Tuesday, November 29, 2016

HAPPY HOLIDAYS FROM lil' ol' Bell California!!!

Hi everyone!!!

I hope everyone spent their Thanksgiving fat and happy :) Hehehe we definitely did!!!
The whole day was spent eating, every house we'd visit would give us food so we got our share of turkey, tamales and champurrado and MORE!!!!

This week has been good!!! My comps Sister Cox and Sister Hegerhorst are doing well!! Things have been kind of fast-paced since the beginning of this transfer so we've been running around everywhere! I know they've felt a little tired out but they both are such troopers!! They both are continuing to learn Spanish, LOL the ward members are really loving and patient with them and they both are doing so well with it. Sister Cox told someone the other day, instead of "we love you!" she said "nos encanta!!!" as we were leaving an appointment hahaha she had a good laugh after realizing how to say it. I've been trying to help them lead in some situations like planning, contacting, teaching etc. During nightly planning the other day, I decided to let them plan an hour and a half that we had empty and they decided to go to a street that I had never been to (which is difficult seeing as I have been in the area for 6 months) they decided we would knock a few doors on a street named Patata Street and I thought it was a great idea! They were so excited to go contact this street and meet that golden, prepared person. It was difficult for them to find it (I let them direct me using the map ;) and when we got there Patata street was stranded, all there were were abandoned office buildings and train tracks that went on for a few miles. It was sad seeing how disappointed they were but we also laughed really hard about it!!! The night turned out really good and we ended up contacting on another street and met some cool potentials! :) Training is so much fun, difficult at times but I am grateful that the Lord blessed me with my new companions that help me feel that continued energy I first had when I entered the field. I feel really blessed!
It was pouring down rain the other day and we got soakin' WET!

Besides that, everyone was out of town or either Black Friday shopping this past week so it was a bit difficult to meet with a lot of our investigators but we were able to take our investigator Daisy to the Visitors Center on Saturday! Saturday was the first day they had all of the Christmas lights and decorations at the temple! We went up for a short tour and for the first musical performance they had for the season! It was a Mormon SoCal choir performing and I really enjoyed it, it made me think about when I was in the Madrigals and how much I love caroling around the holiday season! :) :)  It was really beautiful and our investigator Daisy enjoyed it as well. Her two boys, Joshua and Aidan (ages 7 and 5) were a little crazy but we tried to help them sit still by reminding them that there would be hot chocolate and pan dulce at the end :) 
LA temple Christmas lights

Joshua and Aidan @ the temple

More temple lights

Daisy, Joshua and Aidan by the Christus

This week our zone is doing another initiative for the holiday season!! We have a goal of taking as many of our investigators, recent converts/less actives to the visitors center to be able to feel the Spirit of Christ that is felt so strongly on those dedicated grounds. We have planned almost everyday to take someone for a tour or a musical performance this week, with the help of the members and we're excited to continue to feel that special spirit and for our investigators to as well. 

I have just felt so especially grateful this Christmas season for the opportunity the Lord has blessed me with to be on my mission and to represent Christ. Last year, President Weidman shared something with us that has since stuck with me, he said "As members of the church during the Christmas season we remember Jesus Christ but as missionaries we get to represent him."

Its a privilege these last couple of weeks to be able to share the new Christmas initiative that we have called #lighthteworld! The invitation is to celebrate Christ' birth by serving our fellow man! The 2 minute video is so beautiful and I believe its the perfect way to help other people to feel Jesus Christ's spirit more in their life this year. There is nothing better than serving out of the sincere love we have for others. I invite you all to look it up if you haven't seen in yet and to prepare for Christmas by doing those 25 acts of service in December! Happy Holidays!
I hope you have another great week, I love you ALL! 
-Hermana Abreu 
(Click below to see the video)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Back to the basics!!

