I don't know how but I knew. And it was me haha it was a great experience though. I am getting better at speaking in public. My hands still shake like crazy but it was good. Well that is all I can think of for now. Everything is good. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I LOVE YOU! There is a package I am sending today that has a gift and letter for you and also some stuff I am sending home. I love you guys! Dad, stay safe in Germany. Oh and to answer that question you asked about if I have used my singing recently. Actually a little bit yes. The Bishop's daughter and I might sing a song in sacrament meeting and I am the conductor during the meetings. The Spanish ward cannot sing at all and it is hilarious. I love it. Tone deaf! Love, Hermana Sears | Jasmine's baptism | September 12, 2013 Things are going well. This past weekend our ward had 2 baptisms. On Saturday, Luis Canales was baptized. He has been coming to church for 12 years and finally he was baptized. About 100 people attended the baptism. It was exciting. My companions and I with his wife did a surprise song for him. We sang"He Sent His Son" in spanish. Then on Sunday we had the baptism for Simon :) It was wonderful. His cousin baptized him but an Elder who serves with us had to help him go under the water and hold his back. Simon has aluminum hips so he was a little nervous about having to bend down but it all turned out well. President Hobbs attended the baptism. It was a sweet surprise when he showed up. He is always so kind and loving but he has been really sweet recently and has been watching out for me ever since I have been with my old companion again for 3 weeks. It has been very challenging but I am trying to do my best and be my best. I know it could be so much worse. We went to the temple today and it was beautiful. Oh how I love the temple. The Redlands temple is so small but it is so beautiful. The new change in the temple is beautiful. There are these spiritual small golden nuggets in the film that I loved. I have never before in my life been so fascinated by doctrine in the church. I am almost done with "Jesus the Christ" and that book really has helped me understand doctrine and learn more of who Jesus Christ was and what he went through. I have so many questions come to my mind when I read the Book of Mormon. A member from another ward drove us to the temple this morning. My companions | hopped in the back leaving me to sit in the front with the driver. At first I was bummed that I couldn't sit in the back and chat with them and the other 2 elders riding up with us but then I just decided to seize the opportunity to talk to the member. He is a temple worker and he is in his 60's so I figured he could maybe answer some of my questions. We talked all the way to the temple (hour long ride) and all the way back to the desert. I love wise people. But it was really great. He helped me confirm some of my understandings of different things. Please tell Sister Stolle she is amazing and I love the quote. It is hanging up where I study. Mom, did you like my gift? haha You can use it for this coming winter for hot coco. Did you get my card? I love you! Dad, I am in desperate need of a new cd! Also, one thing I would love for Christmas is the David Archuleta Christmas CD. :) Tell Rhuvana I love her and she is going to love the mtc :) Did she get my letter? I love you guys, Hermana Sears September 17, 2013 I was thinking how I am going to have nothing to write to you because it has only been 3 days since I last wrote but I was wrong. On Saturday we had our Dia Internacional. It was amazing! All the different countries, like El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Yucatan, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Paraguay and USA represented. Over half the people who attended weren't members. All the countries had a table with their food. As USA Hermana Clark, Baez and Elder Heredia and Elder Molina and I made fried Oreo and fried Snickers. It was a hit! We borrowed a fryer from a less active we are working with and they showed up! It was our sneaky way of getting them to come to the festival. :) At first everybody was hating on the fried Oreo and making negative comments but then once they tried them, our table had a line of people waiting for more. We also had mormon.org cards and Books of Mormon at our table and almost all were gone by the end. It was a blast! All the adults did dances and performances for their own country. The Tongans brought amazing carne. They had a mariachi band and then after all the performances from the primary and youth and adults, there was a big dance for everyone. The fiesta started at 5pm and didn't end till 11pm. Spanish wards are so awesome. Simon was confirmed this Sunday and he is very happy. We just love Simon. That's all for now! Love, Hermana Sears!
30: September 23, 2013 This week has been good. We had an amazing lesson with the Wiel family. Darinell and her husband and 3 kids are not members but they are friends with many members and recently moved into our area. We hit it off super fast and I just love that family. They have this hilarious spunky 3 year old named Hayden that tries to fly with me and dances with me every time we come. He sprints from the house and hugs my legs so tight when we enter their gate. Then they have a 9 year old Valerie who loves the lessons and sneaks me snacks under the table haha. Through the course of the past 4 weeks we have felt prompted at different times to just call her and every time we find that it had been inspired. They are going through a hard struggle right now. Darinell's husband has always struggled with returning pollups in his throat that don't allow him to speak. He has been constantly getting surgery to remove them but they don't stop coming back. This past week after surgery they told her that they can keep removing them but if the pollups enter the lungs, there is nothing they can do. On Saturday we taught them the Plan of Salvation. I don't feel we have ever had a better lesson. They absolutely loved it. It really applied perfectly to their needs right now. They asked many questions. The spirit was very strong. After the lesson, we invited the Elders in the English ward that cover their area to come and give Darinell's husband a blessing of healing and Darinell a blessing of comfort. It was beautiful. I sat with Darinell during the blessing and she held my hand as she cried. I love them so much. Afterwards we handed them over to the English Elders. We feel that it would best suit the needs for their family to attend the English ward because the husband doesn't speak Spanish. It was so hard to let them go because we have bonded with this beautiful family so much but, we know that this will help them progress in an eternal perspective. So, I have some big news. This next transfer I will be training another greenie. All the missionaries keep telling me that they feel so bad for me because I am training 2 greenies that are different points in the mission. I have to split up their training and somehow even it out and make time to train them both the program for greenies. I know its possible and I am just feeling very honored right now. I am so grateful for the trust President has for me and that the Lord has for me. I can do it! haha I am just so grateful for this upcoming transfer. It is going to be a fresh new start. -Hermana Sears | All the Spanish sisters in the mission! Hermana Bushman is my new comp on the left. I love her! | September 30, 2013 This past week has been really successful! My new greenie is Hermana Bushman. She is 20 and from Alpine, Utah. I am so grateful for her. She is wonderful. Hermana Baez and I get along with her great! Things are going really well. We found 2 new investigators this past week through members and we are excited. We are teaching an 8 year old named Aiden. He is Simon's son. Also we are still teaching Yara, who is very interested right now and came to church finally! She also brought along her step-daughter Fatima. We are now teaching her and she is even more interested. She loves church and she asked her father (who is very scary) if she could join the Mormon church. He said He will think about it. Better than "no". :) Also, we found this older gentleman named Rojelio. He is a challenge but I know that the spirit will testify to him but after that, its all up to him. He is also studying with the Jehova h Witnesses and he asks us the typical questions that the Jehova h Witnesses say. This past transfer we have run into so many of them and ALWAYS they bible bash us. It is the life. haha This past Saturday we had the first ever sisters conference right before the General Relief Society broadcast. It was so fun. I just love | President Hobbs and Sister Hobbs. The broadcast was beautiful. It made me even more stoked for Conference! They emphasized so much on o ur covenants we make. It hit me really hard when I thought about our investigators and how important it is for them to know the significance of baptism. We have also been working with many less actives. Our ward has literally doubled because slowly the less actives are coming back. Those who feel they are hurt we just do exactly what Sister Burton said that that woman in Russia did, at conference. We just love them and be their friend. Every week we visit them and occasionally make them cookies. Some don't come back but we still love them anyways. Mom- No you didn't give me antibiotics. Hermana Clark was just talking about the Neosporin and anti-itch. We were just joking how you made that kit for her and not for me because she has used almost everything and I have only used band-aids haha. I am glad you love the owl mug. :) Dad- There is a sister here who is from Micronesia. I don't know how close that is to Malaysia but, I told her that you go there a lot. Her English is getting so good. She is adorable :) I can't wait for all these babies! I am so excited! I am going to be the coolest aunt ever. :) Everything is well :) I love you guys. I can't believe it is already October. It is getting cold. I wouldn't mind if you sent me my black scarf and my navy coat. I love you! -Hermana Sears
31: October 8, 2013 Hola! Things are going great here in Hesperia. My companions are Hermana Bushman. She is from Alpine Utah and went to BYU and is 21. She is fantastic! Hermana Baez is my other companion and she is almost 21, from Maryland and she went to BYU-Idaho. We have a lot of fun together and I am so grateful for them. This past week was pretty good! We are teaching this woman named Yara and we set a baptismal date for the 26th of October. We recently learned that before we have even taught the word of wisdom, Yara has given up in the past year smoking because of her friendship with a member, alcohol recently and she is now trying to never drink coffee or tea. She came to conference with us and she loved it. We watched the last session in Spanish and it was still as powerful. It is cool to learn that the speakers who already speak Spanish, have their own voice as the voice over. We are also teaching Yara's stepdaughter, Fatima. She is also committed to be baptized on the 26th. We are excited. Our old investigator Kelly is now deciding she does want to be baptized!! She has been an investigator since I first came out 5 months ago. We decided to start being her friend and getting to know her better so that she would trust us. We took her out to get froyo and took off all pressure of baptism. Her member friend who we take with us to lessons, told us that Kelly told her she was planning on picking a date for baptism. :) :) :) We are so excited! Well so sorry this is so short! Time is short! I am beyond excited about being an Aunt! I love yall! Joe, your email made me cry. I love all of you so much! Stay safe! Also, I have been having some issues in my stomach so I went to see a doctor in SanB with the mission nurse and I used our insurance card. We think things will be fine but we are going to get my stomach area x-rayed this next week just as a precaution. But no worries. I am fine. -Hermana Sears October 16, 2013 These past weeks have been up and down and all around good. The blessings of being with greenies is that we are able to witness many miracles. We just have to do our part and work hard. We had a day that was full of canceled appointments and so we pulled out our handy dandy map for tracting and designated a square of the map to tract. After prayer, we all picked 3 streets in our head and then compared them and went to the one that was chosen by more than one of us. We proceeded to a street chosen by 2 of us. The first door we knocked on, was woman who looked to be in her late 20's and she was talking on the phone. She told us to hold on one second and finished her phone call. I figured that she was busy but, because of the lack of success in our tracting recently, we as a companionship changed our tracting routine to be more effective and to be more persistent. If you try to baptize a few people, you will baptize a few people. If you try to baptize everyone, you will baptize many people. NO FEAR! So we asked her if she would be interested in learning about the message of the restored church of Jesus Christ and she said yes. She came outside with her daughter and we shared the message of the restoration. Afterwards, she told us that her brother was taking the lessons with the missionaries and he was doing really well but then for some reason that she doesn't know, he stopped, and now he is going down a bad path. She said she was a little freaked out because she was just talking to her sister on the phone about how they needed to get their brother back with those missionaries when we rang her doorbell. She agreed to meet with us again and was genuinely interested. We thought we were going to have to hand her over to the English sisters but when we told her that we were the Spanish sisters she said, "I speak Spanish!" Yay!! So, we are excited to meet with her again. Also, that same day, we arrived at dinner 30 min. early. This member lives in a very sketchy part of town. There were these 3 men a couple yards in front of us talking on the street. One of them was head to toe covered in tattoos. I did not want to tract or talk to the people outside the car, I wanted to just go in dinner early, BUT, I knew that I had to be an example and do what I knew we should do. EVERYONE is put in our path for a reason. So, we got out of the car and tracted these houses that lead up to these 3 men. All the people were very humble, rough, reeking of alcohol. We finally reached the men and just began talking with them. One of them was hispanic and as he shook my hand told me I had the most beautiful eyes. haha They were very kind (one was drunk) and they were open to listen to anything. One of the men was from Costa Rica. We quickly learned he had taken all the lessons from missionaries in Costa Rica but at the time was going through a divorce and stopped the lessons. He said he would love to have a 2nd chance. We left him with an El Libro De Mormon and retauracion folleto. As we drove away he was reading the book. Everything is going well. Sorry I have no time to write. I will write more next week. I love you guys! I am glad the babies are healthy and safe! -Hermana Sears October 22, 2013 This week has been great! Right now, Yara and Fatima's baptisms have to be moved back. Fatima is a 15 year old and Yara's step-daughter. We are working right now on helping her see why these things are so important. With Yara, she has confided in us some things and her case will have to go to the first presidency. Through this experience I have learned how much I really do love our investigators. I love Yara. The night she confided in us some things that weigh her down, I had to call president and ask what we should do in her case. As I told President the difficult things in Yara's past, I couldn't help but weep. I love her, I felt as though these things were my burden too. I want her to understand that she can really feel relieved of all her guilt and all her mistakes because of Jesus Christ and be born again through baptism. We are now trying to help her understand more and just love her.
