Monday, January 30, 2017

Worldwide Broadcast

January 30th, 2017

This week we had a worldwide broadcast for every missionary, led by General Authorities in Salt Lake City. It was so good! Elder Bednar in particular, never ceases to amaze me. The things that he says are so simple yet so profound and wise that I'm always like, "Why didn't I think of that before?" He talked about how each principle of the gospel should be tied together, for example, baptism shouldn't be taught as a separate principle but we should teach it in context with the whole gospel of Jesus Christ. He also said that a testimony comes from the heart, and not from the mouth. It's not what we say it's what we are. And success is something that is given to us. Some of the other things discussed were that we need the Spirit with us to be more persuasive teachers, so by simply doing things like partaking of the sacrament, helps us to be better teachers since we are inviting the Spirit into our lives.

The new missionary schedule was quite a change, and I'm a fan of it! I was never a fan of planning at night, since once we get home all I want to do is change into my jammies and relax. But I especially love that the new schedule really focuses on the doctrine of agency. Instead of us following a strict schedule, we can choose how we use our time, and it'll definitely help us to be more adult and manage our time wisely. I love it!! And of course, I can't complain that we have 2 more hours of preparation day!!! 

This week we taught a less-active woman Hna Cruz and we met her daughter, Fatima, who's like 18 years old. I really liked Fatima a lot, because even though it sounds like she doesn't go to church, she still believes in the same standards we do. She just started college and she isn't a fan of people drinking and what not. We read Alma 22 with them, hoping to help Hna Cruz to recognize how to receive answers to her prayers, and it definitely helped Fatima out a lot, too. 

We also briefly visited a less-active family, and when we first knocked on the door, the really young primary-aged children answered the door and they were so polite! They let us in, and they offered to serve us water. I was like, "I want my kids to be like this!" Aw man, Hna Maya and I seriously cannot stop thinking about our future husbands and families, and the elders accuse us of being "trunky" (ready to go home). I'm not ready yet!

We had interviews with President Palmer this week, and he talked about how Family History is a great tool to use to spark people's interest. That is something that I've heard a million times, but most missionaries (myself included) forget to use that tool when we're out talking to people. But yesterday I finally decided to hand out lots of family history cards, and it went pretty well! People are more willing to talk to you if you don't start out with religion right away.

I love you I love you I love you!!!!!

Hermana Aburto

Monday, January 23, 2017

Stormin' Mormon

January 23rd, 2017

This week was so amazing!

We had a zone training about finding new investigators, because all the missionaries in this zone are really struggling with that right now. It was such a good meeting; probably one of my favorites that I've ever had. We talked about 8 finding ideas: Family History, teaching youth, members (specifically helping members practice sharing the gospel), the dinner calendar, prospective elders, Family Home Evening, social media, and service. These are all things that we have all heard over and over again, but this time as we discussed it there were just so many awesome ideas and stories that were shared, and we're so excited to try some new ideas. Some examples: During the dinner calendar discussion, we were invited to try calling our dinner appointments 1 week before to ask these member families to invite a friend over for dinner so that we can share a message with them. Having dinners with members and other people is not about us getting fed or staying warm, but it's about saving souls. Another example, Elder Schoenfeld shared about how in a previous area, he came up with some fun fireside ideas for youth to help them realize that they have a testimony, and invite their friends to the next fireside. The social media discussion was my personal favorite, because there were such ideas as, we can share a Mormon message with an active family and invite them to immediately share the video on Facebook. Some missionaries shared their experiences from how they shared the gospel through social media back home. Some people would go out with the missionaries and then take a picture with them and share the picture on Instagram. Or simply having a picture of the temple or something on your Facebook can have people asking questions about the Church. One missionary, Elder Lee, shared a story of how back home, his xBox username was "Stormin' Mormon" and someone from England chatted with him online about it, asking him about his beliefs and stuff, and this person eventually sought out the missionaries and got baptized. That's so cool! 

This week we went on exchanges with our Sister Training Leaders, and I stayed here in Manteca with Hna Dayton. It was a really good exchange! We talked to a lot of very nice people and planted a lot of seeds. We taught a prospective elder about the Restoration, and we asked him to share his testimony on the Atonement. It was so awesome and you could really feel the Spirit very strongly.

Yesterday the most recent convert in the ward, Dxxx, received the priesthood! We are so happy for him. We had a Family Home Evening with him and his family yesterday, and we did a really good job! We really tried to ask a lot of questions (since youth don't have a long enough attention span for monologues) and we helped them see the importance of seminary and mutual. And then we played Loteria! I haven't played that in ages.