Saludos de LA!!!!
Hey errbody! I hope all is well in your neck of the woods! Our neck of the woods is sunny and chilly! Yes you heard me, it's CHILLYYYY as in cold, yessssss. I had to pull out my jacket the other day and my heart was so glad. Fall in California really is so beautiful. We actually had a good amount of cold rain last night which everyone was super stoked about. I've seen a few pictures of snow in some missions!!! Craziness it's that time of year again!!! Anyways in other news, transfers happened and wow has it been crazy! Sister Smith and I found out that we would both be released as STL's to train!!! Oh boy!!! Haha we were both pretty shocked but super excited! When we had to eventually be separated and say goodbye on transfer day we were crying pretty hard hahaha the AP's were staring at us...... lol anyways I'm staying in Bell and when we got our transfer calls, it said I was going to be with Sister Cox, I am finishing her training. I was content and happy about it!! That next day we did our normal thing and went new missionary contacting (for the last time) :( :( and when we got home, we got a phone call about 10:15am, from the AP's telling me that President Haynie felt strongly prompted that I needed to train one of the new missionaries as well. I felt pretty shocked but excited for my new comps! So now we are in a trio, Sister Cox is from West Virginia and she is an awesome missionary! She is one of those missionaries that you would say came to the mission "pre-trained". She's confident, has her purpose written on her heart and loves everyone so deeply!  I already love her so much! My other companion is Sister Hegerhorst( it's been funny hearing the members in our ward attempt to say her name) she is from Nampa, Idaho and is actually waiting to receive her VISA to go on her mission to Ecuador! She is super funny and is very much more reserved than Sister Cox but she is definitely opening up more and more. And boy when she speaks, we all die of laughter and when she testifies the spirit fills the room. I feel so much has happened that it would take me all day to write but I just want to share how much I know that God is aware of us and he answers our prayers, I've felt it time and time again, but I know God really arranges things to work out the way they do for our benefit. I'm grateful to be able to go be in a trio and training two missionaries because I feel by doing so I will be able to go back to the fundamentals that are essential to me being a Christlike and consecrated missionary! Plus obedience brings blessings and I've seen that so evident in our work this week! 

Not so beautiful picture of us working in the rain the other day! 
Starting at the beginning of the week, we hardly had anyone to teach but we went out on Tuesday with faith to find more of God's children who need the gospel. As we were out we met these jovens playing soccer outside, so we decided to talk to them, they weren't really interested so we asked them if we could talk with their mom.  We go up to the door and instead of meeting their mom, we met their sister. We started talking to her and she told us we could come by another day. We go by for our return appointment with an awesome recent convert I used to teach, Adriana Cruz, who is around the same age and we end up having such an awesome lesson. Angelica, is only 14 years old but her desire to learn about Jesus Christ is so evident as we taught her. We invited her to be baptized on December 11th and she accepted! We of course want to talk to her mom and teach her family before but we gave her a Book of Mormon and invited her to read Alma 7. As we were leaving we asked her what her plans were for the rest of the day and she told us that she was going to start reading the BOM and that she was going to try and have some of it memorized for the next time we come back! ๐Ÿ™ƒ๐Ÿ˜ฎ hahaha she is so cool, it was even cooler seeing Sister Hegerhorst place the Book of Mormon and how happy she was teaching someone so prepared by the Lord. Sister Cox and Hegerhorst were so ecstatic and wouldn't stop shouting about how it was the best day ever lol we love being missionaries!!!

