Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas!

December 26th, 2016

So I don't really have much to say since I spoke to you just yesterday!

But I do know without a shadow of a doubt that my Savior lives! I know that He is infinite, that His work and ministry did not begin in Bethlehem nor ended on Calvary. I know that the Atonement is real. I am so grateful to be able to witness the many miracles He brings about every day in the lives of so many people. I'm so grateful that I've been able to develop my personal relationship with Christ as a missionary, and I'll continue to grow in that relationship for the rest of my life. He is my everything and I love Him so dearly!

Oh and during the mission devotional President Palmer spoke about how there are about 150 missionaries in this mission, and I don't know how many millions of people that live within the boundaries of this mission. So he did the math and each missionary has to reach out to about 10,000 people during our time serving here. That's a ton! He spoke about how we are like the shepherds from the nativity story, that we should make "haste" in order to take care of the people that the Lord has given us to share the gospel with. Great stuff!

Love you!

Sister Elena Aburto

I got these socks for Christmas from some members. They have space-ships abducting dinosaurs. I'm planning on wearing these under my wedding dress when I get married some day.

These are the elders that are serving in our same ward!

Left to right: Elders Baker, Gifford, Little, Orgill, and me with Hna Maya

With Elder Sitani and Elder Feltman!

With Sister Talbot!

With Hna Gundersen and Hna Pimentel!

With Elder Simms and Elder Owens!

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Time is Far Spent

December 19th, 2016

I'm so excited to talk to you on Christmas!

This was a good week, although the work is slower than ever. We haven't been able to meet with our investigators. But we did have interviews with President and Sister Palmer this week, and she assured us that this time of the year tends to be slow in missionary work, with the holidays and what not.

I always love talking to President Palmer! He is amazing. He encouraged each of us to read the book Jesus the Christ (which I still have not done since it gives me a headache every time I try). I will give it another shot. He also encouraged us to continue to try to teach the Savior's way. It's always good to remember that it's all about Him.

Yesterday I gave a talk during sacrament meeting about missionary work. The whole sacrament meeting had us missionaries on the program to try to get the members involved in missionary work. That is my dream here in this area: to get the members to be missionaries. 

One of my new favorite hymns is "The Time is Far Spent (El Fin Se Acerca)." It's not a hymn we sing very often but I feel like it's describing my life.

The time is far spent; there is little remaining
To publish glad tidings by sea and by land.
Then hasten, ye heralds; go forward proclaiming:
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven's at hand,
Repent, for the kingdom of heaven's at hand.

Shrink not from your duty, however unpleasant,
But follow the Savior, your pattern and friend.
Our little afflictions, tho painful at present,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end,
Ere long, with the righteous, in glory will end.

What, tho, if the favor of Ahman possessing,
This world's bitter hate you are called to endure?
The angels are waiting to crown you with blessings!
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.
Go forward, be faithful, the promise is sure.

Be fixed in your purpose, for Satan will try you;
The weight of your calling he perfectly knows.
Your path may be thorny, but Jesus is nigh you;
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.
His arm is sufficient, tho demons oppose.

I love the way it describes missionary work with the trials and blessings that come from it; it's just absolutely beautiful.

I forgot to write about this last week, but one time Hna Maya and I were in Manteca decided to walk instead of bike to an address of a former investigator on a major main street close by. (Sometimes we walk at night so that we don't have to feel the cold wind in our face, and I personally don't love biking in the dark.) So we walked and walked and didn't realize how far the address was. We literally walked into the next town over (Lathrop). We were so tired and were like..."Remember when we thought this was a good idea?" Haha, good times.

There was one time where we decided to go visit a member since we hadn't seen her at church for a while. Her name is Hna Mxxx. We had a nice chat with her, and then her friend came over. Her friend has gone to the Catholic and Jehovah Witnesses churches, but she felt curious as to which church is the right one. Of course we seized the opportunity to talk about our church, and left her with a Book of Mormon. The way that Hna Mxxx shared the gospel with her though, was so awesome. She was so bold in inviting her to come to church on Sunday. She told her to come to church for a few months and see how she likes it. And she was basically like, "Why do you go to that church if it's so confusing to you?" This friend came to church yesterday and she seemed to really enjoy it! That's super cool! Member missionary work for the win!

We also had our ward Christmas party on Saturday. All six of us missionaries in the ward sang Regocijad Jesus Nació with me on the ukulele. It was great! These elders are amazing. Three of them have only been here for two transfers, with one of them training a new missionary. They all speak Spanish pretty well for being newbies.

K so I don't know if you remember the TV Show from the 90's "Pinky and the Brain." I actually didn't really watch it as a kid, but as an adult, 'cause I'm cool like that. Anyways Hna Maya and I decided that our companionship is like Pinky and the Brain, one is a genius, the other's insane. Who is Pinky and who is the Brain? Trick question: most people would look at us thinking she is the insane one and I'm the Brain, but lots of times Hna Maya tells me "I used to be normal until I was your companion!" So maybe I'm the insane one!
  We're Pinky and the Brain brain brain brain brain!

