Thursday, July 24, 2014

Week 18! "Mother's Day Skype"

From 5/12/14
 
Hola Family and Friends!!

SKYPING WAS SUCH A BLESSING!!!!! I AM GOING TO WRITE THIS IN CAPS LOCK BECAUSE I CAN AND BECAUSE I AM SO HAPPY!! You all look so great!! I needed to hear your voices and see you all, so I am grateful for that. And I wasn't expecting to hear from Matthew or to see Tiffany either, so that was a huge surprise and blessing also. I completely agree with what dad wrote in his letter. Just seeing and hearing from you helped me and I felt of your love. We didn't even talk about anything in particular or anything too important, but the fact that I could hear from you all was HUGE. :D

Moving on to this week: by the way...I wrote President Kusch about Investigator "B" this week. HE SPEAKS PERFECT ENGLISH. We have a gift of locating the only English speakers in our area. We are actually teaching him in English. BLESSINGS. 

"One special experience we had last week was on Monday night. We met a young man named 'B'. He is 22 years old and has been looking for help in his life. He told us that the days and weeks prior to meeting us, he had gone through really difficult trials. He asked us what he could do to be at peace and to be happy. He said he wanted friends with standards. He wanted to be a part of something and feel valued and appreciated. He said that when he walked in the streets at night he had faith that nothing bad would happen to him, and that God would protect him. He wants to know where everything fits into place and how he's a part of that.
 
We met with him again on Friday at our stake center. We gave him a tour of the church and he even met a few ward members there. He felt really comfortable right away with the members and commented to us how welcomed he felt. We taught the message of the Restoration and he accepted the invitation to baptism! He told us that he worked on Sundays at 11 am but that he would commit to come to church for the first two hours each week. Sunday afternoon, we picked up an investigator and got to church just as it was starting. We didn't see B anywhere.
 
After sacrament meeting, we walked out of the chapel and saw B standing by the door with a bandage over his bruised face and eye. He said he arrived a few minutes late for the meeting because he didn't know what time it was, then he felt bad to walk into the meeting late. Friday night after our appointment with him, he was assaulted in the street. He was beaten and everything he had with him was taken. He didn't have his phone with him, so he couldn't call us Sunday morning, he didn't have his keys so he couldn't get to church right away. He didn't have a way of knowing what time it was either, but he still came!!!
 
We had a hard time accepting what happened to him. He told us over and over how he had faith that he would be protected as he walked in the streets, but then the night he accepted baptism, he was assaulted. We realized how much the adversary was trying to discourage him from making these changes in his life. But through it all, B had the greatest attitude. He said that after he was attacked he remembered what we told him about the healing power of the Atonement. To him, Friday night was a big deal, that it was the last time that someone or something would do damage to him. And from the next day on he would find the healing he was looking for. HOW AMAZING IS THAT. I was so so happy to see how he handled his circumstances and that he made the decision to come to church through it all! 

My testimony has been so strengthened this week of the gift of the Atonement of Jesus Christ. I remembered what happened in my own life before serving a mission and really feeling what repentance was. It was the first time in my life that I truly felt the power of the Atonement--of forgiveness, hope, healing, and happiness. I saw my 'past self' in many investigators this week. I felt so much love for them and I wished with all my heart that they could feel the hope that they really could get through their trials through Jesus Christ.
 
We visited 'E', a single mom of three who has felt guilty and burdened all her life for her past mistakes. 'P' and 'J', who are both struggling with powerful addictions. 'B' who has been hurt and wants to find something more. It is for each one of us, that the only perfect, sinless man to ever walk on the earth gave His life for us that we might be cleansed and made whole.

I am so grateful for my Brother, Jesus Christ. I am grateful for His loving sacrifice. I am grateful for repentance. I know that it is a message of hope and the way to find happiness in this life. I am so grateful that I am permitted to witness and be a part of helping people apply the Atonement in their lives and change.

This week was really special for me!! I am grateful for the gospel, to serve a mission, to be in this area, and to have been companions with Hermana P and now with Hermana C. I have learned so much from them, and I know that Heavenly Father has blessed us so much!! "

I LOVE YOU ALL. TAKE CARE THIS WEEK!  Go for a walk, eat a little better, less sugar, more greens, sleep early, laugh more. Love you.

Con Amor,
 
Hermana Fernelius

Week 17! "Jump Started With Prayer"

From 5/5/14
 
Hola Family and Friends,

Today is Cinco de Mayo but they don't actually celebrate that here. :( It's a holiday for the Mexican state of Puebla. So that's cool. What they DO have is kid's day. You know how we have mother's day, father's day and other days, well here, they celebrate children and give them fun things. Can we make that a thing in the US? :) It was really fun to see carnivals and clowns and cute things around our area for the kids on Wednesday. 

We got a ride to church yesterday from an investigator, "A". It's a really super cool story. We actually went to pick up a different investigator but she's lame and bailed on us so we called someone else to go pick them up. We really felt like we should call "A" and pass by her house. She answered the phone and offered to give us a ride instead.
 
We booked it to her apartment because we were running short on time. We met up with them, jumped into their car annnnddddd.....it's didn't start up. She tried and tried and tried to get it started and nothing. At this point she was actually shaking because she stressed herself out about the time. I told her not to worry because we could get a taxi but she was so stressed out and said no. Hermana C said, we should say a prayer and then it will start up. "A" said sure, sure go ahead and say a prayer. And she kept starting up the car. We didn't start praying just then because she was distracted. Hermana C asked again, and "A" let out a sigh and agreed.
 
Hermana C offered a very simple, short yet powerful prayer. We both had no doubts that the car would work right after. When we said AMEN, Hermana C said, I know the car will start up now. Then "A" put the key in the ignition and the engine started up perfectly without the hint of a problem. "A" was so stunned that it worked.
 
She later told us how much that strengthened her testimony of prayer. Heavenly Father really answers when we have faith. She said, maybe getting the car to start wasn't even all that important, but having the faith that a prayer would be answered was. IT WAS SO COOL. Hermana C just about cried in the car. I felt so much love from Heavenly Father in something that would otherwise seem so insignificant, but it strengthened me greatly!  :)

"We are doing really well! This week was a great testimony builder for me of fasting and prayers. I know that our Heavenly Father hears us when we pray and that He knows exactly what we need. His responses to our prayers might be different than what we might expect but it's always just what we need and what will help us grow!
 
The week started and ended with little miracles. Hermana C and I fasted on Monday for a few reasons and one of them was that Hna C might receive letters and a package from her family that had been delayed for weeks and weeks. The next day of our fast at district meeting, Hna C and I both saw a cute pink leopard package. :) Her package finally arrived the very day we prayed that it would. As we were walking out of district meeting, Elder V handed her a handful of letters from her family. We were both SO happy that our prayers had been answered perfectly. I felt so strongly that Heavenly Father is aware of exactly what we need and that He helps as we ask Him for it. I felt so much love from my Heavenly Father. 

I was also so amazed this week of how much He's guided and strengthened us. Every day, I felt a lot of peace and happiness and I felt like we handled stressful situations so much better! I feel so much love for this area. In a way, I feel like I'm home. The members and investigators too feel like family to me. So many people here take good care of us--members or not. It's through them that I have also felt the love of my Heavenly Father so much this week and that's helped me teach and testify with more love to those we visit. 

Missionary work is so amazing. I love seeing people progress and seeing the light of the gospel brighten their lives and those around them too. There is a light and a recognition in many individuals when they hear the message of the gospel. It registers with them. It's familiar to their spirit. And it's incredible to see.
 
One example, a mom and her son contacted us this week in the street (I love when that happens! :)) and they weren't even sure who we really were! They asked if we preach about God and if they could have more information about our religion. We took down their information and invited 'Aa' and her son 'J' to church the next Sunday. They said they would try to come. We came to find out that they do not live in our area but we passed their reference to the sisters in their area.
 
