Monday, January 26, 2015

Wonder of Wonders, Miracle of Miracles!

Dear all,

This week has been a week of miracles! We are working hard here in Valle del Sol, Hermana Arano y yo. Hermana Arano is my new companion, she is from Tamaulipas! Yes, another Norteña. That is to say, from the North of Mexico. All of my companions except one have been from the North. The Norteños have a reputation of being frank, loud, and very opinionated. It's nice to know that God has a sense of humor. Haha no es cierto, all my companions have been great. 

So on to the great and marvelous things that have happened. We found a new investigator this week, Yanet. In the first lesson she expressed her belief that our message is true, accepted baptism, and we even set a baptismal date! Then she went to a ward activity on Saturday and all three hours of Church on Sunday.

Another miracle has to do with this fantastic lady, Miriam.

She was baptized 14 years ago and stopped going to church 13 years ago. She has moved out of state and back again, and it's pure "coincidence" that we found her. No, it's not coincidence, it's God. She is our neighbor. When we first started meeting with her and her sons, she told us that if her kids wanted to go to church, that was fine, but she was never going to go back. Well, we've been working on that, and thanks to some really hard things that have happened in the past few weeks, Miriam has started to think differently. We had a super great lesson on Saturday night about the blessings of church attendance. On Sunday, guess who came to Sacrament Meeting? That's right, Miriam. Sometimes you're so happy you cry, and other times, you're so happy that even tears can't express that kind of feeling. I know that the Lord has worked through us, His missionary servants, to touch Miriam's heart and help her to have an eternal family.

Being the missionary is just about the best thing ever. But every member is a missionary. So get out there, touch hearts, make friends, share the gospel, and spread the love!

Have a great week full of miracles!

Hermana Cheever

Monday, January 19, 2015

Otro cambio mas

Dear all,

Another transfer has ended. We were informed last night that my companion will be leaving the area :( and she only has one transfer left until she goes home. I will miss her a lot, but I trust that the Lord knows better than we do, and we are in His hands. I look forward to getting to know another fantastic sister missionary and working with her in Valle del Sol.

Things have been pretty normal, and nothing super out of the ordinary has happened. Something good is that the past two weeks a member, Hermana Velez, (the same sister that we spent Christmas with) has invited us to do a Family Night in her house and invite our investigators! Jovanny, our neighbor has come both times and his little brother Sebastian has come once. Tonight they will be joining us again, this time with their mom, Miriam, who is an inactive member. Slowly but surely we are activating her. I have great hopes for this family! They are fantastic, and there is so much waiting for them if they will just take the first steps.

I encourage you all, whoever you are and wherever you are, to be examples of the believers. You would never believe what a difference a good example can make in the lives of the investigators and less actives. Live the gospel to its fullest, let your testimony show in all your actions and words, and reach your potential! Our Heavenly Father is just a prayer away to help you!

Speaking of prayers, yesterday I had a really cool experience. We had a stake fireside and the Temple President of the Oaxaca Temple, President Atkinson spoke. It was a really great meeting and he left a really powerful message. But the greatest thing is that Margarita, our recent convert, and her son Adrian went! I was sitting there, waiting for the speaker to begin, I thought "I hope Adrian feels something so strong that he can't deny it and that he wants to be baptized. It would be great if President Atkinson could give a shout-out to the investigators". That thought was followed by another "I should make that thought a prayer..." so I expressed my desires quickly and silently to my Heavenly Father and as soon as I finished my little prayer, President Atkinson began to speak and said something like "I hope that if you have questions, you will ask them. I see a lot of members here, and hopefully we are visited by some friends tonight. Actually, if you are a friend visiting us, please raise your hand.” Boom. Prayers are answered. But Adrian didn't raise his hand. I hope that he was able to really feel and treasure the spirit that was there throughout the fireside.

We learned a lot about the temple, and President Atkinson left with us a challenge that I would like to extend to all of you. Set a goal for how many times you would like to go to the temple this year. The goal should be realistic (maybe we won't be able to reasonably go to the temple every single day) but also something that should make you stretch and exercise your faith. There will be opposition, because of course Satan doesn't want you to reach that goal, but remember that God is ALWAYS stronger than Satan.