32: her. Right away she invited us in. She has been inactive for 6 years and recently has been wanting to go back to church but didn't know where to go. She told us that we were a sign and she wants to attend church this Sunday with her family. We are excited and I am so grateful that I chose to do what was BEST rather than what is just good. I am pretty darn happy. I have almost no fear at all with talking to people. My companions and I have been able to refine our teaching and our way of talking to those we come in contact with. I love speaking with people. I am grateful to see the change in myself. The other day we came in contact with a woman who wanted nothing to do with us but we still kept speaking and even asked her what her reservations were about the church. We weren't able to give her a card but we were able to correct a few things about what we believed in. We went from an awkward encounter to her being open and so friendly with us and even telling us about her family. I can see myself improving on my pile of weaknesses but its funny how once you remove one thing completely from the pile, another thing just comes out of nowhere to join the others. But hey, Heavenly Father gives us these things so that we can become strong right? Ether 12:27 "And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them." I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. Everyday as I read it prayerfully, the spirit testifies to me that it is true. I can't recall any other experiences at the moment but, the work is going great. I love being missionary and I am praying for all of you every night. I am afraid that this next transfer coming up in 2 weeks is going to be the end of Hesperia for me because 3 new Spanish sisters are coming out and I will most likely go somewhere new with my greenie. I love this place. I have spent almost half my mission here. I can't imagine serving anywhere else but, wherever the lord wants me to go. :) LOVE YOU! Hermana Sears November 4, 2013 Hola familia Sears y amigos, Today was transfers! So I have interesting news. I will be STAYING in La Mesa HESPERIA zone!! I am so happy! When the AP called, He asked me, "How do you feel about your ward and investigators." I started to think about my ward family, La Mesa, and about Yara and Jasmine. I then began to cry while I was telling him how much I loved them but that I will go wherever the Lord wants me to go....so embarrassing...I am such a baby. But, I assumed I was leaving because I have been here my whole mission but NOPE I am staying!!! :) My companions/little ducks, Hermana Baez and Hermana Bushman, will both transfer together to Rancho Cucamonga zone in a Spanish branch. I miss them but I know they will be great. The news I received on Thursday is that I will be training BOTH of the 2 new Spanish sisters coming out. One of them is fluent in Spanish and the other one is just like me. White and learning :) But today, after our "Train the trainer meeting", I was informed that I will be only getting one sister now and that the other one will be going to be trained by an English sister before she enters the Spanish ward. So, I will be probably only getting the sister that is not fluent in Spanish. When I was told this today, I got really scared. I was terrified I wouldn't have someone to turn to when I didn't understand our investigators. I started to have bad anxiety until Sister Hobbs sat and talked to me. While talking to her about the ward and our investigators, I came to the conclusion that I can do it. If this is what President Hobbs believes I can do, it is what the Lord wants me to do. It will be hard but, I can do it. President Hobbs met with me and he asked me what I was thinking. I said, "President, all I need to hear is that this is what the Lord wants me to do and I will do it." He smiled and he said not exactly what I wanted to hear, "I am not sure yet." But, he is an amazing man and gave me good council. He asked me to pray for him while he is deciding on what to do. So I am not exactly sure what is going to happed but I will find out on Wednesday. I will be staying at the mission home while I wait for my companion and I am excited! It should be fun to spend time with Sister Hobbs. | We had a great lesson with our recent convert Jasmine and her husband Johnny. Lately they have been slacking a little on attending church and other commandments so we had a great lesson on the temple. We asked if their goal was still to visit the temple. They said of course. So, we gave a great lesson helping Jasmine understand how serious her baptismal covenant was and how the temple is more covenants that we promise God. We told her how she and Johnny needed to be keeping their baptismal covenants in order to receive the blessings of those covenants. This past relief society broadcast really opened my eyes to the covenants that we have made with our Heavenly Father. I am learning so much everyday and I am so grateful because through understanding gospel principals I am able to teach our investigators more effectively. I have been able to see the blessings that come from striving to not just only work hard but work smart (with the spirit) We received an inactive name and address for a woman. A couple weeks ago we tried to find her but we couldn't ever find the address due to the area being new and my gps being un pequito old. Then, one day we were attempting to visit less actives who weren't home. We then decided to tract a little and at first I really wanted to just tract on the street we were at. In my head I wrongly tell myself that in the amount of time we pulled out a map and prayed, we could of talked to 5 more people but, I knew that I needed to show these sisters how to rely on the spirit and do what I knew we should. So, we pulled out the map and started scanning the streets where we were at. Then, my eyes came across a familiar street. It was the street that we could not find, where that inactive woman lived. We then drove over and found | This picture is of my district last transfer with Hermana Bushman and Hermana Baez
33: This past week was good :) An update on Yara. She is keeping to her word and attending church. She had her interview with President Maron (a councilor for President Hobbs that speaks Spanish) I think it went really well. After the interview, President Maron said, "I promised Yara that I am going to attend her baptism so let me know when it is." So, that was a great sign! We are now just waiting for the next step from President Hobbs. He still has to contact Salt Lake City. Maria Sanchez did NOT attend church this week. Disappointed.... Now she can't be baptized on her set date but, we are still working with her and going to keep going strong. This past lesson we got her husband and her brother-in-law to sit in on the lessons and I think her brother-in-law has more interest than she is. It was funny though, Luis (her brother-in-law) was asking what the Book of Mormon was and Maria snaps at him. ANOTHER TESTAMENT OF JESUS CHRIST! Hermana Baez and Bushman and I were grinning so big. Halloween was great!! We had a trunk or Treat with our ward and another ward and it went great. Many investigators showed up and so did Sandra Calles. (She is the less active who we found by looking at the map, who was looking for a sign of what church to go back to) She hit it off really well with the Para family, members from her same country, El Salvador. She fit right in and her kids loved it. Sadly she did not come to church this Sunday so we are going to see her this week and find out why. I went on an exchange on Saturday with our Sister Training Leaders. My companions spent the day with their grandma (Sister Haupt, my mom/trainer) I spent the day with Sister Davis and it was so different but fun being in an English ward. I love people. We are all so weird and different but, once we find something in common, barriers go down and we can chat. I have found I can connect with many people really well when they have an animal. haha birds, cats, dogs. I love them all! My companions laugh because I love them so much. Love, Hermana Sears p.s. I will have to write you a letter about Christmas and all that good stuff because I can't think right now haha p.s.s. Some houses have already put up Christmas lights and it is severely nostalgic! Love yall! Miss yall! November 11, 2013 This week was good! My new companion is Hermana Arvoy. She just turned 19 and is from Winsonsin. She went to the Mexico MTC. She graduated in 2013. Crazy! It is just me and her and I am very grateful. We are doing good and working together on our Spanish. A really cool experience happened at the Library when I was emailing last P-day. I was finished emailing and was watching "I am a Mormon" videos while I waited for my companion to be done. A man in his mid 20's came and sat next to me and was watching these gospel rock singer videos on the computer. Not too soon later he tapped on my shoulder and asked me what mormons were. Before I knew it, I taught Ricardo (the man) the Restoration, Gospel of Jesus Christ, and part of the plan of salvation. He had so many questions. It was a really great experience and he told me he could tell I was really happy. I asked if missionaries could come over and he said it might not be a good idea because he lives at a Christian Ministry. I told him the missionaries could meet him somewhere else but he ended up just taking our card and number. He said he really was interested. I just hope he remembers what he learned and felt the spirit. We have a new investigator. His name is Brian and he is 10. He is the son of a less active who has just now been coming back to church. He is doing great and we are excited for him. Its exciting to see his mom just come back in to the church and love it. On Hermana Arvoy's first day up he in the high desert we taught Alex (20's) and his mom Lila(60's) our investigators. It was a great lesson. We were planning on teaching the restoration again but, at the last second I felt we should teach the plan of salvation. I felt bad for changing the lesson we planned on Hermana Arvoy but I knew if we had the spirit it would be ok. The last lesson, we gave Alex and Lila to read Moroni 10 and Lila loved it. They pay such good attention that I get a little fearful I will say the wrong thing but, I just keep rolling. When I asked Hermana Arvoy to talk about a part of the lesson, she did very well! She helped the lesson go on perfectly. We told them that this next lesson we will be setting a date for baptism so I am just hoping everything goes as planned. Alex and Lila came to church on Sunday and I think it was very good. Pray for them! Maria Sanchez dropped us :( She went to back to her old church and has been talking with her pastor. It just makes me so sad because I know that the Gospel can help her. As we were leaving her house, Isabella, her 6 year old granddaughter ran after us into the street as we walked to our car. She begged to come with us as she held our hands and grabbed on the my companions legs. We felt so sad as we told her she needed to go back to her Grandma. I just hope as she gets older she will remember the missionaries and how close we were with her. Recent Converts Hermano Chiquillo blessed the sacrament for the first time in church this past Sunday! It was so beautiful to see. He is amazing. The most gratifying thing to see was him grabbing a tithing slip on Sunday and attend church every Sunday with his family. He is such a changed man. Jasmine Cabrera is doing very well. Her and Johnny want to drive us when we have our next temple trip and Jasmine wants to get started on family history work because she is the only member she knows of in her family. They will honestly be some of my best friends forever. I can't wait to see them go to the temple in a year! Things are going well. Just keep La Mesa in your prayers. Love y'all! Hermana Sears
35: Nerf war with Hesperia Zone
36: November 18, 2013 This past week was good, a little tough and really humbling. I have learned that I CANNOT TEACH! I am a terrible teacher. Ok that isn't true. Its just that I am learning how to be a much better teacher and how to help my investigators progress and learn in a much better way. I have been frustrated with myself. I think its just because it has been hard lately with depending on my own Spanish but, I love it because I am learning. Poor Hermana Arvoy is having a hard time with Spanish so pray for her but, we are learning together. I look towards the future, forgive myself and pray ALOT. We saw Yara this week. Still waiting for Salt Lake to give her the OK on baptism. But, our lesson with her went really well. She talked about having a firm and steady course and I immediately thought of Mosiah 5:15. She says she is excited for baptism but, she is already happy now because she is repenting and she says that this is her church. :) The only hard thing for her is her family. She wants her family to be united but, they have no interest at all. Her husband is not faithful and says he never will be but, she still does everything he says. I hope one day that he will have a change of heart. Our lesson with Alex and Lila this week was alright. Our lesson was ok but, luckily the bishop was there to help out. Alex told us he prayed and really felt good. They read 2nd Nephi 31 and loved it! They accepted baptism but they wouldn't accept a date. Its ok. They are wonderful and I am excited for the next lesson. It should be good. We also taught Brian Calles the 10 year old this week. It was a great lesson :) We brought our ZL's because we are passing Brian over to them because we just divided our area so Brian is now their investigator. But, we are excited because we set November 30th for a baptismal date with Brian. It was cute to watch him go to the calendar and pin point when was Nov 30th and smile. We won't be teaching him anymore but I am excited to attend his baptism. Everything is good. We are just searching for new investigators and trying to learn how to be better teachers and speak Spanish. Hermana Arvoy is awesome. Love yall! Hermana Sears November 25, 2013 Wow this week was hard but really great. I was very nervous about our next upcoming lesson with Alex and Lila. So, for our study that morning I prayed for guidance of what to study for their lesson. Once I started to really focus on their needs, everything began to come and I felt not so nervous because I was more prepared but, I still wrote next to my entire lesson "follow the spirit". We went to the lesson with Hermana Vaca and Hermano Gallo. We started with asking them how they liked Alma 32. They told us that they loved it and that they know the Book of Mormon is true. We were blown away! We then followed by teaching some commandments that we prepared to teach. I felt that we should talk about something else but, I didn't want to. So, we continued in the lesson and it continued to feel off. So, once my companion was done talking I did what I felt I should to put the lesson on track with what the spirit | Me with Camilla and Kelly. We were waiting for Yara as she was getting her interview with President Maron for baptism. | wanted. I asked Alex and Lila how they felt about baptism and about the church. From there, we were able to answer some questions that they had and Alex and Lila completely opened up. The lesson went a different direction and it was perfect. The spirit was so strong! My companion and I were so happy! :) It was great! We are still continuing to visit Jasmine (our recent convert that we got married) she is excited to do family history work. She is the first member in her family so I told her that there might not be anyone in her tree yet. Some exciting news, Jasmine's grandmother came to church with her and we are hoping to begin teaching her. She loved the church :) I don't remember if I shared this about Simon(our golden amazing recent convert). Simon is having a really hard time right now. It is very sad. We were teaching his son Aiden who
37: just turned 8 that Simon wanted to baptize. Well, Simon's ex-wife found out that Aiden was attending church. She said if she found out that Aiden or Gunter (simon's 2 sons) were attending church again, she would take full custody of the kids. So, we are just trying to help Simon out. He is amazing. He does all he can to help. He volunteers at the Bishop storehouse when he can even though he suffers physical pain everyday and has a hard time walking. Please pray for Simon Ochua. I believe I mention how I am working on Charity and love this month. The Lord answers my prayers so quickly. It is amazing. As I have prayed for Charity, there have been so many moments where I have been able to recognize and act on instances where I could be more compassionate. We were having dinner with Hermana Martinez in the ward. She was very quiet and watched us in silence as we ate. (many of the members only serve us and don't eat with us. Sometimes they sit and watch us eat and sometimes we eat alone, its part of the hispanic culture) I asked her if she was excited for Navidad (Christmas). She said not too much. I asked her why and she told us that her mother in El Salvador recently passed away and so Christmas wont be the same this year. I asked her what some traditions her family had for Christmas. She talked fondly about her childhood and about her mother and was crying as she talked. I told her that her mother must have been amazing and an especially good cook if Hermana Martinez learned from her. We talked more about our parents and our siblings and our childhood. I felt even more blessed as she told us what it was like growing up in poverty in Central America. I cant even imagine losing my mother and I can't imagine what she was going through. We ended with telling her how wonderful a reunion she will have with her mother. I can't explain the emotions I felt when I was with her. My heart was ached. Also, this week we visited a less active Hermana Garcia. Hermana Garcia is a very stubborn hard woman but we found her soft spot and she loves us :) Sadly though, Hermana Garcia has been having a hard time. She has many physical illnesses and marital problems but on top of that she cares for her mother 24/7 who she needs to feed and change and bathe everyday. Hermana Garcia usually has a frown that she is stuck but occasionally smiles but doesn't show too much emotion (besides anger). This week when we went to see her she was relieved. She said she was feeling sola (alone) We were talking with her about her mother and I felt prompted to ask if we could see her. We went to the back room where this tiny old woman was laying in a bed. She looked terrible and I began to tear up as I saw her but told myself quickly to stay strong. Hermana Garcia let me help her mother take her medicine and feed her oatmeal. Her mother can talk so I asked her if her favorite color was Rosa (pink). (Because all her blankets were pink) She began to just stare at me confused. So I yelled louder, "Es Rosa su color favorita?" Hermana Garcia then told me her name is Rosa and that is why she is confused haha. We said goodbye to Rosa and she asked us if we could come back. We told her we would definitely come back next time. Afterwards, as we were saying goodbye to Hermana Garcia, she broke down and began to cry. It has been hard for her to care for herself when she needs to care for her mother. None of her siblings will care for Rosa. She kept saying while she was sobbing, "Ella es mi mama" She is my mother. Again I felt that same ache and love for Hermana Garcia and Rosa. I am so grateful for there opportunities to learn how to be more charitable but, at the same time it hurts so much. I really love these women in the La Mesa ward so much and I think I can only feel this capacity to love because I have prayed for more charity in my life. Spanish is coming well. I love it. I understand really well now and for the 2nd time I have slept talked in Spanish. My poor companion. I also sometimes think in Spanish haha. I can't believe you will be only 3 hours aways in Vegas! I am not too far from the border of Nevada. Sorry this email was so long. Love you guys alot! Hermana Sears December 2, 2013 This past week was slow but good. Everyone is so kind and so loving to us. I got the package a while back THANK YOU SO MUCH! No worries, I have yet to open it. My "Zone Lords" ehh I mean Zone leaders have it ;) They refuse to give it to me until the day before my Birthday because I told them I will be really tempted to open it early (I guess you could say I am pulling a James Harding haha) Our Ward Mission Leader is taking all of us missionaries out for lunch on my birthday. He is a convert of 4 years and a really great guy. Everyone is finding out its my birthday and EVERYONE wants to feed us on that day. My companion and I are bracing ourselves for full bellies all day. We are visiting a less active right now named Elvia. She is wonderful and I am so grateful my Spanish has improved leaps and bounds because I can connect more with the people. Elvia suffers from severe schizophrenia and cross stitching helps her stay busy. She wants to teach me how to cross stitch and I will show her crocheting. Also another less active named Emma wants me to teach her how to crochet little socks. haha I love our less actives. Just need to get them to church! We are setting goals with them. Like going to the temple and receiving a patriarchal blessing and some are doing better at attending. Poco a poco. We went to visit an old investigator the other day and they weren't home so we decided to go tracting. Almost no one answered the door. We saw a couple walking a ways off but I was to pansy to cross the street to talk to them. We kept tracting. Then, this couple crossed the street and was walking towards us. We approached them and asked them if we could share a message. They said, "Go for it." We taught a mini restoration, bore our testimonies and got to know them. It went really well and we connected with them really well. They gave us their address and number and we were able to refer them to the English sisters in our zone. It was just a great experience to give us more excitement in the work. Thanksgiving was great! Hispanics cook the same thing that Americans do on thanksgiving and BOY is the food good. Mashed potatoes, turkey, ham, corn, veggies, yams, pumpkin pie, banana cream pie, and brownies haha Mom, remember how I used to be picky about food. Now I eat everything!!! I love it all. But, (don't tell anyone I said this) your chicken flautas are still my favorite :) We had dinner with the Victoriano family. Christmas though is going to be all Tamales.