Another SUPER NEAT experience happened the other day but actually started a few months back when I was with Sister Smith. Back in September, Sister Smith and I were contacting on one of the busier streets of our area and we ran into a brother and his younger sister, Anthony and Joanna. They were interested in the message of Jesus Christ so we got down info and set a return appointment! We weren't able to make it to the return appointment but another day we stopped by, but they weren't home :( We didn't go back after that. Fast forward to a couple weeks back we received a referral under the name of Nelly and in the description it mentioned that her kids had met the missionaries but they never came and the kids were disappointed and somehow Nelly had run into a member from LA 3rd ward at the DMV and they started talking and the member got Nelly's info,  sent it as a referral to our area. We called the referral ASAP and set a RA with Nelly, also inviting her to the thanksgiving activity we were having in the ward! Later on during the activity, Nelly called us telling us that her husband Juan and her two kids, were outside the doors of the church at the activity but that they didn't know how to get in. We go and greet them and as I see them, lo and behold it's Anthony and Joanna the jรณvenes we met on the street that day in September! It turns out Nelly, the referral we received is their mom and apparently Anthony and Joanna were so disappointed we didn't come! Crazy!! Their family is incredibly cool and we are so excited to teach them! We went to see them yesterday and set a baptismal date for Joanna!!!! Gahhh Milagros!!! It was so cool and how although Sister Smith and I made the mistake of not going by to see them again, Heavenly Father put them in our path to be able to see them and to teach them. The Lord is blessing us as we are being obedient and are giving every effort to Him and his work!!! I invite all of you to count your miracles, one by one this week and I promise you, no matter what circumstance you're in, you will have that confirmation that God loves you and has blessed you with so many things this year! Even our trials can be blessings! Happy Thanksgiving!!!!!! Hope it's spent well with the fam or wherever you are. Love you alll!!
-Hermana Abreu

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Otra semana en la obra mรกs maravillosa del mundo!

Hi everyone!

I hope you all had a wonderful week! I love seeing your pictures! Sometimes it's crazy to think how much time has passed and how everyone is changing so much! :) Things over here haven't been too eventful, this week has been filled with day exchanges with some of our sisters, meetings and temple day! Because of all my departing stuff, we haven't been able to have too much time in our area :( : but we've been able to see some cool miracles being in the other sisters areas!

Departing temple trip was wonderful!!  While I was in the temple session, there was someone going in to the endowment session to receive their own endowment because she has plans to go on her mission in February to the Dominican Republic! For some reason I got super emotional seeing her there with her mom, dad, sisters and other family members, because it took me back to when I was preparing and it was my first time. I think also because it was my last temple session as a
missionary in the Los Angeles temple and thinking about all this ending got me pretty sad. I was pretty emotional hahaha no but it was a really spiritual wonderful temple trip. I am so grateful to have
been able to serve somewhere where the temple and the visitors center have been easily accessible my whole mission! I love to go to the temple! :) :)

In other news, we have TRANSFER calls tomorrow and we shall see quรฉ pasa. This will be my last transfer call and honestly I'm okay with that, the anxiety and anticipation are never fun lol!!! I'll update you in regards to transfers. Anyways love you all!! I pray you all are safe and happy this week.

Just a scripture I've been pondering lately;
32 Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then
is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God.
Moroni 10:32

Love y'all!
Hermana Abreu
Sister Smith's first time eating elote! My 11th or 12th lolol

Found our investigator Yohana @ the store today :) :)
Sister Smith collapsed and fell out of chair due to stressing about
school applications and such!! So strrrrresssssfulllll! We don't wanna
go back to the real world ;)

My favorite cityyyyyyy LA ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜
Literally the things you find in Hollywood; a carving of Jesus
Christ in the tree! Sooo cool!!!!

Exchanges in Hollywood; my fav painting in the freeway

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Miracle upon miracle upon miracle!!

Hi everyone!!!
I just thought I'd share with all you guys just a few of the miracles that have occurred this past week! I know for a lot of you, I haven't written to you personally, and I haven't kept up with a group email every week (hopefully some of ya'll have looked at my blog which has my weekly email) but I just wanted to let you know that things are really well over here in the California Los Angeles mission! Update on me, I will be hitting 17 months in the mission field which means my time to serve the Lord is coming to a close. It's really unbelievable that it really is ending. But the last parts of the mission have honestly been the best. I am so grateful for all of your prayers, your support, love, advice that have helped me get to this point!!!

