Monday, December 30, 2013

Week one in Argentina

BUENOS AIRES -- I cannot believe another week has gone by. CRAZY! 

I  am doing great here in Argentina. I really love it! I am soooo blessed to serve here.  Only 3 things I could do without: the heat, the mosquitos and cockroaches.  ;) but we get a long just fine. No worries. 

All is well here in our area. Me and Hermana Calderon are working hard to get this area into shape. It is weird because we both are in different points of our mission so we both have different focus. She knows the area really well and I am clueless, but I have brought some fresh ideas from Baltimore to try in this ward. Should be interesting. 

Hermanas Newman y Calderon with an Argentine family

Yes, we are a ward here! It's great, I love the people. Dad asked me some questions so I will answer those real quick.

My companion is the best ever. So cute! Last night I taught her how to pray in English... SUCCESS. She is shy with her English, but such a smartie pants. 

The weather is REALLY HOT and HUMID! A little crazy, but nothing I can't handle. I just will return black and a red head, no worries. 

The food is great, my favorite so far is empenadas and milanesa. They love mayo here, which cracks me up. Not a huge fan, but I am a missionary so guess what... I eat everything, and I like it!

For water we have a filter in our house and then filtered water bottles for the streets. (they gave us them in the mtc) The water is never cold, but hey it's water. 

When it's 95 F on Christmas, you have yourself a merry little picnic
My Spanish is just great. I spent so much time in Maryland, that I have picked it up. The only trouble here is the accent and different words. But I am sure I will get those down quick (I hope). I can understand people almost all of the time, but sometimes they get confused with my Mexican/Honduran accent.

We had a great Christmas and I can't believe the New Year iis almost here. 2014?!? What? Since when? 

For Holidays like that, we can proselyte during the day and then once it hits 6 p.m., we have to be in the pension or with members and the members have to drive us home. I keep learning new things every day and am amazed with the people here. They are soo poor, but so happy. Life is good! We are blessed! Especially in the gospel! 

Today in my studies, I was reading from the Liahona. A talk from the General Conference. It's called ¨Be Meek and Lowly of Heart". What a powerful talk. I don't know why I hadn't read it again until today, but it was definitely an answer to my prayers. If you haven't read it, go read it! 



"It is our duty to try to be perfect... To improve each day and look upon our course last week and do things better this week. do things better today than we did them yesterday. So the first step to becoming meek is to improve day by day." - Elder Ulisses Soares. 

I know this to be true! It is a process. Day by day! We can do it, though! It is possible, all is possible with God's help. He expects us to follow Him and become like him (3 Nephi 27:21 and 27

Sara's tree in Argentina

¨God's promise to the humble is that He will lead them by the hand.¨ 

What a great promise. Hand in hand we can persevere to the end! I love you all, hope you have a great week! 

Feliz Ano Nuevo!

Con Amor,


Hermana Newman ;) 

Monday, December 23, 2013

"Mi negra grandota"


BUENOS AIRES — Holaaaaaaaaa! Yep, I made it to Argentina. I don’t even know where to begin to start and what to tell you. 

I am currently sitting at the "ciber" emailing you, using a keyboard that is not like in the U.S. Needless to say, I cannot type very well. 

Argentina is great. SOOOOOOO different than Maryland to say the least. 

Holy smokes, it is hot here. I don’t know Celsius yet, so I am clueless as to how hot it is, but the other day I'm pretty sure it was more than 100 in Fahrenheit. Crazy right? So yes, I am always sweaty and am turning brown very quickly. My companion calls me "mi negra". If you couldn’t guess, it means, "my brown person" kind of.



My companion is the best in the world. Seriously, she is awesome. Her name is Hermana Calderón. She is from Córdoba, Argentina. She has 19 years and is a stellar missionary. She wants to learn English, and I need to learn Spanish more, so we are teaching each other. We decided that in the pensión (our apartment), we would speak English only, and outside only Spanish. So far so good.  She is a quick learner. 

Spanish here is different for sure. I can understand most of it, but I definitely have an accent. The people think it is funny because I sound like I am from México or Honduras. Someday, I will get it down. My companion is from Córdoba like I said, and apparently, they have a different accent so, apparently I am learning Córdobese.

Oh man, everything here is different and so I just find myself laughing and smiling a lot because I am sure I look and sound silly here. Oh well :) My companion pretty much thinks I am a giant, so she tells everyone I am a "grandota", it cracks me up. 

Funny news: I am the senior companion again. I am actually finishing up her training. SURPRISE :) Good thing she knows the area, though, because I am clueless. The streets all look the same. So, I am going to tell you some fun facts I learned about Argentina in the past 4 days. Ready?

  • Cockroaches can fly — and they like our apartment.
  • We have a bidet in our apartment (I don’t plan on using it anytime soon).
  • We eat lunch with members every day. We don’t eat dinner. Kind of interesting.
  • We have to be inside the pensión by 8 p.m. for safety (don’t worry, mom I am great)
  • I am glad I can’t drive here. Remember how we thought it was bad in London? Ha ... understatement. People can’t drive here. Well, there aren’t rules, so it’s kind of just whatever goes. Fun, right?
  • I miss air conditioning, but am very grateful for a fan :)
  • Dogs and cats galore! I can’t believe how many are just roaming the streets.
  • Mosquitoes love me, and I hate them. I know hate is strong, but it is valid. They are eating my legs and I don’t appreciate it.
I thought of a lot more fun facts to tell you yesterday, but of course, I cannot remember them now. Oops. 

My area is great. Lots of walking. It is called Banfield 1. We walk a lot and occasionally take the colectiva (bus) and tren (train). We are in a ward here, which is different because I am used to my little branch, but it is great. The members are very nice and I already love them. 

