Thursday, August 28, 2014

Week 33! "Book of Mormon Connection"

From 8/25/14

Dear Dad and Mom,

I love you too! I appreciate all the thought and love and care that I feel from you and mom back home. I really do feel your prayers! I really do love the letters you send and hearing your testimonies of the gospel.

I'm working on my prayers, and I've been reading the Book of Mormon with more care. This week I tried working smarter and focused more on the needs of others, which, in turn has made me feel truly happy.

I feel like the Lord has taken really good care of us. There are too many details and moments that I realize He is right there and very actively involved. Yesterday 17 people we brought and invited came to church. 17!! That's a miracle to me! We still weren't the ones to give those individuals the desire to go to church, it was the Lord, but He works according to our faith. And wow, Dad, it takes a lot of diligent efforts to keep people excited and animated about the church.

President Kusch says that we should visit our investigators 5 times weekly and I believe it! People need constant contact and reminders. Unlike Hna N and me, the enemy is constantly awake and tempts, discourages, and confuses our investigators. Even yesterday morning, we literally knocked and called and woke people up to go to church. People were completely committed to come and told us so (half and hour before church started) and then didn't arrive. Arghhh... :)

The difference of how I felt this week really came from feeling connected to the Lord through reading the Book of Mormon. I haven't really paid attention to my studies of the Book of Mormon until now. I used to read a passage for our investigators to mark it, then move on. But every day after work this week, I would meditate on what I was thinking or worried about and turned it into a question. One day I had a really hard time in every single lesson to recognize the Spirit. I hardly spoke because I was feeling distracted and didn't know what to teach. So at home that night I prayed, then wrote down, "what can I do to focus on the impressions of the Spirit better throughout the day" then I read the next chapter I was on in the Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 11. After reading, I looked for answers and found them really clear. That strengthened my faith all week in the Savior because I realized that He listens to my needs and answers my prayers. So that's a plus right? :)

Well, I want to let you and mom know little more honestly of the scoop from the week.

It's the last Monday before transfers, and I feel mixed emotions. It's highly likely that Hna N is going to leave because she has been here for so long (about 6 months.) It kind of makes me nervous to think of staying here myself because our area is so big and I still get lost a little.  I kind of always want to be with Hermana N here. hahaha. We both feel good about whatever happens at the same time because we know that it is always inspired and we learn many things from transfers and new areas and companions. President does his absolute best to follow the promptings of the Spirit to assign changes though, so I know that everything will be okay :)

The work here is picking up again from this past week. We are promised a baptism every week if we do our part and are obedient. I saw a blessing from working diligently on Sunday when many investigators came. So I have a firm conviction that we can have an investigator baptized each week including this one.

I meet lots of members that take really good care of me and my companion here. Yesterday afternoon, we ate with one of those families. They ask if we want seconds, thirds, fourths...on everything, food or dessert. We don't go without food or help or care. The members are good to us. The bishop's son just left for the MTC last week, so I think that he is going to help more and more too.

Our home is perfect. It has a bedroom, study room, and kitchen/dressing room. It's on a quiet-ish street away from too many eyes. It's pretty secure and I am going to try to send photos next week for you to see.

This week is my first and last mission birfday :) I can't believe that I'm celebrating my 20th birthday here!! I feel old! I'll be thinking of you all. We are going to be eating with Hno and Hna F on my b-day. She is Brother de los Hoyos' sister. He is the General Authority president of the area of Mexico. They have an incredible incredible spirit in their home! I've thought a lot about them and I'm excited to see them Thursday :)

Then I saw some cool sayings that I wanted to send you this week:

To become is day by day, hour by hour, choice by choice.

Todo lo que es injusto en la vida se puede remediar por medio de la expiacion de jesucristo.

It won't be easy but it will be possible:
If the lord asked me to do all things, I could do them 1 Nephi 17:3
I love you mom  and dad. I pray for you and the family every day. Sorry if this letter isn't that great, but I am doing well...
I have to go now but thank you for everything and for being an example to me even now that we are in different countries. :) I'll write better next week!
Love you

Week 32! "Broken Rules...and Photos"

From 8/18/14

Hola Family and Friends!!!

Thank you for emailing me fam bam! I love your emails and I appreciate all the support, counsel, funny stories, and everyday details. Please tell Grandma Putt Putt I said hi and that I love her. I hope you have a fun trip this week! I am really going to try to apply what you all have shared with me. :) Here's some fun stuff for the week first:

1) Today is my 8 month mark. I am almost halfway through my mission. WHOA.

2) And next week is my 20th birthday. WHOA.

3) We've accidentally broken many rules the past two weeks. I'm not proud. This is a confession:

a. We left our area of proselitismo without permission to proselyte. Always by accident. Our boundary lines are a bit confusing.

b. I watched a Disney movie. (Tinkerbell is da bomb)

c. Hna Noob went swimming after dropping my name tag in a pond (see the previous email for details).

d. I went on a third wheel date. It was really Hna Noob that was invited for a nieve (or ice cream) but they had to get me one too....because I'm her comp. Awkward for everybody.

e. I held a baby. An investigator was holding his baby and decided suddenly that it was urgent to turn the fan on. So he dropped off his baby on my lap in my arms. My face. D: :O Then I just decided to enjoy the moment cause I love that little baby. In my arms is better than dropping the 5 month old on the floor. Which I considered for a second...but just one.

4) Hna Noob got a package from her family that was full of birthday party stuff!! So awesome. Her family sent a card for the both of us and a baseball keychain. How cool is that? If Hna/Obispo Noob reads this blog entry: Thank you!! Your family is awesome :) and I appreciate and love your daughter so much. She's an incredible missionary!

5) We had a multi-zone conference where we each put on a little skit as a zone...ours was the best. To the other Zones, sorry but the truth hurts sometimes. The conference was just awesome in general. As always. And I learned a lot from our leaders.

6) Mom and Dad: I read a letter you both wrote to me from a LONG time ago. It was from when I went to the church history tour, when I was 13. I reread it yesterday and I couldn't believe it. It was if you wrote it for me being on a mission and not for back then. It was super cool. In both the letters, I read some awesome things that I needed to hear. I might try to send you a copy so you can see it too. Reading it reminded me of an article in the July Ensign called "two letters from mom". Read it on this page. It is so good.

7) "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got." WISDOM.

Well, this week was great. We've learned a lot and the Lord has lovingly taught us a bit more about ourselves, about Him, and about being better teachers.

This week another baptism fell through and no one came to church out of the 20 we had with baptismal fecha (date). Obviously it's difficult to see results like that. I feel better because I know that God always has a much better idea. We are doing our part and the outcome has always been what the Lord actually wants.

On the other hand, the adversary is working very hard on our investigators in this area. They are all really great investigators with sincere desires to find the truth. Sometimes for one reason or the other, they are unable to go to church or keep a commitment, and that eventually means that we need to 'drop' them from our teaching pool and keep finding more. You better believe that we are fighting for every last one of them!!

There is a really amazing man named "A" that I mentioned last week. He came to church a week ago, then we visited him officially for the first time this week. When we first arrived to his home he showed us his workshop where he makes all of his candles. They are beautiful!! And he even showed us how he makes them. It was neat to hear a little about his life as he welcomed us into his home and opened up to us about his desires to know God. As we taught him about the Restoration, I was stunned to see how humble this man was in his search for truth. I have met very few people in all my mission like him. He could not have been more prepared to receive the message of the gospel!

