Monday, September 30, 2013

Hermana Newman the Latina

Columbia, Md - Pues, Hola Familia :)Como Esta? I kind of want to write this email to you in Spanish, but that wouldn't be very fun for you, just for me and I dont have enough time to do that, so... I guess I will stick with English. ;)

Another week flown by. What the.. . .  I seriously have no idea where this transfer went. We have one more week left and then it is time for transfers again. No news here [Visa] yet. Still chuggin' along :) We had interviews with President this week. He said that he has not heard a thing about my Visa. So, looks like I am staying in  the Columbia 3rd Spanish Branch!

How did all of you ladies like the Relief Society Broadcast? I got to watch it in Spanish which was really fun... and interesting ha. Our whole stake filled the chapel to watch it on Saturday and then the Spanish Branch watched it in the Relief Society room.  They were cracking jokes about all the "gringas" in the chapel until one of the ladies looked back at me and Hermana Crotzer. Then they laughed and said "No, no, they are not gringas... Hermana Crotzer and Newman are Latinas." So yes, I have officially been adopted and am una Latina! :) wooo, dream come true. haha 

Columbia, Maryland 3rd Spanish Branch

The Broadcast was really good though. What were your favorite parts? I am SOOOO excited for General Conference this weekend! I dont know how it works for us missionaries but somehow I am sure we will get to watch it. I was thinking a lot about it this week and how cool it is that we get to gather together as Latter-Day Saints and hear modern day revelation. We get to hear from the Prophet and receive more insight in this life. How awesome!

I want to tell you about one of our investigators we have been working with. We are not really supposed to put in names when we write home, so I will call her.. Maria, just so it is easier to understand. Entonces, "Maria" is amazing! We have been working with her for a little over a month or so. We met her one day when she was sitting outside her apartment just enjoying the day. I think I wrote about her a while back as one of our miracles. Well, she continues to be one of our miracles. I am so happy that God trusts me enough to work with her. She is a sweet, humble little lady from Honduras. I love her! She calls Hermana Crotzer and I her little angels. (Mom, she gives me plenty of hugs and kisses every time I see her, so I feel right at home- haha :) ) 

Anyways, this week she came to church again. We were thrilled because the past couple weeks she hasnt been able to. The branch welcomed her right in and she loved it. I was a little nervous but I asked her if she would attend a baptism Sunday evening. She got the biggest smile on her face and said "Si Hermana Neuwman, claro que si!" We were thrilled. We got her a ride and sure enough she showed up last night at the church with a big ol' grin on her face. Unfortunately the service was in English, but I told her to notice the way she felt. I also was able to kind of help her understand what the speakers said and help her understand the importance of Baptism and Confirmation. 

After the baptism we asked her how she felt. She said it was beautiful and she really liked it. We asked what her favorite part was and she said that she loved how reverent the children were during the actual baptism. She is our progressing investigator right now and doing soooo well! Tonight we have a goal to invite her to be baptized next month. I know she is ready! I know she is one of the reasons I am here in Maryland. She is amazing and teaches me so much everytime I speak with her. One big thing I have learned from working with her is humility. How important it is to be humble. She has got it down and I am working hard on it each and every day! She is a blessing in my life, that is for sure!

We had another blessing come into our lives this week. For sake of the story we will call her "Lupe". Lupe is a recent convert of 3 weeks that just moved to Maryland. We got her number through church headquarters and were asked to contact her. We called her up and she sounded really confused, then I said, "Hermana Somos Misioneras de La Iglesia...." I didnt even get to finish before she was squealing on the phone. ;) "Hermanas, Mi, Hermanas!" She said. She was so excited that we called her and wanted to meet with us the next day. (She lives far away from us) So we got a ride from a member and headed up to see her. When we arrived she gave us the biggest welcome ever.

 She moved from Houston Texas where they have a Spanish stake... yes, an entire stake or hispanic people. (How cool!) Its going to be different for her because we are just a small little branch. But, we invited her to church on Sunday and she came. She loved it and fit right in with the ward. We call her during the week to talk and have lessons over the phone. Since she is a member here now, we get to start teaching "new member lessons" I havent had the opportunity to teach them yet to anyone, so I am excited to teach her. Lupe is Strong! She has been a member for less than a month but you wouldnt guess it! You would guess she has been her whole life. When I look at her and see the excitment and joy the gospel brings her it makes me happy. I want to be like Lupe! She has a lot more to learn, but that doesnt matter. She has truly been converted and knows her purpose. She is quite the missionary here as well.

