Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Email Time!!!

Well hello again! I say this every week, but where is the time going?!? I'm blown away by the mission life--It's crazy and amazing and hard and wonderful and FAST! 

Thanksgiving was AMAZING---I have never eaten so much food in an 8 hour period in my ENTIRE LIFE! I'm serious! We had 6 dinner appointments, but thank goodness we only ate at 4 of them, the rest of the families--understanding our immense fullness--gave us plenty of food to take home for future days! And it was way too much fun to have a Latino twist to the festivities! We tasted a few different twists on Turkey, which were all delicious, but the winner was definitely Brother Perez with his meet-stuffed turkey. I don't know how he did it... but it was just amazing! they're from El Salvador and said that one of these days he'll make us Papusas (or something like that...) I'm very excited! We also had an array of food from Mexico to Peru and more than the food, it was just such a blessing to be with big loving families all day, I was FULL of food and gratitude for the many many blessings God has given me, and It felt like I was with family every moment :)

This week in the Visitors' Center was CRAZY! especially the Saturday after Thanksgiving--we had over 1400 people come in (as opposed to the regular couple-hundred) for the lighting ceremony of Temple Hill! They had a whole presentation with music and people (I couldn't watch because I was in the back of the VC) and it was just amazing! The entire temple grounds are FILLED with twinkling lights, from the little flower beds to the big palm trees! Every VC sister companionship (plus a couple extras) were assigned to specific rotating stations and we tried our hardest to help the visitors have a spiritual experience while maintaining the flow of traffic :) All I can say is that we slept like babies that night! It really was great, and we'll be having many similar busy days like this weekend as we near Christmas! So we're holding on to our seat-belts and trying to learn how to make it smoother!

This week I had an amazing experience in the VC, one of those "Oh this is why I'm here!" moments. A family came in, young mom and dad with 3 beautiful children, and the grand-parents too. We welcomed them at the front and invited them to listen to the powerful words of Jesus Christ at the Christus. The spirit was immediate and we just had a really good connection with this family, they were so easy to talk to, it turns out the grand-parents are not members of the Church, but the grandpa seemed as though his heart had been softened to the idea as he saw the blessings the gospel brought to the lives of his children and grandchildren. We took them into "God's Plan For His Family" which is just so so so strong, teaching about how Families really can be together forever, it's not a fairy tale! and It turns out it was really what they needed, they just had a son pass away (brother other of the mom and dad) and they felt the comforting truth that they were going to see him again, and it turns out that Sister Garcia had a brother pass away they had a heart-felt conversation about it and and they asked me why I decided to serve a mission and I talked about the role the church has played in my life and how it never changed even though I moved a lot growing up, and it turns out this family was about to move and the oldest girl who was 11 was really scared and nervous to move, but my testimony really comforted her and everyone was crying but we were all strengthened too and it was just a very powerful experience. the Lord works in mysterious ways! I typed that really fast, I hope it all makes sense :)

My Spanish is improving, slowly but surely--Sister Garcia (She says Hello by the way!) is helping me a lot, and even though at first the Visitors' Center seemed to be a hinderance to my speaking ability, it's actually helping a ton because when we have a greater need for spanish tours(which is quite often), Sister Garcia and I go on splits and I'm pushed out of my comfort zone to lead tours and It really forces me to learn so much more than I would without! I'm learning more than just words and grammar through practice, I'm learning how to be comfortable welcoming and learning more about every person that comes in, really listening to them and also to the Spirit. I've realized that when I focus on the fact that I'm learning spanish and don't speak it perfectly, I actually speak it worse! But when I'm sincerely listening to the visitors and not letting what I don't know hold me back, that's when I can let the Spirit speak through me. It's a lesson I'm slowly learning and I'm just so amazed--this realy is a gospel of changing, and I'm seeing it in myself the most!! Many sisters say that for only 6 weeks in the mission, my Spanish is amazing, I just need to keep it up--maintain what I have and allow it to improve every day as I serve the Lord!

I LOVE YOU all! have a wonderfultastic week!
Hermana Mitchell

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Hola to all!

Hello Hello Hello from Oakland, California [the best mission EVER]!!!

If you're wondering, I'm doing quite well :) It's getting cold and rainy here and it's a sign that the Holidays are drawing near! It feels fresh and clean like Oregon and I love it! I can't believe It's mid-November already--Where is the time going? For Thanks Giving and Christmas, we get to spend the entire day house-hopping! Hehe, 2 hours at a time in the homes of the members who invite us, and believe me, we already have our schedules full! Our members are SO loving, and SO willing to take us in and give us food and a taste of family time for the Holidays, we are incredibly blessed!

