Monday, November 30, 2015

You could say we ate pretty well on Thankgiving!

Happy Happy Monday! It looks like you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! :) I missed you but I know you were all stuffed from the wonderful food!
This week has been another long one but a great one! Monday we had the chance to go to the Museum of Tolerance in LA, and it was really cool! Its a museum dedicated for remembering all those who were lost in the Holocaust and other genocides all over the world. It was really nice to do something different on preparation day, although it did leave us with no email time and no shopping time because of the traffic so we were a bit stressed but it was a great experience! Tuesday, Elder Kim B. Clark and his wife visited our mission! It was a wonderful and inspiring visit. We were able to ask him questions about our investigators concerns or missionary concerns, it was awesome! Thanksgiving was great! We did our usual thing, as we went out to work everyone kept asking us why we weren't inside eating turkey, haha and so then after all the lessons we had, our investigators would say "stay and eat!" There was even a lady we contacted on the street who gave us a plate of food to go! You could say we ate pretty well on Thankgiving. We ate with the Perez family in the ward, and it was great being with them and also her husband's in laws, it was crazy and fun, reminded me of home!
Me and Hno. Cruz, a recent convert that made a HUGE thing of arroz con leche, he is so awesome!
Estela our investigator, she's so cool!

Me and my companions!

2nd Thanksgiving dinner
 We also ate dinner with our investigator, Norma and her family at like 8pm.... The food never stopped! Haha The rest of the week was good, except for the last few days I have been sick with a really bad cough and cold. We took it kind of easy yesterday in the evening and then I rested right when we got home. Sunday was a spirit filled day! Our investigator Norma came to church for the first time, and LOVED it. She has plans to be baptized on December 13th. She is continuing to read and to pray and she tells us that she just feels the difference. She describes that before she felt an emptiness in her life but its getting filled with the gospel. We're still teaching her daughter, Doreen she just hasn't been able to come to church because she works on Sundays but she said that hopefully it should die down at her work during December so she can go to church! Sacrament meeting at church yesterday was amazing, the topic for the meeting was missionary work and Sister Franks, who's leaving in a couple weeks gave an amazing talk and we did a special musical number "Venid a Cristo" Then ourold ward mission leader, Hugo, gave a powerful talk on how we as members of the church can and should do our part in missionary work. Its so true! This work would be nothing without the members!  Our investigators needs fellowshipping and love as they get accustomed to a new environment.
Miracle moment of the week: We contacted a man during the week who told us that he had actually read the Book of Mormon when he was a lot younger. When he was at school one day, he was running on the track and literally tripped over a book of mormon that was on the ground. He said he had read the first part ( 1 Nephi) and liked it but he had never really thought much of it. He told us that just right before he ran into us he was just thinking about joining a church. He told us that he's been going through a really rough time and how grateful he was to have ran into us. God really does work miracles!
Elder Clark shared a thought that I have been pondering about throughout the week in Doctrine and Covenants 84:119 "For I, the Lord, have put forth my hand to exert the powers of heaven; ye cannot see it now, yet a little while and ye shall see it, and know that I am, and that I will come and reign with my people." When Joseph Smith restored the Church of Jesus Christ, the congregations of 20 or 30 people could not see the fruits at that time but now, today this gospel is being spread to all nations and more and more people every day are learning about this wonderful news! We are living in the day that has been prophesied by prophets for centuries. I am so grateful to be able to be a part of God's work now. Elder Clark said: "There is no other thing that you should be doing right now, than being the Lord's trusted servant." The Lord has put forth His hand to exert the powers of heaven in Los Angeles and I feel so grateful to see people's lives changing as they accept this gospel in their lives. 
I love you family and am grateful everyday for my eternal family. I hope you have a great week with Genevieve's birthday and all! Happy BIRTHDAY to my beautiful sister, Genevieve! Send her my love on her special day!!! I love you!!! Have a wonderful week, talk to you next week!
Hermana Abreu


Monday, November 16, 2015

It's getting chilly in Cali!!!