I wanted to share with you a couple experiences that me and my companion had this last week that have strengthened my testimony that the work of salvation is real and that God knows and loves all his children! (I apologize in advance for the long email; I promise! Its worth the read.)
 My companion Sister Smith and I have been struggling to find new people to teach these past few weeks and we have been trying various ideas to help us find those who really have interest in learning about the restored gospel!! The AP's (the assistants to the mission president) told the whole mission leadership council about a finding method that they had used and how miraculous it was. Its called the "four door approach", where it really is a form of inspired tracting. You and your companion knock four doors, or contact four people, but before you do so you pray specifically to Heavenly Father for someone of those four doors to be prepared for the gospel. The AP's shared a few miracles that came from trying it so on Wednesday night this past week, we decided to try it! We were headed back to our area from being at the church building with Francisco getting his temple recommend, (YES HE GOT HIS TEMPLE RECOMMEND!!!!!! WOOOOO) and we only had about 30 minutes until we had to go home. Sister Smith and I decided that then would be a great time to try it since we didn't have much time. So we decided to go to Maywood, an area that we hadn't gone to in a while. We were completely led by the Spirit as Sister Smith asked which way we should turn left or right, I chose left and I asked her left or right and she chose right until we decided to park on a street that felt right. We prayed for the spirit to lead us to the door that would be receptive for the gospel. We got out and began to walk, Sister Smith (who is afraid of every creepy, crawly creature) saw a possum in one of the houses yard, so due to the that we skipped a few houses. She had plans to walk down and around the corner until we should start knocking some doors but I felt prompted to knock at this particular door a few houses away from our car. We turned back and knocked once or twice and almost immediately a man answered and greeted us and let us in without us even introducing ourselves! We went inside and we sat down and we began talking with him. He said his name was Rafael and we also met his wife Liz, and his daughter Sofia. He explained to us that he used to be a member of the church, that his wife and his daughter had never joined the church. As we sat there, I was in shock at the fact that we were even in their home and the fact that we had knocked on the door of this family! He continued to explain to us that his family had just moved from the Torrance area to Maywood about 6 months ago and they didn't know anyone. They saw us in their outside camera at the door and told us that they thought the missionaries in Torrance had sent us. Rafael mentioned that he hadn't gone to church in a long time but that his daughter would go from time to time with his sister (all of his family are members) He even said that his dad was the bishop of a congregation in Mexico. He said that recently his daughter had been wondering how she could get baptized!!! We set a return appt., testfied that we knew God really had sent us to them and left them with a prayer. Sister Smith and I left that lesson so overwhelmed with the Spirit!!!! Out of all those streets, out of all those doors and the first one we even knocked, God put us there to meet this family!!!!!!! I know God knows His children and I know that if we will listen to the promptings of the Spirit, we will be guided to those who are waiting for the gospel!!!! It was such a huge testimony builder.