Set goals, run fast, achieve your dreams. Peace, love, happiness, and baptisms.

Hermana Cheever

Monday, January 5, 2015

Well that was an interesting week

 Dear all, 

Life is still great here in the Valley of the Sun. We had Margarita's baptism this week! My companion and I sang a special number accompanied by another sister missionary in our ward. Something disappointing is that we promised Margarita that we would have warm water for her baptism. Well turns out that there wasn't gas. So we resignedly filled the font with cold water. Then the bishop showed up, and it turns out that there was indeed gas. We then emptied a little bit of the water, turned on the faucet for hot water, and it turned out that now there wasn't water! Luckily we didn't empty too much, so there was still a sufficient amount to perform the ordinance. Margarita was so brave and valiant! We told her regretfully that there wasn't warm water, although we had promised it, and she told us "warm or cold, I will be baptized". 
This guy here above is the bishop, and the other is Adrian, Margarita's son

That was fun. We also celebrated her birthday with the ward members that came. Margarita is just really a testimony to me that as missionaries, we really are only instruments in the Lord's hands. His work progresses in His time and in His way. In the mission, we can't make anything happen that's not His will. If there are people to be baptized, they will be baptized. If it's not His will, it won't happen. Margarita's conversion has nothing to do with us, I feel like the Lord just gave us the opportunity to be a part of this experience. 

There is a talk by Elder Corbridge, of the Seventy, called "Be the Fourth Missionary". He explains that there are four types of missionaries, with the fourth being the only one that benefits personally from his mission. The Lord gives us 18 months or two years to serve Him and His children, and lots of people are helped. The trick is to learn, grow and be helped yourself from the service opportunity the Lord gives you. The way that we can do that is to give ourselves to the Lord; we have to give Him our heart, might, mind, and strength. What makes the difference is not just that we do the Lord's will, but that we want to do it. I encourage all of you, whether or not you are a full-time missionary, and whether or not you are currently serving in a calling, to give yourselves over to the Lord. Remember that the Lord said "he who loses His life for my sake shall find it" (that's somewhere in the Bible). 

So now for the cultural experiences that I have been having. 
Everybody here basically celebrates Christmas on the 24th with a dinner. A really nice family invited us to dine with them. It was delicious. Here they are 
​The young man is a very recent RM who served in Argentina! 

On New Year's everyone also celebrates with food. Another member invited us over to eat pizza. The mom is an RM and her oldest son is preparing to leave on the mission. 

So that's pretty much it for the holidays.

This week I finally ate something interesting, It's called mole de panza. Translated, that would be stomach soup. Yes, I ate some poor animal's stomach. The nice lady who fed us that day lovingly brought us our plates and cheerfully said (in Spanish, but I shall translate for convenience) "it's stomach soup! But it's not cow stomach, it's goat stomach!" Oh yay! Even better. I had a really hard time eating it, and that's the truth. At one point I almost cried, another I almost threw up, but I finished it all and thanked the lady for giving us food. The spaghetti that she made was really delicious. And goat stomach smells horrible. It should definitely not be a cologne.

One last thing. So today we had a district activity. We made something called discada which is basically many different kinds of meat fried in oil with onion and peppers, eaten in a tortilla. It was delicious. But we were going to play volleyball as well, so we were going to arrive in pants. Let me tell you, going from wearing a skirt all day, everyday to wearing pants is one dramatic and restricting change. But that's beside the point. In the morning I went to pull my jeans out of the drawer, and they weren't there! I looked everywhere in the house, in my suitcases, EVERYWHERE. And they were nowhere to be found. Yes, I lost my pants. So that made it so that I went looking for some new pants. Luckily, there's a market outside our apartment on Mondays, so we looked there for some jeans. A very nice salesman sold us some "Levi's", but we all know they're not really that brand, they just put the tag there to make it look better. The point is, on Saturday I ate goat stomach and today I may have bought black-market jeans. I really am starting to feel Mexican.

Much love and lots of ánimo,
Hermana Cheever

Hermana Cheever and her companion with a recent convert named Neri.

Hermana Cheever's District