Hi Mommy! Love you!!!!
This week has flown by!!! Its so good to hear about your music filled weekend! That is so cool that Robin and her husband came, I wish I could have heard your solo. :( I am sure it was beautiful! 
With the weather changing everyone is getting sicker, its the same over here too, so we're trying to sanitize everything! This week has been wonderful! We set two baptismal dates for December 6th and they are both so amazing! We met them through our other investigators. Estela is the sister in law of our investigator Armando. We stopped by to see Armando but Estela answered the door instead, we then shared the restoration with her and we didn't even have to invite her to read in the Book of Mormon, she said she would love to and she loves the peace that she feels when we come by. Our other baptismal date is Doreen's mom, Norma. The same situation happened when we came to see Doreen, Norma was there. We shared a little bit about the Plan of Salvation and she loved it! The next time we came we shared the Restoration and we read Moroni 10:3-5, she had to grab a highlighter and mark it because she loved it so much. She got sooo excited!!! We have a lot of other investigators that are progressing and it is so amazing to see the progress in the work in Bell Gardens. This week we also had the chance to take our investigator, Adriana to the Visitors Center. Adriana is the daughter of  Hno. and Hna. Cruz, who are recent converts. The VC sisters gave a tour all about building our faith in Christ because she doesn't really know much about Christ and His life here on earth. It was a really amazing tour and we all felt the spirit really strongly. Its also really cool because soon the Visitors Center is going to start having Christmas events about every other day in December and that is when they set up all the lights around the VC and the temple.
Us at the Visitors Center of the temple with our investigator Adriana

We got to attend the temple!!!!
 It is really cold here in LA, which makes me even more excited for the holiday season. Doesn't really feel real that Thanksgiving is coming up and Christmas is right around the corner. Plus Genevieve and Rio's birthday is coming up! I am so excited to talk to you!!!! I am preparing for that emotionally ;)
We also got to do a session in the temple and it was so great to be there. The Los Angeles temple really is so beautiful, I know that temple attendance is so important to our spiritual growth, not only that but the temple work that we do is so important! We taught and talked a lot about family history and work for the dead this week and it made me really excited to get working on family history (haven't really been the best about it) but it is so important to be able to complete the ordinances here for those of our family who have passed to be able to give them that opportunity. It is the work of salvation!!!! Also all of our recent converts in the ward went to do baptisms for the dead for the first time and loved it! The Cruz family, Hno. and Hna. Cruz are so excited to be sealed in the temple, they are counting down the days! I love this ward so much. I am grateful to have a home that feels like home. The members in BG continue to love and support us by coming out to work with us and feeding us! Haha but they have a love and a unity here that is similar to the Piedmont Branch.  
Exchanges this week!!! Sister Chistiansen came to our area and Sister Evans and I stayed, I just love exchanges!!! I love learning and getting to know other sisters, overall it was a wonderful and fun day :) 
Also, Elder Kim B. Clark is coming to our mission to speak and even has set a part a time to have a few lessons with investigators and President Weidman!!! We're trying to see about bringing an investigator, that would be a really amazing thing to be able to have a lesson with him. 
My companions and I are doing well working together as a trio, it was Sister Evans and I two month anniversary yesterday...haha the longer and longer we are together the more and more we grow alike :)
It truly is amazing to see the fruits of our labors this week, to see that God has prepared these people! I am grateful for the knowledge of the gospel and the opportunity that I have at this point in my life to share it. I love you so much family and continue to pray for your well being and especially for your health as the holidays draw near. Let me know if there is anything you would like for me to pray for. Keep pressing on family!  
Keep praying and reading the scriptures as a family!!! That is what helps feel closer to our Heavenly Father!!!! Talk to you soon!!!
p.s---Only 39 more days until Christmas!!!!!!!!!
Hermana Abreu 

Monday, November 9, 2015

The Tender Mercies of the Lord!