They were pretty excited to have a nurse come. My mission president is new and they haven’t had a nurse, so they don’t know how to train me. They pretty much gave me the books and said,  "good luck" haha oh dear. Gotta love it. Good thing I have an area doctor here, so that makes me feel a lot better. 



What else can I tell you? No idea. I don’t have very many spiritual experiences yet or teaching so I will tell you more about that next week.

Well, I can’t figure out how to get pictures to work here so I guess I can’t send them until I figure that out. I love you soooooo much! I hope you have a wonderful week and Merry Christmas!

Con amor,

Hermana Newman :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pressing on

COLUMBIA, Md. — I don’t even know where to start. I am sitting here trying to write with lots of thoughts and emotions. I am leaving my mission here in Baltimore... my family. But I am going to my other family who is waiting for me in Argentina.

How incredible.

I know the Lord needs me there, too, so I am also very excited to get down there. :)

We have been letting our branch know we are leaving, and it kills me every time. Everyone has such a sad face on, but then after they take a picture with us, give us some hugs and kisses, they are fine and wish us well. We were asked to bear our testimonies at church yesterday. It was a fun opportunity for sure. There was a twist as well: two of our investigators were there who we hadn’t told we were leaving. They were quite surprised I think. Whoops :) Our schedules are quite booked for the next two days because everyone wants to feed us and say goodbye.

This week was great, weird as well knowing it was my last here in Maryland for a while. But Hermana Crotzer and I were working hard to leave with a bang! We had lots of miracles and crazy moments too. 

The weather here is crazy and we get lots of ice, so sometimes the cars are "grounded" and we have to walk. Which is fine by me. But we are located centrally and our area is the entire stake so nobody lives close. We make it work and make the best out of it and have quite the adventures. 

I want to tell you about one of the small miracles we saw. It was one of the days we were grounded because of an ice storm. Hermana Crotzer and I grabbed our boots and rain jackets and started walking up the road a few miles. We stopped at a less-active member's house (Long story short she is not in our branch but is Spanish and so the other ward asked us to work with her). When we first met her, she was very grumpy and not warm and fuzzy at all. She said we Mormons just visited her and she was just a statistic. It made me want to cry. Hermana Crotzer and I decided to visit her every other week so she didn’t feel like a statistic and that she knew we loved her and cared. She is not a warm person to begin with, but slowly and surely she has warmed up to us. Well, she let us in her house (I think because we were soaking wet and cold) but we just talked for a bit. 

When it was time to leave, she offered us a ride home (first miracle!) then after she dropped us off she said, "Hermanas, thanks for not giving up on me. I know I can be snappy sometimes. But I appreciate your visits."

WOAH! Miracle number two! I hope the missionaries keep working with her and slowly and surely I know she can come back to the church. I LOVE seeing miracles. They are all around us. Keep your eyes out... open... whatever that saying is because you can find miracles all over the place.

I am not sure what else to say today except that I love you! I am praying for you. I will talk to you next week except this time.... from Argentina!! :) Have a great week

Con Amor,

Hermana Newman :)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Snow and Saints

COLUMBIA, Md. — Happy day for Hermana Newman!  I woke up Sunday morning to white stuff all over the ground... yep- SNOW! :) WAHOOOOOOOO 

I have missed it so much. It is stinkin' cold here, but the snow makes it worth it, indeed. Funny story about Maryland: they freak out when it snows. Seriously, I about died laughing. The mission grounded our cars for the day (which was understandable), so we were on foot the whole day, which was interesting considering I cover the entire stake. But hey, what an adventure. Out of 21 years, I can only remember church being canceled once and that is because the bishopric got stuck in the snow driving to church. Well, we got to church yesterday. Sang a song, prayed, took the sacrament and then went home. Yep... they canceled church, and we woke up this morning to find out school was canceled and most of the libraries didn’t open until noon. In the words of my branch mission leader, "Yeah Hermanas, it's the end of the world when it snows here."

Yesterday was quite the adventure. I wish I could send videos home but they are too big. We were told we needed to still proselyte, but no cars. Which is just fine by me but definitely interesting because my area is HUGE and we live near the freeway. Missionaries crossing the freeway is probably not the best idea, so we started our journey walking to the nearest area with members and investigators. What we thought would take us about 30 minutes ended up taking 2 hours in the snow to walk. I was just laughing and grinning the whole way. Life is good! 

I was thinking about the pioneers a lot as I was walking and how amazing they are. They had it WAY worse then having to walk a couple hours in a snowy day. They are amazing! It made me think of the hymn of course:
 

Come, come, ye saints, no toil nor labor fear;
But with joy wend your way.
Though hard to you this journey may appear,
Grace shall be as your day.
Tis better far for us to strive
Our useless cares from us to drive;
Do this, and joy your hearts will swell -
All is well! All is well!


Why should we mourn or think our lot is hard?
'Tis not so; all is right.
Why should we think to earn a great reward
If we now shun the fight?
Gird up your loins; fresh courage take.
Our God will never us forsake;
And soon we'll have this tale to tell-
All is well! All is well!


We'll find the place which God for us prepared,
Far away, in the West,
Where none shall come to hurt or make afraid;
There the saints, will be blessed.
We'll make the air, with music ring,
Shout praises to our God and King;
Above the rest these words we'll tell -
All is well! All is well!


And should we die before our journey's through,
Happy day! All is well!
We then are free from toil and sorrow, too;
With the just we shall dwell!
But if our lives are spared again
To see the Saints their rest obtain,
Oh, how we'll make this chorus swell-
All is well! All is well!

All is well! All is well! How true that is! We are SO very blessed :) I am thankful for the pioneers and all they did for what they knew to be true. I hope we can be a little more like them and stand up for what we know to be true. Stand up for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The pioneers had it hard, but they endured the trials they had and made the best of it all. I definitely look up to those pioneers!