I could go on and on about these wonderful people I am meeting everyday, but I dont have enough time in a day to tell you. Long story short. We are all soooo different. We all come from different backgrounds and countries. But we are all Sons and Daughters of God! :) We all have the opportunity to receive the blessings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Life is tough, it really is. But we have the ultimate support system! Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and The Holy Ghost. :) WHat a team they are! Couldnt have it better.

I am almost out of time, but I hope you know how much I love you all! Seriously, thinking and praying for you often! THanks for all your support and prayers. Greatly appreciated.
Well, Have a great week! Make someone smile. Remember who you are and who you represent. Pray for missionary moments and you will find them. I promise!

D&C 6:8. Do some good this week!

Con Amor,
Hermana Newman :)

Monday, September 23, 2013

Finding the lost sheep

COLUMBIA, Md. — How are you this fine Monday? Another week has flown by! How is Utah? It is fall here and I love every second of it! The leaves, the fresh air — all wonderful! And the humidity has dropped quite a bit... at least for now. What’s new with you?

This week was great. We had some miracles with less actives again! I love working with less actives! I am sure I have said that sooo many times, but it is true! I love working with ALL people here, but working with less actives and showing them love is very fun and something I am good at. People change when they feel loved. That is why it is so important we help people to know that they are loved — by us, and more importantly, by our Heavenly Father!

A family in the branch. The girls found their boots to match Hermana Newman
We went for a return visit to a less active lady in our branch. It has been pretty hard to get a hold of her, so we were hoping and praying she would be there. I was a little doubtful, but said a little prayer to help me have some faith. I knocked on the door, and it was her. She answered the door with a big smile and invited us in! 

She invited us to sit down while she went down stairs to grab something. When she returned she had two books in her hands. She began to dust them off. I looked at what she was holding and had a big Hermana Newman grin on my face. It was the Book of Mormon and the Bible :) She went and grabbed them, without us even asking and wanted to show us them. We got to know her better, talked about her family, work, and of course the gospel of Jesus Christ. Her and her son are the only members of their family and have been less active for quite some time. 

Before I knew it, our time was up, and it was time to go to our next visit. I am excited for this week because she invited us back this Wednesday for another visit... and to learn how to make Tacos. Mmmm! Win-win situation. Gospel and food! What more can you ask for? ;)

We also had some great lessons with our investigators. It just so happened that most of the lessons we taught to them were about the Plan of Salvation. What a wonderful plan. I love teaching people about it. 

Some people have an idea of what was before this life and what they hope is after. But this week, I have realized that A LOT of people have no idea where they came from, and where they are going. It is sad to me, but it makes me happy to see their faces when I tell them there is more to life. I tell them they do have a purpose and that one day they can live with their families and God again. I know I always say it, but we are so blessed to have the Gospel in our lives and know what we know. 

Don’t ever take it for granted! So many people don’t know what you do. Share the happiness of the Gospel with someone this week! It will be the best part of your week, no doubt!

Well, I don’t have too much more to say but before I get off, I just wanted to say a quick thing to you specifically, Mom and Dad. THANK YOU! THANK YOU THANK YOU! MUCHISIMAS GRACIAS :) 

I think about you often, of course, but this week during Relief Society, you especially came to my mind. We were talking about families and how to be better parents (Which does not directly apply to me since I am not one). But it made me think of what awesome parents I have! I have two parents who love each other very much, who raised their children in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, taught me how to work hard, to have high standards, to get a good education, never failed to tell me they loved me or give me kisses and hugs. 

The list goes on and on. 

It reminds me of the first words we read from Nephi in the Book of Mormon

"I, Nephi, having been born of goodly parents..." 

Well, I, Hermana Newman, having been born of goodly parents... am very blessed to say the least! Mom, Popi, thank you for all you do and all you have taught me. Sometimes I have taken it for granted. But I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! You are amazing examples to me.

I don’t know who all reads my letters, but those of you who are reading this right now, think about the things your parents have done for you. Make sure you tell them thank you! Make sure they know how much you love them.

This also applies especially to our Heavenly Father. Offer a prayer of pure gratitude sometime this week! Don’t ask for anything, just give thanks. After all, He has given us everything we have!

We are so very blessed! Keep smiling. Be good and have a wonderful week!