Yesterday at church, 'J' (20 years old) and his mom came to our ward sacrament meeting!! Hermana C and I were so surprised. They came to the wrong ward, but they CAME! The ward tried to welcome them and make them feel comfortable so Aa decided to stay for the 2nd hour, and J stayed for all three hours. :) At the end of church he said he really liked it! He said was a little hesitant to come to church that morning but he really wanted to come anyway and was glad he did. We introduced him to the sister missionaries in his area and we handed him off to them.
 
He has so much potential and we hope he continues progressing! I know that the Spirit was really working in him to help him have the desire to come to church, even though he was nervous and hesitant at first. The Lord knows exactly when people are ready. :) 

So so many miracles this week. And the greatest? This week it was seeing how much Heavenly Father really loves us and how the Lord of the vineyard labors with His servants.  One of my favorite missionary scriptures is in Jacob chapter 5 vs 71 & 72. It says:
 
'And the Lord of the vineyard said unto them: Go to, and labor in the vineyard, with your might. For behold, this is the last time that I shall nourish my vineyard; for the end is nigh at hand, and the season speedily cometh; and if ye labor with your might with me ye shall have joy in the fruit which I shall lay up unto myself against the time which will soon come. And it came to pass that the servants did go and labor with their mights; and the Lord of the vineyard labored also with them; and they did obey the commandments of the Lord of the vineyard in all things.'
 
The servants labored with all their mights and their Master labored with them. I know that is true. I really felt that this week! I know the gospel is true and I know that it changes lives because it has changed & is changing my own. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve and I know that the fruits of the vineyard are ripe or that the field is white already to harvest! :)"

I LOVE YOU ALL! The church is true! Be strong and have a great week!!!! Take care of the missionaries and the investigators, less actives and members (ahem, everyone). Give the missionaries (GOOD) food, and (GOOD) references. Say family prayers everyday and read the scriptures every night. Try to have a family home evening tonight and count the blessings you have all seen during the week. 

I will write again in a little bit! Bye :)

Con Amor,
 
Hermana Fernelius

Week 16 in MEXICO‏! "The Heavy Purse"

From 4/28/14

Hola Family and Friends, <3

This week was great! It was difficult and wonderful too. This mission is like that chu know.  I'm so happy to hear that the family is doing well!!! I love seeing your faces in photos and reading all your wonderful letters. Take good care of the new Palmhurst family. I had a really cool experience happen this week because the ward took good care of our investigators. 
 
Not much new around here! We are happily working in our area and seeing many miracles take place in the lives of our investigators. Nothing better!!!!! :)

"This week was really wonderful! Hermana C and I had some really hard experiences this week, but that helped us to recognize the good so much better. Hermana C is really wonderful! I admire her very much. She has been taking the lead in teaching lessons and her Spanish is improving every day. I love seeing how she is progressing.
 
Our ward is doing really great too. Yesterday our ward really focused on helping new and unfamiliar faces feel welcome. One investigator came to our ward, and a member took the initiative to befriend him and take care of him all day. I was really impressed with how the Relief Society and Young Women's class took care of our investigators and addressed their specific needs and questions during class. They are making great strides to participate in missionary work and there are great fruits that are coming from their efforts.
 
For example, last night Hermana C and I taught Investigator 'A' and her daughters. 'Aa' (A's daughter, 15 years old) told us that she wanted to be baptized this week. She has only been to church two Sundays and we haven't taught her all the lessons yet. I told her that she would have to come to church three more Sundays and we would help her be prepared for her baptism. She is really excited and anxious to be baptized!! Hermana C and I were so thrilled!!

Her mom and sister are also so excited to be baptized. They are really excited thanks to the ward efforts. Aa (15) has told us that she knows the church is true, the Book of Mormon is the word of God and that she has firmly decided to be baptized.

I love seeing the joy in their faces when they go to church and mutual. The girls even went to girls camp last weekend. And we have only been teaching them for three weeks now! They are so prepared by the Lord. We really love our investigators and feel great joy to see them progress and make changes to bring their lives in harmony with the gospel.

I wanted to share one experience we had this week that really strengthened my testimony. We contacted a woman named 'M D' as Hermana C & I headed to an appointment. We invited her to come to church with us on Sunday. M D said she couldn't because she visits her incapacitated mother every three days -- that day it is her turn to bathe her mother and feed and take care of her. This week, her turn fell on a Sunday. So she apologetically said she couldn't but hoped to be able to go sometime soon.
 
I told her that Hermana C and I were CNAs before coming on the mission so we understood the stress she was feeling. She told us how difficult it has been to take care of her mother, 'M'. M D said that she doesn't have a good relationship with her because M has never been the least loving, nurturing or appreciative mother. Now in M's old age and poor health conditions, she is even harder on M D. It was easy to see how difficult it was for M D to tell us that.

She began to open up her heart and tell us very deep wounds and burdens she carries. Right there on the sidewalk on a busy street. She began to cry. She says she has felt a lot of pain and worry in her life and that she has really struggled lately. Her family relationships are deteriorating and she says she feels lost and doesn't know what to do. M D told us that when she gets home and she's alone, she talks out loud in her home and tells God all her worries.

She says she's been praying for direction and help. She also said she is ALWAYS in a hurry to go somewhere or do something so it was rare for us to find her with time in the street that day. She said she didn't know why she started to tell us all about her life. M D was even a little embarrassed. We told her that we came to her for a reason and that God loves her. We set a return appointment to see her and teach the gospel. 

As we were speaking with M D, I started realizing how heavy my purse was getting. It was feeling REALLY heavy, and strange -- almost as if someone was pulling down on it! Because of the weight of my bag I thought of what I even put in it and then I remembered the Book of Mormon I put in my bag in the morning. I had the thought to give it to M D so I pulled it out. We asked her to read it and pray about what we taught her. We set a return appointment to visit her in her home, gave her two great big hugs and then went on our way. 

As we talked about how amazing that experience was, Hermana C said, 'I am SO glad you gave her a copy of the Book of Mormon. I don't have one with me, so as we talked with M D I was praying so hard for you to give your copy to her.' I was stunned because my bag started to get heavy as we talked and that's how I thought of giving her the Book!! I asked Hermana C, 'Have you been praying for me Hermana? You're the reason why I am gaining weight and feeling so heavy. You have to stop praying for me!' :) haha.
 
That experience was SO amazing! I felt how much the Lord really loves M D and really loves and trusts us as His missionaries. He allowed us to run into M D and share the hopeful message of the gospel of Jesus Christ. It was so amazing!

All this week, we had experiences like night and day. Many great and many discouraging appointments, but that has helped us to see the Lord's hand with more clarity.

I know Jesus Christ lives and that He loves us. And I am grateful for the good and difficult experiences He allows us to experience here in our area! :))"

I LOVE YOU ALL! I tried to send a few photos to make up for last week. I hope you like them! Thank you so much for sending photos this week, they made me SO GIDDY! :)

CON MUCHO AMOR,
 
Hermana Fernelius

P.S. Take care and have another amazing week! Can you believe it? It's already been 16 weeks in Mexico!! 
 
We took this photo just after our interviews with President Kusch, Would you just look at how gorgeous Hermana C is?! She is SO AWESOME :)

We have the BEST graffiti in our area. There are TONS of super cool walls. I have to send more photos of them!

Last Monday, we went to Centro and spent the whole day touring :) We did absolutely nothing and it just so happened to be the best Pday ever. haha. We went to a really cool store that sells tourist shirts and I got a little something something for my Emma. I am going to see if I can get it mailed to Jamison and Ames. It's super cute!!! Now I need something for the baby...hmm..I'll think about it!!! :)

Saying goodbye to our Zone leader!!!

Also saying goodbye to our district leader.

Meet one of our mission moms, "E" and her son "F". Their family takes such good care of us. She is one person for sure that the family is going to meet after the mission. She's less active but you better believe we're going to get her back to church. I really love their family!

Hermana C and mission mom E's son, F (see above photo).