On another note, we had another great week here in Maryland. The snow has got my attention, so I am having a hard time thinking about what else went on this week. 

Oh! Soila! We had a great experience this week with her. We went over to her house to visit and see how she was doing. We planned on watching The Restoration video with her and reading the scriptures. This woman absolutely LOVES The Book of Mormon. It is quite the humbling experience to me because she only has a 3rd grade education from Honduras, yet she loves to read The Book of Mormon and has a big smile on her face every time she reads. She is amazing to say the least! A

During the video, she kept looking back at me and smiling. At the end she had a big grin and the first words that came out of her mouth was, "Que Bonita." (Beautiful) My favorite part of the night was when we gave her a card and invited her to the temple lights. She looked at the building and asked if she could go inside. I told her that she wasn’t able to right now but that she could someday. She looked at me and said, "Hermana Newman, I want to go there. I will go there after I am baptized." 

Yes! Yes Yes! Slowly but surely she will get there. She knows this is what she wants and needs in her life and I absolutely love watching her makes changes and use the Gospel. I have the best calling in the world: full time missionary! :)

The work is great and moving forward every day. Thanks for letting me be part of this great work and supporting me. I know you all are being great missionaries back at home too! Keep up the work and keep praying for those opportunities! I love you all!

Con Amor,

Hermana Newman :)

Monday, December 9, 2013

Waiting no more

COLUMBIA, Md. — I am sitting here in the library with tears rolling down my face. 

I just got an email that I cannot even believe is real. To make sure, I called my mission President. He looked in his email and sure enough I have my visa to go to Argentina. President cried with me on the phone. Both tears of joy and sadness. 

I can't believe I am leaving Baltimore. This truly is my mission and it is hard to think I am leaving. But I am willing to go where the Lord needs me. 

Watch out Argentina, here I come!

------

EDITORS NOTE: Hermana Newman will be leaving Baltimore for Buenos Aires via Miami Wednesday, Dec. 18. We will post more information as we get it, but if you're thinking of sending her a letter, do it by Friday, Dec. 13.  

Monday, December 2, 2013

Wet, crying and clean: my first baptism


COLUMBIA, Md. — Hola, mi querida familia!! Feliz Diciembre!

Holy Smokes.... December? Since when? Craziness. 

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving? I hope SO good. Mine was excellent! We did service in the morning, then I got to go help cook at a member's house and we ate at our branch mission leader's home. They are awesome! Then, a family gave us some papusas later. Needless to say, I had a lot of food. 

We weren’t allowed to proselyte on Thanksgiving, so we had a lot of plans with the members. Unfortunately, many of them called and canceled. :/ So what do you do as a missionary who cannot go talk to people on Thanksgiving? Volleyball at the church! :) Turns out a few other missionaries in our area had people cancel too, so we had a little activity at the church. It will be interesting this month because we cannot proselyte on Christmas or New Years Eve/Day. 

This week was fabulous. Many reasons why it was so fabulous, but at the top of the list, JENNIFER GOT BAPTIZED AND CONFIRMED :) Wahooooooooooooooooooo! 

She was baptized on Saturday and confirmed Sunday in church. It was a great baptism. Weird because it was my first, so we weren’t exactly sure how it would go. But the Spirit was very strong. It was awesome, too, because it was all in Spanish! :) Man, I love Spanish, have I mentioned that before? ;) Let me tell you a little about the baptism:

Jennifer had a lot of support from the branch. Quite a few people came, which was great, especially the young women. (She is 15) Hermana Crotzer and I had a lunch appointment in Elkridge that day, so we drove there to visit and eat with a family. Then we had to rush back to Ellicott City to start filling the font. Quite the new experience for me — never done that before. After a while of playing and messing around with water temperatures, we got it down and the font was filling up. It takes about 2-3 hours to fill, so we were there early. We got everything set up, made some cutesy stuff (I love being a sister) for Jennifer and waited for everyone to arrive. 

Remember, we are in a Spanish branch, so everything is on "Hispanic timing". Our branch mission leader and the Riveras said they would meet us at the church 30 minutes before the service to get ready and take pictures and such. Well 30 minutes before and it was me, Hermana Crotzer, a bunch of empty chairs, a full font, and an empty church parking lot. Talk about scary! 

I was a little nervous, but everyone ensured us they were on their way. Sure enough, about 5 minutes before the service was supposed to start, everyone showed up. They about gave me a heart attack, but no worries, I survived. 

The service was beautiful. I loved watching her go under the water and come back out with a big smile on her face. But my favorite part was "behind the scenes". We took her back into the bathroom to change and she had the biggest grin on her face. She started squealing so I gave her a great big hug. She started crying and would not let go. I stood there, in the bathroom of the church, with a soaking wet teenager hugging me. I pondered for a second how special this day was for her and how it will change her life forever.

Finally, she looked up at me and said, "Hermana Newman, I feel amazing. Why do I feel this way? Why am I so happy?" It took me everything not to cry. So of course me being me, I laughed instead of crying and replied with a big grin, "Why do you think, you silly girl?! You are feeling the Spirit!" She smiled and just kept squealing, "I feel so good, I love this feeling. I am baptized!" This simple moment between this young girl and me made such an impact on me. I want to feel this way all the time. I want to be squealing jumping for joy, saying how great I feel because I am a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!! 