I have just learned to love the people here so much! It's really really amazing--the mission is hard, but when we build these relationships with people, and really truly care for them, It makes everything we do meaningful :) I've never really experienced it before--I love the Lord so much and want to serve Him the very best I can, and He asks us to love others with the same love we have for Him--and that's what makes this amazing mission work possible--It's all about love! and when we put so much time into trying to help them develop that love for God and Christ and the gospel, there's no way NOT to love them!

I'm eating very well, and I've developed a sincere love for fresh tortillas and frijolitos! mmmmMmmm! y con crema fresca tambien! Los Cielos. I could eat them for the rest of foreverrrr!

Have a wonderful week, look to the Lord in everything you do, and you won't have anything to fear :) Next time I'll write more, I have stories but not a lot of time today--I LOVE YOU ALL!

Hermana Mitchell

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Another week!

Wow! I can't believe it has already been a week since my last P-day, if feels like 3 days ago!

Halloween was AWESOME! we got to do "Happy Haunted House-Cleaning!" yaaaay! We couldn't be out after 6pm and It was a good way to keep us busy and safe in our homes :) Sister Garcia and I had a great time eating candy and putting together the little monster magnets Jena sent :) We didn't even have to trick-or-treat to get incredible amounts of candy! haha, We're so blessed to be at the Visitor's Center--members always bring us food and gifts and I just feel so spoiled all the time!

So It's amazing what happens with time when every moment of every day has a specific purpose! One of the things that I've learned so much about here in the mission is time management--something was always pretty foreign to me before the field :) But oh my goodness, when we really utilize our time and plan out what we have to do (and actually follow through with those plans) it's amazing what the Lord will help us do! Like this week, I was on splits serving in an English area called Lafayette with the incredible Hermana Chipana (who was my MTC companion for the last week after my district left)! Who decided to put two brand new missionaries together--I don't know--but it ended up being an amazing experience. We planned out everything we were going to do down to the tee, but we ended up taking too long in lessons because we're both trying to figure out how to lead and teach well and we both have Spanish swimming around in our brains and then we got lost and our GPS was loco and inspite of all those little problems, we still somehow made it work because the Lord knew how we had planned for the day and He helped us so much, making it possible to get everything done! I even had a really neat experience with a girl who's my age and she was so curious why a normal girl like me would want to give up a normal life at the age of 21 to go on a mission, and It was just so awesome to talk to her about how the Gospel of Jesus Christ has strengthened me and guided me and made me who I am! And her mom was listening too and I think it helped open her heart to us a little bit to see how confident we are in the future at such a young age, I think she wants that for her daughter and It was just a really awesome experience and they're going to have Sister Chipana and her real companion back to talk more and It's just so wonderful! I love the things I'm learning about being an example to others and sharing my testimony :) Even if I struggle still with the doctrine and the language, I can at least testify of what I know is true and how it makes me me :)

The Spanish is still coming, I'm struggling with it, but I know that I wouldn't be learning if it weren't hard--I just need to be patient with myself and remember that I haven't even been in the Field for 3 weeks yet--I can't expect myself to be perfect! ...Even though I want to be... right now! Oh patience :) I think I tell you all this like, every week, but my Spanish Branch is just AMAZING! I don't think I could service this mission without their love and support--It's like a little family. At the Visitor's Center we're meeting people from all over the world every day and it's so wesome, but that consistency of always going back to my San Leandro 2nd Spanish Branch really keeps me centered--please don't forget how important you are to the missionaries in your ward! Love them and help them whenever you can! Go with them when they teach! They need you! We have a new rule in the mission that as Sister Missionaries, we can't give lessons to anyone without another female member present. It's SO HARD because we have a lot of people to teach, sometimes we have to juggle the ward members around, but we're lucky to have a branch that just loves missionary work (most of the entire branch are converts!) We are just So blessed.

I love my companion, she is just so amazing and I learn from her every moment, I love this missionary work! I love the trials because they make me better. I love the miracles that I see every day here. I love the Lord and the love he showed for us through restoring His gospel! I love the blessings we receive by LIVING His restored gospel! Life is just amazing! "Keep your face to the sunshine and you'll never see the shadows!"

Have an AMAZING week, Rember the Lord in everything you do and He will lead you! (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Hermana Mitchell