Last year when I was in Manteca, on the bike trail I would often run in to this old man named Jxxx who only spoke Spanish, and he was always really nice but he never seemed interested when we talked about the gospel. A few days ago we ran into him on the bike trail, and we were talking to him for a long time, and he gave us his number and said we could talk to him again! That's so crazy! There are definitely no coincidences in God's plan.

Yesterday, Brother Gxxx from the high council had come to visit our ward. After church, he talked with us 6 missionaries and our ward mission leader. He felt inspired to talk about his mission experience. He served in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana mission in Spanish. That is like, the Bible belt of the country (similar to this area of California), and a lot of people don't like missionaries down there. A lot of his mission was spent tracting (also just like our mission). He couldn't understand why he was sent there. It felt like it was a waste since no one listened. It was hard to find people to teach. But he realized that Heavenly Father must have sent him there because, since it was so hard to find investigators, it made it so much more sweet once he finally did find someone. He then challenged us with a ward goal of one baptism per month. I was really grateful that he told us all that. For me, I've heard of other missions where the member missionary work is so on point, that the missionaries don't have to tract much. And lately I've been thinking how nice it'd be to be sent to one of those missions. Not that I don't like tracting, because it is fun, but lots of times I don't have the faith that we will actually find someone that way. But I really believe that Brother Gxxx's challenge was inspired, and I know that us six missionaries were sent to work in this ward for a reason. 

On a less-serious note, yesterday Elder Little was kinda freakin us out, because he was saying that by the time he gets home (he's been serving for like 5 months), Hna Maya and I could be married and have a kid. That's crazy talk! But then we had dinner yesterday with one of our favorite families, the Hxxx's, and their 22-year old daughter was there. She got married when she was 20, and she has an 8-month-old baby boy. It's like, exactly that time span that Elder Little said! What is this!

Last week we were playing soccer as a zone, and I'm not as good as I used to be but I still have a really powerful leg. I kicked the ball at the goal, and Elder Schultz was stunned! He said, "Hi, my name is Sister Aburto and I've done steroids since I was 2 years old." Haha!

Love you!

-Hermana Aburto 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Love Them Fiercely

January 16th, 2016

One of the things that has been a struggle for me is that I've gotten so used to people rejecting us that it's hard to be motivated to talk to them, 'cause it's like "They're just going to say no, so what's the point?" But I know that the Lord will put those prepared people in our path, and whether the people we talk to want to accept the truth or not is up to them, but whether they will be invited to come closer to Christ is up to me. 

This week we had a zone dinner (with all the missionaries) with one of the members of the stake presidency, Brother Bxxx. He talked about how Elder Clayton mentioned during stake conference that we need to love people "fiercely." That's such an intense choice of words. Brother Bxxx talked about how we need to plant seeds in people and have the faith that they are out there. He spoke so powerfully, and even though I feel like I've heard all of that before, it was just a super great reminder and the Spirit really touched me. 

One night when it was really cold, we knocked on a door of a former investigators house, and the lady who answered was just like, "Come in!" She didn't even ask who we were or anything, so that was a shock. Like, I literally didn't know what to do now that someone had actually let us into their home. We talked to her daughter and granddaughter, who seemed OK with us going back, so we're going to try to see them again soon.

We just heard that the boyfriend of our investigator just left her and her son. They were living together. That came as such a shock since he seemed like such a nice, solid guy. We're going to stop by to see her tonight and I truly hope we can help her understand the Atonement and apply it to her life.

This week we were talking to this 18-year-old member who doesn't plan on serving a mission. We decided to talk about scripture study with him, and how the scriptures have helped us with any questions or trials that we have. I talked with him about how serving a mission was never in my plans, and how when I got the prompting that I should go on a mission, I was really scared and didn't think that I could do it. But one day I read Isaiah 41:10 "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness." That scripture gave me the confidence that I could do anything that God asked me to, since He's always going to be there with me. I don't even know how much we were able to help this kid out, but I'm glad that I was able to share my experience with him, and even remind myself of the trust I have in God.

So Hna Maya and I have this game of word association, where we just will randomly shout out these words that have to do with our experiences that are inside jokes. Sometimes we'll do it in front of members, and they have no idea what we're talking about. There's one member, Hno Rxxx, who is super hilarious, and he was watching us say words back and forth, and even though he didn't understand what we were doing, he wanted to play too! So he started saying "Cowboy" and "Buzz Lightyear" to us, randomly. It was so funny! He's probably my favorite person to visit, since he's always so sweet and gives us any food that he has. 

