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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

FELIZ DIA DE GRACIAS! Happy Day of Thanks! email 11/25/2014

We are doing a quidditch match for  a sisters activity today. Its going to be the best. I was placed in Gryffindor of course ;)

Havin' a bit of fun while contacting. Sometimes you need to stop and just blow some dandelions.

Salas kids after our missionary work lesson!





Baptism...Hooray!  Congrats Giovanni





FELIZ DIA DE GRACIAS!
Its been an amazing week to say the least! Giovanni was baptized!!!!!! It was really crazy because we were late due to zone conference going over. But we got there and it all worked out. We said a really quick prayer with both him and our ward mission leader who baptized him before the service began. Giovanni offered it and started crying.. it was a really spiritual experience. Baptisms aren't everything but they are definitely a big bonus! The Salas kids (Kalani and Kenneth) will be baptized this Saturday! Lots of baptisms so we are being kept really busy... which is the BEST as a missionary! They have all the baptismal interview questions memorized and they have been coming to church so they are pretty prepared. Love them so much. Kalani is crazy and tackles like a professional lineman every time we walk through the door.
Went on a lot of exchanges this week because there has been quite a bit of sister drama. However it gives me another opportunity to serve so I don't mind too much. Just so glad im not that dramatic haha. Luis Reyes hasn't smoked or drank in two weeks now! So proud of him. He really does have a huge desire to be baptized. They are one of my favorite families ive ever met on my mission. Luz really hates it when she finds out we don't have dinner. So the other day she asked us where we ate and we put our heads down and slowly muttered "our apartment." We went on with the lesson and then right before we were about to leave her and luis both looked at us and said "do you like pancakes?" I answered ummmm yeah? And they both hopped up and literally ran to the kitchen to begin making pancakes at the speed of lightning. Hermana Gubeli just looked at each other and laughed. This is a regular occurrence at the Reyes home. We left with  stack of pancakes, eggs, tamales, pumpkin pie, and snickers bars in our backseat. They barely have the money to provide for their own family let alone us. We got in the car and I just started bawling. Im just so grateful for my mission and for the wonderful people ive met out here and been able to help.
This week we also had our zone conference with Lawrence E. Corbridge from the Presidency of the Seventy. SO good. One thing that he talked about that I really liked was thinking "above or below the line of productivity" When we think below the line we are always trying to push blame onto someone else (the bishop, parents, etc). Basically the "its not my job so why should I do it" attitude. Thinking above the line is seeing a need, owning the need, planning what to do, and DOING it! I realized this is a concept mom has tried to teach us our whole life haha. Just getting it mom... haha sorry. The whole "why do I have to pick up the toys? I didn't get them out!!!" is thinking WAY below the line. They also announced (not sure If you have heard about it yet...) the new worldwide Christmas initiative called "He is the gift." ITS AMAZING. They are sending out pass-along cards in the December ensign for members to pass out too... DO IT!!!! The church bought the banner for youtube for the month of December and are advertising it on times square!!! We are required as missionaries to use special pass-along cards and report the numbers of people we find through using the initiative. Its basically going to be the best Christmas ever.
Hope you all have a wonderful thanksgiving!!! A few scriptures to ponder: 1 thessalonians 5:18, D&C 46:32, Phillipians 4:6, and Alma 34:38. we should have the attitude of thanksgiving DAILY. Love you all so much. THANKS FOR ALL YOU DO!
 
Hermana Maxwell

Thursday, November 20, 2014

OH NO, NOT LICE?!!!!



BUENOS DIAS FAMILIA!
So pretty much its been the most miraculous week ever. Giovanni Padilla is going to officially be baptized on Saturday! We had to go through a lot of people (mission president, bishops, stake presidents etc) to get permission to baptize him in this ward because he technically lives in El Centro. He is one of the most prepared people I have EVER met on my mission and he is inviting everyone he possibly can to his baptism. Its going to be PACKED to say the least. I think all the missionaries are going to do a musical number as well so it should be a really powerful spiritual experience for him.
 