Have a good week! Love you!

-Hermana Aburto

Monday, December 12, 2016

The Po-lice man, the Michael Jordi-an, the Pizza MA-AN!

So this week we went to see a former investigator named Cxxx. She is so nice and she gave us atole which was like rice-flavored. It was so good; it tasted like arroz con leche. Anyways as we visited her she opened up about how her son had passed away not too long ago. We are going to see her again this week and I'm really excited to teach her about the Plan of Salvation in more detail. 

This week we visited Mxxx again, and we brought some members, the Bxxx with us. It was super cool for these members to testify about how they got their answer from God that the church is true. It's always helpful to have converts come with us to teach lessons. Mxxx is still so awesome and she's been reading the Book of Mormon. She really yearns for peace in her life and I know that she can find it through the gospel!

So I've noticed that President Palmer seems to want every missionary to know at least a little bit of Spanish, so that everyone can give the Spanish missionaries some referrals. Well, this week the Spanish elders in our ward were saying that they received some referrals from English missionaries. The English missionaries must have had a conversation like this with Hispanic people they met: "Hi! Would you like to speak to someone who speaks more Spanish than we do?" And the response would be like, "Yes." So then the Spanish elders go over there and are like, "Hi! We're here to talk about the gospel and we heard you have recently met some missionaries." And the people will be like, "Oh, we didn't know you wanted to talk about church. We thought you were with the police and you just wanted to talk to us, so we couldn't say no." Oh my gosh I thought that was hilarious! But really though, I think it's awesome that everyone is trying to learn a little Spanish to try to help us Spanish missionaries out.

We visited a recent convert Lxxx this week. A year ago, when I was on exchanges with the sisters here in Manteca, I had actually visited her with them while she was still an investigator. It's super cool to see how far she has come. She gave the lesson in Relief Society yesterday, and it was a beautiful lesson. I asked her about her conversion story and she said that it was through some members who were really nice to her without expecting anything in return, that she first got introduced into the church. At first, her husband was really against the church, since he thought it would be like other churches where they just yell at you to repent. But when he went to an activity he realized the members of our church are very kind.  That's amazing! The work we do really is so much more fruitful when the members are involved. 

Hope you have a great week!


Hermana Aburto

Monday, December 5, 2016

Teaching the Savior's way

December 5th, 2016

It was a good week!

We met with some new investigators, Mxxx and Mxxx. They are a super cute couple and they have a young daughter who was a miracle; they tried having kids for a long time, and after they had given up on trying to have kids, she miraculously got pregnant. They have been looking for a church and haven't been satisfied anywhere yet. They are so willing to listen to us! The first time that we met with both of them they had some really good questions, and we even talked about baptism and the Word of Wisdom. The husband warned us to be patient with him when it comes to the Word of Wisdom, but so far they look pretty promising. We are so excited to work with them!

This week we had a zone training which I really enjoyed a lot. One of my zone leaders, Elder Ahau, spoke really powerfully about how important it is for us to learn our mission language. He told the story of Elder Groberg from the film The Other Side of Heaven where Elder Groberg spent a lot of time learning the language, and at one point it really paid off when a man took his dying child to him to ask him for a priesthood blessing. He was able to give the blessing in their language, and because of that he was a major influence on this family's conversion. Elder Ahau revealed that this man with the dying child was his grandfather. 

There is also a sister in our zone who is a convert of a few years, and she is the only member in her family. It was mentioned that her family is currently meeting with missionaries and as I heard this it just really hit me how important it is for us missionaries to be prepared to share the gospel with the Spirit, to do what's right, to realize how sacred and important our calling is. 

Our zone training was mostly about teaching the Savior's way. Each of us in the zone had to come up with a scriptural example of how to teach the Savior's way. I really learned a lot and felt the Spirit so strong. It's so important for us to be like Jesus Christ in that he was so invested in people's lives, He taught with love, He taught with the Spirit, He taught by example, He extended bold invitations, He taught everyone, He taught according to people's needs, etc. 

Yesterday Hna Maya had me listen to Bill Carpenter's story, titled Conversion of a Catholic Priest. I highly recommend it; it's an amazing story. What really hit me the most was when he mentioned that missionaries are not sent into a mission just because that particular mission needs more missionaries (for example, Oh hey the Salt Lake City mission needs more missionaries so we'll send more over there). In reality, we are sent to our particular missions because our individual personalities and talents are needed for the people that the Lord will put in our path in our assigned areas. I just absolutely love that concept. I have definitely seen that to be true in my mission, and even also in all the different areas within my mission. There are no coincidences in Heavenly Father's plan!

I am also so in love with the Light the World video and initiative. I never get tired of watching that video. The music is so good! Don't you love how the piano portrays a message of hope? We've been sharing the video with everyone that we talk to. And the idea of doing a small act of service every day in December is simply brilliant. I've learned that really everyone we come across will agree that doing service is good, and you feel good doing it.

I hope Leíto has a happy birthday! I love him to death and I haven't even met him.

Love you!

-Hermana Aburto


Christmas tree!

Worst name for a day care center ever! Haha