Another experience I would like to share with ya'll is really close to my heart. It has to do with some people that I taught the beginning of this year, back when I served in Hollywood with my old comp, Sister Moli. So one of the sisters that we're over is Sister Hibbard, a sister that I trained a few transfers back. Sister Hibbard is now serving in Hollywood, and she has been there for a four transfers now! Anyways the other day we were on exchanges with those sisters and I felt prompted to ask Sister Hibbard if she has seen or taught a family that I had taught back in January. Their names are April and Kaidy, Kaidy is around 14 and April is 9 years old. Some of you might remember mentioning in my emails, teaching these two wonderful girls. The back story behind them is that way back in January when I served there, we got a call from these two girls dad, who is a member of the church. The dad, who lived in Washington at the time told us to go visit his children and his ex-wife, the girls mother, because she was very sick in the hospital at the time. He told us to find someone to give her a priesthood blessing. Sister Moli and I then started visiting the mom, Tania somewhat regularly and we got to know the daughters very well. We would sing hymns for Tania and then go visit April and Kaidy and taught them the gospel. It was a hard time for the girls seeing their mom how sick she was but they were really strong and the gospel lessons we would have with them would take their mind off of what was going on with their mother. Anyways, fast forward to today. I told Sister Hibbard and her companion to try and visit these two little girls because I hadn't heard anything about them since I had gotten transferred from that area!! A few nights back, Sister Hibbard gives me a call and explained to me what had happened. She told me that they tried to go see them but that they no longer lived there. They were about to delete the info because there was no phone number but they felt like they should keep it a little while longer. Sister Hibbard then tells me over the phone that she had gotten a phone call that next day from an RM (returned missionary) named Alicia in the ward that had fellowshipped these girls and their mother Tania, all throughout the teaching process. Alicia asked the sisters if they had ever met or taught April and Kaidy at all. The Sisters responded that they hadn't, they never had met them but that I had requested they go visit them but that they found out that they no longer live there. Alicia, shares with them that Tania April and Kaidy's mom had actually passed away 6 months ago! Alicia continues to share with the sisters that she had had a dream the night before. In the dream, Tania, spoke to Alicia and told her to find her daughters, to teach them the gospel and to baptize them! As Sister Hibbard shared this with me, I couldn't help but cry and cry and cry. I was overwhelmed with sadness for those girls, but at the same time so so amazed that Tania had spoken to Alicia to tell the missionaries to go help and save her girls. I know it was no coincidence that I felt prompted to tell the sisters to visit them and that Alicia had that dream!!!
April and Kaidy, back in January
 I felt so strongly that Tania needs her girls to be a part of the gospel, so that they might have it and so that she might have it. I know that the work of salvation is one, for the living and the dead! I am so grateful for the restored priesthood keys that allow the work for the dead to be allowed in the holy temples that we are blessed to have and to attend all around the world!!!!. 
I know with all my heart that this missionary work that we do, is real. That God is and his Son Jesus Christ are at the head of this church! I know this is the true church, the kingdom of God on the earth today, to prepare for Christ's second coming. I testify that God loves ALL his children. I feel so privileged to be his servant, although sometimes I feel unworthy to do the work, he qualifies those who are chosen. I love you all so much. I hope that something in this letter spoke to you! I hope you all have a great week!!! Keep on pressing forward with faith and the Lord will bless you as you do. 

Sister Abreu
California Los Angeles Mission
a man pulled a parrot out during the lesson

our zone, after our ZTM meeting we had an "angels" training hence the hand signs....by the way that Elder in the back, we do not know where he got that sword....lololol #HPZONE

Senior couple, Elder and Sister Council are leaving next week :( They are from Virgina! #eastcoasters

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The work is continuing to move forward in lil' ol' Bell! Happy Halloween!

Hey, Happy Halloween to everyone!
I hope everyone is enjoying their festivities! As for us, unfortunately we have to be in at 6pm,  BUT its for the better, better to be safe here in California ;) 

This week we had exchanges with our wonderful sisters Hibbard and Lopez :) Sister Lopez came to Bell and we had a blast!! She is from Peru and is a VC sister but is serving full field with the dearest Sis. Hibbard in Hollywood! It was a day of SO much walking, due to the fact that neither of us have valid licenses at the moment haha but we had so much fun. We contacted a lot of cool people, found some new investigators and got to play with cute dogs!!! :D 
As you can see it was really calm with Hermana Lopez and then when I
decided to hold it, it wouldn't stay still!

Exchanges with Hermana Lopez! Holding the cutest dog ever named Molly!