Do you remember that book, You are Special about the puppets who judge each other? I was thinking about that book, and how when the puppet met his creator Eli, Eli tells him "You are perfect because I created you. And I don't make mistakes." I remembered that yesterday and it just hit me so hard because that's how God sees us. 

Love you,

Hermana Aburto

Monday, January 9, 2017

Stake Conference

January 9th, 2017

It was a really good week!

This week we contacted a referral given to us by our district leader. It's a young couple named Exxx and Rxxx. We had a really good lesson with them! They had a lot of good questions, and some of their beliefs are really similar to ours. I could really feel the Spirit testifying through both my companion and I. We invited them to read the Book of Mormon and they accepted. I'm so excited to visit them again this week!

We didn't have people sign up to feed us dinner this week, so we called some less-active/part-member families and scored dinner with them. Hna. Maya was amused because when I called a less-active family I said, "No one signed up to feed us, and...we're hungry!" I totally played the pity card and it worked! They had us over for dinner that day, and they are a super nice family, but they honestly kind of drive me crazy! They have these questions about the Bible and Book of Mormon, which frankly, are really nit-picky and not really important. They have felt the Spirit testify of the truth of the gospel, but they overthink things too much. I truly testify that our faith is not blind, that my faith is based both on feelings and logic. We're going to visit them again this week, and hopefully our visit goes well.

I totally forgot to tell you this, but last week as we were riding our bikes one night, someone drove past us and threw some pudding at Hna Maya. I felt so bad, I wished that I had been the one to get covered in pudding. But it was all good. Truthfully those kind of things don't bother us too much. Recently we've been asked by members, "What is the hardest part about your mission?" I don't think those types of experiences are hard, rather, the most devastating is when the people you teach know that the gospel is true, but don't want to accept it. I can take the rejection, the name-calling, and stuff like that, but it's hard to see someone you care about, turn away from the greatest source of peace and happiness. 

We had stake conference this weekend. Elder Weatherford T. Clayton of the Seventy came to speak. He was amazing! The Saturday evening session was mostly about conversion, and a couple people shared their conversion stories. At one point, Elder Clayton had all of the full-time missionaries come up and sing "Called To Serve." That hymn brings such a powerful spirit. President Palmer also spoke, and I really liked that he said that the Savior sought to be friends with the people who needed friends, not just with the people He wanted to be friends with. Elder Clayton mentioned that we need to come to church to give comments that uplift other people and be answers to someone's prayers. The way that I see those two principles is that, the people that you meet in your life are meant to touch your life in some way, and you're meant to touch their lives, so it's important to be friendly to everyone you meet. 

I also saw Brother Robinson from Tracy at stake conference, and he said he had met you a few weeks ago when he went to Orem. That's super cool!

Have a great week. 

Love,

Hermana Aburto

These are pictures from the MTC, and from when we first arrived to the Oakland airport.



Monday, January 2, 2017

Happy 2017!

January 2nd, 2017

Well last night we got our transfer calls, and I'm staying here in Manteca with Hna Maya! So that's pretty cool! I'm excited for this transfer; we'll get lots of things done!

It's hard to believe that we are in the year 2017! The year I come home! What?! This is my second-to-last transfer! And yeah as much as I don't like to think about going home, I know it's coming up soon, and I really want to do as much work as possible before my mission comes to an end.

But once I get home you better believe that I will watch movies, listen to Adele's new album, and catch up with the rest of the world! It'll be like when Captain America wakes up in the modern world and has a list of things he has to catch up on.

Anyways this week was great! We found a couple of new investigators, so that is exciting! We also found a couple people with the potential to become investigators soon, so hopefully that goes well.

We had another zone training this week. We were asked to work with prospective elders in our wards. Those are the males ages 19 and older that haven't been ordained to the higher priesthood, or any priesthood for that matter. So we've chosen a few prospective elders and we're excited to start helping them out!

It was interesting because there was one time where we were going to contact one of these prospective elders, and all the information we had on him and his family was that they could possibly be "anti-Mormon," but when we knocked on their door, they were super nice and willing to meet with us again. Just because someone was not receptive in the past, doesn't mean they'll never come around. You just never know when people's hearts will be softened!

Well, sorry but I don't have much else to report this week. Life is good, the work is rolling, I'm doing awesome.

Have a good week!

Love,

Hernana Aburto