Monday, April 25, 2016

Training time yet again!!

Seems like there are so many fun things that are happening at home, Happy Be-lated Birthday to Marina!!!! Love you! Derek sent me a few pictures of Marina at the Masters in the Hall concert, it brought back so many great singing memories :)

Things this week have been great! This week has been filled with trainings and new missionary things so nothing too too exciting! But my new companion, fresh from the CCM is named Sister Hibbard! She is from Draper, Utah and was in the Mexico MTC for 6 weeks. :) She is super awesome. Cool thing, she told me that she had actually dreamed about me being her trainer. She dreamed of a latina with curly hair, that was latina but that her first language was English. She said that when she came into the chapel and they were about to announce who would train who and that when she saw me, she knew I was gonna be her trainer :) Spot on! Lol
Me and my companera!!!

 It seems like adjusting to the new missionary lifestyle has been good but like I remember, I know its been hard for her too. I'll admit its been a little overwhelming this first week, but I know I have the Lord's help and Hermana Hibbard will learn Spanish quickly. :) 

We have been teaching Graciela, that I had mentioned a few weeks back, the one who we found at her doorstep and who was so interested in getting baptized! She's progressing really well and we're helping her prepare for baptism for May :) She is the sweetest she always calls us "mi corazon" "mis preciosas" she is the best. Our recent converts are doing well, Emerson is still the crazy 9-year old Emerson and we are trying to continue to help his mother Sintia to accept the gospel but when we talked to her last, she said little by little. Ramon is also doing great, he is going to get confirmed this coming Sunday, because this last Sunday was our LA Stake Conference.

At Stake Conference they mentioned a lot about the importance of Sabbath Day worship and they mentioned a lot about having faith. I have been trying to focus on faith-filled thoughts this week, even when it is really hard because it makes all the difference. I invite you all to have faith filled thoughts, anytime you feel down or negative but to rethink them/rephrase them to be more positive. It really does make all the difference! You will see more your Heavenly Father's hand in your life, rather than the things that don't go quite right. Something that I was reminded by President this week is that we're not perfect, no one is perfect so don't stress just keep trying your best, it'll all work out! 
I am super excited to talk to ya'll on Mothers Day, I can hardly wait!!! Keep on keeping on! The Savior loves you! Never forget it! Love you!!!
Hermana Abreu 

Monday, April 11, 2016

"Miracle Week"

I am so happy that Giselle is home, I know everyone in the fam must be pretty excited! :) Enjoy the week you have with her!!!!!! <3
Highlight of the week, we had a baptism!!!!! 
Emerson's Baptism!!!

Emerson was baptized yesterday and the baptismal service was great. As always, getting a baptism together can be a bit crazy but it turned out pretty perfect. In order to get the whole fam to church we showed up at their house at 8:30am with doughnuts and they got ready and arrived to church about 30 minutes late but they arrived hehe :) Sister Castillo and I (having had experience with younger children at sacrament meeting) made a little crayon/coloring kit for Andre, Emersons' younger brother and their cousin and lo' and behold they stayed quiet the whole time! Being part of a family of 6 has its pros ;) 
The best part of the baptism was the fact that the ward played a huge part in it. Its been a hard transition, especially because they belong to the LA 6th ward but because of their family situation they were investigating and going to our ward, LA 3rd. In the end, the primary president got together a small choir of primary children and they sang two songs for the musical number and the primary president gave Emerson his own set of little scriptures; he was so excited! And almost the whole ward was there! It was the most people I had seen at a baptismal service. Not everyone fit in the room so some people had to watch from the staircase which worked out, especially with how this church building is set up. It was a cool experience seeing how the ward really did work together and made Emerson feel really welcomed to the ward and the spirit was so strong. Teaching Emerson has been a really neat experience. Right now we are trying to teach his mom, Cynthia who really enjoyed the baptism and we're hoping to help them be an eternal family. :) 

