Monday, July 25, 2016

The Return of the King

July 25th, 2016

All right so I have served in this English area for about a week now. Honestly...it's weird!! I don't mean that in a bad way but it just feels so different than Spanish work. I almost feel like I'm serving in an entirely different mission. But it's cool!

First things first, though. Last Monday was my last day in Ceres, and Hna Gundersen and I got to visit our investigators. Before we went to visit them, she and I were talking about how we think our investigators don't realize how much we love them, because they are the only constant people in our lives. As missionaries we don't get to visit our families ever; we can't even visit other missionaries whenever we want, so really the thing that we get to look forward to is visiting the investigators that we love. So we were thinking that our investigators didn't know how much we cared about them. So anyways, we went over last Monday to see them one last time. We told them that we were both leaving the area and that some new missionaries would be coming in to teach them. Then we asked the brother to give an opening prayer, which he said beautifully as always, and to my surprise after he prayed his mother was in tears. She was really sad that we were leaving. So we were touched by the fact that she loves us too! At the end of our lesson with them, we asked the sister to give the prayer but she couldn't because she just started bawling again. So Hna Gundersen said the prayer and we all really felt the sweetness of the Spirit. 

Last time I checked, the little dog Manchas was recovering well. I don't know if he'll ever be quite the same again but it is seriously such a miracle that he is still alive!

OK so about this week:

With being transferred to an English area: I was really looking forward to eating American desserts, and I have not been disappointed haha. We had homemade ice-cream and chocolate chip cookies yesterday and that was the best!!

But in all seriousness, we have been working with a less-active member. We've only met with him twice so far, but he is already one of my favorite people that I've met on my mission. He is so good at reading people; he correctly guessed which type of music is my favorite (classic rock), and he can tell when I get anxious or thoughtful or really any emotion that I'm feeling. Also, yesterday I asked him to guess how long I've been serving my mission and he guessed that I'm about half-way done, which is right since I'm 10 months out. I asked him how he guessed and he said that I wasn't shy and that I had confidence. That really surprised me since I know for a fact that I still am very shy and I always feel like I don't know what I'm doing, but he said that even though I may not be overly confident, I still have guts. That was actually really touching to me--he probably doesn't know how much that means to me but it really helped because I know that he was being 100% honest, and he is such a smart guy who knows what he is talking about.

Also, thank you for everything that you have mailed to me. It really has been such a big help and I feel a lot better now.

This week we had dinner at a family's house, and they say that they aren't a "typical Mormon family" (but really, is there such thing as a normal family??) because they are really loud and most of the family is inactive. But anyways, I saw that their piano was really old and some keys didn't work, but I felt like I needed to play it. So I played some hymns an octave higher (meaning that I used high notes to make it sound soft and sweet) and the mom hadn't been in the room, but when she came in she was amazed that someone was playing the piano! She thought it was the radio, since her kids don't play the piano ever. The Spirit was definitely there and she started getting teary-eyed, and her children even sang along, which they probably don't do very often. I'm really happy that music has a way to touch people's hearts.

Yesterday was my first Sunday in this new ward, and there was a visitor at church! Elder King!! He finished his mission in...March I think? And he came back to visit. He is seriously the most perfect missionary ever, and the nicest human being! He is so nice and was bragging to the ward mission leader about how he served with me and that I am such a solid missionary that I had to train myself. Haha, he is so cool!

Also I totally forgot to tell you but a brother we used to visit would say something like, "Así está la situation" the same way that Papi says it hahaha.

Love you,

Hermana Aburto

The King has returned


 

These pictures crack me up. He must not be used to taking selfies haha





El rey ha vuelto

25 de julio de 2016

Pues bien, ya llevo una semana sirviendo en esta área; pero, honestamente, ¡es medio raro! No lo digo de mala forma, pero simplemente se siente bien diferente que servir en español. Es como si estuviera sirviendo en una misión totalmente distinta. ¡Pero es padre!