The service was ended with a musical number on the violin, and Jennifer giving her testimony. Her testimony was short and sweet but POWERFUL. Wow. I can’t even describe the Spirit that was felt in the room. I am so glad that I have this opportunity to be her missionary now and forever. What a great blessing that is. Her journey has just begun. I am excited to work with her family more and get them all active and members of the church. We need more strong families in our branch, and they have great potential to be one! :)

We are working hard to find new investigators and work with the members. It’s a little hard because we haven’t found a new investigator for quite some time. But we are still looking! We visited with one of our other investigators this week and she informed me that she has been off coffee for more than 15 days. Woo! Gotta love La Palabra de Sabiduria

I have said this soooo many times before, but I LOVE watching people change their lives and follow the example of Jesus Christ. We are still working through some stuff back in Honduras, which can be tricky, but I know this sweet little lady will be baptized no doubt! She always tells me how much she loves The Book of Mormon. She knows it is true and loves to read it. The difficulty now is she is having eye problems and eye pain, but can't go see a doctor :/ Let me tell you, working with these people has made me seen all the things I have and take for granted. I am SO blessed. I have had quite a lot of humbling experiences out here and she is one of them. She has so many trials, but yet she doesn’t let it get her down and she has enough faith to realize this message is the truth and she wants it in her life. I will be thrilled the day I hear she is baptized! :) She is so solid.



Well, this week has been great! Looking forward to another one! :) How is Utah, by the way? Cold? Any snow? I miss my snow!!!!!!!! It's cold here, but no snow. Lame. I love it here. Every second of it. Have a wonderful week and remember who you are, and whom you represent. Go find those people who need the gospel! There are so many out there who are waiting for all of us to do our work and spread the gospel! I love you with all my heart. 

Con amor,

Hermana Newman :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

We are Friends Girl, Don't You Ever Forget That!

Columbia, Maryland - Well I can hardly believe it! Thanksgiving is this week! Wow. So I will wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving today! :) I hope you all have a fabulous day and get to spend time with family and friends and eat some delicious food and of course, remember those things you are thankful for and are blessed with. 

This is my first Thanksgiving in the mission field :) And it is going to be awesome. I too get to spend it with my family! :) ... my Hispanic family that is! We are eating at our branch mission leaders house. He calls us his Hijas all the time and has pretty much adopted us. He and his family are awesome! Enough said. We are not allowed to proselyte so we have some service planned and then just visiting with families in the branch. I LOVE THIS BRANCH. Columbia 3rd represent!!!! 

I am thankful for soooo many things that I can’t even begin to tell you about. One thing that I have tried to do on my mission is write down one thing I am thankful for everyday. Brit started doing it with me when we were down at BYU and it really does make a difference. We have everything to be thankful for... especially that we have the gospel in our lives!!  In President’s letter this week he said this to all of us missionaries: 

"I would encourage each of us to begin each day with a prayer of thankfulness for all we have been blessed with in our lives. Each morning, in my morning prayers, I ask for nothing and only focus on those things for which I am thankful. This practice has had a significant impact on my life. Know that each of you are counted among those things for which I express gratitude each morning."

What a wonderful idea. I would challenge all of us to do this as well. Dedicate one prayer daily to completely giving thanks. I know I am going to try it out and I am sure I will notice a huge difference. The Lord has given us so much (everything) and sometimes we take it for granted. Make this week... and every week a week of gratitude! :) 

Hermana Crotzer shared this with her family and I found it pretty funny so I had to share as well:

"On Tuesday, we had Zone Training, which is when everybody in our zone gets together and we learn stuff.  It was going to Elder Green's last day because he has been transferred.  And we, Hermana Newman, Sister Jeffrey, Sister Johnson and I decided that the Elders Green(e) deserved to be blocked in.  Let me explain...  There is this thing called missionary parking.  It's when, instead of properly parking, the missionaries "parallel" park, taking up three or so spaces.  This is to save the companion the effort of having to back the other companion up.  Well, the Elders Green(e) like to pull right in front of a missionary parked car so that the blocked in companionship has no choice but to back up.

At Zone meeting, the elders were parked normal and so Sister Johnson and Sister Jeffrey backed into the spot next to the Elders but so that the front of their car was hanging out in front of the Elders.  Hermana Newman and I did the same on the other side.  It was blatantly obvious what we had done.  So we are a giggling, excited to see the Elders faces.  And then we see them looking at us through the glass door.  They had been in the Library, looking out the window while we blocked their car in.  And they were taking pictures of us in the act...  *__*  Whatever...

But that's not all, oh no.  President Richard's walks in during our Zone Training and all four of us sisters are worried out of our minds.  At the end of Zone Training, we go out to our cars to get our lunch and find that President Richards had parked in front of all three of us so that none of us could pull out.  We only have the funniest mission president here in Maryland Baltimore."

We had some more service opportunities this week.... drum roll please.... Cleaning cockroaches out of a trailer! WOO WOOO! Hermana Crotzer was worried out of her mind and a little grossed out. All I could do was smile and laugh! It was disgusting in deed but I loved every second of it. I was the “squisher” of the bugs because no one else would touch them. lol They are reallly hard to kill. Sneaky lil' guys. Anyways, it was a good experience and I was glad we got to help out our investigator. She is amazing! 

BIG NEWS :) Its official... Jennifer is getting baptized this Saturday! Bahhhhhhhhhhhhhh ! If only you could see my face. I am so excited and cannot stop grinning and laughing (typical me right?) What a journey it has been. I have been working with this family since I got here and to see her enter the waters of baptism is such a tender mercy to me. The cool thing is that the journey doesn’t end after Saturday. It is just beginning. She will always be growing and learning and coming closer unto Christ. I feel soooo blessed to be part of her life and invite her to come unto Christ. 

I am so grateful for all the people I get to meet everyday. I meet so many different kinds of people. It is amazing and I get to help them and a lot of the times they help me learn. It is amazing who God will put in your path.