Something that also touched me was how we met this man to begin with. We talked to him on a combi as we do with hundreds and thousands of people. I thought we had a regular conversation with him (meaning that most people aren't actually serious when they say they'll come to church on Sunday). So I didn't think very much of it, to be honest. Then Sunday, we had heavy hearts as we looked in sacrament meeting for our investigators to not see a single person. When A came in it was a shock to us, and I realize again Isaiah 55. The Lord's thoughts are not our thoughts, and His ways are higher than our ways.

As we finished our lesson with him on Friday, he contemplatively looked at us and said "...thank you. I felt something as you talked with me now. It might sound weird but it was almost like you actually touched my heart. I felt like you passed an energy into me."

We explained how he was feeling the Spirit, and how He was testifying to him of the truthfulness of our message. We also said that after he is baptized, he is confirmed, and he is promised the constant companionship of the Holy Ghost.

"Do you two always feel this way then? Can I always feel this way?"

Wow, it was a really special experience, just with everything that he said. Later I told Hna Noob that as we spoke with him, I pictured him as a stake president. I can see him a great leader in the church. I am excited to see his progression in the church!

Well, where there is a lot of opposition and a lot of disappointment, there are experiences that are way MORE awesome that override ALL THE REST. Hermana Kusch told me one time, we do hard things. That awesomeness to persevere through trials is built into our divine DNA. It's a part of us!

I know that my Redeemer lives! I know that He came for us and conquered all so that we might be conquerors of our own trials, sin and death too. He loves us perfectly and I know that He willingly will help those who come unto him.  President Monson said this in October 2013. I may have shared this before but I just love it so much and want to share it again:

"Your Heavenly Father loves you—each of you. That love never changes. It is not influenced by your appearance, by your possessions, or by the amount of money you have in your bank account. It is not changed by your talents and abilities. It is simply there. It is there for you when you are sad or happy, discouraged or hopeful. God’s love is there for you whether or not you feel you deserve love. It is simply always there.

As we seek our Heavenly Father through fervent, sincere prayer and earnest, dedicated scripture study, our testimonies will become strong and deeply rooted. We will know of God’s love for us. We will understand that we do not ever walk alone. I promise you that you will one day stand aside and look at your difficult times, and you will realize that He was always there beside you."

I love you, my people. Hope you have a great week and when you're happy say a thank you prayer. And if you're sad say a thank you prayer too. :)

Con Amor,

Hermana Fernelius

This describes our companionship :) Noob is DA BEST! 

This is a puppy we found in the street a few weeks ago. The dog was completely abandoned and left in the middle of the street. We decided to take the puppy over to a family in our ward and give them' this little dog. It was half jokingly and half serious when Hermana N said to the kids WHO WANTS a little puppy?? The four little kids were all over that!! haha. They named her Chilita. hahaha. Unfortunately, little Chilita went to puppy paradise last week. She lived a good life! :) 

One of our beautiful investigators, "S", the night before she moved to Mexico City. She's so ready for baptism! It was a sad goodbye because she really is special and so much fun to be with. She's going to study nursing too! :)
Hermana "F" took us on a hike last week and she carried a machete with her the whole way. We thought it was for bushwhacking. No. No, we were so wrong. Halfway through the hike after we found wild dogs, she says this machete is for the animals. o-o It also doubled as a walking staff for her. Fun times. 

COOLEST skirt ever!!! This is the "T" family that we visited all last week. We hope Hermana "F" [the one with the machete on our P-day hike] will be baptized soon!

One of the daughters, "G", performed a traditional Mexican dance with her skirt. It was awesome!!! It was fun. So fun in fact, that our district leader took a turn in the skirt. haha. I have photo evidence but we will save the blackmail for a later time. :)

So, there is a very good story behind this. I climbed onto a log during our hike and sat royally on my noble steed. I ask Hna Noob to take a picture to send all of you, when all of a sudden I had a great idea! I asked the members to pass me their sombrero to wear and to pass over the machete so it would look REAL cool. Well, as I reached over to get the sombrero, physics challenged my imagination and I slowly started to fall off the log. It was a slow fall which was really weird. So Hna Noob was actually trying to take a picture of me ON the log, but when the picture finally took, I was hanging on for dear life. But don't worry, obviously there was ground right underneath me. I is smart. I can math. :)

Week 31! "P-day Fun"

From 8/11/14

HOLA Family and Friends!!

Hope you all had a great week!  This week was a bit of a blur, but super good! This will be a brief letter, but life is awesome!

1) Sooo today: Probably one of the most fun P-days I've had. Mi compañera y yo climbed a HUGE HUGE hill. The members here get mad when we say mountain, they say 'no, that's a hill'. O K A Y. So, we climbed that hill. It was SO fun! It was an hour long hike to get to a natural waterfall and spring, then it took Hermana Noob and me 40 minutes to get back.

We went with members of our ward and their mom, who is an investigator. Her baptism was actually scheduled for yesterday, but it fell through. We hope she will qualify for baptism soon.

Anyway, so many funny things happened as we hiked. We tried to be cool and take awesome pictures of our nametags in the streams and rivers. Hna Noob wanted my nametag and hers together to take a photo. Just before I passed it to her, I thought 'my nametag is going to fall into the pond' then sure enough, it did. Funniest thing ever! Hermana Noob jumped in to fish it out. Does that count as swimming? Oops. haha. And once we got to the natural bañario, she said, can you accidentally drop your nametag in now so I can swim to get it out? haha.

Our sweet investigator is named "F" and she often works out in the fields with her husband. She is a tough cookie! Sometimes she scares me a little. haha. She nobly led our hike with her machete in hand. Me and Noob were thinking, 'that's a good idea for bushwhacking'. But no, later on she said, I have this for the wild animals. o_o Then Hna N found a patch of four leaf clovers. Awesomeness. There was way too much randomness.

2) This week one year ago, I received my mission call. Time goes by way too fast.

3) Kids here have about 1 month of vacation from school. This week, they all went back to school...poor children.

4) One day after an interview with our district leader, we got into a combi. I sat there, and for some reason I had the hardest time contacting the people there. I did not have the motivation and I was in every way drained. Then I noticed that everyone on the combi was carrying something. Things that were large, awkward, heavy and it caught my attention. Then a thought came to my mind. Everyone has burdens. And the Savior invites them through us to come unto Him so that their burden may be lightened. I took a deep breath then decided to contact everyone. They listened and were actually nice. We even received a reference for missionaries to visit one person. Worth it.

5) We contacted a man on a different combi named "A". He sells hand crafted candles. We invited him to church, then on Sunday he came!! It was so neat, we gave him a Book of Mormon, and we have a return appointment to see him.

6) I'm not sure what all of you did for us last Tuesday, but whatever prayers you offered for us, do that again! Tuesday was the most perfect day. We found two families to teach and they both accepted a baptismal date. :) Yay. "E" and his wife, "V", are so great. They are truly ready for the gospel in every aspect. They want to get married (law of chastity), want to quit smoking (word of wisdom), want to get closer to God, want to go to church even though he works Sundays, want a new life and to start over (baptism), want a forever family. This was such an awesome lesson to see how much they want this. I am excited to start really teaching them.