Con Amor,

-Hermana Newman :)

Monday, September 16, 2013

Patience and pedicures

COLUMBIA, Md. — How are you doing? From what I hear, it sounds like you are all doing pretty good.

Mom: Thank you for your fun little package. Sister Crotzer and I had fun with the stuff for sure.

Juli: Loved your letters and blog and pictures. Gracias. I especially loved the picture of your baby belly. Ha soooo cute! So weird to think that I will have another niece or nephew by the time I get home.

Thank you everyone for your letters and support every week. You are the best and I LOVE hearing how everything is going.

Everything in Maryland is going well. We are having lots of success with our less active members. We have one whole family who have been to church 4 times in a row and are receiving callings! Happy day for sure.

We are still working with a few investigators as well. Some are more prepared than others, but they know the Gospel is true. They just have to take it step by step and gain that conversion and testimony for themselves.

It sounds like you are all doing great with missionary work as well! Wahoooo! Keep it up! I love hearing all the stories.

We have been having some weather that can't decide what it wants to do. It was super hot and then the last couple of days have been rather chilly. But you won't hear me complaining, I am loving chilly... very nice change for sure! :)

I am still here in the good ole' Columbia 3rd Spanish Branch and I am loving every second of it. No word on the visa, so I think I am still needed for someone or something here in Maryland. It's weird to think I have been here so long. I sometimes wonder why I am still here but, I just have to trust in the Lord. Everything in his timing for sure! Best way to go, no doubt. He knows what he is doing!

We had a man from the high council come speak in our branch yesterday, and it kind of went along with what I just said. He was a great speaker and I — as well as many people in the meeting — needed to hear his message! He was talking about how everything in his life never went according to plan. He liked having a plan and was frustrated that everything never worked out. He gave some examples from his life, like not getting into medical school his first try, or not getting the residency he wanted, etc. Long story short: Nothing went according to HIS plan. But it was according to the Lord's plan.

He had an experience in Haiti, doing an operation on a young boy's femur where he discovered how amazing the Lord's timing truly is. If all the things he wanted to do went according to his plan, he would have never had the opportunity to go to Haiti and help this young boy.

It got me thinking a lot. I know we all do it. We get frustrated or bummed out when things don't "work out" but, I promise that things will work out. The Lord is just making it work out the best way possible. He knows what needs to happen, who you need to help, who you need to meet, who you need to say hello to or give a smile to. Don't ever doubt that the Lord knows what He is doing. He definitely does! I know that I am supposed to go to Buenos Aires, Argentina! And I am SOOOOO excited to help my brothers and sisters there. But I also know that someone needs me here too!

What a blessing to have Heavenly Father's hand in our lives. If you are confused or need some reassurance, just get down and pray. He is always willing to answer and listen to you. He is our Father, and we are his Children. Like the saying goes: "when life gets too hard to stand... kneel!"

We had some interesting experiences this week for sure. Hermana Crotzer and I were going to visit one of our investigators. We started walking towards her apartment when, in the distance, I saw some Hispanic ladies sitting on the sidewalk. We started to head over to them, and it turned out to be our investigator and her friend. They welcomed us and invited us to sit down. We gabbed for a bit and then the friend asked if she could paint my toenails. HA! What? That's random and ridiculously awesome all at the same time :) Of course you can paint my toes! So, yes, I had the opportunity to get a pretty awesome lil' pedicure and talk about the Restoration of Jesus Christ. Ya, don't have that happen everyday, that's for sure.

That's a silly little example, but it kind of helped me realize something. You can bring up the Gospel to people always, no matter what you are doing. Sometimes it seems a little easier as a missionary because we have the name badge and that is our job 24-7, but anyone can do it. You can bring up the Gospel at church, at school, at the grocery store, in the neighborhood,  or even while you are getting your nails painted. ;) The Gospel is for everyone. God will help us know who is ready. If we are willing to open our mouths, He will fill them! D&C 84:85!!!

The work is moving forward here in Maryland Baltimore Mission, as well as all over the world!! How cool is that to think about!?! I have people ask me all the time. "Is your church only here in Maryland? Oh, then only here in the U.S." You should see their faces when I tell them there are missionaries and members all over the world spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ. All so different too: young, old, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, tall, short, English speaking, Korean, Finnish, French — the list goes on and on. We are all SO different in everything! But the cool thing is that there is one thing that unites us as one. WE ARE CHILDREN OF GOD AND WE ARE ALL THE SAME IN THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST! We are followers and disciples of Him. And we are here to help ourselves, our families and everyone else we meet and share the message we all know to be true.