38: I can't wait to see all of all at Christmas time! Hopefully I will still be in Hesperia after this transfer in 2 weeks. :) Love yall! Por favor, send me a photo of the living room :) Love, Hermana Sears Story that I forgot to mention hahahaha So the other day we were getting gas and this escalade pulls up behind us. I didn't notice anything strange but apparently my companion did. She told me after this encounter, that this African American guy was looking at me. As I saw him approaching, I thought in my head, "ugh this guy is going to beg for money." He then started talking to me and asking me my name/if i was single and for my number. Among the many things he said, my favorite was "How am I supposed to get to know ya if I don't have ya numbah?" I told him that we were missionaries and that we were mormon. He said, "y'all be different!" "Mormons?! I shouldn't hit on that" So embarrassing. My companion was sitting in the front seat cracking up as this guy was leaning on the back of the car talking to me as I put gas in the car. I gave him a mormon.org card and told him it can bless his life. He took it and walked away and said, "I be blessed." Awww man. We were cracking up as he drove off. December 9, 2013 This past week was good! Thank you for the package! I opened up the package on the 2nd at a zone activity but I kept all the presents in the packages. I got so excited when I saw Pig. I forgot I even asked for him. My companion and all the missionaries in the zone were taking turns holding Pig during our activity. He is too stinkin cute. Thank you so much for my coat and scarf. It is freezing here! The Ayala's were super nice. A couple days before my birthday we had dinner with them and they got me a cake and presents and also my two greenies I trained gave her a present to give me. It was so sweet. I opened all my presents in our apartment just with my companion. Thank you for everything! I love the necklace and calendar and we use the flashlights a lot because it is dark by 5:30. Thank you for the gift card! I am excited to use it. Also, I love my new shirt. :) My birthday was great...well it could have gone better but I am working on being positive. haha All our appointments canceled and it was the beginning of getting sick but, I still enjoyed it. That morning Yara canceled but, then our WML took us out for lunch to this sweet buffet. Right afterwards we had an appointment with Elvia, a less active. She fed us a "mystery dish". Very sketchy food that could serve about 4 people but we trudged through it and ended up asking if we could take it to go. Then RIGHT after that appointment we had dinner with the Salay family. We were already so stuffed but, luckily the Salays were making sopes. My favorite! So then we topped off our stomachs with 3 sopes. That night though I was tossing my cookies. I guess something just didn't sit well with me. The next day I began to get a small cold that over the course of the weekend became more like the flu and strep. My body just ached bad and I had the chills. We still aren't sure what I had. I am better now. Still recovering. My throat just hurts really bad. First time I have been really sick on my mission. Not fun. Luckily, I could work all week and the worst of it came Sunday night so I didn't miss anything big. Simon, our recent convert is in rehab due to his overuse of painkillers. So please pray for him. We found 4 new investigators this week. We found this cute family. The mother is LDS but inactive. She is a lost member. Since no one seems to know who she is. When we knocked on the door they let us in. The mother stayed in her room with her husband and left us with 9 kids. 7 of them were theirs but all 9 lived in the house. It was so fun teaching all the kids. All the kids were full of energy and loved us. They asked good questions and after the lesson was done we sat the re and answered questions they had about Jesus. We hope they will accept the gospel more so we can continue to visit them. Can't wait to see yall at Christmas! Con amor, Hermana Sears | With the Ayala's!
39: I think I mentioned this last time but, Simon is in rehabilitation due to an abuse of pain-killers. We called him and suggested scriptures to read. Please keep him in your prayers. Johnny and Jasmine are doing wonderful! I always tell them that their sons Julian and Ethan are my substitute nephews for the time being. Hermano Chiquillo is still an amazing faithful member. Love that man! I truly believe he was so hard to get baptized because Satan knew how powerful of a member he was going to become. Remember the Calles family? Well she was the inactive we found. Brian, her son who we taught the first 2 lessons, got baptized. (We gave the new set of Elders Brian due to our division of the areas) It was so sweet. When he came out of the water he was smiling so big and let out a big breath of relief. It was too cute! I love that kid! Things are going great! Brother and Sister Murphy, thank you for the Christmas CDs! My companion and I love them! Grandma Sears, Thank you for your package! Your birthday card was a hoot! (birthday card said, "shake it up on your birthday" Had margaritas and other alcoholic drinks displayed. Aww man cracked me and my companion up) Con Sinceridad y Amor, Hermana Sears p.s. I will be skyping from the Bishops home again on Christmas and it will only be 40 mins long. I can't wait to see you all! It will probably be around 5:00 Cali time. December 23, 2013 Merry Christmas family and friends! We had a great experience this week of relying on the Lord. Our appointment had canceled and our back-ups were not home so we had the opportunity to knock on doors. We pulled out our map, sectioned off an area and we prayed to know which street to contact. We were lead to Pinewood street. We knocked on about 5 doors and people were kind. We then knocked on the door of the next house and no one answered for a while. My companion almost turned around to go but I said, "Wait for it." Earlier I saw the back of someone walking inside the home so I knew someone was inside. About 2 seconds pass and the door opened. It was a short Hispanic man. We say hello and he explains that he doesn't understand English very well. Then we say with a big smile, "Hablamos Espanol." I turn to my new missionary to give the approach and practice her Spanish. After she explains to this man. "Somos misioneras de la iglesia de jesucristo de los santos de los ultimos dias." (The Church's name is even longer in Spanish) He says, "Soy Mormon." or I am mormon. He then got so happy and invited us inside his home. He shared with us how he was baptized in Mexico and his whole family are members. He has a daughter who is very active and living in Utah but, he and his wife and son are not active but he knows that he needs to return to church and he desires to. We shared with him the experience of how we prayed to know where to go tracting and he told us that when he saw us walking down the street as he was driving to his house that he told his son that we were mormon missionaries and that we were going to come to their house. Well, we did. And it was a great experience. We have informed the ward council about him and we are excited to help fellowship him and get him back to church. The ward Christmas Party was this past Friday and man do I LOVE the La Mesa ward. Latinos know how to party and I just love them so much. | Oh yeah. We had our Christmas party. A local relief society made 210 hats for all the missionaries. That is why we are wearing hats. | December 16, 2013 FELIZ NAVIDAD I am so blessed!!! La Mesa is wonderful and I couldn't ask for better leaders or better companions. Our Ward Mission Leader has set a goal for the ward to find ATLEAST 2 new investigators for each companionship each week. There are 6 missionaries in the La Mesa ward so that is 6 friends/investigators from the members. Wow! The leaders in our ward and us missionaries are really working together as one to hasten the work! I know that I am so blessed to be in such a BOSS ward. I can't believe I have almost 10 months in my mission! Loco! This week we got 3 new investigators and have been doing well at consistently finding as we are trying to increase our teaching pool. Alex and Lila our amazing investigators are on hold until after the holidays due to family in town and being ocupada :( I find myself dreaming every night about the investigators we are teaching and sometimes having nightmares of them dropping us. So scary! My sickness is almost completely gone. This past week we taught the Garcia family who is less-active. They are really sweet and as I spoke when I taught them I didn't feel any pain. It was a miracle but, then right after we finished teaching I couldn't breathe or swallow without cringing in pain. Hermana Garcia gave me medicine, she offered soup and gave me a warm drink with honey to sooth my throat. I love that woman! I am so grateful to not be sick.
40: Thank you Wake family for your package - that is so sweet :) Thank you Chappellow family for your sweet package! I am so excited to open it (ok..I might have peeked)! The ward letters were very sweet. I am excited to talk to Sister Howard in Spanish. It is fun to be able to read letters in Spanish. :) My companion and I bought construction paper and cut out a Christmas tree. It is not too shabby :) All the presents are under our tree. We are excited for Christmas. The holidays have been wonderful. I have always been told that you will have a very happy Christmas when you have done good things that year. I have found the key to my happiness in my mission has been compassion and work. I am excited for the new year. I love you! Hermana Sears p.s. We can do google plus or skype. whatever is best for y'all! | December 30, 2013 Its almost a new year and I am so excited! Time is flying and things are looking up. I am glad the holidays are over and that the new year is coming because so many people are wanting to start fresh. I don't have much to say but I just had a really neat experience and just made a good friend :) As I was just about to type this email to y'all, a woman came to me and asked if I could help her with a question on her job application. I helped and she walked away. She then came back and apologized for bothering me and asked if I could help. I said of course and went to sit with her at a library table. For the past 2 hours we worked together to f ill out her job application. She has fibromyalgia and has been working all day so she can't write anymore. I wrote with my best handwriting possible and we talked as we filled out the paperwork. She told me how she has been looking for work for months and she has been really stressed out due to her mother and her father recently passed away back to back. She shared with me an experience of how she was praying all day today to find a job and had one job fall through that she thought she would receive. She said she was praying and praying and | said, "Jesus, I am not going home till I find a job." The next place she walked into told her they were hiring and would give her a full-time job. So then she ran over to the library and she said that it must of been meant to be to meet me. When we finished we exchanged numbers and she wants to come and read the bible with me next Monday. :) It was a good day. Love all of you! Hermana Sears January 6, 2014 Buenas Tardes, This morning we went on this beautiful hike and did our studies on top of a big peak in the mountain s. Currently I just finished Mark and I am trying to finish the new testament. Lately I have been focusing on the Atonement for many of our less actives, investigators and for myself. I have looked up definitions in PMG, the Bible Dictionary and the scriptures but nothing has yet stood out to me personally by the spirit. Today as I was reading about Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane I began to feel the spirit and feel through the spirit a little bit of the Love that our Savior has for us. He paid the price. We don't have to feel burdened down by anything that we have given over to him. He suffered so that we can be free. And we need to forgive ourselves as well. Because if I don't forgive myself, then I am telling God that I don't really believe I can be forgiven. This past week I have set higher goals for myself and came to the conclusion that hey, I really can reach them. All of them. It is up to me. God is on my side. It is possible. I can be better and I can change. We worked really hard and so we have muchos appointments for this upcoming week and 5 potentials and around 10 less actives who expect to see us every week. We treat our less actives as investigators and we have to drop them when they aren't progressing. We are working with a woman named Hermana Thompson. She is hilarious. (the lady with the 6 dogs who will be me in 30 years if I don't get married) Mom, I am still trying to get a picture with her and all the dogs. Soon! We are working with her to get her patriarchal blessing. She keeps telling us that is about time for her to know her tribe. The only thing is we are helping her get off coffee. She knows it 's wrong but she tells us that she gave up smoking already and she needs some coffee. poco a poco. | This is the picture on our Christmas card :)
41: Remember the story about the man we found tracting who was baptized in Mexico and his family is inactive. Well they are coming to church every Sunday and doing so good! We are happy :) We were in our apartment all day due to Sister Arvoy having the flu. She is better now but we learned how amazing and loving the La MEsa Ward is. 2 people came to the apartment to drop off soup after we told them that we had food and we were fine. (Latinos do not take no for an answer when it comes to food) And 6 families called us to ask if we needed anything. We felt so loved. The Bishop texted us too asking if we needed anything and that church was different without us. :) We told an Elder in our ward that we were sick and wouldn't be able to attend church and he told Hna Chavarria (When Hermana Chavarria knows your business, EVERYBODY knows your business. A joke in the ward is if you want people to know about something...call hna chavarria) They announced it in relief society that we were sick and I can only imagine the reaction of the sisters. One week a sister walked into relief society with our dinner calendars and announced that people have been canceling dinner appointments with the missionaries and that they have been without dinner. The reaction of all the women was as if one of the missionaries died. I had to keep myself from laughing. I love this ward! I have 3 more weeks until the next transfer. We will see what happens. I love yall! Hermana Sears January 21, 2014 Hello family! Things are going great. Not much to say since I just wrote. Mom and Dad, I sent a letter yesterday that you should receive soon. Things are going well. We just received news that in March our mission will have a special conference with one of the twelve apostles and a seventy. I am really excited :) Yesterday was my 11 month mark in this area and I still do not know if I am leaving but everyone is already saying their goodbyes. I have been reflecting a lot on this area and the miracles and wonderful people I have had the pleasure of getting to know. I am just praying that my effort is accepted of the Lord. I am really working on trying to work hard all day, everyday. Nothing feels better than to come home completely whipped after a hard days work. On Saturday for service I washed and cleaned 2 boxers for a member who just had a baby. It was quite fun. They are looking mighty fine. I am more contemplating becoming a vet. Last night we received a text from our new investigator Genesis that just loved our first lesson with her. Her mom was not present during the lesson and basically told her that we were different from what they believed and we won't be coming over. We were pretty sad when Genesis texted us that but we replied telling her to keep praying and reading the book of Mormon and if she has any questions she can text us. She Immediately texted us questions about the virgin Mary and the sacrament. We just hope that she will be able to be led to the gospel when she is older or have a desire to learn more. Thank you Aunt Jane and Uncle Sherwin for your card! Jillian and James I got your ring and it fits perfectly!! I love it and wear it almost everyday along with my necklace. HAPPY late BIRTHDAYY JULIA! I love you!! I will let you know what happens next week! Love you! -Hermana Sears | Emma Ibarra made us Tripe (cow intestine) | At the temple!