Primero lo primero: El lunes pasado fue mi último día en Ceres, y con la Hna. Gundersen visitamos a nuestros investigadores. Antes de ir a visitarlos, la Hna. y yo comentamos un poco en cuanto a que nuestros investigadores no se dan cuenta de cuánto los queremos y eso se debe a que son las únicas personas con las que estamos constantemente en contacto. En calidad de misioneras no podemos ver a nuestra familia y ni siquiera visitar a otros misioneros o misioneras en el momento que queramos. Es por eso que siempre sentimos anhelo por visitar a los investigadores que tanto queremos. La cosa es que estábamos pensando que esta familia no sabía cuánto nos preocupamos por ellos. Así que el lunes pasado fuimos a verlos por última vez. Les dijimos que nos iban a cambiar de área y que otras misioneras irían a enseñarles. Luego le pedimos al hijo que ofreciera una oración para comenzar y la hizo muy bonita como siempre. Para mi sorpresa después de la oración la madre tenía lágrimas en los ojos, porque estaba muy triste de que nos habían cambiado. Nos conmovió el hecho de que pudimos sentir que ella también nos quiere. Al final de la lección le pedimos a la hermana que ofreciera la oración, pero simplemente no pudo, porque luego luego comenzó a lloriquear. Así que la Hna. Gundersen hizo la oración y todos sentimos la dulzura del Espíritu.

Lo último que supe del perro Manchas es que se está recuperando. No sé si volverá a ser el mismo de antes, ¡lo cierto es que es un verdadero milagro que todavía esté vivo!

Ahora déjenme contarles de esta semana:

Como ahora me cambiaron a servir en un área en inglés, tenía muchos deseos de comer postres gringos, y la verdad es que no me ha ido tan mal. Ayer comimos helado casero y galletas con chispas de chocolate horneadas en casa, ¡y fue algo fenomenal!
Hablando en serio, hemos estado trabajando con un miembro menos activo. Solamente lo hemos visitado dos veces pero ya es una de mis personas favoritas que he conocido en la misión. Es muy bueno para analizar a las personas; por ejemplo, pudo adivinar correctamente mi tipo de música favorita (rock clásico), e inmediatamente se da cuenta cuando me pongo inquieta o pensativa, o cuando me embarga una emoción de cualquier tipo. Ayer le pedí que adivinara cuánto tiempo llevo en la misión y dijo que como la mitad, lo cual es correcto porque ya llevo 10 meses. Le pregunté cómo había adivinado y dijo que porque no era tímida y que se puede ver que transmito seguridad. Eso me sorprendió muchísimo, ya que tengo la certeza de que aún soy tímida y siempre me siento como que no tengo ni idea de lo que estoy haciendo, pero él agregó que a pesar de que no parezco tener exceso de confianza aún tengo valor para hacer las cosas. Realmente me llegó lo que me dijo y probablemente él ni siquiera se dio cuenta de lo mucho que significan sus palabras, las cuales me ayudaron porque sé que las dijo con toda honestidad; además, es un tipo inteligente que sabe lo que dice.

Por cierto, gracias por todo lo que me han mandado; todo me ha servido muchísimo y ahora me siento mucho mejor.

En la semana fuimos a comer con una familia, y cuando llegamos nos dijeron que no eran “la típica familia mormona” (¿acaso existe una familia que sea normal?) porque son muy escandalosos y la mayoría de los integrantes son inactivos. La cosa es que en su casa tienen un piano viejísimo y algunas de las teclas ya no sirven, pero como que me entraron ganas de tocar. Así que me puse a tocar algunos himnos una octava más alto de lo normal (o sea con notas más altas para que se escucharan suaves y dulces). Entonces, la mamá, que andaba por otra parte de la casa, se asomó y se sorprendió de que alguien estuviera tocando el piano. Dijo que pensaba que era la radio, porque sus hijos ¡se ocuparan de tocar el piano! Sin duda que el Espíritu se hizo presente y a la mamá se le empezaron a llenar los ojos de lágrimas. Los hijos incluso se pusieron a cantar algunos de los himnos, lo cual probablemente no hacen tan a menudo. Me da mucha felicidad que la música tenga el poder de tocar el corazón de la gente.

