Monday, December 29, 2014

Happy New Year 2015!

Hope you had a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

It was so nice to be able to Skype and call family! That is one of my favorite Christmas gifts of all Family and Friends! Thank you so much for your love, support, and letters! They mean so much to me and I am so sorry if I am not always able to respond.

Acting in Faith for Eternal Families
This week is kind of a short letter but I just wanted to let you know that we had our first successful get down to business SACRIFICE talk with one of our members. We are trying to start a Spanish group here but we need all of our members to act in Faith and come to church! Even if that means finding another job if it doesn't allow for them to come! 

So we talked to Hermana Torres about her goals for her family and what she needs to do to have an Eternal Family. And she told us that she doesn't even need to work on the weekends and will ask her boss if she can change her schedule. She said the closing prayer and even prayed to soften the heart of her boss. It was so sweet. 

And then she proceeded to show us the farm in her backyard with 100 chickens that was hidden... I think that was a sign that we gained her trust? I guess we will see! :)

Please keep our members in your prayers as we talk to them. That is what we are planning to talk to all of our members this week about!

The Book Changes Lives
We were able to have dinner with them and give a short lesson. We did an object lesson with them about Repentance and Baptism and they absolutely loved it! It was amazing though because Amber is SO happy! She has a baptismal date for the 17th of January. We are so excited for her and after our object lesson she got even more excited! 

Lori's daughter Amber has been investigating the church for a couple weeks now! In a previous blog post I wrote:

Heavenly Father definitely works in mysterious ways... Amber got sick and couldn't stop throwing up and so she said a prayer that if he helped her to stop throwing up that she would read the Book of Mormon AND go to her moms baptism. And guess what? She stopped throwing up... So she started reading the Book of Mormon and has loved it. 

In the few days, her countenance has changed tremendously and she is so much happier. I'm telling you, the Book of Mormon changes lives! Before she didn't even believe in God. She was Pagan!

She told us that she is getting headaches from reading too much of the Book of Mormon. She struggles from depression and says that now whenever she feels sad she picks up the Book of Mormon and reads. It makes her happier and is like a better medicine! She is growing so much and Lori is so proud of her. She shares her testimony often and their house has such a great spirit about it! :)

Please keep our area in your prayers! We need miracles to happen here and people to act in Faith so that we can have a Spanish group here and the Spanish work can grow dramatically which I know it can! With the Lord all things are possible! 

Con Muchisimo Amor, 

Hermana Loo

Merry Christmas 

Making breakfast in my new apron and pajamas... 
The LeBarons

Monday, December 22, 2014

Merry Christmas

Spanish is gettin a move on!
So guess what?!?! Things are in the works to get a Spanish Branch started here! We are starting off with a Spanish Group with a Group Leader that will meet at the same time as the English ward in the Relief Society Room. When we get everyone to come more regularly we will be able to have a branch.

President wants us to talk with the members about having Eternal Families and the importance of them. That as they sacrifice by not working on Sundays, which could even mean getting new jobs or being unemployed, that the Lord will bless their families. And he wants us to talk to them about this! So keep us in your prayers as we try to be lovingly bold with the members... especially in my broken spanish! 

Definition of Loving the Gospel
Had our first Restoration lesson with Talon and it was Amazing! We talked about the temple and him serving a mission and he is all for it! He has come to church the past two weeks AND early morning seminary! And he comes like an hour early to every meeting so he doesn't miss anything. He is loving every minute of it! 

He has been such a great example to me of the excitement and love we should have towards the gospel! It is so true! We should be jumping at the chance to learn and grow just as he his! The English Sisters will now be teaching him the lessons but I'm happy that I will still get to see him at mutual and church.

Feliz Navidad!
We had an awesome mission conference. It was amazing having soooo many missionaries there! It was crazy though because I hardly knew any of them, all the ones I know have gone home already. It's so weird. I just kept saying that over and over again. And then the missionaries who leave this transfer gave their dying testimonies and then I realized that the next time they do this, I'll be up there giving my testimony! I almost died!!!! I don't want to go home!... (Sorry mom and dad)

President Mortensen read the Christmas story to us and I followed in Spanish. As he was reading I realized that to give birth in Spanish is "dar a luz". The literal translation meaning, "to give a light." 