42: January 16, 2014 Hello Family! Sorry I was not able to write this week. We had a temple trip so we switched our pday to today. The temple was beautiful and was really nice to slow down. I love it here. This week was great. We have been steadily finding new investigators every week and weeding out the ones not interested and the ones who are. Sofia, an investigator from Guatemala, she has gotten more interested in baptism. She has gone from "I am catholic and I don't want to be baptized" to "I will be baptized one day but not now" So that is a step in the right direction. I have been focusing hard on how to teach better with the spirit. Because only through the spirit can anyone be truly converted. We have many people we are working with but so far not anyone who is really interested and it was bothering me and I knew that I needed to have more faith that the Lord has people out there prepared to hear the gospel. That day, we found Anna, ( I will talk about her more next week) she is GOLDEN and will be really hard but, we know we can do it. And also there is a woman named Cristina who felt the spirit so strong as we read Moroni 10. I am trying to just put all my heart into every lesson and praying that these people will receive a confirmation of the truth. Things are going well. Transfers are in one week! Crazy. I love you guys. Stay safe. Share the gospel :) Love, Hermana Sears January 27, 2014 I LEFT! I am now in Ontario California! I am also training a new greenie (my 4th daughter) and all I can say is overwhelmed but really excited!!!! I am so sorry but dinner is in 5 min and me and my temporary companion are running really late. It was really sad to leave La Mesa and I cried when I gave a farewell in sacrament meeting. I love that ward. It was funny because I didn't tell too many people that I was leaving and so when they announced it on sunday during sacrament meeting the whole ward gasped and was saying "nooooo" and turned around to stare at me. Together they were joking of protesting haha I felt loved :) Things are going great well...kinda. I have lots of stories already of this place it is more ghetto than Hesperia. I am excited and a little nervous but alright! I can do it. I am ready to BAPTIZE!! Mom you would be terrified at the condition the elders left our apartment. the bath tub was compleltely black and yellow. As well as everything else. Before and after pictures will come next week. (its now shiny and white :) ) Love yall! Love, Hermana Sears | This is the Alday family that come to church every sunday since we found them tracting | Saying goodbye to Hermana Arvoy :( | Me and Camilla my fave lil girl in Hesperia taking picture before I left. She told me she wants to come visit me in Texas and ride all the horses.
43: February 3, 2014 This week has probably been one of the hardest weeks so far on my mission. Ok, the hardest but we have still been able to see great things happen. First off, my new companion is Hermana Munoz. She is from Utah but was born in Colombia and she speaks perfect Spanish. It is such a blessing. She has been helping me and we try to speak Spanish ALWAYS. I now read and do most of my studies all in Spanish. We have 2 solid investigators. One is Joe Samora. We just started the 15 step stop smoking program. He has a BDate for 28th of February, we hope he can quit smoking. The ward is great. They are very nice. I am surprised though at how much I miss La mesa but I know this is where the lord wants me. This Sunday I bore my testimony and I realized how happy I am to be a missionary. It is such a privilege. Love, Hermana Sears February 10, 2014 This week was a rollercoaster. Really tough but without fail Heavenly Father always permits everything to turn out ok when we work hard and endure. We were not able to meet with Jose Samora this week and start the stop smoking program. (sorry, its not "Joe" it is "Jose", I was typing super fast last week. Forgive my typos and terrible English) He has pneumonia and was sent to the hospital. He has been there since Tuesday and he got out on Sunday. We called him every other day to see how he was doing but honestly we were pretty happy he was in the hospital because you can't smoke in the hospital muahaha. On Sunday I called him yesterday and asked him how he was doing. He said he was feeling better and that he was leaving the hospital in a couple hours. I asked if he has smoked at all this week and he said no. I told him "FELICITACIONES" (congratulations!) You haven't smoke in a week Jose! How do you feel? He said he wanted a cigarette. We both laughed and then he asked me if I had any cigarettes. I laughed and then I told him NO! Haha We warned him that when he went home he had to do all these little things we learned about from the stop smoking program that help smokers turn off the desire to smoke. We hope he did them last night. We are starting the program tonight. His date for the 28th is still on. I am excited! It is pretty cool because we translated the program to Spanish and the mission probably will use it once we finalize it. We are also teaching a woman named Luz. She is basically golden but just needs to follow through with her commitments. She told us that only in our church she feels like she receives personal revelation. She has attended many churches and she told us that they all told her to stay away from the Mormons and that they were the right church. That frustrated her and made her more curious about us. She told us that she knows we are true but she feels unworthy to progress. Only the spirit has been able to find her needs and teach her. I had another experience to grow my patience and charity. This experience allowed me to see how far I have come since the beginning of my mission. This woman named MariaEugenia randomly called us and asked if we could be at her house in 10 min. We ofcourse jumped on it and went. We arrived 5 min late and when she opened the door the first thing she told us was "your late". She was a character. She talked to us for a long time and basically all I could figure out was that she wanted us to come over to find someone to take a cat to a shelter. I explained what our purpose was as missionaries and she cut me off to ask how old I was. It was really hard to listen to her belittle us and our religion. I kept reminding myself that she was a child of God and that there was something in her life that I didn't know or understand that made her the way she was. In the end it came down to her testing us to see if we were actually charitable people. Part of me felt like telling her that this is not what we do, but then I realized it is what we do. We help people and we need to be examples. So after she told us that we were selfish human beings and that she doesn't trust anyone and that we were probably going to forget her once we leave her house, we left and we made a couple phone calls which lead us to many other random shelters and cat ladies and eventually we found a woman who was willing for free to come and take the cat. (There is much more to this story and this was a span of 2 days) But it all worked out PERFECTLY after our patience was tested and we almost gave up twice. Of course Maria Eugenia was not interested in listening to us but her complete attitude towards us and her manner was different. She called us up last night to say thank you and that she would call us when she had time to listen to a message from us but that she was grateful that we were able to help her. It was hard but it was worth it. The ward has gotten so much better already. The people are too sweet and I don't think I should say this but I will...I am kickin the ward leadership in the behind and getting things moving. There are still 4 elders in our ward along with us and I called them up to set up a meeting to talk about what we can do to help the leaders in the ward and the bishop help out in the work of salvation. It is terrible but true that the Organization of Spanish wards are horrible but I am excited to slowly improve one thing at a time. All you have to do is ask. Very nicely and with encouragement and gratitude. We just got to work together! Funny Stories: My first week here Ontario was pretty funny and eye opening. The first day we went to our apartment our neighbor was completely drunk and helped himself at moving a box into our apartment. We protested and said it was ok but he insisted. While he was in our apartment (NOT ALLOWED) for like 10 sec he dropped his cigarette on our carpet and we just stood by the door trying to shew him out. Aww man. His name is Julio and the poor guy is always drunk along with all our neighbors. They are really nice. There is a set of elders who also live in our apartment complex and they text and warn us before we come home to go around the long way to get to our apartment if our neighbors are too drunk. On my first day, we went out to go proselyte and our neighbors were all outside talking. They told us if we heard the news. We said no. Apparently a man was killed by a school a block from our apartment. As we were driving by we could see the body. It was scary and freaked me out but its all good now. Things are looking up! Love yall! -Hermana Sears
44: February 18, 2014 I only have a little time so forgive the typos and terrible grammar. (my English is bad now) This week was GREAT! Renata, Jose, Jonathan They are a wonderful family that is best friends with a very sweet less active member family, the estradas. Renata and Jose are the parents and they are on fire! They come to church every Sunday and they are reading the book of Mormon. So humble and so nice and we just love them and have become such great friends. She makes us jello every time we come over and they call us up all the time because they want us to come eat haaha. They love the church so much that now we are teaching Renata's mother (who we were told would NEVER think about doing anything different from catholic) We are planning to soon set a date. They have the spirit so strong. We are so grateful that we have the opportunity to teach them. Cynthis and Moses Moses (dad) and Cynthia (20 daughter) are another blessing to teach. They love everything we are teaching and ask great questions. They again are so humble and he knows that what we are teaching rings truth and can bless his family. They have baptismal date for the 22nd of March. Its so late because they can only come to church every other sunday. Nora and Luz (sisters) Luz and Nora were just a testimony to me and Hermana Munoz that we were meant to come to this area. The Elders were teaching them but it was hard for them to connect. Luz opened up to us about her struggles with feeling unworthy to pray. Luz and Nora have both struggled hard things in their life and it just reminds me of how grateful I am to have grown up in the light of the gospel. They are both so smart and feel that things we are teaching really are true. Luz was attending many churches and all of them would tell her to stay away from the Mormons. She told us that all those preachers would make her feel sad and frustrated because "how was she supposed to know that they were right." She eventually, through a friend, came to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day saints. She says that only through attending our services she has been able to receive personal revelation. They are for sure going to be baptized but the only question is when. Because Luz needs to completely leave coffee. Leo and Irma The SWEETEST couple with a baby. They have been investigators for 2 years and haven't been able to be baptized because they aren't married. Irma comes to church every sunday but Leo hasn't because of work. They have been praying for a marriage date and they decided the 21st of March. We are so excited! I feel so blessed to harvest the fruit of so many labors of other missionaries. I shared with Leo about the pathway program through byu Idaho and he is excited about that option. He has a hard time finding work because he only has a diploma. They told us that there dream plans are to get married, be baptized and go to church every sunday by finding better jobs :) This week was great. So many wonderful miracles here. I love it. I hope remember more and write more next week! Love yall! Hermana Sears | February 24, 2014 Hola! This week was another great week. First though I want to thank you for the bike! I absolutely love it and I will probably want it at byui too! Its super cute. And, my glasses problem isn't with the frames but with one of the side pieces. I am going to Costco another pday with the mission nurse. Also, I want to mention that I have been completely safe and no worries. We are obedient and we have the spirit so we are very safe. The Sambrano family (Jose, renata and Jonathan) are doing so wonderful! It is such a privilege to teach an entire family. Jose, that father, is ready to get baptized "right now" haha but he wants them all to be baptized as a family so we postponed the baptism to March 8th, so that Renata can be more sure. They are the sweetest family and are learning little by little. This past lesson we had, they asked us how they could keep the spirit with them as a family. Jose told us that when we come to visit, they always feel peace and they can feel the spirit but when we leave it is gone. He asked how they could keep it with them as a family. I explained about how we can keep that spirit with us by doing the small things everyday. I explained that it isn't the easiest thing but by those small things we will see huge blessings. I gave them the example of how my parents always had scriptures and prayer every night as a family. Us kids would always groan but we would eventually gather together as a family and feel the spirit. Renata then began to cry and she completely opened up for the first time. She expressed her desire to have her son know about God and the gospel because she never had that growing up. She wants her family to be united and happy. We explained that she can have it through living the gospel. We met Renata by accident when she was the only one home when we went to visit a less active home. We asked her (thinking she was a member) if we could share a message. She accepted and we became good friends. She always makes us jello :) We were told that the missionaries many times have tried to teach Renata and her family but she never listened until now. I am so grateful that the Lord prepared this family at this time so that we can have the privilege to teach them. Also Leo and Irma are doing great! We are seeing them tonight. They are the family who just needs to get married and then they can be baptized. They have so much faith and we are excited to really get this wedding going! Also we are teaching Moses and Cynthia. They are progressing really well! The spirit has been giving us all the right things to say. They are honest and love learning and so far have accepted everything. They tell us it all just feels right. haha because its true! Sorry running low on time. I love you guys and I love hearing from you! Thanks for the emails :) Mucho Amor Hermana Sears
45: March 3, 2014 Hola familia! Highlights from this week. It was a pretty good week. Haha I might say that alot because its easy for me to block out the bad. Whenever something really hard comes, I have learned that its because something even better is about to happen. On Saturday we had an awesome activity that us missionaries planned. I wish I had taken pictures. Sorry I am so bad at it. We had 2 talks about the importance of family home evening and then after we played some silly games and food. The first game was the one where you tie the two balloons to your ankles and you try to keep your balloons alive while you stomp and try to pop other people's balloons. It was hilarious! Hermano Clavel (crazy but funny member of the bishopric) was cheating by blowing up new balloons when no one was watching. Everyone was so mad (hispanics get serious for competition) Nevertheless my team won. BLANCOS! (white team) It was so fun because kids, teens, missionaries, adults and even seniors over 60 were playing this game in the church gym. It was a successful activity for investigators and members so we hope that more people will show up to the next activity we plan. The Zombrano family are doing very well! THat is Jose, Jonathan and Renata. For sure, Jose and Jonathan will be baptized this saturday but the mom might take a little more time. We are excited for their baptism. They came to Saturday FHE activity and they loved it! I had them on my team. Team Blanco. And it was too fun. At the activity they were able to talk with more people and bond more with the ward. Oh my goodness we are too excited for Moses and Cynthia! They came to church on Sunday for the first time and Moses loved it! Moses this past lesson shared with us some great experiences that really humbled me. He told us, "I can see a change in myself." The first experience was that he really thought about prayer this past week. He told us that before he entered the highway, he would always do the trinity cross on his chest. But now that he understands the correct form of prayer--praying to God in the name of Jesus Christ--he has been practicing his prayers in that way before he enters the highway instead of crossing himself. We were blown away that he recognied that on his own. Another experience he had was that one day while he was waiting in his car while his family was in the store shopping, he saw two very inmodestly dressed women walk by. He said he saw them and immedieately something that I had said during a lesson on chastity popped into his head. He then immediately turned to look the other way and kept his thoughts aways from them. We explained that it was the spirit that brought to his remembrance those words. Because those words are true. Then, Cynthia shared with us that when she was at a point to make a choice between right and wrong she said she thought of words that I had taught also. I felt very overwhelmed with the spirit and a feeling of complete humility. i can't really describe it. I guess the feeling was, "Who am I to be doing this work?" Who am I to have a part in changing these people's lives. I have barely any life experience or education to do what I do. We enter their home, and we teach them, completely relying on the spirit to make our lesson into His lesson. Its just a greater testimony to me that this. is. all. true. The spirit testifies it to me everyday. The Lord does great things through the small and weak. Leo and Irma are still set to be married this month. We hope it happens :) Our lesson last week was amazing. They have such strong testimonies of the church. They are just being tested right now. They are both searching for work and haven't found any success. We hope they stay strong! We are teaching this woman named Sara who is amazing! She is a new investigator. She asked us this past week, "Can I ask you something?" We were puzzled becasue she looked very solemn. We ofcourse told her yes. She told us that she was wondering if it was possible for her to feed us but if we couldn't eat with other people it was ok. We laughed and told her that we LOVE eating. She was so excited to give us food. I feel that is how they show their love for us haha Well I love you all. Time is flying so fast. I sleep walk/talk every night. My companions love it! haha...kinda Hermana Sears p.s. I went to costco today and got an eye exam. They did not take cigna and so I just paid for it. Lets just say either I am going to need to get a job when i get home and not go to school or I am going to need a wee bit of help for college because I aint got no money :( Maybe I can pay month by month for rent and I could work for byui. I am going to just super glue my glasses because that should make them work. Only target and sears take cigna here and at target they told me that cigna was jsut a 20% discount and JUST my lenses would amount to around $250 because my eyesight is so bad. So I left and decided I can wait till I get back to texas. My glasses are fine for now once I get them glued. I had a bout a half a box of contacts when you sent that package at valentines day. So I will be good for about two months. Also, to clarify about the bike. No, I am not in a bike area at all. My area is huge! But, we can put it on a bike rack on our car and drive to a part of our area and bike. BUT I am excited to bike. Its an opportunity to talk to more people in place of driving all day in a car from appointment to appointment. We have been blessed with so much work but its hard to find when we are stuck in a car.