I met a man just a few minutes ago in the library parking lot. He said, "I did know there were little girl missionaries running around." We began talking and we have a return appointment set up. Before he left he said two things that stood out to me. He said," We are friends girl. Don’t you ever forget that. I know Jesus had you park next to me for a reason. I could have parked anywhere, but I parked next to you." Wow. yes. God knows what He is doing and puts us in our path for a reason. I have learned this countless times in my life and especially here in Maryland on my mission. And I love how he said we are friends. I don’t even know this man but because we love and believe in Jesus Christ we are friends! The gospel is amazing! I love it and live it and teach it everyday. 

Have an absolutely fabulous week! Give it all you got- Give em Heaven!

Love ya!

Con Amor,
Hermana Newman :) 

Monday, November 18, 2013

No need to fear

COLUMBIA, Md. — Let the new transfer begin!

This transfer is going to be interesting. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years all piled into one.
Crazy! I am soooooo excited for this new transfer. Lots of great things going on here in Maryland!


Yup, that's five transfers in Maryland...
This should not surprise you at all, but my brain is mush and I cannot remember a thing. Oh dear. Let me turn on the brainpower and see what I can recall.

Service galore. Well, this was definitely another week full of service. I was definitely in heaven. Since there are sooo many stinkin' trees here in Maryland, that has been our service most recently. Raking (and playing) in the leaves. Couldn’t get better if you ask me! It reminded me of Grandma and Grandpa's house and playing with the cousins in all their leaves! Good times.

One of our progressing investigators is doing awesome! She still does not have a baptismal date due to some marriage problems in Honduras, but we talked about the Word of Wisdom this week and she hasn’t had coffee or tea for 4 days now! WAHOOOOOO!

She is amazing. She has such a hard life, but she knows that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is making it better. This week, we get to go help her clean her trailer. They had to move into a trailer with a few other families. I guess it was a bunch of men who lived there before, so there are "cucas" (cockroaches) all over in the house. Poor thing is very distraught and hates bugs.

So, Hermana Newman to the rescue! Yes, believe it or not I am quite the brave lil' hermana. Bugs? Pshhhhh no problem! I got em covered! :) One of the ladies we helped rake leaves for this week said something that made me chuckle. My companion was freaking out about a caterpillar and the member says, "Give it to Hermana Newman — she’s not afraid of anything!" Bahaha. Oh I am not? Ok, guess not. :)  I am fearless!!... as I should be right? No need to fear when I have God on my side.

More than 15 giant bags full of leaves. Impressive raking, if you ask me!
We are still working to get the Riveras on date for the end of the month. Satan is working against us though :/ We haven’t been able to get in contact with them almost all week. But today is the day that its gonna happen. I can feel it :) So hopefully we will have a baptism at the end of the month!

Well, So sorry this letter is so short. But the most important part is the church is true! I love it. It is such a blessing in my life. Go out this week with a smile on your face remembering all that Christ did for you. Go share your happiness with someone else.

Missionary work works in lots of ways. Share a Mormon Message on Facebook, go serve your neighbor, give a friend a phone call or even invite someone to talk to the missionaries. The possibilities are endless. But the important part is that we are doing our duty and helping the work move forward.

I love you with all my heart! Have a fabulous week! Tear it up!

Con amor,
Hermana Newman :)

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Have I done any good? Service, sincerity, and the Atonement

COLUMBIA, Md. — Well, here we go. Starting off yet another week. Week 6 of the transfer. Yikes! :) Transfers are next week. If I don’t have my visa by next week I will be lucky enough to spend my 5th transfer here in Columbia, Maryland! 

This week has flown by (most do for me here on a mission). We had tons going on this week. Lots of activities, service opportunities, church, normal lessons and mission conference. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you about everything, because that would just take forever and a day and I don’t think I can type fast enough for that. SO I will tell you bits and pieces of my week. All summed up ... It was wonderful!

When you get bored in companionship study, you balance books on your head while studying your language.
We started the week off with Elder Carlson (of the 70) and his wife coming for a mission tour and having mission conference with us. WOW! What a powerful speaker and motivator he is. I got so many wonderful insights and I just love personal revelation. I am sure every single one of us missionaries there got something different from his message, but all directed to us personally by the Spirit! 

I was going to tell you about some of my favorite parts and what he said, but like a silly girl, I left my notebook in the car :/ bummer. But I will try next week to bring it and share some of his thoughts. But yes... just fabulous!

Saturday we started the morning off my doing service! Yep... I am going to say it again. I LOVE service! It was kind of funny because the whole time I was just thinking about Mom and Brittany. The reason why? Because I was stuck inside cleaning when I wanted to be outside: P 

I wanted to rake leaves and help with the outdoors stuff, but we were asked to help in the kitchen. Good thing my mama and sis taught me how to clean real good because I spent the next hour or so on hands and knees scrubbing the tile. Feels good to get down and do some service. If you want to feel good and happy in your life (which I would assume you all do) GO SERVE SOMEONE!

Saturday night we had an activity with our investigators and some people in our branch. Marcos, our branch mission leader, thought it would be good for our branch to know our investigators. So each investigator was invited to a member’s home for dinner to chat and get to know each other. Then after, we all met up at the church to watch a movie (Finding Faith in Christ) and have dessert.


It went soooooo well! Our investigators came and loved it. They loved the branch and seemed to have a great time. Well, even better, they came to church on Sunday. It’s amazing what a little love and friendship can do.

Every Tuesday, we have our District meeting. As part of it, we go around sharing our miracles of the week. We see soooo many miracles in the Gospel. So since today is Tuesday, I would like to share Hermana Crotzer and my miracle of the week. The Riveras :) 

Oh if you could only see my face right now. I just can’t stop smiling. I have been working with these girls since I got here. Their Mom is a less active of many years. She was baptized when she was 9 and fell away at age 11. Anyways, our goal has been to really get them involved in the branch and Young Women’s. Well let me tell you — it worked. 