He truly was a light unto the world! With his birth he brought from Hope, Love, and LIGHT! Look to him! :)

Sister Mortensen gave an awesome talk at the conference about part of a Christmas song that says, "Let every heart prepare his room" and then posed the question, 

What if EVERY heart prepared room for the Savior?

How awesome would that be! We talked about how we can submit our will to the Lord just as Mary did. As we call upon the Lord in mighty prayer we will be able to do so, we can ask how to bend our will to His. 

I loved the scriptures she shared with us in how Nephi's testimony grew as he wrote the scriptures. How he came to know the Savior more and strengthened his relationship. How can we do that in our own lives? What is the next step we can take to know him more?

1Nephi 1: 19 And it came to pass that the Jews did mock him because of the things which he testified of them; for he truly testified of their wickedness and their abominations; and he testified that the things which he saw and heard, and also the things which he read in the book, manifested plainly of the coming of a Messiah, and also the redemption of the world.

1 Nephi 10: Wherefore, all mankind were in a lost and in a fallen state, and ever would be save they should rely on this Redeemer

2 Nephi 33: I glory in plainness; I glory in truth; I glory in my Jesus, for he hath redeemed my soul from hell.

I know that as we do so we will find greater joy and happiness. I love this time of year to think about the birth of our loving Savior. I am grateful for him! I love you so much! 

Merry Christmas! Feliz Navidad! 

Hermana Loo
Christmas conference!
Sketch trailer... Hope it doesn't fall...
Making bread for our members and investigators!
Thanks to my Mom for sending all the stuff to bake in my Christmas package.

Christmas conference with Hermana DeLaO 
Hermana Hoj 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Miracles

Book of Mormon Stories
We went over this last week to a part member families house to read the Book of Mormon with them. We started off reading about Nephi getting the gold plates... At first I wasn't really sure how much the kids would like it because they can kind of be rowdy sometimes. They are ages 12, 11, and 9. But as we read bits and pieces of the chapters and piecing together the story they were getting SO into it. They loved it and were even guessing what would happen next! 

We then talked about how great of a story it is and it is fun to read, but why do we read these stories? To liken them unto us so we can learn. And so I asked them what they learned from the story that they can apply to their lives. They gave awesome answers. The Book of Mormon brings a spirit like nothing else. It is truly a life changing book and I know that it is true.

A Long Awaited Baptism
Well after waiting for what seems like forever, Lori finally was able to get married on Tuesday and baptized on Saturday!

On Tuesday Hermana DeLaO and I went over to do her hair and makeup. As we were doing so, Ken asked me to cut his hair! And so I did... with my eyebrow scissors and a pair of school scissors. It was interesting, but I think it turned out well. 

Saturday Hermana Hoj was able to come and Lori was baptized on the same day as another sister the Elders were teaching as well. We waited by the font for Lori to be baptized and the spirit was so strong. After we went into the bathroom to change and she couldn't stop crying. It was so sweet. She just kept saying, "I've waited for this moment for so long... I feel so good." She couldn't stop crying for the rest of the day. At the baptismal service she even shared her testimony on how much her life has changed. The spirit was so strong. I am so happy for her. 

Her daughter, Amber even came! Which is a miracle in and of itself. Heavenly Father definitely works in mysterious ways... Amber got sick and couldn't stop throwing up and so she said a prayer that if he helped her to stop throwing up that she would read the Book of Mormon AND go to her moms baptism. And guess what? She stopped throwing up... So she started reading the Book of Mormon and has loved it. 

In the few days, her countenance has changed tremendously and she is so much happier. I'm telling you, the Book of Mormon changes lives! Before she didn't even believe in God. She was Pagan!

He Is the Gift Miracles
Invitation on the corner- So a couple weeks ago a young women had invited her friend, Talon to come to mutual and Hermana Hoj and I just happened to be there that day. We didn't recognize him and started talking to him about the Book of Mormon and gave him a copy to read. We had been trying to invite someone to be baptized and so amidst so much commotion we invited him and asked him what that would mean to him. He replied, "Well I guess you would see a lot more of me then." 

