Monday, January 27, 2014

GUATEMALA & Miracles

So... Tupu has been called to the Quetzaltenango Guatemala mission! I am so excited for her! She reports on June 11th to the Guatemala MTC. Can't wait to speak Spanish/Portuguese with her! :)

Miracle Phone Call
Tuesday we had exchanges with the Magnolia Sisters. After miscommunicating who would come to which area, we prayed to decide if we still needed to do exchanges in the middle of a gas station. We decided that we needed to, even though it would be inconvenient to drive to the Magnolia Sisters apartment and switch companions.

So Sister Hassell came with me to our area and we were planning on Monday night. It was late and about time to go to bed but we had a 3-4 hour gap that we didn't have anything planned. We went through our list of members, investigators, and less actives and none of the members were jumping out at me to visit. Sister Hassell then remembered, Erick, a guy that she has taught the first lesson to. it was 10:26 and so we didn't have any time to call him that night. 

Tuesday morning we called him and he picked up! We scheduled an appointment for later on in the day! 

We gave Erick a church tour and spent a lot of time explaining the sacrament and the Atonement. We ended at the baptismal font and explained baptism. He then said, "Well I've never been baptized. That's something I want to do." I didn't hesitate and immediately asked him, "Well we are having a baptismal service on the 15th of February. Erick will you prepare yourself to be baptized on that date by someone holding the priesthood authority?" AND HE SAID YES!!!!! He was smiling so big but trying to hide his excitement.

We then were just casually talking around the font when he grabbed a chair and said, "Alright I'm going to open up to ya'll." He sat down and we all just pulled up chairs around him. He opened up about his life and how he wants to come closer to God and improve! 

Erick also said that he had been talking to his friend, Alan in the morning about a speeding ticket he recently got. Alan was getting mad at the ticket and then Erick just said to him, "Alan we just need to go to church..." No sooner had this come out of his mouth then his phone rang and it was us asking him if he wanted to meet at the church! A coincidence? I think not! #miraclemoment

At the end he asked,
 "So how many times do you want to meet before my baptism?" 
And I said, "Well whatever you would like to do. We could meet everyday if you wanted to!"
He replied, "Ok. Let's do that. Tomorrow at the same time?"

So we have met with Erick pretty much everyday! He is a sponge and is soaking in everything we say. He has a smoking problem and so we have set goals to help him stop smoking. He has prayed to Heavenly Father for help and is doing a great job!

Packed Chapel
Yesterday at church we had 6 nonmembers (Erick brought Alan to church!) and 4 less actives! The chapel was packed! Our Ward Mission Leader was running around like a chicken with his head cut off! He leaned over and mouthed to us, "WOW! There are a lot of investigators here!" I couldn't help but think, "IVAN Where have you been???" 

Home Teaching?
Frank was sitting next to me at sacrament meeting and the high councilman was talking about Home teaching. He said that every member should have a home teacher. And I heard frank say under his breath, "Well that's not fair. I don't have one." So I leaned over and said to him, "Well Frank if you want some home teachers you can!" He sat there thinking...

After the third hour we found him and he said he enjoyed the lesson again on home teaching. I asked him if he wanted home teachers again and he sat there for a couple seconds and said, "Maybe. I'll think about it." Who would've thought that would catch Franks interest!

Well love ya'll! All I can say is the Church is true and miracles are happening around the world! I can't wait for Tupu to be a missionary! It is an experience that you will never regret in deciding to serve. 

Sister Loo
Sister King and I found these dresses at Goodwill.
We couldn't help but take a classic sister missionary
photo from back in the day. 
SUSHI...How I have missed you.
Sister King and I emotional over Tupu serving a mission
Me and miss Queen Bey...representing Houston!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Another missionary in the family!

This week my sister Tupu is getting her mission call! I couldn't be any more proud of her. Of course I am hoping for Brazil so that we can speak Portuguese to each other. Anyone else have any guesses? We hope to find out by Wednesday.

Emotional and proud big sister
So on Friday we had interviews with the mission president and I told him that Tupu had submitted her papers. We had a good talk and then he gave a closing prayer. It was so beautiful and I felt the spirit so strongly. He blessed my family and Tupu. At this point I started to cry... and then I couldn't stop after going back to the room for training. I was so happy and overcome with the spirit. 