Mexicans are OBSESSED with coca cola. They drink it more than water. So I thought this was supremely cute and Emma and I can match. :) tee hee

[See caption for the previous photo]

One of our investigators, "G"! :)

And one more because my comp is just so cute!
 

Week 15! "Lightening, Thunder, EARTHQUAKE!"

From 4/21/14
 
Hola Family and Friends!

FIRST THINGS FIRST: I LOVE YALL. <3 Okay, now...
 
1) Friday at 9:30, we had our first earthquake as we were studying. At first I thought Hermana C was shaking the table haha. Then we both looked up at each other and just ran around the house yelling NO WAY THIS IS SO COOL! haha

It felt like we were on a boat. Exactly like we were on a boat. I actually thought about our family on the lake boat at that moment haha. We live on the second floor of our beautiful CONCRETE house. And it shook like jello.

We left the house and stood in the doorway until it passed. Cool!! I don't think it was really that strong though and it didn't last for too long but it was pretty great all the same.

Then later that day, we were IN THE MIDDLE OF A LIGHTNING STORM. Sorry this is all in Caps lock but it deserves to be capitalized. I am shouting these sentences in my mind as I type them out. Now, when I say we were in the middle of a lightning storm, I mean that literally. I could see the electricity directly outside of our windowpanes. No manches!!

So that happened now let me tell you something that I thought was hilarious.
 
This past week, like Tiffy said, was Semana Santa. It was really weird. W E I R D. Friday just so happened to be the day that a member of the Catholic Church is assigned to carry an enormous wooden cross through a parade and wear a crown of thorns as people beat him in the streets. BEAT him. Punches, kicks--the works. So moving along.

At night I called the district leader to give him los datos for the day, and he told me that he and the ZL looked out the window in their area Friday morning and saw this HUGE procession of a man carrying a cross, when all of a sudden the earthquake hit, and then the lightning storm followed. They said they laughed so hard when that happened in the morning. I was laughing so hard imagining that as he told me. So funny. But so weird. 
 
2) Hermana C's man is serving in Tonga right now. He has a companion that is from Ecuador. I am part Ecuadorian too. There are no coincidences. Hna C and her man are going to get married for sure. Just for the fact alone that she and he have companions from Ecuador right now. :D
 
3) It was finally Easter on Sunday! My compañera and I have been celebrating Easter for the past three Sundays now. haha. 
 
4) I gave my very first talk in Spanish on Sunday. All I know is that I got up there opened my mouth and blacked out for a few minutes. Before I knew it, I was done. I have no idea what I said though. Afterward, the bishop came up to me and Hna C & said that our talks were very "potente". I was SO impressed and happy with mi compañera. She did an AWESOME job!!
 
5) My comp also loves Jose Jose, a famous Mexican artist. She mentioned this to a 60+year old member and she freaked out and got a CD of Jose Jose for Hermana C. I was pretty sure she was going to cry when she got it. 
 
6) Also BLESS YOU ALL for the photos you sent this week. I have been praying so hard to have photos of you all this week. I am so happy. You can't even imagine.

Below is a really small piece of this week. It talks about yesterday which was super special :)

"Convert 'O' passed the sacrament for the first time. As I watched him carefully pass the trays of bread and water, I thought about where he was in his life when we first met him & then I thought about everything that has brought him to this point in his life now. A faithful, baptized member of the church who holds the Priesthood and is worthy to pass the sacrament. That actually is a miracle.
 
Another recent convert, 'V', was asked to give the class in Relief Society. She was baptized in March after only knowing about the church for a few weeks. And yesterday, the Lord allowed us to be in the class that she prepared. She taught about the life of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. She was so incredibly prepared. She taught as if she had been a member of the church her entire life and I felt the Spirit so strongly as she spoke and bore her testimony. As I thought about her, I felt great peace and happiness.
 
Sunday night again, I thought about what had happened during the day. And my heart was so full with gratitude and I felt joy. There will always be work to do. The work is never done. I know that there is always room for improvement, but the Lord accepts our best efforts then He helps us to be a little more than our best the next day and the next day. I am learning to appreciate the little moments. In them, I can see heaven's help. I feel my Heavenly Father's love for me and I know that He is pleased with my best.

I reread a letter that a sister missionary wrote to me when I was in the MTC, she said, 'There will be hard moments, but the Lord doesn't want you returning home as the same Ashley. He is going to stretch you to become what He needs you to be as His missionary.' I know that is true. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father listens to and answers our prayers because He loves us infinitely."

I love you all. Sorry for the short letter this week. I LOVE YOU

Con Amor,
 
Hermana Fernelius <3
Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Week 14! "Almost Four Months on the Mission!!!!! WOO!!‏"

From Monday, April 14, 2014

Hola Family and Friends!

Happy Easter!! I think! :) The 18th is my four month mission mark. Can you believe that? The time is going by so fast! :)
 
I am so sorry to hear that Daddy, Emma and Amy are sick, and I'm glad that mom is feeling better too. :( We will definitely pray harder this week. I hope you all feel better!! My companion was actually really really sick on Friday. She got up every hour all night because she was so sick. We stayed home Friday. Later that night the 1st counselor of the bishopric came by with his daughter and the Secretary of the ward to give her a Priesthood blessing. The next day she woke up so much better. PRIESTHOOD POWER! But I hope that you all can be better asap.

I love you all. I am grateful for each of you. The sacrifices that you all make for me and Tiffy to be serving means everything. Like Matthew said this week, even the really difficult days of the mission have miracles in them too. They help us grow.

In the weekly letter from President Kusch he said this: "Debemos esforzarnos cada día, aun cada momento de la misión y de nuestras vidas de vivir sin remordimiento. Claro, haremos errores, pero tan agradecidos estamos por el don del arrepentimiento. Al arrodillarnos cada noche nuestra meta debe ser rendir cuentas a nuestro Padre Celestial y poder decirle, “Padre, hoy hice todo lo que pude por dejar mi área más fuerte y los miembros, la misión, mi compañero y mis investigadores.”

At the end of the day if we can pray to Heavenly Father and say, I did the best I could, that is sufficient for Him. What a miracle that is for us. That our best is never a failure to Him. This week was a little difficult but we witnessed so many miracles from it!! Below I just wrote a little bit from the week and one experience we had this week.

"I am so grateful to work with Hermana C in this area. She is always upbeat, positive and has a tender spirit. She is a powerful missionary! She is progressing really well with her Spanish and with making a great adjustment to the culture, people, food, and customs.

Hermana C was very sick all day and night Friday. A few members of the ward came by to give her a Priesthood blessing and the next morning she was back to her happy, cheerful self. :)

I am learning from her example how great an impact our attitudes have on having success in missionary work. As we walk in the street, sometimes I say 'It's so hot' or 'I'm tired' and her reply is 'No it's not it feels great outside!' or 'What do you mean? You're not tired, you have lots of energy'. I love that and it always helps me be a little more selfless. She's awesome!
 
[Our ward] is becoming stronger and stronger with each passing week. The members are excited about doing missionary work and assisting us with teaching appointments. The ward leaders are much more organized too. They are making the effort to help investigators and less actives feel welcome at church & activities. We do not have a ward mission leader as of right now nor do we have ward missionaries, but the Bishop will extend callings in the upcoming weeks.
 
Yesterday, we had wonderful experiences with our investigators, 'A' and two of her children 'Aa' (15 years old) and 'P' (12 years old). Sunday was the first time A and her girls have come to our ward. As soon as we came in, many members welcomed them and helped them feel comfortable. They even knew some of the members of the ward from work and school. The Bishop's wife and daughter knew 'A' from many years ago. The girls went with the bishop's daughter to their classes while we stayed with 'A'.

For the third hour, we were invited to come to the Young Women's class and participate in the lesson. The class was on the Book of Mormon. At the end of the lesson, the YW teacher passed around a copy of the Book of Mormon and asked each girl to bear her testimony of it and how it's helped them in their life.