We have a saying in my family: "We are Newmans, and we can do hard things!" Well I would just like to rearrange it a little and say, "We are Mormons and we can do ALL things!"  Or again, in the words of Sis. Dibb, "I am a Mormon. I know it, I live it, I love it!"

Don't forget who you are, who you represent and whose help you have! We are soo blessed to be members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Keep being awesome and working hard! Have a great week! Give em a little bit of Heaven!

Con Amor,

-Hermana Newman :)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Like unto Moroni

COLUMBIA, Md. — Well hello :) How are you lovely people? As I am sitting here in the library thinking of what to say this week, I can’t help but just have a big grin on my face. I have the best family ever! :) Boy am I so lucky! Thanks for all you do. I really miss you a lot — but in a good way, no worries ;) Not home sick, I just know my family is stinkin' awesome! I hope you are all doing well. You are in my prayers daily! Know that I am thinking of you and love you lots!

Another great week here in Maryland. It’s finally starting to cool down and be autumn. I love the weather of autumn, mostly because it is not as hot and the humidity is bearable. And it helps that it is gorgeous here! The weeks are starting to mesh all together in my brain, so I am not sure what happened this week and what happened before. If I repeat something — sorry in advance :)

Studying outside of a McDonalds
I honestly cannot think of what happened this week. I do remember it was pretty stressful, but that’s okay, nothing prayer and some Oreos can't fix!

We had three member presents in our lessons this week. Members totally make the difference. Lessons are WAY better when members are with us. I love it. We are going to try and keep getting the members to come out with us. It was another great week visiting both less actives and investigators. It’s amazing what a little bit of love can do. We had 3 investigators at church and between us and the elders, 13 less actives again at church.

Solve life's problems with prayer and Oreos, Sara says.
We sure are seeing miracles in this little branch. This branch has grown to be my family. I really love the people here, and I think they kind of maybe like me too. Who knows? Sorry I don’t have any specific stories this week for you, but I would like to share a thought I had this week during personal study.

Right now, I am reading in the Book of Mormon in Alma. I have read in Alma lots before, but something stood out to me this week was in Chapter 44 in the first few verses. Moroni is talking to Zerahemnah, who is being a stinker and wants to fight the Nephites and have power of the land.

"Ye are angry with us because of our religion.

But now, ye behold that the Lord is with us; and ye behold that he has delivered you into our hands. And now I would that ye should understand that this is done unto us because of our religion and our faith in Christ. And now ye see that ye cannot destroy this our faith.

 Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith." (Alma 44:3-4)

(Gotta love seminary videos, right?) 

I love this promise. And I know that it is true! If we are faithful in our religion — faithful to God and Jesus Christ — our faith will not be destroyed and we have the promise that God will SUPPORT, KEEP, AND PERSERVE us.

We live in an interesting world, for sure. There is a lot going on. I get to see a lot every day both good and bad. There are a lot of people who will hate us simply because we are LDS, but that is okay. As long as we stand firm and keep living as we need to be, all will work out. We need to fear God and not man. As it was said in last General Conference. We are Mormon... We KNOW IT, LIVE IT and we LOVE IT! Make sure you remember whom you represent. You are never alone and God will be your strength. Rely on the Lord and he will never let you down.

I still don’t know a lot. But my testimony of this Gospel keeps growing every day! When it all comes down to it, I KNOW that this Gospel is true and that it has been restored through Joseph Smith. I know that it is Jesus Christ’s original church restored to the Earth today. The Book of Mormon is evidence of this and I love that book! I still have lots to learn, but I cannot deny that the Book of Mormon is from God. I know that Jesus Christ is my Savior and He lives. I know that Heavenly Father loves each of us and knows us individually. He knows us by name and cares what we are doing in life. He wants nothing more than to see us return back to him again. He has given us the tools we need and I know if we use them, we can have everything He has promised.

 I don’t care who you are, what you have done or what you are doing. The gospel of Jesus Christ is for everyone and will change your life! I feel so blessed to be sharing His message with people from all over the world!

This message is simple, it is true and it is for everyone. Don’t be shy. Share what you know to be true!

Have a great week and remember how blessed you are. Make the changes you need to make, keep doing what you are supposed to. Be that person God needs you to be. Don’t stress too much, He will help you every step of the way. Smile and don’t forget to laugh. Have fun, life is good. The gospel is exciting!