46: March 10, 2014 Buenas Dias! Jonathan and Jose were baptized this week. Renata (the mother) decided for herself that she was going to wait. Honestly, I was pretty happy that she made that decision herself because I didn't feel she was ready and I really didn't want her to be baptized only because she was afraid of what people would think if she wasn't. I know that we really do everything for these people to get baptized and its part of our purpose but I just do not like pushing people when they aren't ready and they don't really have a testimony. I want Renata to want to make this decision. So we are still working with her. The baptism day was a crazy day. Luckily there were a couple of missionaries who helped us set up. We accidentally left the water running (as the knobs to turn the water on were in the men's bathroom) and so the baptismal font was almost overflowing. We were mortified. But it was good because our baptismal candidates could be dunked good ;) But when they went under the water all the kids who were sitting watching the ordinance got pretty wet. They were in the splash zone. I laughed as we helped dry the carpet. A member was mad at us and chewed us out for being negligent and also for not talking to the non-members who came with the Zambrano family. Fortunately I have learned to take it and not let it affect the way I treat them even when what they say is completely untrue and when they don't see or recognize the work that we are doing. I think the members of the bishopric saw what happened or heard what happened and they congratulated us and thanked us for all we do. The ward hasn't had a convert baptism from our area in more than 6 months. I know that the Lord is teaching me so much and even though you would prefer to not be belittled or sad/angry, I know that I am having these experiences because its preparing me for the other challenges I will have in the future. There will always be those special people. haha But Sunday was the really special day to see Jonathan and Jose confirmed. It was beautiful. The family getting baptized invited around 10 of their family members who aren't members and they also came to church. Jonathan (14) who just got baptized, was giving a tour of the church to his cousin before the baptismal service. Then on Sunday, when the non members came, Jonathan was teaching his cousin about the sacrament and that "he could take the bread if he wanted to but he didn't have to". It was very sweet. We are excited for them as they have plans to go to the temple once their mother is soon baptized. How is Grandma Sears doing? Everything is well! We are excited for this new transfer. We were happy to end last transfer with a baptism. I love y'all! A ton of Love! Hermana Sears March 17, 2014 This week wasn't the most eventful. Except for we had a mission conference. It was a combined conference with the Redlands and Rancho Cucamonga mission. Neil L. Anderson came and so did Elder Perkins and Elder Hyam from the seventy. The seats were assigned so I was nervous we would be put way in the back but we were the 4th row! So lucky! To be honest I wasn't the most excited about having Elder Anderson come because we were expecting Bednar but, I have learned how wrong I was. I have found such a new admiration for Elder Anderson. He is amazing. All this week since conference I have felt like I am on cloud 9. | As the apostles do when they visit all missions, he shook the hands of the 400+ people in the room. He is very personable and funny. All the talks were spirit packed and just wonderful. Elder Anderson walked around the room as he taught us about our calling as missionaries and about the atonement. It was beautiful. It really stood out to me when he said, "Don't be too complacent in who you are, your life isn't over yet. The Lord doesn't look at us in comparisons but by the desire our hearts. He asked many questions to us missionaries. One of the questions he asked is where in the book of mormon can we find sermons about the atonement. I found myself raising my hand and then thinking "What are you doing?!?" haha He asked me to stand up and share the scripture and tell him what we can learn about the atonement from that scripture. It was surprising to me that I felt completely confident and at peace when I talked to him but it was so wonderful and I am grateful for my increased knowledge of the scriptures due to my mission and the confidence I now have in myself. I wrote this in my journal as I reflected on my experience at conference. "As I stood in the presence of an apostle of the Lord and as he stood within arms reach and looked in my eyes as he taught, I felt clarity. As he spoke, his words pierced my heart and I could feel his honest loving and kind spirit. As he bore his testimony I felt power. He is a witness of Christ and I know the things that he taught were true. I could feel it." I don't mean to write these things to brag about my experience but to share my testimony that we do have prophets on the earth today and that they are witnesses of Christ. I know that Christ lives and that His Atonement is infinite and for every one of us. He loves us. this is Christ's work and His church. Love, Hermana Sears March 24, 2014 Buenas Tardes, This past week was tough and everyone canceled but it ended with a miracle! Our investigators Leo and Irma were married! I am so excited for them. They have a baptismal date for the 11th of April. We can't believe that we are so blessed to harvest the work of years of missionaries trying to baptize this couple. We have been able to really bond with them and support them. They have strong testimonies of this gospel and they can't wait to bear their testimony in sacrament meeting. They are the sweetest! We are too excited! I saw the pictures of Jillian's baby shower and it was so neat! How cute! I loved the theme. Also, the kitchen looks super nice mom! Those shutters are spiffy. I loved the picture of Julia, Jillian and Emma, my sisters! On the lighter side of things because nothing too exciting happened this week. I thought I would mention that I have slept talked and walked every night this week. (my companion has started writing down the things I say) I am now pretty known for my sleep talking/sometimes walking. But I am not the only one. One HUGE Elder from Tonga chased his companion around their apartment at night because he wanted to fight him in his sleep. hahaha thats my favorite story. I have just been told that it is due to the high stress we have as missionaries. Hermana Munoz now is pretty used to it haha I love you all! Hermana Sears
47: Me and my companion riding bikes for the first time! | March 31, 2014 This week was full of knocking on doors because we are on the search!! Since our investigators are getting baptized we got to keep finding! So it's a blessing. This week we taught Cynthia and Moses. We have taught them all the lessons and so we decided to reteach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the middle of our teaching before we even discussed baptism, Moses stopped us and said, "Ya know, I feel that I am going to be baptized soon." Our jaws dropped but we stayed composed as we explained to him that we actually had prayed about a date for baptism for that lesson. We invited him to be baptized on April 12th. He accepted! He fits in so well at church and loves it! Its amazing to see the change in him. Cynthia is taking a little more time and wouldn't accept a date. Attached is a photo of Moses teaching me how to box. It was fun! | Funny Story: Hermana Munoz and I are now officially taking our bikes out. We get in over 20 miles a day biking and its HARD but feels good. The other day we were biking and I see ahead a shopping cart full of stuff and a Hispanic man passed out in the grass right next to his cart trying to get up but falling back down. (innocent me thinks that the guy is having a heart attack) So I sped up to go help him but right before we catch up to him, he hopped up and kept pushing his shopping cart along. I biked up next to him and asked him if he was ok. He explained he didn't speak English and so I spoke to him in Spanish and he just stops and stares at me. (about this time I realize he is suuuper drunk) He tells me that he can see God in my eyes. Then he starts to stare at the sky saying "I love you I love you thank you" I asked him about his family and he talked about them and then started telling us that the 2nd coming is soon and that so many people are going to die but we should be fine. I gave him a card and he started kissing it and crying. I then decided it was time to get out of dodge so I reached out my hand to say goodbye and he grabbed it and shook it and then kissed my hand. Then, he just grabbed his shopping cart once more and marched off. I stood there for a little bit dumb-founded. A "what just happened moment". I then situated my bag on my bike and then Hermana Munoz told me to look ahead. I looked and I see the guy didn't even make it 30 yards before he was passed out again on the side of the road. We cracked up and decided to take another way. Yes, I did feel the earthquake!! It was crazy scary and loud! My companion and I were sitting on the floor of our apartment planning when everything began to shake really hard for about 6 seconds. I had a panic attack and apparently I stopped breathing. I just didn't know what to do. Hermana Munoz who is basically a doctor (She has convinced me to go in to medicine. haha) was sitting in front of me yelling "Breathe! Breathe!" She then tried to get up to help me but when she got up, her leg cramped up and she fell. By then I started laughing and it was only shaking a little. I told her that we need a plan because I had no clue what to do. But, It was pretty freaky. I think they are worse than Hurricanes. We spoke in church on Sunday and it went well. I think sometimes I don't realize how much I have changed. Even from a few months ago. I am scared to return home because I want to keep this spirit. I know I can. I am trying to continue progress in my Spanish and in my character until the end. I love you guys. I hope you have a great week. Hermana Sears | Jonathan and Jose Zambrano's baptism.
48: Me and my mama Haupt and Sister Ott at Sisters conference | Leo and Irma Martinez and also Moses. They are very prepared and I know that they are going to feel the spirit so strong on Friday. We are hoping that their families will come to support them. Sadly Leo and Moses don't recieve too much support from their families. We have been asked to speak at the baptism. I am still not the most fond of giving talks in spanish but I luckily have had lots of experience. Spanish wards here like to have their missionaries give talks often. Before I used to view it as a challenge but now its more of an opportunity. Sister Hamilton! Thank you for you email and sharing your experience. I hope that Christina, Elizabeth and Nick are all well. Julia, good luck with your wisdom teeth! I am glad mom gets to come visit. Ezra is a cutie! Tell joe congratulations! He sounds like a boss lawyer! Emma thank you for the photos! You guys are also too cute! I am so glad that you live so close to home. Jameson travels everywhere! I love you all! Hermana Sears April 14, 2014 Hola Familia! This week was a great week! Leo and Irma were baptized! It was a great service and so was Sunday when they were confirmed. Sadly, Moses was not baptized due to sickness and also his family not supporting him but, he still plans on moving forward with baptism. We have transfers next week and I am not sure what is going to happen. I just really want Moses to be in good hands. I got bit by a dog while tracting. Its not bad. Just on my hand. My companion told me "NO MORE TOUCHING DOGS." I told her that this is like first bite out of the 200 dogs that I have touched haha. It was a fiesty guy. But the good news about that story was that we found 2 new investigators afterwards. We are seeing them again today. Hope all goes well. I had the opportunity to have an interview by President Hobbs and he asked me what I have learned on my mission so far. I went off forever and was able to reflect. I am so grateful for my mission. I don't think I realize sometimes how much I have learned and how much I have changed. I am very happy. I hope you all have a great week this week! I love you all. Dad, be safe in Angola! Mom, have fun with Julia! tell me the funny things she says. [Dad's Note: Laura is in Spokane helping with Ezra while Julia gets her wisdom teeth out. Our kids have a tradition of making funny comments after they come out of anesthesia. Not that we need drugs to say goofy things - it comes naturally.] -Hermana Sears | April 7, 2014 Hello Family!!! This week was again a finding week. We are still on the search for some people who want to change their lives and find truth. We visit members, we tract, we do service and so far haven't had too much success but we are still going. Going by the spirit and trying to stay strong. President Uchtdorf's talk about gratitude really stood out to me. Now I am just trying to apply it. haha that's the hard part. My favorite thing was when President Uchtdorf presented the question, "How are we grateful?" Through being happy and smiling. The other day my district leader told us that he was impressed that we aren't getting discouraged. Why would we get discouraged? I think the beginning of my mission--more than 4 hours of knocking on doors everyday and never a single person ever getting past the 2nd lesson--set me on good ground for the rest of my mission. I now strangely enjoy knocking on doors and even more talking to people and I am good at dealing with people of all ages cranky and the flat out unclassy. Hermana Munoz has now gotten better and has lost a lot of her fear of talking to people :) yay! I know how it feels because I was the exact same way. Besides, we are so blessed! We have 3 baptisms this Friday!