Updates on Norma and Francisco! They are doing SO good, they are still trying to get used to the idea of us not visiting them as often as have been, becaue they are now baptized. A couple of hermanos mentioned to Francisco that they had plans to visit him on Thursday and while we were there Francisco told Norma about them coming over and Norma goes all in Spanish "WHY in the world do they need to come over, the hermanas are already come over every day!" LOL We're trying to help her love the visits from the ward ;) She already told us that starting in a week or so she wants me to stop all visits to prepare her for when I go home :( she is really sad! That's why we are really trying to continue to help the ward get involved with them. Francisco also got the priesthood!!!!!! YAYYYYYYYY! AND the ward had the primary program, and their son Jonathan who is 10 years old participated! He loves primary so much and the primary president says that he does so well and that she feels like he's ready to be baptized. We're trying to help him to be baptized in November! We're continuing to teach the rest of the Palma fam, their other son Francisco jr. and his girlfriend Yohana but its hard to teach them both because they have completely different work schedules!! All in all they are doing good! I love their family so much, but I am not gonna lie I think I have gained 5 lbs. from eating at their house alone, Norma feeds us SO much hahaha its her sign of love I assume ;) 

This week Sister Smith and I tried some "finding outside the box" ideas, that President Haynie has been enforcing. He wants us to try to use other ways to find investigators, rather than the usual contacting, tracting etc. methods. Sister Smith and I drew the Plan of Salvation out in chalk near a park in a busier side of our area and we had some really cool people talk to us. As we drew, families asked what we were drawing and then we would ask them questions about life after death, eternal families, about the nature of God etc.! It was a cool effort, however towards the end we let a couple kids draw with us and it got a little out of hand but it was something different that we tried! :) 
Sister Smith's and I chalk Plan of Salvation drawing (new ideas we're
trying) it was super fun!!!

Yesterday we went to the Visitors Center with Arely, the less active that we contacted into a few transfers back and she LOVED everything about the Visitors Center, but what she loved most of all was the audio in the Christus room. As the audio was playing, the spirit filled the room!!
Arely has really been working on understanding the gospel because although she was baptized years ago in El Salvador, she said that she didn't learn much about the gospel in her years being active. Teaching her has helped me to understand our calling as missionaries is to teach and invite EVERYONE to come unto Christ, not just non-members.
Visitors Center trip with Arely (the returning less active Sister
Vincent and I found contacting one day a few months back) and the Cruz
fam took us (Recent convert fam of a year--they're getting sealed in
November ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—)

 And something I have realized that is most important is the invitation that I have accepted for myself to come closer to Christ. The conversion in myself has changed. As I have prayed, pondered and searched for what my investigators have needed, I have come to understand TRULY the importance of living the gospel in MY own personal life. Lately I have been reflecting a lot on my mission and the really really hard experiences to the really really happy ones and I have realized Jesus Christ has been with me through it all. Last night the sisters in the VC during Arely's tour invited us to stand in front of the Christus and to look towards the outiside of the center through the glass windows, what we saw was the reflection of the Christus all over each panel of glass, as if he was surrounding you, the sisters mentioned that because it was nightime it was easy to see Christ reflection surrounding you but in the daylight if you stand in that same place, you don't see the reflection as strongly, but you do see it. They applied it to our lives... that Christ is there through the darkest, gloomy times and that's when we see him most. But that he is there also in the happy, days, full of light but that sometimes its not as easy to notice. It hit me so strongly as I thought about the mission that I have been serving for almost 17 months. I've realized my Savior has surrounded me, been guiding me, protecting me but I have to look and realize that Its Him. He's always there. I love Him. I know He is the light of the world. I know that only through Him can be saved and be clean before our Father in Heaven. I know that NO matter what circumstance you are in right now, he's cheering you on and is waiting for you in daylight or dark, at any moment. If there is anything I have learned on my mission, out of the many things I have learned it is that the Jesus Christ and His Atonement is central to everything we teach, preach and live. The invitation is to come unto Him! I invite you to do so by studying of Him and living His teachings. I love you all!!!

Sorry about the long email! I hope ya'll enjoy your week and Happy November!!

Con Amor, 
Hermana Abreu