We also were able to make a big jump with one of our investigators named Maria Gomez. She was actually taught by Hermana Cederquist way back in the day (she served in this area at the beginning of her mission). She had told us from the get-go that she wants to be baptized in this church but couldn't come on Sunday until she quits her job in January. We have been working and praying for her to have the courage to ask for sundays off and she finally agreed to it this past lesson! We also brought some great member fellowship for her and they totally hit it off. I honestly had no idea before the mission how important members are in this work.
Also kind of funny/scary experience.... turns out one of the sisters in our zone had lice at the beginning of this transfer and I knew I had slept in her bed and hugged her. So basically I was FLIPPING out. Apparently I have a legit phobia of lice because I couldn't stop scratching my head and every thought that passed through my head was just like "YOU HAVE LICE!!!" It was horrible. I kept checking my hair in the mirror but couldn't see anything. Finally I couldn't handle it any more so we called a member from 8th ward named sister Barnett over because she cuts hair. She checked both of us and guess what... we don't have lice!!! YAY!!!! It was a horrifying experience overall though. Really grateful for lice-free hair nowadays.
I love preaching this gospel. If I could do this the rest of my life and have weekends off I totally would. Time is flying and i'm trying to live up every single second. Thank you for all your support and love. Wouldn't be here without you!!!! LOVE YOU SO MUCH!
Hermana Maxwell

Friday, November 14, 2014

THE POWER OF OBEDIENCE AND FASTING! Email 11/12/2014

HEY THERE!
Wow where do I start with this week. Its been AWESOME. We were struggling for awhile finding new investigators but we remained obedient and diligent in contacting/tracting. We fasted and prayed last fast Sunday for us to be able to find those prepared people and this past week we found 8 NEW INVESTIGATORS! I have such a testimony of the power of 1. obedience and 2. fasting!! Its been so cool to see the trust that heavenly father has in us as missionaries. I have also noticed an increase in myself of being spiritually in tune. It seems that every time we stop by a members home and share a message they always say "that was exactly what I needed!" or "that was an answer to my prayer!" Its been really awesome seeing the way God uses us as his mouthpieces. Because of that, and our recent successes we have been able to build up a lot more ward trust. We were finally able to attend ward council this past sunday. Such a blessing to be able to sit in a room with the leadership of the ward and discuss the work. Its so much more efficient when its done that way! This past sunday was also the primary program. I must say Spanish ward primary programs are way better than English wards simply because they go ALL out! They had all the kids dress up in white and had flowers in all the girls hair... it was sooooooo cute. Some of Luz's kids got to sing too and EVERY time June stood up she waved at me haha. It almost felt like I was watching my own kids!
The members here are so funny... they keep trying to set me up with their sons now that the time is starting to wind down. Its REAL awkward. I just kind of laugh, turn red and say "no se Hermana... no se..." Im gonna be so weird when I come home heads up.
There has been a few huge miracles lately that I want to share briefly. First off Luis hasn't smoked or drank in a week and a half!!!!!!! So exciting. Also we had a beautiful lesson with the salas family the other day. The kids are always so crazy its really hard to have the spirit there. But this time the mom suggested we sing a hymn. So we all gathered together and sang "Grand eres tu" (how great thou art) which was one of her favorites as a kid. We started to sing (way off tune haha... they cant sing to well) and the spirit just filled the room. Some of the kids started crying, the others got quiet, and Hermana Salas just started bawling. I think its been a long time since she has felt the spirit like that. Afterwards she just sat and cried into my shoulder saying "gracias... gracias" Really amazing to know we have helped that family get reactivated/the kids baptized. They came to church on Sunday :)
Biggest miracle that happened though. So another less active family we have been working with brought their brother to church a couple times. He is in is 30s. We finally were able to start teaching him and when we went by he said he wants to be baptized as soon as possible!! Basically... he is getting baptized in 2 weeks. Crazy right??? way prepared. His name is Giovanni and he is divorced with a couple kids. So cool.
Well this email is getting real long so I think ill stop there but im just super happy. Life is good. and the church is true :) I will forever and EVER thank my heavenly father for these experiences im having and for the wonderful people that support me in it. (aka you) I love you all so much. Keep being amazing and ALWAYS looking to strengthen and improve your individual testimonies. LES QUIERO TANTO!!!!!!!!!!
Hermana Maxwell
This little girl is named Kimberly. She is adorable and is always putting stickers on my forehead

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A LOT OF KNOCKING!! Email 11/42014


"This is my mission, this is on multiple doors."
Basically it says:
THIS HOME IS CATHOLIC. We will not accept propaganda or proselyting from any other sect. Long live Christ. Long live the Virgin Mary mother of god!