Another family loved the gospel from the moment they heard it. We asked them how they felt about Jose smith and they said, well I believe that God is all powerful and can call a new prophet, even though he may be young. They love the Book of Mormon too. YAY.
7) Yesterday we ate with a family that is super awesome. The dad said he had a dream that he had two daughters who were both older. He told his wife, maybe we are going to have more children, maybe they are going to be twins. Then he said, after studying his patriarchal blessing and meditating on the dream, he realized that the two daughters he saw in the dream were the sister missionaries. He said I feel like you two are my daughters. HOW AWESOME. I shed a few tears. It was really something that I needed to hear.
The difficulty we are having now in our area is church attendance, and finding new investigators. Our mission is expected to have weekly baptisms because of the hastening of the work. The ONLY way this is possible is through the members too, so this is our biggest challenge currently. Sometimes a good goal just translates into pure stress for me, but if the Lord says we can do it, we can do it! FAITH. :)
Love you all. Hope you all have a good week. Thank you for the emails and for supporting me week to week. :)
Con Amor,
Hermana Fernelius

Week 30! "M.E.X.I.C.O."

From 8/4/14


Hope you all had wonderful weeks! Thanks again so much for your loving emails. I wish I could spend forever in writing replies back, but I hope you each know how much I love your letters.

The truth is that being a missionary is equally rewarding and difficult at the same time. It is FABULOUS, but I also realize that sometimes members may feel discouraged with the weight of the world as they try to follow the Savior and the path of discipleship--because I sure have felt that! Many members we work with feel that way too, and unfortunately, many others have let the most important things in their life (testimonies) take a back burner, and inactivate.

I love the messages from General Conference about discipleship. We know that these are the last days, and that we are preparing for the return of our Savior. We were reserved for the last days because Heavenly Father trusts us to be faithful to Him through all the crazy commotion we see every day. He loves us and has promised to be on our right hand and on our left. He has sent His Spirit to strengthen our hearts and His angels to bear us up. What a grand and glorious promise! And I know that it is true!

Discipleship is not easy, it's uncomfortable sometimes, it stretches us, sometimes isolates us, but IT IS WORTH IT. It's worth every sacrifice, every ridicule, every heartache! Those experiences are nothing when placed in our Heavenly Father's eternal plan and perspective. Always be grateful for trials He permits us to pass through. That means He trusts us; that means He wants us to participate in the Plan of Salvation and the Plan of Happiness. That means He's refining us for exaltation. That means He loves us!

In General Conference Elder Holland  (an apostle of the Lord) said this: "We have the burden of those called to bear the Messianic message. In addition to teaching, encouraging, and cheering people on (that is the pleasant part of discipleship), from time to time these same messengers are called upon to worry, to warn, and sometimes just to weep..."

Be strong. Live the gospel faithfully even if others around you don’t live it at all. Defend your beliefs with courtesy and with compassion, but defend them.

A long history of inspired voices, including those you will hear in this conference - especially the voice of President Thomas S. Monson - point you toward the path of Christian discipleship. It is a strait path, and it is a narrow path without a great deal of latitude at some points, but it can be thrillingly and successfully traveled, “with … steadfastness in Christ, … a perfect brightness of hope, and a love of God and of all men.” In courageously pursuing such a course, "you will forge unshakable faith, you will find safety against ill winds that blow, even shafts in the whirlwind, and you will feel the rock-like strength of our Redeemer, upon whom, if you build your unflagging discipleship, you cannot fall."

There is another talk that I love (I actually just love them all...tee hee :)). Sister Jean A. Stevens says this:

"Truly our Father knows us and hears the pleadings of our hearts. He accomplishes His miracles one prayer at a time, one person at a time. We can trust that He will help us, not necessarily in the way we want, but in the way that will best help us to grow. Submitting our will to His may be difficult, but it is essential to becoming like Him and finding the peace He offers us. We can come to feel, as C. S. Lewis described: 'I pray because I can’t help myself. … I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God. It changes me.'...The gospel of Jesus Christ is not a checklist of things to do; rather, it lives in our hearts. The gospel is not weight; it is wings. It carries us."

Those are a few of the emotions I am feeling, so I had to share. I wish I could look at each of you right now and share with you that I know God lives. I know this is His true, restored church. I know He loves us only as a perfect Father in Heaven can. If you are struggling or feeling spiritually tired (which can happen, and I think does happen to everyone once in a while) HANG ON. Pray even when you don't know what for. LOVE. Serve others. Read the scriptures, fill your life with good! Be grateful. "Be still and know that I am God." He's there! He really cares! He knows you perfectly and is right there to help you through. I know that with every bit of who I am and with all the conviction of my heart!

There is one lesson that I reflect on every single week. It is this: God knows who we are, where we are, and what we need. Our Heavenly Father loves us.
At the end of the week, on Mondays, I have the opportunity to reflect a little on all the experiences I've had with my companion in this area. I can look back on a very challenging week and see all the tender mercies and miracles woven into each and every day. I can't tell you how many times a day or a week we see someone who tells us how much they needed help just in that moment when we'd arrived to their house. I know that there has nothing to do with my own strength or planning to find these people or these moments. The truth is that sometimes on the way to plans I might have made, is when the Lord really teaches us that He knows the moment when these people need Him the most.
One day, we had the morning planned out very well. We were going to spend the first half of the day in area "T", and we even had planned to meet with several new investigators. We were excited that, with these appointments, it was very likely to meet our goals for that day. When we arrived to our first appointment, this individual was not home. We asked around and did the best we could to locate [him], but it was not going to happen.
We went to our next appointment, where we were told not to come back. We left and went to look for a less active member that we the Bishop asked us to see. We were unable to find his house, and no one in his neighborhood knew where he lived.
We met special people along the way in streets that tried to help us but were not completely willing for us to talk about the gospel with them. Time is so precious in a day! And here, I was beginning to feel like we might have wasted a morning traveling to this area and not being able to find anyone home. We had 'lost' a few hours. But as each appointment fell through, we would go to the next.
Hermana N and I decided to revisit a woman ("El") that we had contacted the week before--just before returning to our central area. We walked into her open business and said hi. She was looking down as we walked in. She had her scriptures open on her glass table and looked distraught. The first thing she told us is, "I feel really bad right now. I just fought with my husband. Our fight wasn't even worth it, we argued over something little and I was wrong too." Then she asked us what she should do.
We spoke with her and prayed for the guidance of the Spirit to say something that would help her. We talked about the love of the Savior and how He forgave everyone. We said that He allowed us to be and feel forgiven of Him through repentance and His Atonement. Then she asked, "...but does God truly love me? Every time I read the Bible I feel like I am doing everything wrong and that I am really just a disappointment to Him. When I pray, I feel empty. I don't think He actually listens to me."
You better believe we testified with all we had that God loved her and hears her prayers!!! We testified of His great love for her! Then she told us something so incredible, "Before you came here right now, I prayed that you would come here and help me. Then you came. I didn't know how, but I just wanted you to be here and share scriptures to help me feel better. Thank you. I do know that God heard my prayer."
We were amazed! It was miraculous to me to see the perfect timing of the Lord. Then my next thought was, "Oh, so it was your fault that our appointments fell through!!" :) Maybe our plans didn't perfectly go through as we had planned, but we spoke with so many people along the way and felt strengthened by the tender love and mercy of our Heavenly Father that we felt being with "El".
It is so special to be a member of the church! I am grateful that through the sacrifices of my family and the kindness of friends, I can be on a mission to serve God and my Savior, and my brothers and sisters here. Not everyone has the opportunity to serve, so I recognize that it really is a great blessing and privilege. I love it!
This week Hermana N and I met with three very special boys that really touched my heart too. Two that are ten years old accepted a baptismal date and are SO excited about it! We watched another 8 year old new investigator learn how to pray alongside his mom. It touched me to see the faith of these valiant children.
In Preach My Gospel, it says that as teachers or missionaries in the gospel, we are not teaching anything 'new' to these people. We are simply making contact with their spirits with those things they already know. Those who are truly searching for truth will recognize it because it will be familiar to them and 'register' with their spirits.
Saved for the last days. The work is hastening!
I love you all and hope that you have a wonderful week! Make a goal of sharing the gospel quarterly (in other words, at least 1 time every three months invite someone to listen to the missionary discussions) like Elder M. Russell Ballard says. Pray for who you can share the gospel with this week! LOTS OF LOVE.
Con Amor,
Hermana Fernelius
P.S. (To Ashley's dad): In all the free time you don't have, if you get a chance could you scan a few photos to me of your mission? I am starting to 'get' it now, and I would love to read stories from your own mission or see pictures! I am so glad that you and Matthew have been here before and understand how me and Tiff feel. Some days are just really hard, you know?
Anyway, any stories and insight or wisdom you want to share, I would love to hear it! :)