Well we hadn't seen him for a couple of weeks until this week when we were driving past the Institute building on our way to our English Classes. I noticed someone sitting in front of the Institute building and was impressed to turn around and go back. So we did... and it was Talon. He was waiting for his friend. 

I asked him if he had read the Book of Mormon and prayed. He said, "yeah I read half of it over Thanksgiving break... it's inspiring and I know it's true!" I was not expecting that answer! It was awesome!

We then watched the video He is the Gift with him and while we were watching it I felt impressed to ask him to set a date to be baptized. He pulled out his phone and we talked about what needed to happen before then and set a date for him to be baptized January 10 right there on the corner of the street! :) He put it in his phone, went to the "Sharing the Gospel" class for mutual, and then went home and told his mom, "I'm a Mormon now!" 

Spirit of Christmas - We were tracting some trailers and ran into this women who had met with missionaries before in Las Vegas. She was talking in Spanish and from what I could understand she just did not seem interested AT ALL... she was actually really stand offish. 

So instead we asked if we could watch the He is the Gift video with her... She pulled it up on her phone and started watching it. I usually don't look at the people as they are watching it just so it's not awkward and look down on the ground... This time towards the end I looked up and she was crying! It was amazing! We told her about our Ward Christmas Party and Church and she said, "yeah I think I will come to church this Sunday." What happened that made this huge change of heart?... The spirit of Christmas... 

I hope that you have felt that spirit this season! I am thankful for the wonderful gift of the Savior. I know He lives and loves us!

Love y'all too!

Hermana Loo

Milking a Cow today at the Harris' 
At the Harris' house!

Lori Baptism!

Our Homemade Christmas Tree :)

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hola! Me Encanta Texas!

Que Bien!
Spanish is going so awesome! I am going to miss Hermana Hoj so much but I am excited to have a new companion and her name is Hermana DeLaO. She is from Vera Cruz, Mexico and is learning English. So we have a good time speaking Spanglish with each other. She is teaching me soooo much. I just love her and we just laugh at all the mistakes we make in English and Spanish. She has been out for about 7 months. 

It is amazing to see all the miracles that have happened since she has been here. Because she is a native, everyone feels so much more comfortable and open around her. I am so happy that she is here. We are hoping that we will be able to build a Spanish Branch here in Huntsville. 

Journey Through Bethlehem!
The highlight of this week was Journey Through Bethlehem. Basically what it was is at the beginning there are actors who talk about the importance of shepherds and lead the group of people to Bethlehem to sign the census and pay taxes. As they reach the shepherds in the field, a group of angels appear and sing- on the last day, there was a group from a black baptist church and it was AMAZING! I was singing and clapping and "halleluja-ing" all over the place. They were having sooo much fun!

Afterwards they are led to Bethlehem where there are crafts, games, and things to eat. There is a spice shop, sweet shop, and then also a place where you can get your name written in Hebrew and Greek. And then at the very back there is a manger with people acting as Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus. There is even an angel on top of the manger with goats, lambs, and camels. It was soooo awesome! 

Hermana DeLaO and I were supposed to do spanish translation but no one felt comfortable or needed it. So we ended up being at the beginning and welcoming people in. We talked with as much people as we could in Spanish. This is an event where the whole community gets involved and many different churches in Huntsville. We were welcoming people in with a Pastor and his wife from the Church of the Nazarene. They were over the spanish youth group. It was such a great way to get to know the community and let them know that we believe in Jesus Christ as well. I loved it!

It was a wonderful way to start the Christmas season, to really recognize and understand the true meaning of Christmas. I am so thankful for my Savior Jesus Christ and the wonderful gift of the Atonement that he has given to me.

If you haven't gotten the chance, watch the video, He Is the Gift on or Youtube. And then #sharethegift :)

Love y'all! 

Hermana Loo

P.S. Oh and Lori is getting married and baptized this week! Please keep her in your prayers. She has been confronted with a lot of opposition. We are sooo happy that she will be able to finally get baptized!

Journey Through Bethlehem
Journey Through Bethlehem with Gabby and Benjamin 

Tree of Lights at SHSU

On SHSU with our matching Sweatshirts  
Goodbye's :( 
Goodbye's :( 
Goodbye's :(

Los Perritos

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hope you had a Happy Turkey Day!