This week, we forgot to remind the girls about mutual but guess what? They went, even without us reminding them. Then on Saturday, they went to the dinner and movie activity at the church. And to top it all off, they came to church and stayed for all 3 hours on Sunday! Bah! 

I have been here a long time for sure. And I am not sure why I am still here, but I know this family has got to be one of the reasons! I need them, and they need me. The oldest daughter we are inviting to baptism and setting a date for hopefully this month. :) I love seeing miracles.

What happens when you serve in a stateside Spanish mission: country pride for all sorts of countries.
One of my favorite things about serving a mission is watching people change. I get to watch people change and use the Atonement of Jesus Christ all the time. It has helped me to understand the importance of the Atonement and why we all need to use it daily. If you don’t have a testimony of your Savior and what He did for you personally, I beg you to go pray! Go pray and ask for the confirmation. I testify that God lives, He loves us. He gave us a plan to return. Central to that plan is Jesus Christ. I know He died for me personally and you all as well. This Gospel is real. It takes work but it is worth it! God promises us all He has if we follow our Savior Jesus Christ.

This letter is getting long, so I will stop now. I hope you all know how much I love being a missionary. No matter whether it is here in Maryland, down in Argentina, or back home in Utah, once a missionary, always a missionary. Go out and find your missionary moment.

Love you with all my heart! Have a great week!
Con Amor,
-Hermana Newman :)

Monday, November 4, 2013

"Don't second-guess"

COLUMBIA, Md. — Another Speedy week gone by! November already? When did that happen? Before I know it, it is going to be January 2014... don’t want to even think about it. I am enjoying this mission too much; don’t need time to keep slipping by ;)

Well, fam bam, How are you all? I hope SOOOOO good! I am doing great here in good ol' Maryland. Still loving every second. This week has flown by and as usual my brain is not working the best, so I can’t remember everything that went on, but I will try and remember some highlights for sure.

Trees are ablaze in Maryland
 First off, I cannot believe another transfer is almost over. Only 2 more weeks. Yikes!

Tomorrow we have a mission conference with Elder Carlson of the 70. I am pretty excited about it. I will let ya know how it goes next week. 

I told you last week about our investigator with the baptismal date. She is still doing great, but we have to postpone the date a little due to some prior marriage issues in Honduras. Prayers are definitely welcome! :) She is solid, though, so I have complete faith Heavenly Father will help everything work out how it is supposed to. 

Halloween here as a missionary was interesting. We were asked not to proselyte at night, so our zone gathered and played volleyball from 6-9 at the church. It was awesome but sooo weird not to be outside. They wanted us to be super careful with all of the kids outside and drunk people so, we all stayed in for the night. 

Another interesting happening of the week: guess who was on bikes this week? Yep ... Hermana Newman and Hermana Crotzer! WOOOOO! I actually have never seen sister missionaries ride bikes before. But I definitely got some firsthand experience this week! People were looking at us like we were crazy people. But I can imagine why. Bikes and skirts don’t seem to go together very well ;) 

Something you don't see every day: Sisters on bikes
 It was a blast, but I was definitely sore afterwards. The first day, we went about 9 miles. Not too bad, but I haven’t ridden a bike in a while so my bum was sore! For morning studies I had to sit on a pillow.  Anything for the Lord, though, right? We are not on bikes any more. As much as I liked the bikes, our area is much too big and I am thankful for cars. 

We also went on Exchanges again this week. Hermana Crotzer stayed in our area and I went to the YSA branch. It was great fun! And it was my first time going to church in English for over 6 months! So weird. But it was great. I learned so much on exchanges as always. The biggest lesson I learned was talk to EVERYONE and act on EVERY prompting. Never second-guess the Spirit. Just do it! Be like Nephi... Go and Do, no matter what. Even if you don’t know why. God knows why and that is good enough. He will explain later. When we obey, He will bless us. And who doesn’t want or need more blessings in life?

We put it into practice this morning when we were vacuuming and washing the car. I almost drove away but couldn’t because the Spirit told me to look around and see who was there at the gas station. I looked around. Hispanic people galore! I was able to speak with a few and learn more about them and their families, share a brief message and now we have return appointments this week! The Spirit won't let you down — ever! I promise.

This week in my studies I have been learning a lot about prayer. Prayer is sooo important! After all, it is our communication with our Father. But sometimes I think we forget the purpose of prayer. I was reading in the Bible Dictionary about Prayer. If you haven’t read it before... DO IT! So good.  I want to share a little part of it with you all today. 

"The object of prayer is not to change the will of God, but to secure for ourselves and for others blessings that God is already willing to grant." 

God loves us all SO much. He wants to hear from us daily. He wants to help us and is always willing to bless us. All it takes it to get down on your knees and pray. He loves us more than we can imagine. We are His children — He wants the best for us. 

I want to commit you all this week to study a little more on prayer. Evaluate how your prayers are. There is always room to improve. I am learning that every day out here. Take this opportunity to make that closer relationship with your Heavenly Father. Take the time, to stop and think. It is worth it and will bless your life for eternity!

I love you all with all my heart! Have a great week. Keep smiling and working hard!

Con Amor,

Hermana Newman :)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Patience, pioneers and prayer

COLUMBIA, Md. —Another week has gone by? Say What?!?! That is crazy. Time is flying and I don’t know where it is going.

I hit my 6-month mark this week, which about scared me half to death so I think I won't count anymore. Oh dear. Time is crazy. I LOVE being a missionary. Love every second of it :) Man am I blessed to be out here in Maryland.