Ayer fue mi primer domingo en mi nuevo barrio, y, ¡llegó una visita! ¡¡El élder King!! Él acabó su misión creo que como en marzo pasado y había venido de visita. De veras que él es el misionero perfecto y un gran ser humano. Es muy buena onda y al líder de la obra misional del barrio le estaba presumiendo que había servido conmigo y que yo soy tan buena misionera que incluso me había entrenado sola. ¡Eso estuvo bueno, es muy lindo!

También se me pasó contarles que un hermano a cada rato dice: “Así está la situation”, de la misma forma que lo dice papi, ja, ja, ja.

Los quiero,

Hermana Aburto

El rey ha vuelto

Estas fotos me dan risa. Como que él no está acostumbrado a tomar selfis.

Monday, July 18, 2016

What is life?!

July 18th, 2016
We received our transfer calls yesterday!
I knew that I was leaving!
But there's still a plot twist! As usual...
I'm going to serve in English!!! I will be companions with Sister Miller. We'll see how that goes. That's crazy unexpected though. It reminds me of that quote from Ratatouille that goes something like, "The only thing predictable about life is it's unpredictability."
Sister Gundersen is leaving too, which was strange since we thought at least one of us would be staying.
Anyways, this week I have a story to tell, which may be kinda weird but bear with me.
One day we were walking with one of the sisters in our branch, so that she could accompany us to see some investigators. She is really awesome, but she has been having a really hard time in her life right now, and the one thing that gives her the most happiness in her life is her dog, Manchas. As we were walking, her dog suddenly caught up to us since he had escaped from their front yard. So he followed us as we kept walking, and he's followed us before, so we didn't think much of it. But then we heard this loud noise on the street and I looked and saw Manchas get run over by a car. This sister started freaking out and bawling and took Manchas in her arms and it was just awful. My companion and I were just in shock. I don't want to go into details of his injuries but he was dying in her arms, and we all cried and didn't know what to do. Then a very nice woman saw us and she called the vet and took this sister and Manchas to the vet, since we missionaries couldn't since we don't have a car, and it was late in the evening so we couldn't go at all. After they left, my companion and I prayed and were just so sad for this sister since we knew how much she loved this little dog. It was so depressing. The next morning I studied about death to receive comfort, but then when we called this sister she told us that Manchas was still alive, and that he was at home. I seriously cannot believe that he survived. It's obvious to me that God was watching out for this sister, and I'm so grateful to know that anything that is important to us is important to God.
Yesterday we stopped by a member's house, and the young daughter Brianna, who's like 12 or something, offered to come with us as we knocked on doors. She is seriously so awesome! She was testifying without any fear and she was super nice to everyone we talked to. She will for sure be an awesome missionary someday.
Best news for last: Our investigators came to church yesterday for the first time!!! We had arranged for a member to give them a ride, and when we got to church and saw them there I seriously was so happy I freaked out a little haha. They seemed to like it! The wife said she wants to come back next week. Sister Gundersen and I are kinda sad that, since we're both leaving, we won't get to see them progress more. We pray that the missionaries and the members here will take good care of them.
Love you,
Hermana Aburto

Painting at an investigators house
With some children

District picture
Elder Rivera, Elder Eager, Elder Williams, Elder Bonola, Sisters Pratt, Arevalo, Waters, Pimentel, me, Gundersen