Con Amor,

Hermana Newman

This means, "um, well" in Spanish. Sara thought it was funny.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

You Are Called to Serve in Place of the Savior.

Well, I am switching things up a bit... instead of Monday- Happy Tuesday everyone! :)

Since yesterday was Labor Day and all the libraries were closed, we all got permission to write to our families on Tuesday so here I am.

Ha, funny story of the morning. We were heading over to District meeting at the church. But before we went we stopped by a store to pick up my companions planner she accidently left there. Then, we felt like we needed to stop by the mission office. So we did because it was rather close. I thought we stopped to check if our senior couple received our driving records or something but right as we walked in... one of the senior sisters smiled and said, "Oh good- you speak Spanish, come here." Long story short- They were having problems communicating with an Elders parents on the email because it was all in Spanish. We were about to help write an email back to the parents when -perfect timing happened- one of the parents called in on the phone. Our cute little senior sister smiled and in broken Spanish said "ummm... une momente" haha She handed me the phone and told me to talk with her.

The mother was calling because she was concerned her son had not emailed her yesterday and was wondering what happened to him. I was able to talk with her and explain the situation. It was kind of hard but fun to get to use my Spanish to help out the seniors. I don’t know- maybe it was just a funny story to me and Hermana Crotzer but we were chuckling for sure. God's timing is perfect, even if you don’t realize why you are going somewhere.

RITAS. People here love their Ritas. Its frozen custard deliciousness. Happy Pday :)

And Mom, thank you for not calling the office because I didn’t write yesterday :)hee hee They get so many random funny phone calls from parents all the time.

Maryland is still doing wonderful! Because everyone always asks: update on the Visa= none. One of the Elders walked into the kitchen today at our zone lunch and said, "Hermana! Why are you here?!?" ha Well Elder, I am not sure but apparently the Lord still needs me here. So I will stay until He tells me its time for Argentina. :)
It’s hard to believe I have been here in Columbia (Maryland) the whole time but I love it and still love my little branch. We had a picnic yesterday, which was great. It took up most of our p-day but it was well worth it. Good food, awesome people, fun, what more can I ask for. It was a great activity and many of our less active members showed up and brought friends as well. It was missionary heaven! I love activities and how close it can bring people.
We had another great week here in Maryland. There is a lot going on here. One of the investigators that I've been working with for a while told us this week that she didn’t want to receive our visits anymore. I was pretty devastated. She looked at my face and said, "Hermana I don’t want you to be sad." It was a really hard experience for me because I thought she was progressing and really doing great. But also it was a learning opportunity for me as well.
Everyone has their agency! I cannot force the gospel on anyone. Sometimes I feel like I want to just shout "PEOPLE STOP AND LISTEN UP! WE HAVE WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR!" but, that is not how the Lord's work is done. I have learned this lesson time after time after time on the mission but everything truly is in the Lord's timing. I was able to bear my testimony to Soledad that day.

With tears in my eyes I told her that I was indeed a little bit sad. Not because she didn’t want to listen to us, but because I knew our message was true and I knew the blessings she was missing out on. I bore my testimony about the Savior and the Book of Mormon. We were able to leave with a prayer and as I prayed I could feel the Holy Ghost with us. I know Soledad is not ready right now. But I am excited for the day when some other missionaries look in the area book and find her name again and go visit her. I know that someday and somehow she will be ready and she will be able to change.
Today I just want to close with a thought that touched my heart today in District Meeting. 

"You are not called to serve in a place; You are called to serve in place of the Savior."

It doesn't matter where we are- Utah, Idaho, California, Maryland, Argentina, Finland... but it matters that we know who we are- We are all missionaries and disciples of Jesus Christ. We have the honor to help share the gospel. Make sure you are representing him well.

"Les Gustan Sandia?"(Do you like watermelon?) SI! Holy cow they gave us the biggest piece of my life!

You are all amazing. Keep looking out for those missionary opportunities. You are sharing the best message in the world - A message that changes lives. That message is about Jesus Christ! Remember Him always and what He has done for all of us. I am grateful for the Atonement of my Savior, and I know that through him I can return back to my Heavenly Father again. What a great blessing that is! Have a great week. Remember to smile and have fun. The gospel is exciting- Life is good! In the words of President Richards "Go tear it up!"
Con Amor,

Hermana Newman :)