Week 29! "Brace Yourselves...‏"

From 7/28/14


Prepare your minds. I am going to write as much as I possibly can within the time constraints. I wrote this out beforehand. Here I go (and forgive the randomness):

1. Hermana N had a bad dream of an old lady witch that followed her around. She woke up because of the nightmare and looked over at her fan. In the darkness it had the silhouette of the lady so, naturally, she thought it was the old lady and karate chopped the fan in half. THAT IS NO EXAGGERATION. In her sub-consciousness, she kicked it hard and knocked it over, the blades of the fan are detached from the motor. FEAR THE NOOB [companion's nickname]. Haha. It is still broken. We have a useless fan.

2. Please thank several of our ward members for the letters they send.  I really appreciate them for sending me letters.  It's really sweet.

3. So Hna N had a urine tract infection I guess? For that reason she had a ridiculously high fever. A member came by with his wife to give her a blessing and freaked out when they saw how bad she was doing. They got us to the hospital and we stayed there waiting for results from blood tests until 1 am. We got home really late and slept in for the next two days. I think I was sick too, but that’s okay. I felt a lot better after. I'm not so good again today. I don’t know why but I’ll get over it J

4. Cool bits: The B’s are the family that was just baptized. The mom and dad were in Gospel Principles two weeks ago and shared their testimonies of the Holy Ghost and their conversions. I was so impacted by the strength and power of their testimonies. Their testimonies are so pure!

They have shown so many fruits of true conversion. I just love them! And It’s so special to see how rapidly they are progressing.

Hno B also received the Aaronic Priesthood. When we taught him one night with his daughter about the priesthood, he was SO excited to know that he could baptize other people now. Even more, he was super excited to home teach, pass the sacrament and administer in any other way in the Aaronic Priesthood.

After we shared the lesson, I looked at the coffee table and noticed a huge pile of gospel library books (manuals, liahonas, scriptures, personal progress, and so on). E told us that her mom sits down every night, on her own, and studies her books and the gospel. The desire they have to know all the can about the gospel comes from someone who truly understands the gospel and loves the Lord. It’s such a  tender mercy to see how they are growing.

"A", another recent convert in our Ward, is over the age of Priest, but he blessed the sacrament for the first time two weeks ago. I wish you could hear how he was before he was baptized. BAD KID. Did some bad stuff. If he had a spare 5 minutes, he walked around streets looking for people to punch. Again, I am not exaggerating. I have a strong testimony that people can change. We just have to love everyone as they are now, with eyes of faith of who and how those same people can become through the Atonement of the Savior. He’s awesome, he’s active. He is controlling his tendencies so much better today than two or three months ago!!! The Gospel changes people.

5. Hna N contacted a mom and her two little girls on a combi with a family proclamation to the world pamphlet. The little girl read it out loud for ten minutes straight. COOL

6. I’ve been praying for each one of you! I know there’s a lot of stuff going on right now, so I’ve been trying to focus my prayers on being more specific. I woke up one night because I dreamt that Amy was exhausted, so I prayed and went back to sleep. I was thinking about all of you and hope everything’s good now.

7. HERMANA C (my former companion) is in my zone!!!!!! YAYY!! Just so you know, she is with probably one of the most angelic sisters in the mission. Her name is Hermana "Ca". She’s from Mexico, so Hermana C is going to fine tune her Spanish so much more!! Yayay. I can see her every Monday. Love it :) Also, we’ve received a new missionary in our Ward named Hermana "M" from Mexico. She is a doll!! We love her! And we are so excited to have another wonderful missionary in our area!

8. Uh…. I think I have dengue again…..Boo.

9. Received a reference from the "G" family. They said a neighbor down the street was for sure an American. She is tall, blond, with green eyes, and her husband is Mexican. We visited that reference immediately after talking with them.

We knocked, and the husband was outside working on the house. He talked in pretty good English, and called his wife out so we could talk to her. "C" opened the door and spoke ‘Murican English!!!! We talked as if we were old friends. We had an immediate connection, and she let us in to chat. She was really gracious and told us she is from California and lived in Washington.

We talked for a bit and in my head the whole time, I’m just thinking "new investigator, new investigator" haha. Then she says, yeah, I’m actually a member of your church, and my husband is too. WHAT. We found her in the middle of nowhere and taught her in English. It was a miracle to find her. Miracle!! She cried as we talked about how Heavenly Father loves her and knows where she’s at. He never forgets or loses anyone of His covenant children. They invited us to come back whenever we want. Our mission here: reactivation. So excited.

10. Elder Benjamin De Hoyos is in our ward. He’s in the seventy and area presidency of Mexico. He’s on vacation and came back to his house here for a few weeks. We met his son yesterday!! We ate lunch with Elder De Hoyos' sister and brother-in-law last week, and they actually live next door to each other. That’s so cute. Brother and sister that live right next to each other!!

11. Weekends here make me feel like I’m in Mexico on vacation. We live right next to a place that's a lot like Beverly hills. Everything, every home there is super HUGE, expensive, and modern. It is it’s own world. The neighborhoods are ritzy and like the USA.

Sometimes it’s weird going there because I feel like I’m in the US but I’m not. :/ Ultimate deception. More than half of the houses are owned by people who only live there on the weekends. So many rich people come from Mexico City to live here on the weekend.

When we first teach people, they sometimes ask where we live. We tell them and immediately (because we’re American?) they say, OH, you’re from the "Beverly Hills" of Mexico, aren’t you? We jump back and say NO no, we live in the ghetto street NEXT to it. Then it brings us back to human form and they are more willing to listen to us. Whew! Haha. Anyway—we might be in Mexico but in our area (especially now during vacations and weekends) I can pretend really well that I am in the good ole USA. Let freedom ring!

12. We’re teaching "Eo". He’s awesome. He’s 21 years old and works at a carnicería (meat/butcher shop). He only has Tuesdays off from work. If you need anything/anyone more to pray for please pray from him. At the end of our lesson on Friday he looked at us for a moment and paused, then blurted out—I really want to go to church on Sunday. But how? I have work! I really want to go.

The first lesson we went with a member and at the end Hna's N and G both said that during the lesson they could picture him as a missionary, YAY. I hope he’ll have the courage to pray and keep his commitments.

I love these people that we’ve met and teach and I want them to be happy!! I want them to all have the blessings of the gospel. Ahhh! Albedrio [Agency]!! There are so many investigators who are progressing but have not accepted a baptismal date. Others who are not progressing are the ones that have a baptismal date. :/

13. We went to a ‘new’ spot in our area (new means that my comp and I have never been there before), called "V". So we were really excited. So we were in a "colonia" (neighborhood) close by, and all our appointments fell through. So my comp says “Let’s go to area V”. –“Is it close?” –“Well, yeah. It’s the neighboring colony.” –“Uh…I feel like a pilgrim”. It had all the feels of being a pilgrim.