She got to P and Aa and almost skipped over them because they are so new. The YW President asked them to share their testimony and thoughts anyway. Aa (15) held the Book of Mormon carefully in her hands. She began saying that she has had many problems in her life recently. She said that she couldn't have run into the missionaries at a more perfect time. After we taught the message of the Restoration with her family the night we met them, she turned on the television and started watching a program with her brother. She was distracted the whole time she tried to watch the t.v. Adriana said she had a persistent feeling in her heart that said, 'Read the Book of Mormon, read the Book of Mormon.' She couldn't get the thought out of her mind. So she turned off the television and went to her room. She read the first pages and felt something. She decided to pray and ask God if it was true. Then, as Aa told the YW this experience, she began to cry. She said, I know the Book of Mormon is true. I know the church is true.

Hermana C and I cried with happiness to hear how the Spirit had testified to her of the truth of the gospel. I am so grateful that Heavenly Father permitted us to be in class yesterday to hear her say she knew the church was true. It was beautiful to witness how the gospel already reached and touched her heart.

Her mom also shared a similar experience in Gospel Principles class, of how all Saturday night she tossed and turned, unable to sleep only because she was thinking about whether or not to come to church. After a sleepless night, she got up out of bed at 5:00 am and made the decision to come to church. She quickly showered and got ready for church. At almost 7 a.m. she called us to tell us she was ready for church. :)

How great is the love and mercy of our Heavenly Father! When we reach up to Him, He reaches down to us. The Spirit is ready to testify and teach of truth to all who are pure in heart, with sincere intent and desire to find the truth. The Spirit can awaken the divine nature of each man and woman on the earth and help them recognize their worth, their purpose, and their divinity.

I was amazed at that experience yesterday. They already seem like members! We are excited to meet with them this week and help them prepare for their baptisms. I am grateful also for the converting power of the Book of Mormon and for the gift of prayer. This week was amazing!!"

Have a wonderful week family! LOVE YOU. :)

Con Amor,
 
Hermana Fernelius

P.S.

1) WOO! LONG LETTERS!
 
2) The piñatas in Mexico are absolutely bomb. You name it, they can make a piñata out of it.
 
3) We can see the volcano Popocatepetl from our house in the morgan [morning]. I'll see if I can email a photo of it.
 
4) As we visited an investigator, her daughter was playing with a Barbie doll. Then all of a sudden the girl shoved the Barbie doll in Hermana C's face and said "MIRA! Su gemela!!!!" Look it's your twin!! haha. The best part is that it actually looked just like her. haha
 
5) It's hot here. They say that May is the worst month of the year for heat and then June/July is rainy season. BOOYAH.



VOLCANO!! This is outside of our apartment in the mornings!

See, I told you so!  Twins!

This is our church! We took a photo of it this morning from the puente over the freeway. It is hermosa!! :)

This is also outside our apartment :)

Frog Face for daddy: You're welcome :)

I love you family!! Be safe! I hope you all get better soon and have a wonderful week. <3
 

Week 13 in Mexico! "Macho Man"

From Monday, April 7, 2014

Hola Family and Friends! :) :)

I hope you feel better dad! I know how hard it is for you when you get sick too. We'll pray that you can get better this week. Thank you for the letters you send every week. My companions laugh whenever I open mom's email because I'm still trying to get a flow of reading Spanish but it takes me a minute to read them. haha. I'm getting there!
 
On Friday we went out with our ward mission leader "B", and he was telling us about some things he's worried about. I told him about Matthew and some cool counsel he's given me before and that really helped B. It was awesome.

I really love you all. There are things that happen daily where I am reminded of each of you and experiences that we've had together that help strengthen others in our area. I am so grateful to be a part of this family and grateful for the principles that you've taught me and the love you've shown to me--especially when I've been difficult because that's when I needed it the most.
 
This week was really amazing and I know that it was because of the prayers of each of you that Heavenly Father allowed us to have such special experiences this week. I wrote a couple to President Kusch this week that I wanted to share.

The third experience was basically like the movie 'the Best Two Years'. I don't know if you remember that movie but, an elder that went to Holland contacted a guy on the street in broken Dutch, but it turned out that Kyle was American. The first guy he contacted in Holland, spoke English. They taught him in English and later he was baptized. Okay. THAT HAPPENED TO US: WHAT. We taught a man in Mexico the gospel in pure English and it was literally so so cool. That is below. haha. 

"Another great week!! This past Saturday after conference, Investigator 'D' and two of her children were baptized! Her children, 'J' and 'A' were beaming that afternoon because they were so excited. D was especially happy. It's taken her some time to prepare for her baptism but her enthusiasm for her baptism had only grown with each passing week.

I love seeing the change that takes place in people's lives when they accept Christ as their Savior. D has told us that before she met the missionaries, she was a very different mother than she is now. She says now she feels like she is so much more patient. She tries to listen and help instead of shout when she gets frustrated with her children. I can see that change in her too. She has the gospel now and the tools to help her raise her family in faith and love.

During her baptism, I had a feeling of anticipation for her. It's hard to describe but maybe it's that there is so much potential in her and her family. I felt like there are so many blessings that Heavenly Father has in store for them, and He was rejoicing that she made sacred covenants with Him, so He in turn can bless her with strength and gifts from on high. It was a really special moment!

Hermana C and I have just had the coolest experiences this week. After district meeting on Monday, we found a less active woman ('M') and her children as we contacted on the way home. She was in a big rush, but took the pamphlet and started walking away from us. Then her daughter said, I know who you two are! Then her mom stopped and gave us a chance to talk to her.

I have never met her before. But she said that she was baptized about three years ago and hasn't gone to church since. She told us of many many trials she's had in her life since then and the reasons she stopped going. She began to cry as she said, "I pray but no one hears or answers me. I just don't think there is a God anymore." I felt so much love for her in that moment and I felt the Spirit so strongly.

When she said that God doesn't exist, I thought of the scripture of when Aaron taught King Lamoni's father and said 'Assuredly as thou livest, O king, there is a God.' And that's what I told her. Just as sure as she lives, God lives also. He loves her infinitely. He really does listen and answer prayers.

We told her that even though we were complete strangers, it wasn't a coincidence that we ran into her that night. We told her that God led us to her that very moment to testify that He lives and loves her. She never walks alone. We hugged her and spoke like we were friends.  Hermana C then gave her a Book of Mormon. M cried and said that when her family split up, they took away almost everything she owned, even the Book of Mormon.

That was one of the greatest experiences I have yet had on my mission. It really touched me how much Heavenly Father knows each of us, what we need, and when we need it. 

The last experience we had was teaching another less active named 'J'. We found him contacting in the street one day. He was born in Mexico but lived in Chicago for most of his life so he was much more comfortable speaking in English. And I'm okay with that. haha.

We went with our ward mission leader to visit J in his home on Friday. He was baptized in about 2002 and that was also the last time he went to church. J feels a great desire to strengthen his relationship with God. Recently, he even read the Bible from beginning to end 4 times.

The lesson was so special. Hermana C and I began teaching in Spanish but he asked if we could in English. What. So great! We invited him to pray about the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith and invited him to come to General Conference. He is so excited to reactivate and come to church.
 
That was another testimony to me this week that in the instant that we reach out to our Heavenly Father, He reaches back to us. He prepares the way for us to have happiness in life and return to Him.

This week was absolutely one of the most special of my mission. I am so grateful that the Lord allows an imperfect 19 year old to be an instrument in His hands to do His work. I am grateful for the Savior's Atonement and for His love for each of us. I know He lives!"

This week was AMAZING. I'm sorry for such a long letter but I wanted to share that with you all. These miracles happen because of the faith and prayers of our family at home as well as here in the mission field. I love you all and hope you have a great week!

Before I forget, here are some funny things that happen to us:
 
1) Our neighbor is amazing. Unbeknownst to him, he serenades us in the morning as we study. The other day it was Macho Man. Then it was YMCA. He belted out that song like his very life depended on it. It was breathtakingly out of tune. Bless his heart. But we still loved it.
 