Hello mommy!
I am sorry that Giselle is sick! Strep throat is so icky and never fun! I was actually thinking the other day about how happy I have been so healthy so far on my mission, no sickness has hit me yet! *knocks on wood* I can just picture the icky rain, haven't seen rain in a good long while, haha!
This week I am so grateful for cooler weather, I have even pulled out a few scarves to wear, I never thought that would happen! We're grateful we're in a car right now because of the fact that it is getting a lot cooler in the evening and its getting a lot darker a lot earlier, which really is not my favorite. We will be showing up for lessons at like 7 or 7:30pm and people wonder what we are doing out so late when its just after dinner time. This last Tuesday night the ward had a family home evening, we had invited our investigator Doreen and so before the activity, we stopped by to see if she was still planning on coming. When we came by we actually ran into her boyfriend who we hadn't met yet and he is almost never home when we come by, we reminded them about the activity and they both ended up coming with their cute little boy, Xavier! We gave her a church tour and the FHE was really fun, the youth had a great spiritual thought on the plan of salvation, they then played musical chairs and had churros! (My new favorite sweet :) ) They loved it and it was so amazing that they both were there! 
A couple weeks ago I was with a member named Ana and as we were going to an appointment we met someone named Sandy, she seemed interested and so we got her info and set up another time to see her. This past week we finally got to have a lesson with her and the spirit was so strong! She has been through a lot of hard things this past month and we ended up showing a video about Hope. After we watched it she started crying and telling us that she felt something that she couldn't describe and that she thought the video was so beautiful and it was as if it were talking to directly to her, pricked her in the heart.We bore testimony about the gospel and testified that this is what her family needs. It is just so incredible to me that there are so many people who don't know about this wonderful spirit that they can feel and have in their lives, they can have that companionship everyday! I have faith that Sandy will be baptized! Something that was shared at our zone training meeting this week and that we have been trying to teach our investigators and members is recognizing the tender mercies in our day. In 1 Nephi 1: 20, Nephi is talking about Lehi and all that he suffered while trying to obey the Lord and declare repentance to the people in Jerusalem, but at the very end he mentions, "But behold, I Nephi, will show unto you that the tender mercies of the Lord are over all those whom he hath chosen, because of their faith, to make them mighty even unto the power of deliverance." Nephi is testifying of the Lord's hand in our lives. I have seen how much of a difference it has made in our work as we stop and recognize how merciful the Lord has been over our little area in Bell Gardens. I love writing it down and being able to see a weeks worth of small, personalized blessings! We are blessed when we noticed how He blesses us! And my faith in missionary work is strengthened ten fold!
We have plans this week to take our investigator, Adriana to the Visitors Center, it is going to be great! I just love seeing peoples faith grow line upon line and precept upon precept, and seeing their hearts change. I love this area and am grateful that Heavenly Father has entrusted in me a small part of his vineyard to work in. I miss you all so much!But I am looking forward to talking to you on Christmas <3 LOVE YOU! Have a great week!
Love you!!!!
-Hermana Abreu 
My comps and I eating in the back of a food truck, one of the food truck guys really likes missionaries and the spirit we bring so he makes us free food! Hehe

Me and a member named Isa ;) 

Monday, November 2, 2015

Happy Halloween!

Hey wonderful madre! Love you! I am doing great! Seeing all the Halloween fun, made me wish I was there. We actually had to be inside by 6pm on Halloween, which was kind of a bummer but we did our weekly planning during that time! Sister Evans looked out the window of our little casita on Halloween, once we were inside and saw some man dressed up, swinging what looked like an ax and we both understood why we had to be inside, in Bell Gardens, the crazies come out Halloween night so we were glad we were inside planning :) hahaha 
Enjoying Halloween Sis. Evans, and our new missionary Sis. Flake!