I have some awesome news! President asked for eight Spanish-speaking hermanas to come to the mission permanently! Can you believe it? How amazing is that?

They have been praying soooo long for hermanas in this area and it finally got approved this week. I am very excited for them. My branch president is especially excited. He gave me a special thank you for being the "pioneer" for the hermanas here in Maryland. "Not a problem at all president, I love it here!"

It is so weird to think that 5 months ago me and Hermana Brown started off as the first Spanish sisters and now things are going awesome and we are getting eight more! Blessings, blessings. Hermana Crotzer and I are super happy.

Anyway, another great week here in Columbia. :) Drum roll please.... 

One of our investigators has a baptismal date: November 30th! 

Bahhhhh! I am sooooo excited and just cannot stop smiling. She has been prepared by the Lord and definitely needs and wants this change in her life. What a great blessing this will be for her and our little branch. We have a few kinks to work out before then, but I have faith it’s going to happen. She is solid. Some prayers wouldn’t hurt at all either ;) thanks.

Another great thing that went on this week was Sisters Conference. We had a conference for all sisters on Wednesday. There were a ton of us! 60+ and by the start of the year, we will be 90+. There is a lot of work to do! Bring out the missionaries :)

We had the opportunity to go to the Washington DC Temple Visitors Center again this week. They were having a Hispanic cultural celebration. We invited lots and lots of people, but only three investigators, one less active and one recent convert said they could come.  We got rides figured out and everything and decided to meet up at the visitors center an hour before the event started. Well, we were there an hour before and could not find our investigators. Time passed, and then only 30 mins till the show started.. 20.. 10 ... 5 mins. 

The show started... still nobody showed up.   

I have to be honest: I was starting to feel a little impatient and stressed that they weren’t there. Another companionship of sisters had the same problem. The one was freaking out a little bit and I overheard her companion say, "It's okay, breathe and it will all work out. Just take it as it comes." 

It was a good reminder for me: take it as it comes. Only worry about the things that you can control. People always have their agency! It made me think of another thing, though, too. Me sitting there waiting and waiting and waiting reminded me of how it must be for Heavenly Father watching us sometimes. He is waiting for us to arrive at the big event (to return back to him)  but He has to be patient and watch us go through life. He has to watch us struggle, go through hard times, etc. Sometimes we don’t listen and we are "running late". But, there He waits for us patiently to make right decisions, be happy, grow and be strong and eventually get to the big event. 

We have a tool similar to a cell phone that we can call him and ask for help anytime we want it- very similar to prayer, no? Moral of the story: our Heavenly Father is patiently waiting for us. He wants us to return and He wants to help us. He loves us and wants us to be happy. Make sure you are using that "cell phone" and checking in daily with our Heavenly Father. He will help you make it to our goal... the big event... the big celebration!

Time is up; I hope you have a fabulous week! As always I love you and miss you like crazy. I have the best family there is, hands down! Smile big, laugh lots for me, and enjoy life! Have a great week and in the words of President, "Tear it up!"

-Hermana Newman :)

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Miracle of Mutual and ward involvement

COLUMBIA, Md. — Well Hello. It is another great Monday here Maryland. I hope you all are doing well wherever you may be today :) I am thinking of you and love you lots!

MIRACLE OF THE WEEK:  Let me first start off by saying I love Mutual (A weekly gathering or activity for Mormon teens during the week)! Always have, always will! :) Thank you to all my leaders for making mutual a wonderful experience. I know it is not easy. BUT it is powerful and definitely brings blessings and miracles. 

Hermanas Crotzer y Newman with a recent convert who moved from Texas

We have been working with the Rivera family for a very long time. They are doing well, but need to be putting in a little more effort. They are a part-member family. The mom is a less active and the girls are our investigators. We have been struggling knowing how to help them progress. Well, Mutual was the Key. 

We invited them to Mutual and wanted them to get involved. The first week, we invited they didn’t come. Second week, same thing. The third week... they came. And as a result, they went to the Young Women’s campout this weekend and came to church on Sunday! One of the girls was telling me all about church and what she learned and how much she loved it. She is excited to come to Mutual tomorrow and start volleyball with the branch this weekend. MIRACLE right there. 

This helped my testimony grow of ward support. When the branch/wards are involved, that’s when things happen, that’s when the work moves forward and people can progress. Don’t know how to do missionary work? Invite a friend to church or an activity! Easy as that. They will feel something just from being in the church or being around members. It works! I promise. People have agency and can and will say no sometimes, but it never hurts to try and more often than not, people are willing to come to do something fun or learn something new.

 Challenge: Give it a try this week! Invite someone to church or an activity. Let me know how it goes :) I am excited to hear your miracles.

Hermana Newman ready to pull some weeds!

I have been asking a lot of people about General Conference lately and what themes they noticed, which talks were their favorites, etc. Conference is amazing and everyone likes different talks by different people, which is good because we all have different questions and need different things in our lives. But I noticed a lot of people mentioning how much they liked Elder Dube's talk. That talk was really hard for me to understand because of the interpreter in Spanish and the dubbing was not done super well for his. I decided this week I would go back and reread his talk. And yes, it was pretty great! :) The message in all was great but a few things stuck out to me that I would like to share with you all.

 "In the sight of the Lord, it is not so much what we have done or where we have been but, much more where we are willing to go."
"In the service of the Lord, it is not where you serve, but how."

"The past is to be learned from but not lived in."

"Our common goal is building the Kingdom of God.

I wrote these quotes down and really have been thinking about them a lot this week. Where am I willing to go and do?  Am always looking forward or dwelling on the past? Am I learning form the past? How am I building up the Kingdom of God? These are just a few of the questions I have been asking myself, and I invite you to ask yourself as well and evaluate accordingly.