2) Yesterday we saw another man breakdancing in solitude. He thought he was alone I guess. It was really funny. We wanted to shake his hand, but didn't :(
 
3) I just remembered that I had a dream this week that I went to the area, Burgos, and then Guerrero on the coast in Acapulco. I am writing this so you can be witnesses in the future to see what happens and what my future areas will be!
 
4) Wasn't General Conference the best? I learned so much from it and all kind of things that I need to improve and change and repent of too. I am so grateful that we have living prophets and apostles. They are truly men and women called of God to teach us His will. It was just like the Savior Himself was instructing us. How cool is that?

I guess that's all for this week. Just know that I love you. I am grateful for each of you. I am grateful for my family. I am grateful for dear friends and for their support. I am so grateful for our ward and stake back home and for so many friends that feel like family. I hope each of you have a wonderful week and that you can keep pressing forward and go on in the faith. :) 

Con Mucho Amor, <3
 
Hermana Fernelius 
 
P.S. I met an elder in our mission whose last name is Cienfuegos. That's right. Elder "One Hundred Fires". What a great last name. :) I love you!!
 
Baptism with "D" :)
 

Week 12! "All the Love in the World"

From Monday, March 31, 2014
 
Hola Family and Friends!!

WOOOOOO what a week! This week was full of incredible experiences. That's not to say that every day is hunky dorey. Some days are pretty 'pesado' but the Lord always always helps us!

"We had a great week!!! Saturday, Investigator 'V' was baptized! WOO!! :) V was so excited for her baptism, and a very sweet spirit was present during her baptism and confirmation on Sunday. She just radiated with joy & she said that she felt so clean and new. She is a really special person and I'm grateful for her & how she's helped me grow personally. She is someone who was prepared by the Lord her whole life to receive the gospel.

I was really in awe this week of how many people are prepared to receive the gospel wholeheartedly. In appointments with new investigators, it's really amazing to see a light ignite in their eyes during the lesson. It's like the gospel has a familiar ring to them, so it's easier for them to accept the truth. I LOVE THAT.

One day this week, Hermana 'C' and I headed out of the apartment with our day scheduled as well as we've ever had. We had back up plans for our back up plans. Well, that day every single appointment & back up plan fell through. No one was home, some weren't interested and so on. It was a little discouraging because we felt like the day was being wasted.

As we walked down a sidewalk, we discussed what we could do to meet our goals for that day. Hermana C thought that we should pray to find someone who was ready for the gospel. We prayed together on that street corner and asked for help to find someone who was prepared to hear the gospel. We decided to keep walking and go to another area. On the way, we ran into a man that tried to contend with us in the street and prove to us why we were the wrong church. That was also a little discouraging...especially right after our prayer. haha.

But as this man talked to us, another crossed our path. 'J' walked right past us, then turned around and asked, are you Mormons? I've been looking for your church. Where do you meet? My jaw almost dropped when he said that! What was even greater was that he was talking to us in English.

He said he was really interested in learning more about the church and carefully took down the directions to the church and our appointment time. We were completely elated! If we weren't in that exact place at that exact time, we wouldn't have met him.

As we kept walking, we contacted someone else that was also really interested in the message of the gospel. We set an appointment to meet with him the following week. WOO we were pumped. We were so happy that the Lord had answered our prayers and allowed us to find them!
 
That same night we went to another appointment--and the individual wasn't home. Big surprise haha. But we found a woman named 'A' and her daughter. She invited us to teach her and her family that very night. The spirit was so strong in their home as we talked about the message of the Restoration.

When Hermana C shared the first vision, one of the daughters in the family walked over to where we were and sat down directly in front of us. Joseph Smith's experience really touched the family and same with the Book of Mormon. A and her daughter accepted 10 mayo to be baptized. We are really excited to have more teaching appointments with them and hope that the whole family will make a goal to be baptized.

This whole week was so great. I've noticed a great relationship to exact obedience and diligence to having the Spirit. The Lord has helped us in every step we've taken together. We've been trying to do the best we can and the Lord has blessed us to find many who are ready to accept the gospel.

I am also really grateful for Hermana C. She makes me want to be better and work harder every day. She has such a great desire to teach and work which invites the Spirit that much more. She really is such a wonderful missionary. I am so excited to work this week and find others who are ready to receive the gospel. I love being a missionary!! :)"

Other cool tidbits:

1) Chamba is a Morelos, MX word to say job. Esto es mi chamba, is translated to, this is my job. Pretty cool. Chamba=job.
 
2) Wednesday was the hardest day this week but also the best. In the morning during our personal studies, I was having a hard time. I started to feel a little stressed and incapable. Just looking at our plans for that day made me a little worried. It's hard to explain but when I feel a little overwhelmed, I feel really close to home. I feel the support and strength of my family and many friends that I consider family. I thought about mom and dad.

There was a lot of commotion outside of our house and our neighbor always listens to Jose Jose in the mornings and 60s Mexican music. Which is cool normally. But not that day. haha. Our neighbor changed the song and started listening to another. And I LITERALLY ALMOST CRIED. He started playing All the Love in the World, by Outfield. I immediately felt so close to home. It was so cool. All that day when it started being hard again, I just heard the words in my head "All the love, all the love in the world, All the love, I'll be sending you girl". It felt like dad was singing that song to me to encourage me. It was a super big blessing!!
 
3) We had an hour to clean the baptismal font before V's baptism and man, that business was a mess! We got into the font to clean the spiders and random floating dead things that were hanging out from the last baptism. But everything worked out last minute! :)
 
4) I am really excited for general conference this week! The North American elders and sisters get to watch it in ENGLISH in the high council room at the stake center. Special privileges. I am so so happy that we get to watch it in English, you have no idea.
 
5) I love the stories that dad, ben, mom, amy, matthew, and tiffany have been writing. It's so amazing to hear how everyone is doing :)

I am about to head out to district meeting, but I just want to share that I know this church is true. I am so grateful to have been born into the church and now to share that truth with others. I am grateful for my Savior, Jesus Christ. I know that He lives. I know that He loves us. He knows our struggles because He has felt them. Our Redeemer has paid the penalty for our sins and has borne our afflictions so that we might be liberated and find peace and happiness in this life and eternal life to come.

I am so grateful for families. I know that they are the most important unit in time and eternity and that we can find the greatest joy within our families. I am so happy and grateful to be where I am now. All that I ever do and am can never repay my Savior for His sacrifice, but I'm grateful that He's allowed me to serve Him during this special time on a mission.

I love you all and hope you have the best week. Trust in Heavenly Father, go forward in faith. Go to general conference with a question, and listen for an answer. Revelation will come. The prophet truly does teach us the will of our Heavenly Father for us in this precise moment in our lives. Watch General Conference with a prayer in your heart and a pen in your hands. Those special promptings will help strengthen you and help you press forward.

President Kusch said once during a zone conference to the missionaries, Pay special attention, this may be the most important conference of your life. And if you don't pay heed, you could miss it.

LOVE YOU :D :D

Con Amor,
 
Hermana Fernelius
 
Our last day as companions.. Hermana "P" and me outside our apartment!!

Hermana "C" and me

We use that make-shift plunger to plunge our laundry in a paint bucket. It helps to loosen the dirt before washing the clothes. We learned this tip from an return missionary. He says 'it gets the clothes reeeal clean.' haha. I am learning how to be self sufficient and survive.
I feel like a little girl playing 'grown up' sometimes haha. but those experiences have been helping me be a little more grateful and to have a little more faith in the Lord! For example, we survived this week with an empty fridge and pantry. We make do. I don't know how, but it happens. haha

Interesting experience 2: I sat on a huge black beatle (like 3 or 4 inch long!!!!!!) this week and got stung in the rear. do you know what I did? I just walked it off, after my companion and I screamed a little. But yeah. anyway. All during that day, my companion said, Hermana, how's your butt? You should check it. I'm really worried about you. hahaha. We have endless amounts of weird and awkward stories. But it's all good. It builds character!