Halloween was great! We had a lot of great lessons and talked to a lot of cool people. We celebrated during our weekly planning by stuffing our face full of candy that was sent to us :)
This week we got our new missionary, Sister Flake! She is from Chicago and is from a family of 6, just like Sister Evans and I :) She is actually here in the LA mission waiting on her visa to go to Brazil! She learned Portuguese in the Provo MTC for 6 weeks and then comes here and is now in a Spanish area. It is the hardest thing it seems like, to have to switch from Portuguese to learning Spanish because they are so similar. She is such a great missionary! In lessons that we teach in in Spanish, we will look to her to say something and she does, no matter if she has no idea what we're saying, she always just opens her mouth and testifies! Although it is a mix of Portuguese and Spanish sometimes, the spirit she carries is so strong that it really doesn't matter which language she is speaking! We have had a lot of fun together already and Sister Evans and I have already established that she is the dad and I am the mom, based on our personalities, but training is the best. It is different having to explain everything you do as a missionary to someone else and I am starting to feel a little of the pressure that Sister Hatch felt ;) 
Craziest event of this week had to have been when I ate a whole soup full of shrimp with its eyes, antenna and everything, I was dying.....but I did it! On your mission you find out that you are capable of a lot of things you never thought you could ever do hahaha
These are a few pictures of us eating shrimp....mommy, I ate a whole soup with shrimp! The shrimp still had eyes and tail and its antenna and I ate it all....well I took everything off of it and then I ate it! hahaha

We also got a car!! Biking around as a trio is fun but we were overjoyed by the fact that have a car now. Our area is so small though, that sometimes we just don't feel the need to drive so we just walk/bike. We think the main reason for the car is just to be able to get to Sister Flake's new missionary trainings that are pretty often, instead of having to get a member to drive all three of us every single time. 
One of my favorite things right now is listening to the Lamb of God, during lunch or exercise of whatever! Sister Flake has it on her mp3 and I just love it! I just think back to when the Greensboro stake performed it and I am amazed at how beautiful the music is. The other sisters are also obsessed with it so we listen to it nonstop. 
At the beginning of this week after transfer meeting, Sister Evans and I got a blessing from President Weidman which really helped us both prepare for this transfer. Something that President felt inspired to tell us is to work with more of our former investigators this transfer, because some are ready to accept the gospel. We have seen some really great potential in a few formers that we have gone by to see, one of them we went to visit the other day, his name is Jorge Verdin. Last night we went to visit him and his family and they were so sweet and open, they told us all about their history with Elders for about 7 or 8 years and they were so shocked to see sisters. In Bell Gardens they have had Elders for about 20 years until this past July they put sisters, the sisters are taking over the area :) Jorge's story with how he met the missionaries is so cool! He actually saw a commercial about the Book of Mormon or something while he was drunk so he dialed the number and asked for missionaries to come to his house, unknowingly. When they showed up he had no recollection of it but the Elders that came by to visit could tell that he had a drinking problem so they went in his fridge and took all of his alcohol and threw it in the street. Since that day, Jorge hasn't had a single drink. We don't completely know why they stopped meeting with missionaries but we have faith that they could get baptized. Fun fact: Jorge thought I was a native from the DR (which I was surprised he thought that) and when I started speaking English for the first time he was so shocked! Hahaha
Our investigators are doing great, for the most part, they just aren't coming to church! Our one investigator Doreen, still hasn't been able to go to church because of her work on Sundays but we are continuing to pray for her to make it because that is her next step! We have many new investigators and are continuing to find new people everyday, we have faith that they will continue to progress and that they can enter the waters of baptism! 
One of the missionaries who was departing this last transfer bore her testimony and shared a scripture that I really enjoyed, its in Alma 28:8, it says "And this is the account of Ammon and his brethren, their journeyings in the land of Nephi (Los Angeles), their sufferings in the land, their sorrows, and their afflictions, and their incomprehensible joy, and the reception and safety of the brethren in the land of Jershon. And now may the Lord, the Redeemer of all men, bless their souls forever." 
The best part of it all is the incomprehensible joy that our investigators feel and we feel and the members feel when they take that step and decide to be baptized! It really is an amazing work! Keep spreading the gospel to everyone that surrounds you! I love you so much family and am so glad that Halloween was so fun! I loved all your costumes and hearing about the fun you had! I continue to pray for every single one of my wonderful brothers and sisters, I truly hope you are enjoying school and everything. I love you more than words can say,really and miss you more than words can say. Know that I am loving the mission and although sometimes we as missionaries have "sufferings in the land...." All is worth it, when others and ourselves feel that "incomprehensible joy" Love you and Happy November <3
Love,  Hermana Abreu
Marta and Mauricio's Wedding!
Our District!

Marta and Mauricio's baptism