Other cool things this week, our mission did something this week called "Miracle Week" where we all set goals and made plans to make our key indicators explode and to do everything we could to make it the best week ever! The mission set double the baptismal dates this week and the miracles that were shared across the mission were numerous! As for our area, we set goals and made plans and did everything we could to get our 20 conversations, everyday and to get members out with us because we had been lacking in that. As we did that, we had something cool happen. We had received a referral from an old lady named Ana, that apparently Sister Castillo already knew who was a former investigator from a few months back. She really isn't mentally all the way there and she just invited missionaries over for the company but because it was in our referral system we went over to check and see if she was interested this time. We went over and we just showed her a video and the whole time she was asleep... hehehe we left feeling a little bummed. We then started walking all the way down the street until we realized we had planned a potential in that same complex, we were debating whether or not to go see her but we felt prompted to walk back and try her. We knocked and a woman opened the door, we introduced ourselves and at first she didn't seem very interested but we began teaching the Restoration and her eyes lit up. She then began starting to asking question after question after question. It turned out she is from Cuba and she doesn't know much about religion especially because when she lived there that was not really allowed. She became so interested as we explained about the Plan of Salvation and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We answered her questions and she eventually started asking questions like "how do I get baptized?" "who would baptize me?" "what do I wear?" "where am I going to be baptized?" until we finally extended a baptismal date and she gladly accepted. It was so cool!!! I know the Lord led us to her, the Spirit prompted us to put her in our plans, and he also prompted us to turn back and to see her. I have such a strong testimony of the power and influence from the Holy Ghost. I hope and pray that all of you act on those promptings that you receive because that is how God puts us where we need to be to help His children.

Sorry for the long e-mail, I just felt I had to share all that's happened this week, because it truly has been miraculous. We have another baptism planned for this Sunday, for a man named Ramon who was a member referral, we have been teaching him for three weeks and he'll be baptized this week! I love this work! I love the Savior, His gospel!!
I love you all a billion and I pray that you're all safe and well this week!!!!!! <3 
Hasta Luego!
-Hermana Abreu 
Dinner with the Chavez fam, they are the best! p.s. their dogs are in the picture because they literally act as if they were their children...their names are bobby, luis and tomas hahaha so we had to include them in the picture

Zone Picture!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Weeks fly by!

   Weeks really do fly by, this transfer feels like it has flown by as well. We only have 2 more weeks until the end of this transfer and it has been really fun and a growing experience for me. 

      General Conference had to have been the highlight of the whole entire week! The Los Angeles church building that our ward attends is probably one of the most beautiful church buildings I have ever been in. It is also the most historic. It really was such an awesome experience to listen to general conference in that beautiful building, with the chapel echoing the voices of our apostles, our dear prophet and the most beautiful music from the Mormon Tabernacle choir, (with my uncle Charles and my aunt Julee Ann as a part of) :) Being a missionary, watching conference is a very different experience but a life-changing one. I've seen how its changed from just words or phrases coming from apostles mouths, to personal revelation that is conveyed to our hearts and to the hearts of our investigators, through the Holy Ghost. I understand much more deeply the messages they share and the simplicity of the doctrine that they bring. I am so grateful for our living day prophet Thomas S. Monson, and our living day apostles and members of the seventy. I know they are called of God. I think I was touched most powerfully by the last talk that was given by Jeffrey R. Holland. As missionaries I think we all too often wish that tomorrow would never come. Tomorrow brings change, a new companion, a hard day of work, new challenges, etc. We love where we are and we never want to leave. Missionaries who love their missions never want to go home. But it is important that the things we learn today, on our missions or general conference stay with us and carry with us to tomorrow. Let us not forget what we felt this weekend and apply it to our life. I love Jesus Christ, I love the Atonement, because as it was mentioned this weekend, we don't have to be perfect! We just have to be our best, God makes up the rest, we just have to be humble and willing to submit our will to His. I know its all true.

     One of my favorite quotes that was mentioned by Gerrit Gong was that, "Jesus Christ knows everything we don't want others to know about us and he still loves us." 
His love is infinite and we are never too far from saving.

I love you all and that's all I really felt I needed to share this week. I pray for you every single day. Live the gospel and love life!!!
Hermana Abreu

I ate "chapulines" known in english as crickets... :P
My companion Hna. Castillo with the "chapulines"!

They didn't taste good! They also didn't taste horrible, I think it was more of the idea that they are crickets.

If I didn't think about it they weren't horrible! They were flavored with chile and limon so I feel like Papi wouldn't mind them :) :) 

that picture of stacks of papers are teaching records that we have had to manually put into our ipads because everything is now digital...we are finally done but we have been working on this process for about 4 months now!

Sister Castillo and our new investigator, Beralee eating chapulines!

Canoas made from "platanos maduros con queso" yum!

Temple Day
Seeing Jalo and Matthew