14. We also contacted a Caucasian Mexican with pale pale skin, red hair, and a Bulls #23 Jordan jersey. Hna N said she KNEW he was really an American and wanted to contact him just to find out why he was in Mexico. Well, his name is "C", he’s Mexican, speaks pure Spanish, and is hard core, Virgin Mary Catholic. o_o haha. He was really nice to us though. We actually ran into him again on the highway on Friday. As we walked by, Hna N still said, I know he’s ‘Murican. Can’t fool me. Red hair? And a hand-me-down robe? Must be a Weasley!!! …..So he’s always going to be C Weasley to us. Haha

15. Saturday, we visited with "X" (so-chi) a 24 year old investigator who's gone to church 2 times. She’s AWESOME! We just love her!! She’s one with a baptismal fecha [date] of course.. Anyway so we chatted with her for a bit and wanted to confirm that she was coming to church on Sunday. As we talked, she told us that she had found work in Cuernavaca. Yay! She’s been out of work for 3 months. The best part is that her work is only on weekdays so she can come to church on Sundays. She and her mom were so excited to tell us about this new job. Her mom so casually said, she’s been praying and praying to find work. …..really?!! To me I was so so happy to hear that X knew to turn to our Heavenly Father for help. I really hope that she has a great experience at work. She’s really awesome. Pray for her too ;) I’ll make a prayer list for ya’ll. There’s a lot of people who need blessings!!

16. This keyboard is automatically ‘correcting’ my typing and rearranging letters, words and capitalizing words without my permission. Please excuse the grammar. [Those errors have mostly been corrected prior to posting Ashley's email on this blog, but she's not kidding - there were a lot of errors!].

17. This week we were blessed to find a few less active families in our area. They went off the radar and off the map for years, but Heavenly Father helped us find them!!

As we walked around our area, truthfully I became a little impatient with others and myself. The sun and heat were so strong, and it was wearing on me, I was out of water and dehydrated, in the middle of nowhere, having already walked a good 10 miles or so. I was with my companion looking for a less active family who lived in a house without a number.

We knocked at a door and an annoying giggling teen answered it and stared at us. Which pushed a few of my stress buttons. -_- Then she called her mom out so she could talk to us instead. After 5 minutes a stone faced woman came out, she was super mad looking and a bit rude with us. But just before the woman came to the door, I prayed for help—I know that we’re here for a reason even though I might not know why. If we are supposed to go in and talk to this family about the gospel - soften their hearts so they’ll receive us.

This is exactly when the skeptical lady came out. I kept that prayer in my own stubborn heart going and tried to stay positive. As I thought of the prayer again I opened my mouth to speak with her. Suddenly, her countenance softened. I could almost see her pull down the barriers & walls she had put up. She welcomed us in. It was nothing short of a miracle! I’d seen the look on her face before in hundreds of men and women we’ve contacted before—normally they aren’t interested and sometimes can be pretty rude. But ‘the Lord looketh on the heart’ and answered a prayer and a hope, and we entered in.

This woman is someone that we had never met before and she’d lost contact with the church and inactivated. She and her daughters no longer have Books of Mormon and don’t pray. She cried and told us very special witnesses she’s had in her life that let her know the God exists.

As we talked, one daughter carefully looked through and started reading the Book of Mormon, and the other daughter held onto my Bible and started reading it too. We said a prayer, they hugged us , and we left feeling totally uplifted.

I felt so much gratitude for my Father in Heaven and that He answers prayers. From not wanting to hear us, to committing to come to church as we left, I learned never to judge when someone’s ready or interested in the gospel. The Lord is the one who knows these people perfectly!

It was really neat!! J

WHEW!! Okay, there's a lot more, but that's good for now!!!

I LOVE YOU ALL!!! Have a wonderful week!! I love you and thank you for the thoughtful emails you send and the photos. Dad, all those pictures made me so happy :) Thanks for updating my blog too!!


Hermana Fernelius

Week 28! "Sick companion..."

From 7/21/14

No time again. I'm really sorry. My companion was really sick this past week. We even went to the hospital Tuesday night. She really struggled this past week, and we basically stayed home since the Saturday before. Once she got on medication, she was a lot better, so we went back to work on Friday. I still don't understand what really happened. It was all a blur, but we're good now.

I'm alive. Nothing really happened this week of note, but I am grateful that you wrote to me. I'm going to print it all up to read tonight. I like the photos too.

I had my 7 month birthday on Friday. I'm almost halfway through.

Transfers are today, and I will stay here with Hermana N. A couple of fun things are going to happen with my Zone this transfer, one being that my former companion, Hermana C is being transferred here to my Zone!!!!!! I haven't seen her yet, but most likely tomorrow. I am SO EXCITED!

This past week was a struggle, but I know that things will get better. Please always remember to say your prayers and read the Book of Mormon. There is so much power in doing the two. Every day remember the Savior and the sacrament prayer on Sunday. This Sunday really try to be reverent in sacrament and listen to what the Spirit wants to tell you. Also, the general conference talks are super. So read those too.

Love you all. Till next week!

Con amor,

Hermana Fernelius

Week 27! "Mostly Photos..."

From 7/14/14

Hey daddy! I don't have time to write a big letter this week. Just know that I am doing well, and that this week was good. I tried to send photos at least so you can see that everything's good. I have to go now, but I keep praying every day for every single person in our family.

I love you DADDY! :) Hope you have a good week and know that I'm thinking about you!

Love you :)


This is the "B" Family that was baptized last week :)
R, M, E, Ma, and Mi.

This was my reaction last Monday when I found out that Amy hadn't had Kylie yet. We walked past a store that had this mannequin outside that mocked me. It says sorpresa from a popular chocolate candy called sorpresa huevo. It is a hollow chocolate egg with a toy inside. I thought it was funny- BUT MAN you should see my face now. I AM SO HAPPY TO SEE PICTURES OF EVERYONE :))))) 

These are tennis shoes that are like crocs. They were PERFECT for all the water and floods that we are having for the rain, but in my size they only had neon purple. Not exactly a mission approved color...too bad. They are cool anyway. 

We went to a reptile museum and it was so fun to see all kinds of poisonous, crazy snakes, lizards, a crocodile, and even some spiders thrown in for fun. :)

My secret twin!! My companion and I were very sick on Saturday night, so this young lady came over with her brother and dad, who gave us a blessing. Their family is so awesome!! :)

Week 26! "Family Baptism!"

From 7/7/14

Hola Family and Friends!!!

WEEK OF MIRACLES! A complete family was baptized this week! The B's are so awesome!! I wrote about them a little below!

I'm running out of time, but I will try to send some pictures. Thank you for your emails!!!!! I LOVE reading them!! They are so special to me.

1) Another joke I learned this week a la Elder N: Where does Barbie live? Quien sabe...... hahaha  [It's OK, we don't get it either...]

2) Have I ever said that in Mexico, they are obsessed with the minions from the movie Despicable Me. It's everywhere,. You cannot escape them. It's on everything, in any shape, form, model you could ever imagine. Actually, if you can imagine it, they make it here. Just a fun fact.