Don't mind my face, I don't know what's up with it, but look at my legs. The other missionaries make fun of me for it haha. modest tan lines. very attractive.
This is "V". She is so incredible and reminds me a little of mom sometimes. She is super duper awesome and her baptism this week was amazing!

 

Week 11 in MEXICO! "'O' is Confirmed!"

From Monday, March 24, 2014

HOLA Family and Friends!!

FIRST OF ALL. Happy Birthday to my sweet Benjamin!!! I didn't forget this week I promise, I just forgot to write that in my email. I can't believe you're already 15!!! I love you bud and I love hearing about your basketball stories. They crack me up. I look like a lunatic in the cyber cafe because I just randomly laugh. But anyway, you're awesome and keep being awesome. <---I realize how inspirational that was. haha.

I'm losing English and struggle with Spanish. It's hard to think of something witty in either language so bear with me. As I read your emails this week, I nearly cried (okay, I did cry haha) because I just felt such happiness and love for each of you. I am so grateful for our family and I am blessed to have amazing friends. I don't know how to explain it, but I feel really close to home even though we are thousands of miles apart. It is so special so so so great. 

P.S. I hope no one that reads this has intense OCD because the keyboard I am writing on today has a really sketchy 'shift' key and it's really hard to capitalize the first letter of the sentence. and the keyboard is weird with keys that are stuck. again bear with me...

TUESDAY: Hermana "P" and I went to the mission office in the morning and waited in the back room with 20 other trainers for our new companions. We waited for two. hours. in the heat. super anxious. really tired. really hungry. not pleasant. Our future companions were in the main room in the mission office. and I guess (to add to the suspense?) we weren't allowed to see them right away.

The new missionaries went first to the nearby chapel and then we followed behind. Cool. So we finally got into the gym and all the new missionaries were gathered there with President and Hermana Kusch. The trainers all piled in and got in line, super anxious to see our new companions. I was kind of delirious and in denial of what was going on, so I started zoning out when, BOOM! President Kusch called my name and asked me to step forward and then called my companion out from the crowd of new missionaries. It happened so fast and it was all so awesome.

Hermana "C" is super awesome. I just love her. Her last name took me two days to learn how to say it. That day as we were walking back to the offices with other missionaries, I asked her where her last name is from. She said that it's from somewhere in Europe. Then an elder chimed in "someone's been doing their family history work..." Thanks elder. But she really is great. I miss Hermana P but change is good sometimes, and I have already seen how powerful of a missionary she is as we've worked this past week. 

"This week was AMAZING. First of all, Hermana C is a fantastic missionary. She makes the effort to learn and progress in the language and adapt to the culture. Several times this week, she's taken the initiative to share scriptures, offer prayers, talk to people on the street and bear her testimony. She is very positive about her experiences here so far and is always looking how to help others. Tuesday afternoon when we first met, she told me 'I'm ready to work. I want you to push me.' I really love that she is willing to try new things, she isn't afraid to speak Spanish & say something wrong because she wants to progress. Hermana C has taught me many things this week and makes me want to improve as a missionary. She brings a very special and sweet spirit to this area. 

'O' was confirmed on Sunday! He told us afterward that he felt the Spirit so strongly as soon as the brethren placed their hands on his head. He felt elevated to heaven--uplifted and edified. I thought that was tan lindo!!

We visited an investigator on Saturday afternoon named 'S'. It's difficult to teach her because she works all week in her family-owned paleteria. But with Heavenly Father's help, Saturday she let us into the salon of her negocio and we were able to teach the Restoration. When we talked about the apostasy, we read Amos 8. That people will wander with thirst and hunger--not hunger for bread and water, but for the word of God. Investigator "S"said that she's felt that spiritual hunger before.

We told her that there was someone else with that hunger too. His name was Joseph Smith. He asked God what he should do to find truth, bread of life and living water. As we shared the first vision with her, she seemed really drawn to his experience. We invited her to ask God if this church is true and to ask Him to fill her hunger. Hermana C then asked her to be baptized and she accepted!

Her baptismal date is set for the 10th of May. Our challenge with getting S to baptism is her church attendance. We invited her to church this past Sunday and she did not go, so that is one of our principle focuses with her. Helping her recognize the answer to her prayers, to keep her commitments and attend church. We are really excited for her. 

'V' is another investigator who will be baptized this Saturday (29/3/14) at 12PM! She is an incredible person!! She is just radiant. I love the inspired questions that Alma poses in Alma 5. He says, 'And now behold, I ask of you, ...have ye spiritually been born of God? Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?' Every time I see V, I think of this scripture. She has truly received the image of God in her countenance. She has a purity and light in her eyes that I love!

I know that the gospel really changes people. The spirit of God purifies hearts and is the only way that we become converted unto Christ. It's a privilege to know V and see her conversion to the Lord.

We had a teaching appointment with her on Saturday and I felt prompted to tell her that at her baptism, there will be generations of her family present. Her family members who have died without a knowledge of the gospel will be there rejoicing along with V's future children and posterity. The decisions she has made now will bless her life now and in the eternity to come. 

This week was full of beautiful experiences. I'm grateful for the spirit that Hermana C brings. She is really a great missionary and I know that she has a great work to do here on her mission. I'm grateful for the privilege to be a missionary in Cuernavaca. My heart is filled with love for the people here. I LOVE MEXICO :) I love the people. I love the culture. I love the language. I love the food, the quirks, the expressions, all of it. I am really happy and so grateful to be a missionary for the Lord! :)"

(Yes I actually love the food. HALLELUJAH ;) )

Last experience. I'm sorry if my letters are a bit long or scatter brained. But Sunday was definitely one of the greatest days of my mission thus far. It was the first time on my mission that I felt something really special as we visited and talked with others. I really felt love for the people we taught. I mean I've always cared about those that we teach. Many of them feel like family to me, but this weekend, I felt charity for them. And it changed the way we talked, taught, listened, and felt with each person. It was incredible.

We visited an investigator and her family (who are members) and talked with them about general conference. At the end, we asked them if they had anything they wanted to share or add to the discussion. Then they began to cry. They said they felt something really special with us. The hermano said he knew we were working hard because he could feel the Spirit as we spoke with them. I needed to hear that because so often it's easy to feel incapable or inadequate.
 
...I'm grateful that the Lord doesn't call the qualified to teach, but that He qualifies those whom He calls. He is so patient with me as I learn to be a better missionary and as I strive to be more converted unto Him. I am grateful for the privilege to work in Mexico among a people that I really love.

Le amo ustedes un buen!! :) Yo espero con todo mi corazon que ustedes pueden sentir el amor que nuestro Padre Celestial tiene por cada uno de ustedes diariamente. Y que pueden confiar en El siempre...especialmente en los momentos mas difíciles. Por que El siempre escucha nuestras oraciones. Yo se que esto es la iglesia verdadera. Y que la única manera que podemos encontrar felicidad y paz ahora y en las eternidades es mediante nuestro Salvador, Jesucristo. 

I love you all. And I hope I wrote that in Spanish right. haha. 

Con Amor, <3

Hermana Fernelius

Week 10! "Time to Train...'O' is Baptized!"

From Monday, March 17, 2014
 
Hola Family and Friends!!!!!!

INVESTIGATOR "O" WAS BAPTIZED YESTERDAY [the 16 year old boy we met my first week here]. YAYAYAYAYAYAY. See below for a watered down version of yesterday!

Also, last week my companion and I received a phone call from the assistants to the President. First one Elder spoke with my companion. After their conversation she was ready to cry. I was thinking, what in the...? What happened? She told me that this transfer she would be training a new missionary. When she said this, I was thinking a million things--and what would happen to me? :S 5 minutes later, the assistant called again, this time to talk. to. me. Our conversation went something like this:

**Awesome Nokia ringtone**
 
Me: "Bueno." (P.S. Here in Mexico, we answer the phone by saying 'Bueno', instead of saying hola, or hello, like you would say in the U.S. Moving along...)
 