FAMILIA!!!
 
So there isn't toooo much to talk about this week. Its been pretty normal! We have been outside a lot knocking on doors/contacting people on the street. Its not too hard to do considering our area is all neighborhoods. Hopefully going to get some new investigators coming through the woodworks. Also been doing a lot of sister visits/interviews! I had my interview with President Miller yesterday which was amazing as always. He dropped a hint that there is a possibility I could train my last transfer! We will see what happens. Cant say I wouldn't mind :) I love training!
We had a miracle this past week with a less active family! The parents are both suuuper less active and swore they would never come back to church... yet they still want their kids to be baptized.... don't ask me why. So we have been teaching two 9 year old twins Kalani and Kenneth (super wild and rambunctious but I love them!) This past time all of a sudden the mom had completely switched around and is going to start taking them to church!!! YAY!!! Miracles happen all the time.
Halloween was pretty uneventful here... still had to work... couldn't go to any parties. But it was still fun seeing a the little trick-or-treaters!!! Halloween is a lot different here than Utah though... its really... morbid. All the decorations are just horrible. I started taking pictures but then gave up because there is just too many and they are pretty bad. There was one house that had a man sawed in half with blood and guts coming out everywhere. Pretty nasty. I miss Halloween in Utah haha. But there are still cute little kids that dress up like vampires, cats, etc too. ;)
I love my mission!!! I have changed so much. Still me. But better :) The church is true, Christ lives, and we have the power and agency to find happiness in ANY situation because of the gospel. We should be the most positive people on the planet!! Thanks for all your support. Don't forget to be "active in the gospel" not just "active in the church!" LOVE YOU SO MUCH!!
 
Hermana Maxwell  





Monday, November 3, 2014

STAYN' IN TEXAS! Email 10/27/2014

Baptism...Hoooray!! Sis. Serna

Temple trip too!!! So Blessed!


BUENOS DIAS!
 

TRANSFER NEWS: Hermana Gubeli are staying together!! I will be "killing" yet another companion. Everyone in the mission knows me as a "mass-murderer" now haha. She will be my 3rd victim. Looks like im going to be dying in this area myself considering I need to keep the area going this coming transfer as well! It was pretty expected... and im exited to be able to spend so long in the wonderful ward of Montanavista.
This week has just been incredible to say the least. Best weekend of my life with a baptism, a confirmation, and a temple trip!! Leticia Serna was baptized, and despite her phobia of water, it went really well! We had a few hiccups with the program because our ward mission leader got stuck in Juarez for the weekend but it all worked out! She was really really nervous but I knew that she felt that what she was doing was right. I was praying fervently the whole time for the lord to help calm her down haha. Plus she had to get dunked twice because the first time he forgot to say "amen." Kind of important :)
The temple trip was also amazing! I felt so lucky to be able to tag along even though it wasn't my recent convert going though. I hope Jesus and Josefina go before I leave! We got to do the session in Spanish which was really exciting too haha. Even though I know Spanish well now its still surprisingly hard to do that!
Its still pretty hot around here... but its almost Halloween so hopefully winter will be upon us soon! I already am completely loaded on candy from all my supportive friends back home and the members here. Hermana Gubeli and I have decided to start running again haha. I cant believe October is almost over! Random thought: im pretty sure im going to get into the ukulele when I get home :) Hermana Ramirez has one and she has taught me a couple songs already. Its so fun!
Pretty much im just loving the mission. Time is going much too fast! Im excited for this new transfer and for all the miracles/challenges it will bring. I can already tell im going to grow a ton. Thanks for all of your support. It means more than you have any idea.
Spiritual thought: this morning I was studying in Matthew and there is a particular story where Christ is travelling and two men come up blind and ask Christ to have mercy on them. In the scripture it says that Christ "stood STILL and CALLED to them." asking them what he could do for them. They physically had to COME to him and ASK to be healed. As I thought about it, I realized that's how all the miracles Christ performed were. I cant think of one time when the person, or a person close to them, didn't have to demonstrate some form of action to be healed. Its OUR job to come unto Christ. He is ALWAYS there but we have to walk to him in order to 1)be "healed"spiritually (be able to make it back to god) and 2) receive the pure joy that comes from that. Just a thought.
 
LOVE YOU!
 
Hermana Maxwell