49: April 21, 2014 Mama, Papa, mis Hermanos y mis amigos. I have been transfered!!! This past week was a surprise. I thought that Hermana Munoz and I would stay in Ontario and I was really excited to stay because me and Hermana Munoz do really well together and we LOVE Ontario. But then on Saturday President called in the morning and called me and Hermana Clark to be the first spanish STLs (Sister Training Leaders). He has been hesitant to do this because he didn't want to form any cliques between english and spanish sisters but he feels that the spanish sisters need that support. On my mission I have really been trying to be honest with myself and God. I don't want to do things for the praise of man but for the approval of God. It is so hard as humans. And the way that I have been trying to make sure I don't become too prideful is by thinking more about others. This assignment is a great opportunity to serve the spanish sisters and I know that this assignment didn't come to me because I am "better" than anyone else but perhaps because I have been striving to be my best self. I am now just a little North of Ontario in an area called Upland. Its definitly going to be more finding and harder to find but I am ready for it. Hello tracting. I hear many excuses of why people don't have investigators but I know it is possible! I have full faith that we can find them that are prepared. There has been a common misconception among missionaries that tracting doesnt work. I know that it does and that even though it may not be the most effective way to find, it definitely works and it shows the Lord your willingness to serve Him. We found 2 new investigators last week (after I got bit by that dog) through tracting and they are both, husband and wife, reading the book of mormon together. We are excited for them. This past week was pretty sad as we broke the news to the members about us leaving. We printed out a photo of Leo and Irma at their baptism and put it in a frame for them and wrote our testimonies on the back. They texted us the last night before we left. They told us that they read our testimonies and were crying and were going to miss us so much. I love them :) Also, we called the Zambrano family and had a conversation full of tears. Another sister (funny crazy woman) called up our APs because she wanted to complain to president. We finally calmed her down haha poor missionaries. Everyone was pretty shocked that we got transfered and its hard but, there is a reason for it. I will miss Ontario. I hope everyone is doing well. I love you so much. The babies are so beautiful :) I love yall so much! Hermana Sears | Ontario Zone! Best zone! | Pilar, Sister Clark and Me
50: April 28, 2014 Hola mi familia! This week was tough! Things are on the rocky and tough side but I am making it. I am growing so much because of these trials and I know it will get better. Dad, that fish was huge! Yes, I remember jumping off the boat. That was so scary but also so fun. That whole trip was a blast! I hope someday to catch a fish. Did you eat it after? This week Hermana Clark and I got to visit the spanish sisters and organize out our exchanges. Basically as Sister Training Leaders you just go on exchanges for 24 hours with the other sisters. The mission found the need for STLs for the spanish sisters because there are different needs than the english sisters. (how can an english sister help with teaching and finding when they can't speak spanish?) So we are leaders over all the spanish sisters in the mission. Honestly we just are supposed to be examples and we love them and strengthen them when they need it. For the most part they are doing well. I got to train 4 of them so I know them very well and its been amazing to see them grow. Also, I am learning even more how to love and serve others. We are now teaching a woman named Georgina. She wants to be baptized so bad but, only needs her bf to move out. We are helping her and working with her to understand that as we willingly obey all of Gods commandments we can have full faith that all will be well. Yesterday we were teaching a recent convert with such a powerful testimony. The testimonies of these people we teach always strengthen mine. She explained the peace she feels now. Even though none of her children or family or friends are members, she has seen the difference in her life and the peace she has now and she is moving forward with full faith and by example for her children. She said she can see the difference from before and now. I contemplated the difference she said she could feel and I shared with her a story that I have shared many many times on my mission. About how no matter if we are baptized at 8 years old or 85 years old, we still need to see that difference and be converted ourselves. I talked about how when I was around 15 years old I came home very sad. I didn't even know why I was sad or why everything seemed to go wrong and brought me down. I remember I just cried to my mom about how depressed I was. I said that my mom talked to me and listened and then asked me if I was reading my scriptures and saying my prayers every night. I responded honestly but hesitantly, no. I explained that my mom then said, "Do that for a week and then come back and tell me how you feel." I remember at that moment I realized the importance of that light or spirit that we need to keep and hold onto everyday. After that week I was blown away by the change that happened. I had hope and happiness. I think its amazing how the gospel bring s you peace and joy. Something so hard to find in this world. Not too much to report. I am now in one of the most if not the most difficult area of our mission yet all of the missionaries here are really happy. I am excited for this upcoming week. I have felt the impression this week to share with you all how much I love you. More and more on my mission when I think of the blessings I have in my family I feel overwhelmed by the spirit and with gratitude towards Heavenly Father. I have changed so much and I have so much I still want to be better at but I am so happy. I love you mom, more than anything. You have taught me over and over again how important the gospel is in our | lives. You have always listened to me and you never judged me but instead loved me even when I was so prideful. You are fearless. All my companions want to meet you :) Dad, thank you for also all that you give to our home temporally and spiritually. You have given me an example of what it means to really work hard. I always wished I was like you in that aspect- consistently diligent -and now I feel like I am finally seeing that in myself. You always worked so hard in every calling you received in the church and supported and loved the members of the ward. You always served silently and humbly and maybe not too many people noticed but I always did. On my mission I have learned that there aren't too many people like you. And I am still trying to figure out what I did to deserve parents like you. All I know now is that how I can show my gratitude to my Heavenly Father is through the way I live my life and through working hard everyday. These last 6 months on my mission are going by so fast. I think its because I now know how to work, I know how to teach, I know how to love and I love what I do and yet still everyday there are surprises thrown at you but ITS THE BEST! I love you! Hermana Sears
51: Also this week it has been a struggle to always please my companion. My patience has grown by leaps and bounds. I thought I was already so patient but little did I know how much Heavenly Father wants me to learn. I decided to let things just go her way for now and just listen to her and help her. She really is my best friend now but it can still be so tough work wise. I prayed every night for guidance to know how to help her be more excited and desire to work hard. I prayed for her to find that love and hope in the work again. She told me that she was praying for just one person to show that they care for her and to give her compassion. And after 2 weeks of constant rudeness and me just taking it, taking it and listening and taking it because I knew she was having a hard time. I almost just about blew up. All day I was thinking about calling another stl in the mission to vent to or call Sister Hobbs but that night of that day that I almost exploded, me and my companion sat down to plan things. Our planning turned into her talking about her struggles that I was already well in formed of. She then proceeded to tell me that she realized that she all along had that someone she was praying for to show her compassion. She said that that was me. In that moment all anger or grudge I held against her from those past 2 weeks completely went away. It all became worth it. She apologized and thanked me for all that I have done for her. I forgave her. Mom and Dad, I received an eye exam at costco here already. I just have to search where I put the prescription. Do I just need a new prescription? My glasses are just kinda crooked. I love them still but they seem a little sloppy to me as a missionary. On mothers day I will most likely be doing the google plus. They don't have face time capabilities. It will most likely be at 2-4 pm my time. I will call you. And Dad I want you to join in from Africa! Love, Hermana Sears May 19, 2014 Hola! This week was tough! But things are looking up! We had a miracle! This past week we went on a 2 hour split with some sisters as a follow up after our last exchange. They are getting along much better and doing well! I was with Sister Zalmeron in their area. Most of our ok all of our appointments fell through and so we went tracting most of the 2 hours. We knocked on a house and it happened to be a woman who investigated the church years ago. She told us she felt like something was missing at church. We asked if we could share a message with her and she quickly said no. Sis Zalmeron pushed for just a visit to help her and then she began to talk about her trials. I then bore my testimony of Jesus Christ and how He understands all our pains. She then cut me off and invited us in. Sister Zalmeron taught a wonderful lesson and they got a new investigator. The spirit was so strong. The picture attached is of me and Sister Zalmeron after this lesson. We bought Lotes and Raspados in the street. Mmm good. Also last week we found a new investigator! Finally! We found her tracting. It was a tender mercy to finally get to teach a legitament lesson with Hna Clark. We worked really well together and the spirit was present. The only catch was that Morgan, our new investigator, only speaks english. So we have to hand her off. But its ok. We prayed about where to go and what street to tract. The Lord is really working through us! We just gotta ask him for help! Hermana Sears | Exchange with Sis Zalmeron! She is awesome! | May 5, 2014 This week was another toughy! *keep this one with you mom and dad* We went on our first exchange with 2 sisters and it was great! It amazes me to see how amazing these sisters are. They have such strong testimonies and a willingness to get out and work. I love it! I love being with the new missionaries, it makes me miss training. This past week we was pretty tough. I think I might have prayed too much to be humbled because I have definitely received some good humbling. In the Latino culture they are very blunt. The other night we were eating with a family and after we shared our scripture thought I showed them a picture of my family. The picture that Bree took of us. The mother of the family looked at the picture and in front of her 5 kids told me that I was ugly and wanted to know what had happened to me. I just laughed it off but she kept going on about how I was very ugly in comparison to the others in my family. I think what bothered me the most was that I let her comments affect how I felt about myself. And they made me compare myself. Something that I have worked on a lot on my mission. To try not to compare myself to others in a worldly manner or in a missionary work manner. But honestly afterwards I knew I had to toughen up and I knew that the words she said to me were so superficial and out of jealousy. My family is awesome and I know that they love me no matter what. And in the end, that is all that matters.
52: May 27, 2014 Hello familia! This week was tough but here are some tender mercies the Lord sent after I endured it :) GREAT NEWS! We have an investigator named Georgina who has been investigating for a year and half. She has some issues that needed to be resolved before she could be baptized. This week the president gave us a go for her baptism. We couldn't hold in the news and wait for our lesson that night so we ended up telling her at church. When we told her the news she began to cry and then we all were crying. She has such a great testimony of the blessings from the gospel and attending church. She has 3 daughters who were baptized a year ago and they all too are so excited for their mom to be finally baptized. Her date is for June 14. The whole branch is stoked! Also, this lady that we found in the park came to church on sunday and she loved it!!! She came in very late after the sacrament because she had to walk to the church. I was just so happy she came. When she came in she sat next to me and showed me the EL libro de mormon that we gave her. She wanted to make sure I knew she brought it. (I emphasized alot about the importance of the book of mormon in our last lesson haha) She is too cute and really fell well with the members. We also started teaching her grandaughter whose mother is undergoing cancer treatments. They are going through alot and they are feeling the peace that Jesus Christ can bring to us when we feel we can't endure anymore. We are excited to teach them more. This week was probably one of the hardest on my mission so far. I have been praying for and working on the attribute of dilligence and Heavenly Father is answering that prayer and teaching me alot. I am excited for Jillians baby! Woohoo! Also, I hope those bees are gone soon from Emma and Jameson's backyard HAPPY early BIRTHDAY JAMESON!!! I love you and I hope you have a great birthday! Hermana Sears | Upland 4th branch ladies | June 2, 2014 Hello! I am glad to hear that you are all doing well. Jameson, I am happy you had a fun birthday. I get to meet so many new people and animals when I come home and I am excited to meet squirtle. I have never seen the retention pond so full!! I am glad you saved the poor little fella. Emma, I am glad Lincoln likes his spidey suit. He is too cute. I love all the photos of him and Sophie hangin out and looking out the window. Also, I wish I could go to the temple with all of you and Emily. That is exciting! Congratulations Emily! Remember when we skyped right before I left for the mission? That was so fun. :) | Julia and Joe went Dan and Aja's house?!? So cool! Estoy Sellosa. (I am jealous) Everybody here talks about Imagine Dragons, I always smile so big. I love them too. I was hoping to get an email about Jillian's baby. I am super excited! Maybe next week. I am glad you are going to go be with her in Virginia mom. Everything here is good. We start a new transfer today and I am in the same spot with the same comp. My companion and I have set many new goals to find new investigators. We plan to fast and pray more and work harder. This area is really tough but we know its possible to find those that are prepared if we work our hardest. I am writing letters to a few of my recent converts today in spanish. Its hard. I am still really trying to improve my Spanish as much as possible till the end. Hermana Clark and I try to speak spanish all day everyday. Its pretty sweet. I think in Spanish and forget that I am speaking Spanish. Its fun, but the only downside is my English is pretty bad. My English is now Spanglish. But hey, its all good in the hood. The other day, we had exchanges and I stayed in our area as my companion went to my old area, Ontario. She told me that Renata (my old investigator in Ontario) has baptismal date for June 28th!!!!!! I can't believe it! She told the sisters now in that area that they better call up Hermana Sears. I hope I can go but probably not as rules are pretty strict and tight. Renata is the mother of Jonathan and the wife of Jose who are our recent converts in Ontario. (They are still doing AMAZING btw) I am happy she is finally deciding to be baptized but I hope it is for the right reasons. I am writing her a letter today.
53: Besides that we are just looking forward to Georgina's baptism. We had a lesson with her the other day going over the restoration. It went very well. I invited her to pray about the book of Mormon and she said she would but she already knows its true. I explained that we aren't asking God a question that we already know the answer to (God wants our honesty and real intention) but we are rather asking for a confirmation from God of what we already believe to be true. Then, God will fill our heart with the spirit and that experience will be a testimony that no one can shake. That experience with Georgina made me ponder about the Book of Mormon alot and so this past Sunday I bore my testimony about the Book of Mormon. The book of Mormon has such power. It contains so many promises that I know to be true. I know that as I feast on the words of the scriptures and I apply them to my own life, I will have the spirit. And with that spirit I can overcome any temptation that Satan throws at me and I will fully recognize whether the choices I make will help me eternally or subtly destroy me spiritually. I can't go a day without reading a piece of the book of Mormon. While I have grown to enjoy the New Testament and kindaa the old testament ;) I just love the book of Mormon. We talk to so many people in the street. Jehovah Witnesses, 7th day Adventists, Catholics, Calvary chapel, and so on and they all have their own evidences that what they say has to be true. And sometimes they make me question things. But then I know that none of them, have a 2nd witness. And anytime I have a doubt or question. I go back to the book of Mormon. And I can't deny the spirit I feel and the experiences I have had when I read the Book of Mormon. I KNOW ITS TRUE! Con amor mas grande que el sol, Hermana Sears June 9, 2014 Hello Family Good morning sunshine! The world says hello! haha Ph oenix is too cute! He is a little eskimo baby. He is a doll! Tell Jillian I have been praying so hard for her and James and Ph oenix. I love you guys! I am glad mom was there right before the birth. btw I wish I was in Virginia. I miss your cooking :( Emma, those pictures cracked me up! I thought tally was a fake dog. Lincoln is hilarious. I loved the pic of him crying in the pool. Too cute! This week was tough but the work is slowly picking up and so we are doing better. Funny Story: We have done a lot of walking this week. We were walking down a main street and we see a woman walking our direction. My companion nudges me and says that I owe her chocolate if I don't give this lady a card. I strike up a conversation with this older woman and she was not havin it. She was fit to be tied and didn't want to talk to us. So we just wished her a good day and walked away. Then a car that was waiting at the red light rolled down its window. It was a car full of members. The mom yelled out, "Its ok Sisters!! You are doing great!" That made our day. This week we had to go to the office for my companion to talk to the nurse. Things have been really tough but I felt I had been patient. As I was sitting there waiting President Hobbs walked out and immediately invited me to come to his office to talk. President Hobbs and I are very open and close but this time I really felt as if he really was like a father. He sat and talked to me about things I didn't think he would notice. I didn't realize how much I had held in until he just told me I was doing a great job. It let a lot of stress off. Since I feel all I ever hear sometimes is criticism. He then gave me a blessing and I am so grateful. Things are going a lot better! I am glad to hear that all is well at home. I love you guys! Hermana Sears | The boys. Dicarlo is in the bottom middle. He is my best friend and the cutest thing. His parents are not members yet. We are teaching them. His brother and sister just got baptized.