Elder: "Hola Hermana. We have some exciting news for you. You are going to train a new missionary this transfer!!!!!"
 
Me. "......."
 
Elder: "Wooooo-"
 
Me: "....."
 
Elder: "-ooooooooo!!!!"
 
Me: "....."
 
Elder: ".......Bueno?"
 
Me: "Si Elder"
 
Elder: " How do you feel Hermana?!! Excited?!!!"
 
Me: "Si." O_O

He didn't tell us who our new companions would be (Latina or Americana) or in what area we would be training. We found that out in the new trainer's orientation in the mission home on Friday. SO NOW I KNOW :D 

I am going to train Hermana "C" from UTAH!!! 

Hermana "P" (my former companion) is going to train an American (again--to her great dismay haha) from ARIZONA. The funny thing is that my 'mother' is not going to be transferred too far from me. She will be in the same Stake/Zone that we are currently in. We are actually still in the same District! How crazy is that? We are still going to see each other every Monday! Yay! Supposedly our companions arrived today in Cuernavaca, and we are going to pick up our companions tomorrow morning. :) Please keep the new missionaries in your prayers. I hope that her first experience in Mexico is really wonderful because mine was! I am so excited to meet my new companion! I can't wait :))

COPIED. PASTED. :

"This week was so great!! 'O' was baptized yesterday!! WOO! :) The ward members helped us to get his baptism together quickly and were supportive of him. The reason the baptism was yesterday is because it was the only day that O's father could be present to see him be baptized. He came yesterday afternoon and was really supportive and respectful. After his baptism, O's father hugged and kissed him. We were so happy to see O make this eternally important decision to be baptized.

Next Sunday is his confirmation and his baptism will be complete! I know that he will bless the lives of many people, and his own family too. It was a miracle in itself that O's father came to his baptism, and we hope that this is only the beginning for O's family to get to know the church more. 

Another investigator ('V') has her baptism scheduled for the 29th of March. She is so special and already acts like a member of the church. V is 21 years old and was introduced to the church through her boyfriend, who is a returned missionary. She went with him to the temple visitor's center in Mexico City and felt the spirit really strongly during her visit there. After that experience, she decided to begin reading the Book of Mormon on her own and came to church on her own also. (She just finished first Nephi!)

We met with her two weeks ago to teach her the first discussion and she actually taught us! She has a great knowledge and testimony of the gospel already. Hermana P asked her if she knew that this was the true church of Jesus Christ. She suddenly became reverent and pensive and tearfully answered, yes! I know this church is true! She shared with us that she prayed to know if this was the true church and she felt a great peace and confirming feeling that it is. Hna P and I felt the Spirit so strongly when she shared that with us. We invited her to be baptized and she didn't hesitate to say yes. We are very excited for her!!

She is an incredible young woman with divine potential. She truly radiates the light of Christ from her eyes. This past Sunday she came to O's baptism and really loved it. Afterward a few members of the church asked her if she was a new missionary! haha. They were shocked to hear her say that she is an investigator and that it was only her fourth Sunday at church. We told V to tell her boyfriend that she wants to serve a mission. ;) She is really remarkable and we are excited for her. We know that she will be a strength to her family and friends also as she continues progressing in the gospel."

One thing I want to share this week is that being on the mission has taught me how to be a better member of the church. I'm learning more and more about the sacredness of our baptismal covenants. It's not just the missionaries' responsibility to find, teach, baptize, retain, and reactivate in our home wards and stakes. The great majority of that responsibility falls on the members.

I remember before coming on the mission how many great opportunities there were for me to share the gospel and give references to the missionaries that I never did because of my own fears. I also never truly made the effort to befriend and support investigators and less active members of the church. I wish I had dedicated even just a single day, or hour each week to go out with the missionaries to work with them as the Lord is hastening His work.

President Monson has taught us that NOW is the time for members and missionaries to work together in the work of salvation. Heavenly Father expects much of us as members of His church in the latter days. We shouldn't be content in letting the missionaries or leaders of the church do missionary work alone. As covenant, baptized members of the church, aren't we all missionaries?
 
This week, make a goal to set apart one day, or one hour each week from now on solely dedicated to help the missionaries, to talk to a nonmember, to visit a less active, to share the gospel with your family. I promise each of you that make this commitment, that you will feel heaven's help and divine guidance in your lives as you dedicate that time to the Lord to do what you covenanted to do on the day you were baptized. We can't be content in not sharing the gospel or living comfortably how we want to. Heavenly Father created us to be so much more.
 
One last challenge:

This Sunday, find the missionaries of your ward. Ask them how you can help, tell them what day and hour you have set aside for them to visit investigators and members with them. Offer support and offer references of those they can teach. Greet investigators and less active members at church, help them feel loved and welcome. And in this way, you can more fully keep sacred the covenant you renew each Sunday as you partake of the Sacrament.

I can promise that you will be blessed in great ways and that you will feel a great love and peace from our Heavenly Father. If you have trials right now, here is the solution to overcome them. If you are struggling in your testimony, here is the solution. If you want strength to change something in your life, here is the solution. If you are happy, there is yet greater, and unimaginable happiness and joy to be experienced. 

That is a thought I've had these past two weeks, and especially for my own mom and dad and siblings. To have two missionaries on a mission will hold our family more accountable for doing missionary work.  That is a strong feeling I've had this week and I had to share. 

Just know that I love you all. I think about you all week and you are always in my prayers. I am so grateful for the sacrifices that have been made for me to be able to come on a mission. There is such great joy in serving the Lord. It is the greatest privilege to serve Him and I am grateful for this opportunity to be in Mexico. I LOVE YOU ALL :)
 
Have a wonderful week & take the challenge to heart! :)

Con AMOR,
Hermana Fernelius
 
Investigator "O" gets baptized!
HOME SWEET HOME. (P.S. I am super burned)
This is a traditional dress from Morelos, MX. An investigator gave it to me :')

P-Day in Centro de Cuernavaca. (It is a major outdoor shopping mall. MAJOR. It's huge)


3/17/14 P-Day en las gallerias de Chapultepec
Don't ask. We try to disfrutar de nuestras misiones. :) The day we took this photo we both decided to get matching hats that say love. Because we are seesters, and that's what's up.
 

Week 9! "Wonderfully Confusing"

From Monday, March 10, 2014
 
Hola Family and Friends!!! 

What a wonderful week and hard and miserable too. The mission is wonderfully confusing like that!! haha :) In all honesty it was a really special week for me because I learned a lot and I feel like I've changed a lot too! 

Something that President Kusch has taught us recently is that miracles do not have to be miraculous to be miracles. In other words, following simple, sometimes small impressions can lead to great blessings. Simply being obedient can lead to incredible experiences. I know that's true because I've seen it many times this week. One of them I copied and pasted (tee hee) below that talks about Investigator "O". The other happened last night as we visited a less active family. 

Hno "A" and Hna "Aa" are strong members of our ward. They have a daughter "R" that is tan hermosa and almost a year old. Hno A is a returned missionary and he and his wife were married and sealed in the temple last year. They have callings in Relief Society and Young Men's and have really helped us [fulfill] our callings as missionaries in many ways. The past month though, my companion and I noticed that they have stopped coming to church. One week they said they were ill, another they were out of town and so on. Something was wrong and we both could feel it.
 
Two or three weeks ago, we felt impressed to stop by their home and visit them. Hna Aa was home with the baby and we had a chance to talk with her for a minute. She is pretty reserved in general, so I didn't think that she would be willing to talk to us about her concerns. As we talked to her, we decided to be direct with our questions and ask her why she wasn't going to church because we really care about her and her family. She told us that her husband was struggling. She couldn't come to church because he wasn't willing to go. She shared with us a few other reasons why primarily her husband didn't want to go.