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope y'all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunity to serve a mission and I am so thankful for all the support from my family and friends. I wouldn't and couldn't do this without you! The testimonies you have shared with me have strengthened mine! I am truly blessed! :) 

I am especially grateful for the knowledge of the gospel and the influence of the spirit to testify of truth! I know Heavenly Father loves each and every one of us! He has provided a Savior for us to be able to return to live with him again. We are blessed to have the scriptures and a living prophet today. Now if that doesn't show you that he loves us, I don't know what else will!

The Spirit Guides or Binds
This week we were walking on the Sam Houston State University Campus after going to a piano recital for a member in the YSA branch and we stopped to talk to a girl and invite her to learn. I asked her if she was religious and she told us that she used to be until something really bad happened. I was filled with the spirit as I didn't really know what to say. So I just opened my mouth and started testifying of the Savior and Heavenly Father's love for us. I know that the spirit was guiding my words and I felt him confirm to me the same thing. Jesus Christ is the only one that knows what we are going through AND he loves us soooo much! We can turn to him during times of trial and strife. 

Then we were on campus again for an event. We went to talk to some guys and invite them to Journey Through Bethlehem. They asked if we were going to be there and we said yes. And he responds, "Well then we will DEFINITELY be there..." And i thought in my head, oh dear. In your dreams... Thank goodness that time it didn't come out of my mouth. :)

The Spirit Feels... Heart Glowing
So I don't know if I wrote about this earlier in my blog, but I was able to attend the baptism of Miguel from my last area this week. He asked me to speak about the Holy Ghost at his baptism. 

In one of our first lessons I asked him what the spirit felt like to him, and he said, "It feels Heart-glowing." I loved that description. It can be so hard to describe the spirit sometimes, but I loved the imagery to his response.

So I talked about the spirit being heart glowing and related it to a question Grandma Loo sent to me earlier, "When have you known that the gospel was written upon your heart?" 

I shared two scriptures that I absolutely love in relation to this. 

2 Nephi 16:10 - As you understand with your heart you are converted. You come to feel of the power of the Holy Ghost. 

"Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes—lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and be converted and be healed."

The spirit testifies of truth. It testifies of Christ. As we remember the gospel written upon our hearts we will be changed. The spirit will continue to testify to us.

Mosiah 5:12- 

"I say unto you, I would that ye should remember to retain the name written always in your hearts..."

So, When have you known that the gospel was written upon your heart? When have you had those "heart glowing" moments?

Love y'all! 

Hermana Loo

Ok... So I totally left out some awesome deets and miracles.

There is so much potential for Spanish here and building a spanish branch in Huntsville that we are going fully Spanish! I am so excited! We have been speaking a lot of spanish lately.

Also this week we went to go and check up on a potential investigator family, the Amanzas. They had family in town for the Thanksgiving weekend and so they weren't able to talk with us. We were able to give all of their cousins pictures of Jesus Christ with our phone number and the address and time of church. One of the girls, Jasmine was so excited and wanted to come sooo bad! Well, on Sunday Jasmine and her Grandma walk in the front doors! She had dragged her grandma to church because she wanted to come! It was the cutest thing. I sat next to her during sacrament meeting and sang songs with her and got to explain what the sacrament was to her. It was such a tender experience. Jasmine is just 7 years old... The power of little children is amazing!

Slap Yo Mama seasoning...delicious! 
Random Hog in someones yard on Thanksgiving... He got away this year! 
With Matt at the Missions President Fireside 

With Brother and Sister Harris
Houston Temple!

Goodbye's to Sister King. Love her!

On campus...
The random pin-head in Trinity...
Zone meeting
Look closely... BEWARE OF PITS... The joys of tracting trailers. 
Miguel Contreras Baptism 
Got to see Danielle again! 

Saying Goodbye to Sister Huber. Love her! 
Some random bales of hay on the side of the road :) 

Playing in the leaves... Miguel Cortez

The Aguilar Family came to Church! We were so excited when they walked into the chapel! :) 
Hermana Hoj is getting transferred tomorrow :( I am going to miss her a ton!

We taught the Cepeda kids the Plan of Salvation
and had them draw it out as we talked about it!
They loved it and learned so much! 

The bell at the Texas Prison Museum