54: June 16, 2014 Happy Birthday Dad :) I hope you have a wonderful Birthday tomorrow!! I love you! Jillian, I love you and I hope you are feeling better soon. This past week was another incredibly hard week. But it ended with such tender mercies. Georgina was baptized and it was a good day. The spirit was so strong. In the picture of her baptism you can see her family. Her 3 daughters were baptized last year and they have been waiting all this time for their mom to be baptized as well. On Sunday she glowed. Baptisms are wonderful and that spirit increases when they have their confirmation. I was giving a talk on Sunday and so I got to be on the stand as she recieved the gift of the Holy Ghost. Before the confirmation she squeazed my hand so tight. She is doing well and we are happy for her. On Sunday I was very stressed and I just endured it knowing if I did it well, I would be very happy in the end. Another missionary and I were the speakers for the branch for Fathers day. (we have 7 missionaries in the branch and I was chosen to give the talk by a game of rock paper scissors haha) As well my companion and I both had to prepare a lesson for the YW and my we had to help make the cupcakes for the fathers. I prepared and practiced and prayed very hard. Heavenly Father blessed me greatly and answered my prayers. It all went really well. It was a great day. We got news that that Russel M. Nelson will be coming to the Upland stake in August. We are very excited and I hope I am still here. Although things have been very difficult, I am grateful for the lessons I am learning. I have learned how to better care for and love people. To not minimize the pain that people feel and to really rely on the Lord. These trials have been a very big indicator of my personal conversion. I know that I am most likely going to be in this same spot for the rest of my mission. I am enjoying the miracles that come and praying that my companion will get the medical help she needs soon. I love you guys. Hermana Sears | Georgina's baptism day! | June 23, 2014 Holy Guacamole these weeks are flying by way too fast. Happy Birthday Emma!!! I hope you have a great b day. It has been a tender mercy to see how my trials I have now and my experiences have helped me help the other sisters. The other day I went on an exchange with Hermana Marmalego (a spanish sister in another part of the mission from Mexico she is so cool! I love her!), we get along very well. She just wants to do good and work hard. She came to my area and we were able to have an amazing day of working hard, knocking doors and teaching. Right when she was alone with me in the car Hna Marmalejo told me that she was struggling with her companion and having a lack of communication with her. She felt bad for venting but I completely understood. Luckily my companion and I have a lot of experience in communication. ;) She and I role played how she could address the conflict with her companion and how they can work together to create a solution. I completely understood her fear. I used to be the exact same way. It was so easy for me to hold onto a grudge or something that was | bothering me just to avoid contention. But I have learned that it is never worth it. I have found that at the end of every confrontational possibly contentious conversation there is something me and my companion have in common. Sorry is such a healing word especially and even when you didn't do anything intentionally wrong. It can be difficult when you feel that you are constantly the one making a sacrifice and giving but the Lord will help you through and soften the other's heart. I feel so free because I am very honest. And more importantly honest with myself and God. This morning Hermana Marmalejo texted us that things are going a lot better since she communicated with her companion and her companion is now being obedient. I was glad to hear that she is happy. Georgina, the woman who was baptized last week is doing great. Yesterday we were at her home and I was talking to her 12 year old daughter Daniela. She was telling me that Georgina, her mom, has taken less hours for work so that she can have more family time with her kids. Also that she can now take them to mutual on Wednesday and attend the Book Of Mormon class that the Relief Society is having while the girls have YW. Daniela told me that it makes her very happy that her mom is making these decisions. It impressed me a lot how Daniela understood and respected these decisions her mom was making. I hope to never forget the lesson I learned in that tiny one bedroom apartment home. Georgina has 3 teenage girls and a crazy 3 year old and she has worked two jobs 3am-5pm everyday but Sunday. But she is trusting in the lord now. I learned there that my children will notice my decision to live the gospel and the time I take to listen to them and love them. Time is a lot more precious than money. I want to never forget how I felt in that moment.
55: Sweet little miracle is that I just found out that MOSES is getting baptized!!! I am stoked! He is an investigator I taught in Ontario that means a great deal to me. The Elders I handed him off to told me last week that he wants me to go and be a part of the program. I hope I can attend his baptism. But either way I am just very happy that he is doing well. *Don't add this to your email* haha I might have mental problems now/might need to see a therapist for anxiety haha exaggeration but really. My physical health has been a little bad lately. The mission nurse has told me its due to consistent worry and stress. Its only my stomach and head. My head burns as if I have a fever and my appetite disappears and I can't eat without bad pains. Ever had that? These symptoms usually occur in stressful situations with my comp. I am trying not to look forward too much to be with my family again. But I just feel I will be so much more peaceful. Sorry for complaining. But this week I had a spiritual breakthrough. I realized that I was starting to believe all the negative thoughts about myself from satan. I was soaking in every criticism I was receiving. I am caring too much about what other people are thinking. So, after really studying and applying and analizing a talk that my comp gave me to read. (I really had to humble myself to accept that help that she felt like she should do for me) It was "of regrets and resolutions" by Uchtdorf. I contemplated how I need to love myself. And I prayed really hard and I know that He wants me to be kind to myself too just as He was so kind to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdry after their big mistakes in the first sections of Doctrine of Covenants. I am working on it. And I am doing better. I love you guys. Just be happy and show your love to each other everyday. Do the small things. Never assume someone knows that you love them. Tell Heavenly Father what's in your heart. He loves us. Love you guys. Hermana Sears | YW Activity with Pilar and Jhoselin. We created an obstacle course for them that represented life. It included army crawl and running and riding a bike across the church parking lot. All the clothes they are wearing represented the burdens and consequences of no daily scripture study or prayer. Choice and ACcountability #1. | June 30, 2014 Virginia looks very fun! This week was good! We had an Olympics personal progress activity with the YW it was fun. Picture attached is of that. I went on an exchange this past week to Ontario with Hermana Munoz my last companion. (She jokes that because she is my last daughter she is the favorite. I do love her a ton!) She is a great missionary and doing great things in Ontario. I was happy to see her and spend a day working with her. Oh funny thing: this Hispanic man that I stopped in the street asked me if I was white. He acted all confused as I spoke to him. I told him that yes I was American. He said he wasn't sure because of my accent. I was just too darn happy. Hermana Clark has been helping me with my accent. Our hard work is paying off wooohoo Moses's baptism is this Sunday in Ontario and I am giving one of the talks. I hope President will let me go. I can't wait to see him! I have the stomach flu so this email might not make too much sense. Never had the stomach flu before and I don't want it ever again. NOT FUN! haha my comp this morning had to help me get dressed and get out the door because I can't move without getting nauseous. Not one of my best moments. But she is awesome and really is taking care of me. I love you guys! Hermana Sears
56: July 7, 2014 Hello! This past week was good! haha It was actually another rough week but things are getting better. I am still really learning so much from my companion and how to better help her through her trials and struggles. I am learning to be more compassionate and loving. We have been through a lot together. When I think I can't give more of myself or I am being as selfless as possible, there is always more to give. Always more love to show through words and actions. And I am exhausted!!! and when I think I can't give anymore, the lord always pushes me through. Its funny because I do have every reason in the world's eyes to yell at the top of my lungs that "this is not fair", "wont someone recognize that I'm struggling too?", "I am giving so much here!", "why do I always have to be the strong one?", "I can't go on", but this huge burden has changed my heart. I would never ever want to go through this again but I am now grateful. | Yesterday Moses was baptized!! I got per- mission to attend to travel to his baptism. When I first saw Moses he was so surprised to see me. It was a happy reunion. His family did not come to support him but he has accepted the fact that it will take time for his family to come around but, he is making this decision and knows that this is what he needs to do. I spoke at the baptism and I was just happy to see Moses again. He has a lot of support from the ward so i know he is in good hands. Transfers are next week and I have no clue what will happen. Wish me luck! Love, Hermana Sears | Sister Clark's birthday at the branch president's house. Hannah is a little sneaky girl. | Angry George at George's birthday party. | The hike. Sister Clark and I were trying to take a cute picture when all these missionaries photo- bombed us. | Hermana Clark and me
57: July 14, 2014 Hello Family, It was great to hear from you. I am glad to hear that you are doing well. We had transfers today and we were in for a shock. My new companion is Hermana Griffiths and I will be training her to be a Sister Training Leader with me. She is a great missionary and i look up to her a lot and so I am very excited for this next transfer. Just the past few hours have been a foreshadow of how great this transfer will be. Sister Griffiths is a hard worker and so I am excited to work hard and end my mission in the best way. I was definitely rebuked by the Lord this week haha I love it. We had plans that day to visit a recent convert, Irma, who moved from Ontario (my old area) to here in Upland. Before our appointment there was a string of incidents that lead us to be late to the appointment. In one of those moments I was sitting in the car with my companion while she was struggling with something. I felt I should help her but I didn't know what to say. I felt I should just say anything but I decided to stay quiet. I was only thinking of myself. She then asked if we could do a number of things outside of what we planned and I said ofcourse and we did them. Inside I was a little frustrated but I let it go and tried to do whatever would help her. She then decided we should go and see Irma, our appointment, about an hour later than we planned. We drove to her apartment and when we arrived, Irma just got home from grocery shopping the very moment we arrived. If we had gone at the time planned then we wouldn't have been able to have had a great experience with Irma and help her through her current trials. It hit me that all those things that seemed pointless were not pointless but exactly what the lord intended to happen. And in those moments I missed the opportunity to help my companion and love her in the moment. I wasn't where my feet were. I was thinking about the things we could be accomplishing rather than what I needed to be doing to help my companion feel better in the moment she needed me. She taught me alot about being where I was in the moment. And not letting that moment or opportunity to serve and grow go. Thank you for your individual emails to me, Jillian and Emma. They made me cry. I want to try to send a letter off soon. I love you guys so much and I am not ashamed to say that I can't wait to see you again. I have told my companion that I think the thing I am most excited for is to see my mom and dad and hug them. But don't worry, I am shall not falter but I shall finish! Hermana Sears July 21, 2014 Hello! Things are wonderful! I feel on top of the world and I couldn't think of a better way to end my mission. My companion is awesome. We both love to work hard. I feel she is helping me really be my best self all the time. Everyday we try not to take for granted the time we have together because we get along great and we teach really well together already. companionship unity! We both are super excited for this transfer. This past week we started teaching the Vargas Family. They are from Bolivia. They were scheduled to be baptized the 27th of July but we didn't feel that the father was ready for baptism yet. We had to call up our branch president and our leaders to inform them we would push the baptism one week. We didn't get too much support. It made me feel a little sheepish but I know how powerful a baptismal experience can be when someone is prepared and ready for the covenant of baptism. And also I know how quickly someone falls away from the path when they don't have that confirmation of the spirit. And I can't take away that experience from someone just to baptize them faster. We want them to really feel from the spirit that these things are true. So, my companion and I prayed about pushing the baptism and we felt it was right. We both decided that even though we would get a little bit of flack from our leaders and even our investigators, we knew in the end it would be best. What a testimony that is to what we do. We would rather postpone a baptism or a new member to our church until he had a testimony. Because we know that he can and he will receive a confirmation of the spirit that its true. On Saturday Mayerly and Ricardo Vargas were married. (That was the picture Hno. Silvestre sent you) We did her hair and make-up for the wedding. Sebastian and Ashley (their 2 children) didn't know that their parents were getting married until the day of. They were both so happy and surprised. In 2 weeks they will be baptized. Another family that we were teaching is the Sanchez family. The mother and father have had difficulties in their relationship and they weren't married so they couldn't be baptized even though they both want to be and attend church every sunday . But the 2 oldest children were baptized last month. This past week the parents were separated and the mother decided she needed to move with her four children to Sacramento California. We found out 2 days before they were deciding to leave and we felt we should just stop by. We were so sad and shocked by the news. When they invited us in we could immediately see something was wrong. We cried with them and said goodbye. Hermana Sanchez has plans to be baptized as soon as possible when she is in Sacramento. I can't remember the other great things that happened but it was a wonderful week. Hermana Sears
58: July 28, 2014 Wow so much happened this week. I hope to get it all down. I had a neat experience while my companion was in her doctors appointment. I was sitting in the waiting room with 2 other women. We started talking. We became friends. Tamica (one of the women) asked what a prophet was. I ended up teaching the entire restoration in the waiting room. They were both very kind. But I felt the spirit the most as I testified of Christ's atonement and how through Jesus Christ I have changed. The Romero family are more than ready for their baptism this Sunday. We have had great lessons with them. Ricardo, the father, has built such a great testimony in just this past week. So, we are so happy we pushed the baptism a week. Ricardo told us that he has felt there is calmness in his home now. He told us he has a desire to be good and help his fellow man. He prayed and he feels that the Book of Mormon is true. :) Mayerly, the mother, told us she wants her son to serve a mission. Sebastian, her son, is already working on his Chinese. haha I went on an exchange and got to spend a day in my old area in Ontario. It was so good to see my family down there. Sorry this is so short. It was an awesome week but I can't remember the details too much. I am trying to enjoy everyday. I sent my itinerary. Also, the mission office found a way I can ship my bike for just $50. I will be doing that this week to grandmas. Hermana Sears August 5, 2014 Hey sorry I don't have time to write today. I should be able to write tomorrow. Its a crazy story. Can't wait to tell you! I am in the newspaper here haha (well my behind is in the newspaper) I love you guys. I am so happy! Look up the news on Mount Baldy mudslides. Love you! Hermana Sears | My departing temple trip | The departing missionaries