3) ALSO, happy Fourth of July!!! I walked around Mexico singing patriotic songs alllll day!!! I also heard some of the best music in the streets that day, coincidentally, and a few reminded me of you people :)

4) Moving on, HERMANA "N" is Amazing!!! She's so fun! I don't remember if I said this either, but she loves ice skating, loves dancing, and has a great gift with children and soccer! She loves singing and acting. She has two brothers and a younger sister. Her dad and both brothers have served missions for the Church. She loves traveling and has been to 7 countries. She also LOVES musicals. You ask her about one, she can either quote the whole thing, sing the whole thing, or give you a very detailed synopsis. She's really kind and gets along with everyone. I love her testimony of the gospel, and it's so impressive to see how hard she works on her Spanish. Anyway, this girl is awesome. I haven't written very much about her so there you go :)

5) There is a mariachi band singing their hearts out right now. Outside this cyber shop. As I am typing this. :) Viva Mexico!

ANYWAY...for the week:

"This week so wonderful! The B family was baptized this past Saturday all together! They are a testimony to me of how the gospel blesses families. In the short weeks that I've known them, the B family has progressed so much. 

They first made contact with the church through one of their daughters, 'E'. She was invited to church by her friend (a member of our ward). For a few weeks, E was the only member of her family going to church; but because of her example, the parents and sisters took interest in learning more from the missionaries.

Before meeting the missionaries, 'M' and 'R' (the parents) had no religious background whatsoever. The parents openly say that they were agnostic, but they still have shown great faith to experiment upon foreign ideas and habits, like prayer.

What impresses me is that M and R really do try to apply the principles of the gospel as they learn them. The first appointment I went into with them, M said that her family decided to read the Book of Mormon together each night. In each appointment before beginning a lesson, the family would look at each other and say "whose turn is it to say the prayer?". They are really trying to keep the commitments they have made with the Lord to pray always, study the scriptures, and do the basics the best they know how.

I am so touched by this family and their unity. The ward has really embraced them also. Through them, my testimony has strengthened, especially of the importance that each investigator has a friend in the gospel.

The B's have many member friends that have been an active part of their conversions as they've offered support, encouragement, counsel, and answered questions. Member-lessons and member-referrals really are so important. What we've realized is that in our area, each progressing investigator has a strong member friend who helps the investigator along the way. The Lord truly is hastening His work and needs members and missionaries to work together.

At the confirmation yesterday, the Spirit was so sweet and strong in each of their blessings. The Bishop asked R (the dad) to offer the closing prayer at the end of sacrament meeting, and he did so well! Like a pro! It's as if they have always been members of the church. I can't imagine how they were just a few months ago before hearing about the gospel. To see them now and their strength is amazing.

M, R, E, Ma, and Mi are now looking forward and preparing to enter the temple in a year and be sealed together forever. Since hearing of the temple, that has been their goal. They are so united as a family now, and they look forward to the blessings of being sealed eternally. So special!!!

I know that families are so essential to our Father in Heaven's plan. I am grateful for the priesthood and the sealing powers of God that have been restored on the earth through Joseph Smith. I am grateful for President Monson and his prophetic mandate to hasten the work of the Lord. I know that there are many that wander in darkness still only because they know not where to find the light. I am personally more driven to help our investigators learn alongside their complete family and to find more families to teach.

This week we met with three new families who are excited about the gospel. I hope that they too will have the desire to be sealed in the temple and work together toward that goal. I always write this, but it's true....I LOVE BEING A MISSIONARY :)"

Love you all! Have a great week! Say your prayers, read the book of Mormon, serve others, help the missionaries, be happy! :)

Con Amor,

Hermana Fernelius :) <3
P.S. Also, there's a girl here that wants to date Ben...she made this known to me Saturday. Just throwing that out there. :) haha. BYE
Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Week 25! "More Nice Photos..."

From 6/30/14

Hola Family and Friends,

I always have so much on my mind during the week, then Monday comes around and I feel like most of it is not worth writing about, haha.

We had interviews this week with President Kusch! It was awesome!! He & Hermana Kusch really helped me! I also just love being altogether with my Zone of sisters and elders. They are so much fun!
Random: I don't know if I wrote about this before, but we found a family by miracle that live out in the boonies. They are the Chan family. Chan. Family. Almost every time we say this family's name, I am dying with the urge to quote Mulan. And I usually do. haha. The Chan family. THE LEE FAMILY, THE FAA FAMILY. hahaha. It kills me just writing this out.
Also, so does that make my poor seester overdue? I am so sorry that you are suffering sister. Hold out to the end.
The name Kylie has stuck in my head. I doodle the name Kylie Bear and Emma Bean in my planner all the time now. Please don't change her name last minute, haha. Just kidding, she's your daughter, so you can totally do that. Just let me know, so I can doodle the other name in my planner - okie dokie :)
Rain rain rain and more rain this week. It's that time of the year for rainy season. It does make proselyting more fun though. :) We find all sorts of fun people in the rain.
My ward council in this area is awesome. In my journal I wrote how we are like the council of the fellowship of the ring. The other sister missionaries and my companion and I are like the hobbits, who are really the ones who save the Shire and all of middle earth while everyone else gets the orcs distracted in little battles. And I was really impressed with how accurate that comparison is.
CRAZY stressful Saturday, with the baptism. A ward member that we love passed away and his service was the same time as the baptism. :( We were sad and happy and stressed and elated= that's mission life. o_o
So happy to hear that everyone is doing well. I loved hearing about how the week went! Sounds like you all were busy and had a lot of fun too. I love the photos, Dad! Everyone looks good. I didn't recognize Ben! He looks so much older!
Here are a couple of things from this week:
"'A' was baptized Saturday! :) She has been waiting for months to be baptized. When she finally received permission from her parents to make this decision, she was elated. In my mind, I can still picture when she took her first steps into the water. I felt the sweetest feeling of peace and love from the Spirit. She radiated!
After the ordinance, our district leader asked the family to share how they feel. They are not members and not investigating the church either. They all said that they felt something beautiful as they heard others share talks, and as they saw their daughter be baptized. They were feeling the Spirit testify that this was the right thing for their daughter to do. A also spoke right after her baptism and said that she felt like a new person. She felt that all that she was before was literally left in the water.
What she and her family said really impressed me, I just saw how much potential this family has. For the little time that I've known A, she has a valiant and virtuous spirit that has really touched me. It was a special day!!
Another experience I wanted to share from this week happened with an investigator named 'E', that we used to teach. E is probably one of the most angelic people I have ever met in my life. A member of our ward introduced her to the gospel and to us, and we began teaching her right away. She has a very basic and simple understanding of God, and she wants to know more about Him. She humbly searches for truth and is always willing to keep the commitments we extend her. Truly, E is just a special daughter of our Heavenly Father.
As we continued meeting with her, one day she expressed that her husband was not pleased with her investigating the church, and it began to create a rift between them. She is about 30 years old and has two small children. Her husband is Catholic, but not active. It has been years since he's gone to his church. And just as E began learning more about the gospel, her husband didn't like that so much.
One day we came by for an appointment with her and at the end of the lesson, E offered a beautiful prayer. She said that she was grateful for the time she was given to learn about the gospel. I was feeling confused, so afterward we asked her if it was okay for us to come back. In tears she said that her husband asked for us not to teach her anymore. It was so devastating for all of us! My heart broke! Someone who really does want the gospel is kept from it! It was hard to say goodbye to her, and everyday since we stopped teaching her, I've thought & prayed for her.
But I know that Heavenly Father loves all of His children, and I know that the scriptures are true--"for he that asketh, receiveth; and unto him that knocketh, it shall be opened."
We spent one day following up with all of our investigators, when E came to our mind and we found ourselves walking on a road close to her home. Her situation is sensitive, but we felt impressed to go by her house and invite her to the baptism on Saturday and to church. I think we partly used that as an excuse to pass by her house and check up on her.
So we prayed and knocked on her door. Then we heard a voice we didn't recognize ask "Quien?". "Se encuentra E?" and then there was silence. We waited and waited, then we saw E peek out from behind the window. She quickly opened the door and had the biggest smile on her face. She told us something so special that I will never forget. The night before she said she had the greatest desire to read the Book of Mormon. As she read, she said she felt something beautiful. Then she felt so many many things. She remembered all that we had talked about with her, she remembered all that she's felt about the church, and she remembered us. She said she cried and cried thinking about how much she wanted to be a part of the gospel. E said, the night before it was reconfirmed to her that the church is true.
She said, 'I know this is right! I feel it is true! This is good, there is nothing bad to this, so I don't understand why my husband won't let me be a part of this. Your visit today just confirms all of this to me.'
She promised that she would always keep reading the Book of Mormon, until the day when she would be able to hear it again. It's so hard to see her struggle, but Heavenly Father is so perfect! He has the perfect timing, and I know she will be able to be baptized soon.
How incredible to think that we felt impressed to see her, and the very night before the Spirit prompted her to read the Book of Mormon and she received her witness that it is true! Maybe Heavenly Father has given her this time to wait, so that she treasures it more. I don't understand everything, but I trust that God does.
She is a light to me and an example. I left her home feeling elevated and filled with the same confirming, comforting feeling I had at A's baptism.  
'There is no other way or means whereby man can be saved, only in and through Christ. Behold, he is the life and the light of the world.'
This is the only true church upon the face of the earth. I know that E will have the opportunity to accept the gospel wholeheartedly and I am excited for her for when that day comes. I read the Standard of Truth this week and it struck me profoundly. I know that it is true!
'The Standard of Truth has been erected; no unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purposes of God shall be accomplished and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.'"
LOVE YOU ALL. Thanks for writing, even when it's not so fun :) It really means the whole world to me. Have another wonderful, fun, and safe week! :)
Con Amor,
Hermana Ashley Fernelius
Human Tetris goes on!!! :)

