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... 


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.


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 :)

Monday, October 7, 2013

Hermana Newman: Can You Help Me Understand the Book of Mormon?

Columbia, Md - Hellllooooooo FAMILY!

How are you? GUESS WHAT?!?!  Yepp.... sure do love you! LIKE A LOT! :) I have been thinking about you all and praying for you. I hope all is going well for you. SO, how is everyone doing? Give me some details. Pictures would be awesome too if anyone has any.... especially of my cute nieces and nephew (hint hint... Nick, Juli, Chris, Hannah) ;) hee hee I miss those kiddos a lot!

Well, no news from my visa this week. The two Elders I came out here with that are going to my same mission received theirs and are heading out tomorrow! Crazy. But mine did not come through. I think it will pretty soon though :) And no worries because this Hermana is pro at being patient ;) haha 7 weeks waiting for a mission call... 6 months waiting for a visa? No Problem! Lol

Can I just say I love my Branch! Oh my goodness I love my branch. Columbia 3rd Spanish Branch... FAMILY right there :) I love these people! This week was great for so many different reasons but one being that it was Conference! I love conference! As I am sure all of you do as well. This was a new experience for me because I watched it all in Spanish. Kind of cool! At the Stake Center there was normal English and then a room translated into Spanish. Our Elders for some reason went to the English sessions but Hermana Crotzer and I felt strongly that we needed to support our branch and watch conference with them in Spanish- and so we did! :)

Tortilla Time

What were some of your favorite talks? Did you notice a theme? At least on Saturday I did.... OBRA MISIONAL anyone? (MISSIONARY WORK) Some of my favorite talks were Elder Ucthdorf, Elder Ballard and Elder Nelson. They were all fabulous talks however! Can’t go wrong with General Conference. What a neat opportunity we have to receive revelation. I love the scripture mastery in D&C 1:37-38
"Search these commandments for the are true and faithful and the prophesies and promises which are in them shall all be fulfilled. What I the Lord have spoken I have spoken and I excuse not myself; and though the heavens and the earth pass away, my word shall not pass away, but shall all be fulfilled, whether by mine own voice or by the voice of my servants it is the same."

Listening to the Apostles and Prophets is like listening to The Lord himself speak to us. So, put what you learned from Conference into action starting today! Don’t wait! :) We all receive different answers, but I know there is something for everyone in conference. If you weren’t able to watch it, go back and watch it because it was fabulous!

A quick miracle from this week and then I will have to let you go. We have been working with a less active for quite some time. She has two kids who come to church but she is off and on coming to church. I have been able to make quite a good relationship with her over the past five months and finally this week we made some more progress. We went over to her house this week to chat and see how she is doing. She is crazy busy like all the time so we were grateful to be able to talk with her for a few minutes. We talked just about everything. Before we left I felt like I needed to ask her what we could help her with, like some sort of service: cleaning her house, weeding, painting, doing dishes.. something to help her out.

She had a big smile on her face and said, "No Hermana Newman, Thank you but I don’t need help." I was a little disappointed because I love doing service. But that wasn’t the end of her sentence. "... I don’t need any help around the house. But do you think you could help me with the Book of Mormon? I don’t understand it and I know I need to." Best day ever! :)

As always, I am sure I had a big Hermana Newman cheesy grin on my face. Of course we can help you with the Book of Mormon! I almost couldn’t believe my ears when she asked for help. I have been trying to figure out what she needs and how I can help her my whole time I have been here in Maryland. Well, it took some time but now I know.

I am sooooo grateful for the opportunity to help others come closer to Christ. I am still learning about the Book of Mormon myself, but now I get to help someone else understand it and grow closer to Jesus Christ. This work never ceases to amaze me :) Miracles miracles! I love watching people change- this work is amazing!

Have a wonderful week family. I love you! Keep smiling, don’t forget to laugh and remember to get to work... help someone in need!

Con amor,
Your favorite Hermana ;)... Hermana Newman