59: Baptism of the Romero family. We found them through tracting. | August 11, 2014 This week was tough but also so wonderful. I have been very overwhelmed recently with so many emotions. I have never been so happy in all of my life. I think that happiness is due to the peace I have with my relationship with my Heavenly Father. The Lord has been blessing my companion and I so very much in this area. Our companionship and the work is going amazingly well. Its been hard that I haven't had the chance to email in the past 2 weeks because there has been so much I want to tell you. I have been very emotional about the fact that I will be going home soon. My anxiety was bad and it frustrates me that I get frustrated haha. The old me would just accept that life changes and move on but I have come to realize that I am not the old me. That due to a lot of prayer and experience I have been able to open my heart to feel more. I feel that so much of my life I was "past feeling" as the scriptures say. I didn't live in moments or as my companion and I say "Be where our feet are." Being able to open my heart has allowed me to really love the people I serve. To recognize how much I love so much the people back home. The sacrament is now so much more sacred to me as I close my eyes and open up my heart on Sunday. But part of opening up my heart means that I also feel the pain. I am more vulnerable and susceptible to heartache. Before I would say that I was being "dramatic" but now I see that these feelings are real and it 's ok. The atonement is more real to me and I feel the Savior 's love more. This past week all the departing missionaries went to the temple with President and Sister Hobbs. I sure love them. It was an amazing experience. I had a question in the temple answered in the most beautiful way. Only twice now have I felt the spirit in that way and again I am so overwhelmed by how true this all is. I feel so small but so important to my Heavenly Father. We were in the middle of personal study in the morning at 8:30 when we get a text that says "p-day' cancelled. Meet at the church. Wear something that can get muddy. This is under direction of President" We thought it was a joke at first but after calling to confirm with our zone leaders we found out that after the storm last monday there was massive mud and rock slides in the mountains. 2 stakes of missionaries car pooled up with the stake presidency and we were the first ones to arrive. I won't forget that experience. We spent all day with a man named Collin cleaning the mud out of his house. I know Heavenly Father loves Collin and his wife. We had a few moments of reverence as we stood in his front room with him quietly , then shoveled the mud along his floor. He had 4 feet of mud filling up his kitchen and as we dug out the mud we found boulders the size of mini fridges. It took many of us to carry them out. It was a miracle that Colin and his wife survived (they were pinned from the waste down for many hours caught in the slide) We spent all day digging out cars, garages and homes. People were touched that we spent our time with them that day. We have found so many new investigators these past 2 weeks. We are always so busy and on the go. I love it. Is your family doing a family mission plan with the missionaries? 1. We have started 3 family mission plans and they have all produced amazing miracles. Its unbelievable. The coolest story is about Edith. We went to visit a family in the ward and when we showed up the mother was getting her hair done. At first I was thinking that we would just set an appointment and leave but she welcomed us in and told us she was | talking to Edith, the hairdresser, about her daughter who is on a mission. So, we then started talking about the church to Edith in the tiny bathroom of the Hermana. Once the hermana's hair was setting with dye in it, we sat down with Edith and she told us all about her life and how much she has been struggling but that she is changing and trying to avoid and get away from the bad influences in her life. We taught her and it went great. On Sunday she went to church by herself. She loved church and really wants to change. We are excited for her. How blessed am I to be able to get to know Edith before I end my mission. And it was all due to the member's lack of fear of opening her mouth. 2.We had an appointment with a family to start a family mission plan. When we arrived before we even said a prayer, the father mentioned his neighbors next door who he had previously talked to about the church. He said he thought it would be a good idea to invite them for an FHE. He was asking us for approval but we just looked at him and said that was a great idea and that it was his decision. He decided it would be best to offer a prayer to ask God. We prayed (Us, his wife and 6 kids and Him) We felt good And then he and us went right over and knocked on the door of his neighbors. We introduced ourselves and they accepted the invitation to have an FHE. It was awkward but awesome!. We will be having the FHE tonight wish us luck! I don't think I ever mentioned it but Julia and Joe I got your package. Wow! I LOVED everything inside of it. I shared it with our YW. I was so happy to get that package. It made my week! Thank you so much! I hope this suffices for my lack of emailing. Sorry its terribly unorganized. I love you guys and I can't wait to see you soon. Pray for my anxiety haha :) Love you! Hermana Sears Other info: This Sunday was the baptism of the Romero family. Wow they were so prepared. The spirit was so strong. President and Sister Hobbs came. We worked hard on the programs and the arrangements and sister Griffiths and I sang "Mas Santidad Dame" (More holiness give me).
60: My last P-day! | YW activity. Learning the pineapple dance. | Being silly with gifts from Mama Griffiths. | Sanchez Family
61: August 18, 2014 Hello Family! Everything is wonderful! This week we are going to be super busy. Best way to end our mission. We have been able to find a ton of people to teach and I will miss them so much. I want to be here for their baptisms but maybe I will be able to drive down ;) ;) HAPPY BIRTHDAY SISTER SNIDEMAN!!! CANT WAIT TO SEE YOU! Sister Griffiths and I are having a blast and we are just being good missionaries. We are super busy going from appointment to appointment and yet we still have been able to find new investigators every week through praying to recognize opportunities in our path. The other day we ran into 4 Hispanics that were hanging out outside and playing the guitar. We stopped and talked to them about the restoration. Sister Griffiths asked if she could borrow their guitar and we sang them one verse of I know that my redeemer lives in Spanish. I hope they felt the spirit we felt. We are going to see them this next week again. We had someone yelling at us in an apartment complex and "bible-bashing" us one day this week. We responded with kindness and respect, bearing testimony to her and we went on our way but the way she was ripping apart our beliefs and the Book of Mormon stuck with us a while and was kind of painful. I have been bashed quite a few times in my mission but for some reason this one really stuck with us and I couldn't get her out of my head. The next day during personal study Sister Griffiths and I had great personal revelations that gave us peace to what had happened. I read in 1st and 2nd Peter and also I read the talk by Jefferey R Holland from this past conference. Its painful to be ridiculed in public but its hard to describe the honor I feel to go through it as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I guess this is my last email. I have learned many things from serving a mission here are a few: I received the confirmation that I could serve a mission when I heard the age-change announcement from President Thomas S Monson and I am so grateful I chose to serve. Ill admit that I had no idea at what I was getting myself into but I knew that whatever it was, I was going to do it with all my heart and work hard. Through time and hard work and a great improvement in my personal prayer I have been able to refine myself more and more and understand more who I am and who we all really are. I have been able to see and recognize God's hand in my life every day. I have learned that I can be happy no matter was circumstances I am in. I seek for peace more than anything. And I know that the source of my personal peace is from Jesus Christ. I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that there is a power in that book that I can't explain. I know that I can overcome anything if I study the scriptures and pray everyday. I know that the gift of tongues is real and that God will put in our mouths exactly what he wants us to say. I know that our Saviour loves us and he is with us everyday. His grace doesn't apply just after all we can do but He is enduring our trials with us the entire journey. He loves us. I know that I owe Him everything and I love him. Hermana Sears | I have retired my mission shoes. The ones on the left I got for free at the mtc in the "free box". The ones on thee right are the amazing sturdy shoes mom bought me. The Velcro wore out this past week. My companion was fed up with me constantly fixing the strap and we decided to retire these beauties. So I got new shoes! | On the way to a lesson!
62: We were the wedding photographers | We did Mayerling's hair | Me with George and Ian at the wedding | Mayerling & Ricardo's Wedding
63: Sister Griffiths' last letter home: August 18, 2014 Hey Family! This was one of the best weeks of my mission (like every week I have spent with Sister Sears)! I got to go up to the desert for a split with the Spanish Sisters and I went with Sister Zalmeron. It was so nice to see how she was doing. They are struggling in their companionship and as we worked with them individually they both came to the conclusion that they need to develop charity and love for one another. **The key to a happy companionship and a happy mission** To love is a choice and involves our agency, otherwise it wouldn't be given as a commandment. It is also a spiritual gift. They also feel they are struggling teaching together and have set a goal to study ch. 10 in PMG together on teaching skills. Sister Zalmeron knows obedience is important and that is one of their strong points. That makes me happy. We visited with Sister Baez and Sister Clark as well this week. Sister Clark is going home the same time as Sister Sears and then Sister Baez goes home the same time as me! President Hobbs hinted at Sister Baez being a Sister Training Leader with me. This week we taught a 17 yr old named Xochitl (sochi), a friend of a recent convert and she loves everything and is soaking it all up. That same family took us to knock their neighbor's door and we will be teaching their 9 yr old daughter. The family;s faith is growing because they are seeing how the gospel is blessing their friends. It is so beautiful! I love being a lesson with them and turning to the member saying how has the Book of Mormon helped you in your life and they give this faith filled honest testimony to their friend in love. It all seems unreal. It has been one of the highlights of my mission. It is such a pleasure to work with Sister Sears and it helps so much to have that solid foundation in our companionship so that when we go on exchanges we are able to really reach out to the sisters who are struggling. She is a fantastic missionary! Zone Conference was on Thursday. They talked a lot about the different things to come in our mission. Elder Nelson of the twelve is coming his Saturday to a mission conference to speak to us. We are getting information on how to use technology as missionaries in September and we are going to have iPads by the end of the year. We also have gone up by 40% in baptisms since the mission split. And now member missionary work is coming on full force. President Hobbs said we need to be better. We need to rise higher with higher expectations. He asked that the mission not have any games, musical instruments, sports equipment and a few other things. He said we could still play instruments if they were at members homes to invite the spirit or the piano at church. It was a shocker for many but I have felt it coming. The next day I took my guitar to the mission home and asked if Sister Hobbs could keep it at the mission home until I find a way to get it back to Boise because I didn't even want to keep it stowed away in the apartment. The day after I dropped it off we had this miracle... The very next day we were walking down the street and this group of Hispanic people were under a tree playing guitar. We went up and talked with them and ended up sharing about the restoration. Before we left, Sister Sears and I sang "I know that my redeemer lives" in Spanish for them and I played their guitar. It was amazing how it invited the spirit. We used our surroundings! To me that was a witness that God saw my simple act of obedience and confirmed to me that I did the right thing by allowing me to share that talent with someone using their guitar just like President said. This was a tender mercy of the Lord! Missionary moment: We had someone yelling at Sister Sears and I in an apartment complex and "bible-bashing" us one day this week. We responded with kindness and respect, baring testimony to her and we went on our way but the way she was ripping apart our beliefs and the Book of Mormon stuck with us a while and was kind of painful. We both received personal revelation the next day in our personal study that strengthened our testimony that the Book of Mormon is sacred scripture from God. It was a feast of God just talking straight to you in studies. I just finished the Book of Mormon cover to cover and decided to kneel and offer a prayer just as Moroni invites us and as I was kneeling down this rushing feeling came over me that touched the top of my head to the end of my fingertips and my toes. It was the Spirit of God. Kneeling in humble prayer I just smiled because I know without a doubt that the Book of Mormon is true. I poured out my heart in gratitude to God for that simple and powerful witness of the spirit to me personally. I have asked about the Book of Mormon in prayer before but this time really stuck out to me for some reason. I don't think I will ever forget it. As missionaries, we must renew our witness of the Book of Mormon often and try that promise again and again. I do know that anyone who prays with that real intent will receive an answer. I love being a missionary mom and dad! I love being here. Love, Hermana Griffiths
64: Familia Popoca | Marina Salinas | Brother and Sister Schwieder | Familia Zumarraga | Familia Reyes | Chavarria | Familia Ceballos | Lilia Armenta Medina | Familia Garza | Familia Llamas | Brenda Victoriano | Beatriz Bravo
65: Familia Miranda | Familia Armenta | Familia Vicenteno | Familia Esparza | Familia Victoriano | Familia Soto | Familia Martinez: Leo, Irma and Ivy | Johnny Cabrera
66: Sister Hobbs' drawing of a "fiery flying serpent" | Text from our wardmates Elder Larson and Eppich "Hey, wear blue tomorrow." "Why?" "Because it makes my eyes pop." | Last Sunday | Galindo family | Georgina is hiding
67: Being cutsie by my new chevy cruz. "I will probably never drive cars as nice as the ones I drove on my mission" Stateside missions woo!! | Package from Julia and Joe | Arriving home! | RETURN WITH HONOR
68: a lot changed while you were on your mission... | 3 New Nephews! | Mom bought chickens | John finished the Air Force | Jameson & Emma bought a house in TX | Jillian & James moved to St Maarten | Ezra | Lincoln | Phoenix
69: Future Missionaries! | Branden Wake: called to serve in the Canada Calgary Mission | Larissa Merrill: called to serve in the Salt Lake City, Central Mission, Spanish speaking | Rhuvana Sowers: called to serve in the Brazil Salvador Mission, speaking Portuguese | Sarah Nicholas: called to serve in the Taiwan Taipei Mission, speaking Mandarin Chinese | Haleigh Smith: called to serve in the Brazil Joo Pessoa Mission, speaking Portuguese | Sister Smith | Sister Nicholas | Sister Sowers | Jared Lovelace: called to serve in Frankfurt, Germany | Elder Lovelace | Hermana Rios | Esmerelda Rios: called to serve in Montreal, Canada | FRIENDS ON MISSIONS