And check out this amazing graffiti! 

A's baptismal day :)

The "H" family in our ward! It was Hermano H's birthday yesterday and they invited us to eat with them. They are so fun! 

Week 24! "Photo Bonanza!!"

From 6/23/14

Hola Family and Friends!!!! :)) <3

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMY! Just so you know I did not forget. I only forgot to write it down in my last email! Love you sister!!

Also, I had my six month birthday on the 18th!!!! Where does the time go? And this Wednesday the 25th is my 'year left' mark because I am scheduled to go home on June 25th, 2015. Ahhh!!! I'll be home before anyone has time to miss me! :O Aproveche de este tiempo tranquilo sin estar malcriado! D: Anyway...

THIS WEEK WAS AWESOME. AWESOME POSSUM. I am glad to hear that everyone is doing well!!! Summer school! Idaho! Daddy & momma taking care of the Emma girl! And poor Amy waiting for Kylie bear and Jamison too!!

Sounds like Tiffany is doing well!! Keep working hard sister! Hope she likes the new area and her compañera :) Sounds like it will be so fun!!!

Super cool week! Really quick too, we visited a less active member, "I", who just had a baby. The baby is 20 days old. Very specific but as you now understand the baby is new new new. I was in heaven thinking about Kylie and Emma.

Then I had to distract myself and got lost in the conversation. Then I's aunt came into the room and carefully took the baby from the mom, and held her in the most beautiful way. BOOM. Tears just wondering and wondering if Amy had already had the little one and just imagining how she would be. Then I realized that the baby will already be big when Tiff and I come home, but it all happened soooo quick. I had a billion thoughts that were all so special.

I hope the baby comes this week - PLEASE SEND PICTURES :) I don't want to only hear about it, I definitely need to see the baby and all of you!!! Anyway, so that was really special and wanted to share with you.

"On Sunday a 14 year old investigator named 'A' excitedly told us that she is going to be baptized this week!! She has been investigating the church for many many months now and just yesterday received permission from her dad to be baptized. A and her aunt, Aa, (who is also a recent convert) were just elated and SO happy to tell everyone!

Whenever there is an obstacle for an investigator to keep commitments or prepare for baptism, it reminds me of 1 Nephi 3:7 when Nephi declared his faith to his father. I also know that the Lord blesses the faithful and prepares a way for them to keep his commandments. We are truly excited for A!

This week we also went with our ward mission leader to contact a reference, 'F'. We were not given a phone number, last name or a house number to find. Only a street name, a first name and a comment that he was given a Restoration pamphlet. Not much to go off of!

That evening we had not planned to look for F because we had other appointments set. Each appointment fell through, and we were a little out of the way of other investigators' or members' houses. Hna N said she felt like we should look for F.

So we followed those impressions and began looking for a house, without a number, without a last name, on a street we weren't familiar with. Thinking back now, maybe it wasn't logical that we went looking for F; but following the promptings of the Spirit is more sure than any physical object I could hold in my hands and observe with my own eyes.

We walked on with our ward mission leader. Hna N said, which one do you think it is? Just like that. Then we came up to a house, number 9. She said, "This one." We prayed and knocked and a gentleman came outside. He defensively asked what we wanted & who we came looking for. We asked for someone named 'F'. Almost as a test, he asked what F's last name was and where we met him. When we explained about the church, he opened up and said that F is his grandson & that he had just left the house.

We were SO AMAZED! I felt like it truly was a miracle! We asked for F's information to contact him and spoke more about the gospel with the grandfather. When he said that his own granddaughter is a missionary and his son is a less active member--who actually was inside that very house too. Umm?? His son, J, stepped out of the house and we were even more stunned. He was a member we met in church the Sunday before. He invited us to visit him during the week. All of this was a true 'coincidence' but really the Lord has such a perfect plan for everything.

There is a scripture I ran into again yesterday that I love in Isaiah 55:

'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.'

He sees the complete tapestry of eternity; He also cares about the fine threads and moments that weave together. It really is so special and a wonderful blessing to be a part of la obra misional.

One more experience that I want to share. This past Wednesday the 18th was my 6 month mark serving a mission!! That morning I prayed to feel my Heavenly Father's love for me. I just really needed to feel His love that morning. During the day, we traveled to a small pueblo with very few people that we know. There was an antiguo investigator that we wanted to see and also a less active family. The scheduled appointment we had fell through, and the less active family was not interested in hearing us, although we did our best to share a message with them.

We headed back into the dusty road and went through the pueblo to the main highway. In a small intersection, we saw a man walking by; we made our way to speak to him, but he turned through another way and left. Then he came back from around the corner and said, 'Misioneras!'

He told us that he is less active also. He travels for work back and forth from Mexico City and hasn't gone to church for a few years. His expression was heavy and a bit sad. He said that he hasn't gone since his wife passed away.

In that moment, I felt so much compassion for him. I just felt an overwhelming feeling to tell him that God loves him and wanted to say that He is still here and knows him. He had to be about 40 years old, much too young to have lost his wife.

Walking away and just thinking about what had happened I felt a tremendous feeling of love from my Heavenly Father. That experience was a testimony to me of how perfectly He loves us and is involved in our lives. We were basically in the middle of nowhere, on a small little highway and again we just 'happened' to run into this man. If we had been in that place even just 30 seconds later, we would never have met him. It was so so special to me!