Me and my comp

Monday, July 11, 2016

Keeping Busy

July 11, 2016
This week we went to teach Paula and her son Luis again. They are seriously so awesome! They are still reading the Book of Mormon and Luis is still doing so well with his prayers. We taught them about the Holy Ghost and how to receive revelation, and we also taught about the Ten Commandments. I truly believe that they will get baptized someday.
Our investigator Irene took a big step this week to progress towards baptism. She is kind of struggling since the decision she had to make was very difficult but I have no doubt in my mind that she will be blessed and that things will work out somehow, someway. 
It has been tough lately because for the past two days, every appointment that we had canceled. And yesterday a Jehovah's Witness was arguing with us for like half an hour, and he wouldn't listen to our message at all but he was just being a nuisance. He was first arguing about how Jehovah is God, not Jesus. We've had that subject come up a lot lately. So we basically have not been able to catch a break and it's been kind of rough.
This week we also visited our recent convert Norma, who was baptized in March but she is so solid you'd never guess that she's only been a member for a few months. She is the sweetest person ever.
I saw an ad for Finding Dory and it actually made me kind of homesick haha. I guess it's because I feel like I grew up with Finding Nemo and I wish I could go to the movies with you guys, but I know that we'll have good times when I get home.
I don't even know what else to write, it's just been so exhausting lately. 
Next Sunday we get our transfer calls, so I'll see whether I'm staying here or not.
Love,
Hermana Aburto
P.S. In Turlock there's this frozen yogurt place named Brain Freeze which I will take you to someday; it's the best!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Transition to Bikes

July 4th, 2016

So the transition between having a car to just being on bikes has been interesting...

Because of the fact that we had too many investigators, we felt the need to give some of ours to the other Ceres sister missionaries in our branch. So our teaching pool was basically cut in half after that, but then some of the investigators that we kept were not progressing so we had to drop them too. So we've been doing lots of biking and we've talked to a lot of people in the street but we didn't find any new investigators this week. I can't believe how dramatic a change that has been...but I'm not discouraged. I still know that it was an inspired decision to take our car away, and I have faith that we can still do missionary work effectively.

It is so stinkin' hot though! When it drops down to the 90's it feels kinda good since we're so used to it being in the 100's. But still, I've never sweat this much in my entire life. We drink lots of water though and Sister Gundersen's friend sent these towel things that we can wear while we bike to stay cool.

Yesterday we contacted a referral and it was a young couple. They don't really believe in God, but the lesson that we had with them was so interesting. They understood that the Bible isn't completely accurate, that some government had taken away certain parts and kept the parts that they liked. They knew about the Book of Mormon already but we explained it again to let them understand that the Book of Mormon only has one translation and so it sort of "skipped" what the Bible went through (getting manipulated by man, I mean). The wife said that you can't know a spiritual experience until you have one, and she's right. We explained that that's why it's so important to search, ponder, and pray because that is what opens the door to revelation. We left them some chapters to read in the Book of Mormon, and even though we may not go back to teach them, our lesson with them was a very good spiritual "touchpoint" as President Palmer would say.

We also have this investigator who has cancer and she is so incredibly skinny I can't even believe it, and we hadn't been able to see her for weeks because she was always in the hospital. We finally got to see her again this week, and she was SMOKING. Seriously woman, you have lung cancer and you're smoking!! We taught her the Word of Wisdom, and committed her to live it, but the next day she was still smoking. It made us so sad.

We are still helping Irene to prepare for baptism. I don't remember if I've told you about her, but her situation is pretty complicated. She really does want to get baptized though and we are so proud of her for truly wanting to fix her situation so that she can make that covenant with Heavenly Father. 

To answer your question, I haven't seen Luis or Laura at all since I left Hughson :( They haven't come to church or anything. I don't really know what's going on with them but I do want to mail them a letter or something to let them know that I still love them.

And yes, I'm still using my musical talents. I'm still playing the organ in the branch, and I've been teaching Sister Gundersen a little bit of the guitar.

I love you!

-Hermana Aburto

P.S. Did you ever see Kung Fu Panda 3, or Finding Dory? Or any new superhero movies?