Time is up so I better go. Remember I love you and am praying for you! Thanks for your love and support :) Have a wonderful week. Smile and laugh lots!

Con Amor,

Hermana Newman :)

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chicken hearts and stalkers

COLUMBIA, Md. — Happy Tuesday everyone :) I hope your week is all doing great so far. I know mine is. This past week has been great as well and crazy, too. Lots of fun stories to tell. I sent a bunch of pictures home to Dad to share some of my 'lil adventures out here in Maryland.

I hope you all find these as funny as I do.  If not, smile anyways for me and pretend. ;)


Hermanas Crotzer y Newman at the Baltimore Aquarium
 First story:

Well, my Spanish is getting better for sure, but yes, we all still makes mistakes. Especially Hermana Newman. For some reason, I am known for my cookies here. I make cookies quite often for my investigators, less actives and active families in the branch. They LOVE them! One of the little ladies asked me for the recipe, so I was trying to think of the ingredients to tell her. I told her they were really simple and just like any other cookie, but she insisted I tell her what was in them.

I began to tell her, "Chocolate, huevos, azucar, mantequilla y orina." (Speaking with a silent h)

She looked at me with a face that I can’t even describe to you and began to smile and chuckle. That is when I knew I had said something wrong. Yes, I told her that in my cookies were chocolate chips, eggs, sugar, butter and... 

Drum roll... 

Pee. 

Oh dear me. Yep, I meant to say harina (flour) but instead said pee. Amazing what one letter difference can do to the word. She sure got a kick out of it though.

Next:

Hermana Crotzer and I had quite the adventure this week during exercise in the morning. Usually, we go out for a run and then come home to do sit-ups, pushups and stretching. Well, we were out for our run like usual, and were on the way home. On the way home, we walk for the last stretch to cool down. We were just talking and enjoying the crisp fall air when suddenly in the creepiest voice ever, we hear someone scream "Good Morning Suya!" 

Baltimore Harbor on a P-Day
No idea what the last word meant, but his voice really creeped me out and gave me a weird feeling. It was a man on a bike that had been circling the complex for a bit that morning. We just walked past and kept on our way. 

I couldn’t stop thinking about it and how weird it was, so I decided to look behind me. Much to my surprise, he was there as well. I looked to my companion, "Walk fast hermana, he is following us." 

We walked very briskly and he kept following. I don’t know who he is or what he was doing, but I looked back again, still there. I had this bad feeling and suddenly Hermana Crotzer and I looked at each other and had the same impression... RUN! SO we did. 

We ran and he started yelling after us. We didn’t want to show him where we lived to we ran to another apartment building and found somewhere to hide. Long story short: we lost him and everything was okay. We haven’t had any more problems since,  but it was quite an adrenaline rush. 

Makes me wonder what my Argentina experience is going to be like ;) The lesson I learned from the adventure is listen to the Spirit no matter what. Even if you don’t know why just do it. We were protected and able to hide. Matter of fact, quite the tender mercy — we chose the only apartment that happened to have an extra panel to hide behind. 

Coincidence? Nope. Thank you Holy Ghost! We will be helped and protected if we are willing to listen to the spirit. Testimony builder for me. And MOM, don’t worry, that doesn’t usually happen and we are doing great :) No more weirdies!

Last story for today:

This is also quite the adventure. On Sunday, we were invited over to a member’s house for dinner. We sat down with the family and started to eat. We were having soup and tacos. Yumm! I am so good with that. As I sat down I looked into my soup to see 5 very big chunks of brownish gray meat. "Oh no, its some sort of organ I thought, but what?" 

 
My fears were confirmed when I turned a piece of mystery meat over and was able to identify the 3 branches of the aortic stem (Oh the joys of being a nurse). Yep, 5 chicken hearts floating in my soup. Lucky hermana right here, not. But, ya gotta do what you gotta do so yes, I ate them! Just in case you are every curious and wondering, not my choice of meat! Very chewy and weird texture. Stick with beef, chicken and pork! Hermana Crotzer only had to eat one but she was scarred for life. You should have seen her poor little face when she realized what was in her soup. 

To make it even better, after dinner we found out that the tacos we ate were "Taco de lengua" Or in English... Tongue tacos! Hahahahahaha OH I love the adventures we have! Eating weird foods, meeting awesome people, crazy stories, spiritual experience... all part of being a missionary and I love every second of it.

This is already a really long email sorry and I don’t have much time, but I want to share with you a quick thought I read this morning in personal study. I was reading in the Book of Mormon in Helaman chapter 15. I love the whole chapter is fantastic but I especially loved verse 6.

 Yea, I say unto you, that the more part of them are doing this, and they are striving with unwearied diligence that they may bring the remainder of their brethren to the knowledge of the truth; therefore there are many who do add to their numbers daily.

Why were the Lamanites doing better than the Nephites? Because of their unwearied diligence and faith. They were converted to the Gospel and stuck with what they knew to be true. They knew the gospel was true and real and acted upon it. And they shared it! 

It says that they added to their numbers daily. That’s the part that hit me. Think about it....  80,000 missionaries out right now serving and preaching the gospel. How cool! That’s a lot of people being taught. But then add that number with the members of the church we have 15 million? Outstanding! 

The Ellicott City sisters with Sara and her companion
Imagine if everyone worked together like the Lamanites did and shared the Gospel with their friends. How amazing would that be? Our numbers are growing daily! This is the true church and I know it without a doubt! You do too, and if not, go pray about it and find out! And then, share with those who need it too! This work is all of our duty. We are disciples of Jesus Christ. Let's help with the work and bring it to the world! Have a wonderful week! I sure love you!

Give 'em Heaven!

Con Amor,

Hermana Newman :)