Something else I just started to do is fill out a registro de enseñanza for myself. Elder L suggested that we, as missionaries, should also track our progress and write down the day and moment that we learn a principle from the gospel like we do with our investigators. That day, I marked a lesson I learned that 'God is our Loving Heavenly Father'.

It was a great week, and we are excited for another wonderful week in the Cuernavaca Mexico mission!!! :)"

LOVE YOU ALL, Have a wonderful week and take care :)

Con Amor,

Hermana Fernelius

P.S. I am weirdly tan. It's sick. I wish I could show you all. I will be black when I return. Back in black...teehee

Today!! :)

In the Plaza literally an hour ago. There are hundreds of people that were watching the Mexico game on the big screen here. We were actually in a cyber shop writing emails, when all of a sudden the owner said they were shutting down in 5 minutes. It was like 3:48 pm. The most random time to close down ever. It was because he was watching the game and screaming and crying the whole time. So he kicked us out. No notice, just nothing. They take things seriously around here, eh. :)


We (meaning Hna N) teach English!! 

Saying goodbye :(

Goodbyes :(

Week 23! "Jungle Paradise"

From 6/16/14

Hola Family and Friends!!

Hola from my new area!!!  This week was AMAZING...I am in paradise!! My dream has always been to serve in the jungle--judge me. But since being here in the mission, I have decided that I have to go to the following areas: a little pueblo (town), the jungle, the coast, and the city. I've already checked off the city (in my last area) and here in this area I've checked off two more: Jungle and Pueblo.

There's farming and fields and cows, horses, sheep, geese, everything. I AM IN THE COOLEST AREA of our zone!!  I guess we are the furthest north zone in our mission. Our area borders the Mexico City mission.

So much info, I'm going to write out a bit so you can feel all the feelings I feel:

Our area is over an hour long. We take mini buses called "combi"s to get from one proselyting spot to the next, and our area includes many exotic places. They are UNREAL!! I feel like I am on vacation. Haha, just joking! You know that. Literally, we took a combi up into the mountainside and from the top we could see so many towns below.

There's everything from poor colonias with houses made of tarps and sticks to a "Beverly Hills" style area. A lot of homes are vacation/weekend homes, so some of our higher end areas are desolate and lonely.

We have been meeting in a 'house of prayer' on Sundays because the chapel has been under construction for 7 months now. This week it was announced that our casa de oracion would be no more. The chapel finally finished and will be open next Sunday! What a nice treat. The  church has been renting a house and our whole ward meets there and divides into primary, relief society and different classes throughout the different rooms of the house.

This week was an adventure in getting to know investigators and members and the area. It was a little bit difficult physically because my poor companion has had insomnia for the past three weeks. Last week she slept for maybe an hour at a time, then wakes up for an hour, and goes back to sleep. She has been running on four hours of sleep each day this week. :(

I was pretty sure I was dying too. I had a fever off and on for three days. The worst was Tuesday night, my fever got really high so I decided to take ibuprofen to break the fever. Chills, nausea, and other fun nausea related things, body aches and strong migraines. Many members said that I might have had dengue, but who knows. It just felt like death. I asked for a blessing from the elders after our Capacitacion de Zona which helped!

One miracle I felt was that the Lord really blessed us physically to give us enough strength to get through each day. He really protected, strengthened and blessed us this week which was a huge blessing.

1) Everyone thinks that for sure I am Mexican or Latin American. So I lied to everyone in my last area last week and told them that I AM Mexican and I'm from Veracruz. I spoke in pure Spanish to them even when they spoke a little English to my comp. I am the master commander. I even got away with that a bit on Sunday. Our ward has two companionships. Mine and two other Hermanas. We are all Americans but I think I can pass off undercover as a native.

1.5) People also think that because I am from Las Vegas, I have a lot of money and party every day. Truth? I am very poor, and stay home any chance I get. VEGAS LIFE.
2) Tuesday it rained so hard and fast at night that we swam home. The streets were so flooded. First time I felt endangered on my mission was when the lighting touched down and electrocuted the telephone lines right above us as we stood in a river of water. I never swam so fast in mah life. We booked it to a member's house 10 minutes away and stayed there for a couple hours until the rain slowed down.
3) We have met some really really special people in this area. One is a less active couple that have not come to church for four years because they didn't know where the church was. They live probably two hours away walking and combi driving included, they are about 70 years old, and they didn't know who to communicate to. We contacted them by phone as we looked though our ward directory and they were elated!!!
From that moment we called them they waited outside to meet us. They waited for so long just to have a short conversation. They expressed their gratitude and concern that they have not come to church in so long.
They committed to come on Sunday and DID! They left their home a few hours early to walk to church. We met up with them and by that time, Hno C was wiped out. We still had to walk 15 minutes away to get to the church, but they had the best attitudes ever.
The sad part was that our ward, which is huge, which is full of faithful members of the church, didn't blink twice about them coming. No one greeted them, talked to them, fellowshipped them. Nada. It helped me open my eyes to see how many times I did the same thing in my ward to people before coming on the mission. I wished I had greeted people more and stepped out of my comfort zone to help them feel more comfortable.
Being to church for the first time on Sunday helped me understand how less active members and investigators feel when they have the courage to go for the first time. I felt pretty lost. It was all new. I am grateful to have seen that perspective yesterday and now will try to help people feel more welcome and comfortable in church.
"We had an amazing week!! There is too much good to say about it! I just absolutely love and admire Hna N. I appreciate her work ethic and that from the first day, she really stretches herself to use each moment the way the Lord would want. Because of her example, I am learning much more about my purpose as a missionary.
We had first lessons with many new investigators this week who are so special! The majority are references from ward members who have accompanied us to almost each lesson with those investigators. Many members here are excited and willing to labor in missionary work and our ward mission leader is a great blessing to us.
Tuesday afternoon, we were on our way to an appointment with a less active member, named M. He lives a little bit out of the way, in a sense that not many members or investigators live close by. It turned out that he wasn't home, and there wasn't anyone else there to see--so we made our way back to the highway.
Just as we were leaving the fraccionamiento, the security told us that M had just arrived 10 minutes beforehand and that he should be home. We debated on whether or not to climb the hills back to his house, but we felt like we should. On the way, we saw a woman waiting by the side of the road and felt like we should talk to her. But she got into her car with her boyfriend just before we approached her. They waited in their car until we passed by them. 'Mo' and her boyfriend, 'C', introduced themselves to us and we talked about the gospel with them. They invited us to teach them in their home afterward. They were the reason why we went to that area! We were invited openly into their home and invited them to baptism. Even though they are unsure about religion, they said they were willing to be baptized if they knew that this is God's true church. It was so amazing to have met them and teach them right away.
There are so many tender mercies we have seen. One family has dedicated to read at least one chapter of the Book of Mormon each night with their kids and have kept up with their personal commitment. Another new investigator came to church with her children and has also taught them to pray each morning and night and when they bless the food. Her husband is not too interested in the gospel, but he did tell us how greatly he was impacted by seeing and hearing his children pray. His daughter, 'Me', is five years old. He told us that one night he heard her praying for him & that he would be protected at work. It was incredible to see how this father's countenance softened as he talked about his family and how the gospel has helped them--even though he is not actively listening and taking the lessons. MIRACLES.
I am learning so much here and I'm grateful to be in this area. I have a strong testimony that the Lord loves His servants and that He labors with us. He has and is preparing the hearts of all His willing children to receive the gospel."
Con Amor,
Hermana Fernelius