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 :)