It was sad to hear how he was feeling, and that he wasn't coming to church. One, he was offended by something that happened to him, and to be honest, I think that he has every reason to be hurt by what happened because it was a really bad experience. And second because he had lost his excitement and enthusiasm of his testimony. He and his wife were arguing more and more and he was losing the light of his testimony with every trial that passed him. Because he was struggling so much, his wife started to lose her faith too.
 
We've stopped by many times since then and visited with them and invited them to come to church and shared scriptures with them. Last week, we went by their house at night when Hna Aa and Hno A were home and we decided again to be really direct with them. And we tried to listen to the Spirit as we talked to them. We told Hno A to not lose sight of what really matters. His family and his testimony. Nothing else really matters!

It was clear that the enemy has been attacking this family in a tremendous way. My companion even told him that because he is a returned missionary, he has an even greater knowledge of the truth of the gospel. And if he doesn't act on that, it's condemnation for him. He said he felt a bit 'planchado', which means that he felt a bit chastised (I have no idea how to spell that). But it was a really powerful experience and we felt the Spirit really strongly in their home.
 
Hno A said that he knew he had to come back to church but didn't know how to overcome the trials he was facing. Solo Hagalo. Just do it. Just be obedient. If it's hard, do it any way. There are great blessings that come with obedience and we promised those blessings to him and his wife according to their faithfulness.

This past Sunday was stake conference and we saw Hno A, his wife Hna Aa, and baby R seated together. It was really wonderful. We also had a noche de hogar (family home evening) with them last night and read 3 Nefi 18 which talks about the Sacrament. IT WAS SO AMAZING: I loved being with them last night!! They had a light in them and a love and happiness that resparked and it was a joy to see. Just before we left their home, Hno A said this: No matter where you go on your mission and after, remember always that you really touched my life and my family. That night that you came I did feel a little chastened but it was because I knew what I needed to do and that I needed to change. I am grateful that you two came by because you were the very first to visit us. You were the first to notice that something was wrong. Because of your visit, I went to the Priesthood session of stake conference yesterday night, then with my wife, then this morning. Just remember that if there was nothing else you did or another person you helped, you helped my family that day. For that reason we are where we are now.
 
I can't tell you how special that was and how it really helped us because yesterday was really chafa for my companion and me. Miracles do not have to be miraculous to be miracles. 

P.S. I thought this was super cool and felt like I should share it, so here it is and that's how he told us, so if it doesn't make sense it's not my fault (haha):

Hno A also told us a story of two best friends that were walking along the beach. As they were talking and walking, one friend said something out of anger that really hurt the other. The one that was hurt wrote in the sand, my best friend hurt me today. As they kept walking they climbed up a rocky hill by the ocean. As they climbed, one friend was hurt and almost fell, when the other friend caught him and pulled him up to safety. The friend that was saved wrote in the rock, My best friend saved me today. As they reached the top, one friend asked the other, why did you write that I hurt you in the sand and then wrote that I saved you in stone? The friend responded, what you've said or done that's hurt me I've written in the sand, and the wind and the waves will wash all that away with time. But what you've done to save me and help me I've written in stone and can never be erased or forgotten by anyone.

Hno A shared that story with us and I really liked it. He told us that with those we love most, we write the bad in the sand and forever remember the good they've done and write them in stone upon our hearts. 

Moving on to the last experience I wanted to share this week about Investigator O, another miracle :)

''This week was really wonderful. :) My companion & I were blessed to see many miracles in this area that have taught us again and again that Heavenly Father really is in control and is able to do all things that are expedient in Him.

One of the greatest blessings I've had thus far in my life is meeting Investigator O. My companion and I met him the first day I arrived in this area. We didn't find him, he found us. :) We invited him to church, but were honestly skeptical that he would go that Sunday. But he did. And he has come every Sunday since we first met him! He's gone to our ward as many times as I have. :) He's been progressing every week, and many members of the stake think that he's already a member. But his father hasn't given him permission get baptized--week after week. My companion and I have fasted and prayed for him, that a miracle could take place for him to be baptized and that we might know what to do to help him.
 
Heavenly Father really does listen and answer our prayers. Every week when we make plans of what to teach O, my companion and I feel that we should share a specific principle of the gospel for him that visit. Last week, we both felt a strong impression to talk about the Atonement and Repentance. As we talked to him that day, he told us of serious sins he's committed years ago. He told us that he confessed those sins to the first counselor in the bishopric a few days before and that he's really tried to do his part to repent and be ready for his baptism. We have both seen the good changes that he's made to prepare for his baptism, even though his father hasn't given him permission. We have been praying so much for him. And just about every day this past week, when we're both thinking about O, we 'happen' to run into him--talk to him for a few minutes in the street and encourage him to keep being diligent and patient. We've been trying to do the same too! haha.
 
This past Saturday night, our miracle took place!!! Investigator O called me and my companion, and said that finally his father signed the 'registro de bautismo y confirmacion'!!! I can't express the peace and joy that I felt when he told us! Heavenly Father knew exactly the reason why O couldn't be baptized right away or when my companion and I wanted him to. He knew that O needed to repent still. He knew that O needed to have experiences in the mean time that would help him appreciate his baptism even more. At any point in time, God could have allowed O to be baptized but He knows exactly what each of us, His children, need and when and how.

O is a miracle to me. He's taught me many lessons about the love of our Heavenly Father and how He is actively a part of our lives. He wants each of us to be happy and experience joy in life through the everlasting gospel. Only through repentance, righteousness and obedience can we find that pure joy. The experiences that we've had with O has also helped me to know how to better help other investigators as well.

Sometimes as we work with our investigators they are experiencing great trials like O, but in reality, Heavenly Father is teaching them, and preparing them to make and keep sacred covenants with Him. It's a real joy to see investigators progress like O. We hope to have his baptism this Friday or Saturday at a time that his father can go too. O is a great example to me. We know that his baptism will be a great blessing to not only him, but many others that he will teach and strengthen in the future too. We are just thrilled for him! 

I've learned a lot from what we've experienced this week.  I realized that my personal trials really are a great blessing. It teaches me that God trusts me and is allowing me to grow and be more refined into who He wants me to be. I know that Heavenly Father is in control. He loves us so much that He allows us to have good and difficult days on the earth--so that one day we can return to His presence having been strong and faithful every day of our lives.'' 

Super good week. I love you all and hope you have a great week also. Thank you for your letters and support because they help me be strengthened each week that I read them! LOVE YOU! :)

Con Muchisisisimo AMOR,
 
Hermana Fernelius :)

P.S. Water is not water in Mexico. Water is ALWAYS flavored. Pineapple, cranberry, lemon, orange, always flavored. Sometimes water even converts into coca-cola or soda. We can ask for water and expect a soda. To get water water, you have to ask for agua simple or agua naturale. Go figure :)

If a member of the Catholic Church ever invites you into their home to 'talk' about the Bible NEVER GO IN. Someone did that. It was a trap. They tried to kill us with the palabra de Dios. We told them straight up, we WILL NOT contend with you and compare scripture. Didn't work. Made them mad. But we escaped. :) Also, they are our neighbors but they don't know that. haha

There are a lot of random things in the streets here in Mexico. Random shoes, half of a tire, random poles, and just stuff. Every time we see something funny or out of place in the streets we shout Viva Mexico! Because I really love the quirkiness in our area. haha That reminds me that I saw a dog get hit by a car two days ago. I SAW A DOG GET HIT BY A CAR. It was traumatizing but I'm getting over it. 

My companion finally made homemade bread!!! I don't know if I wrote this before or not, but her family has a panaderia or bakery in Salvador. She knows how to make bread but the ingredients here in Mexico are a lot different. So the donughts (i have no idea how to spell that either) didn't work out. It was sad. They were gross. She said if her dad knew about the donught failure he would be so disappointed. haha. That's all for now. Love you! :)