At the end the mission president's wife asked for a couple of missionaries to bear their testimony and so I volunteered. I had stopped crying at this point, but then the spirit was so strong and I started talking about Tupu going on a mission... So the waterworks started going again. I am just so happy and proud of your decision to go, Toops. What a blessing for our family at this time! We are going to have two missionaries out somewhere in the world. I can't wait to see where you are going. I never would have thought this would happen in our family but with the recent age change (sisters can now go at age 19) it is made possible. WOW! 

3 Baptisms by February 14th

This week Sister King and I refocused and were remotivated to strive hard to reach our goal. We know that in order to reach it we need to see some miracles and so we are working really hard to be strictly obedient, which includes waking up exactly at 6:30. As everyone knows, I am not a morning person so this can be really hard. So to help me out I placed my alarm clock across the room so I would have to get out of bed to shut it off. It worked!

We also are using Power Hour (6:00-7:00pm) to the best of our ability. On Wednesday we prayed to know where to go. After trying to figure out where YSA Sisters would be we decided that we should go to a shoe store... Then sister King and I thought of the same place. Before we went in Sister King offered a really nice prayer asking Heavenly Father to direct us and be specific in who we needed to talk to. The spirit was so strong and my heart was beating out of my chest! I knew there was someone in there that was ready to hear the message of the restored gospel.

We felt like we should talk to the cashier... but that meant buying something (which I guess wasn't a huge problem ;) ). As we were about to check out both of our hearts kept beating faster and faster. Thank you Heavenly Father for the clear answer! Her name is Kalin and she has friends who are on missions. She has also attended church with her friend who is at BYU a couple of times (sounds like another Frank!). We are hoping to meet with her this week and talk with her more about the church. She said she is very open and interested in coming to church with us!

We asked Heavenly Father to put more sisters in our paths and he has done so! This week it seems as if we have only talked to girls!

New "ASL" Sister Missionaries???
Sister King and I have been slowly learning American Sign Language. We have an ASL district in our zone and an Elder who is deaf. Every preparation day when we get together he is always sitting off by himself and lonely. So we made an effort to learn some signs so we can slightly communicate with him. 

There is a less active in our ward who knows sign language so we asked him if he could teach us and we got an appointment with him! Before this he wouldn't even answer our texts back! We have gone and visited with him a couple of times and even gave a lesson to a couple of his non member friends who just happened to be at the house when we stopped by one day.

We learned how to finger spell and have been practicing signing street names while we are in the car. Today is his birthday so we learned and taught the whole zone Happy Birthday in sign language. We had cake, ice cream, and pani popo. He was so surprised and he even started crying! We all played card games and it was great because a lot of the zone was able to communicate and play games with him. Sister King and I had a great time and he really appreciated us making the effort to get to know him and talk to him.

I know this church is true! I am so thankful for missionary work and the opportunity to share the gospel with all who are prepared and waiting to hear our wonderful message. Continue being such great examples... And we get to hear where Tupu is going to serve this week! 

Love you!

Sister Loo

Monday, January 13, 2014

Please come up with a creative blog title...I can't think right now...I'm exhausted!!!

Midnight Word of Wisdom Lesson
This week Frank came to FHE and really enjoyed himself and met some new people. We got home and he texted us "Is it bad that I love the church and I know the church is true... But I still love being myself 100%" We were blown away. Wow! Frank loves the church and knows its true! YAY! We texted him back and talked over text messages for a bit and realized that we needed to have this conversation face to face. Unfortunately he was unable to meet for another week and so we felt that we needed to call him even though it was close to curfew. We said a prayer asking for guidance and help in knowing what to say to him. Frank has earlier expressed concerns with the Word of Wisdom and so we guessed that this was the issue in being himself 100%. 

But, we gave him a Word of Wisdom lesson because he didn't understand why we don't drink. He was raised through his culture with it and doesn't view it as a bad thing. We ended up talking to him a lot about obedience and the desire to follow God so he could receive 100% of the promised blessings and not just 99%. We promised him that if he would obey ALL, not only some, of the commandments that he would understand and feel a deepened sense of happiness that he has never experienced before.

We finally got him to commit (an hour later) to the Word of Wisdom. At the end of the conversation he says, 
"Can I ask you one question?" 
"Yes Frank. What is it?"
"Am I stubborn?"
And we all started laughing together.

Ashley got baptized this past Saturday and she was so ready and prepared! She is absolutely amazing and has such a great bubbly personality! She has been counting down the days and we met with her everyday this last week to teach her all the lessons even though she has already heard and prayed about everything we talk about. When we teach her we mostly just discuss and have a conversation and if she has any questions we answer them.

Saturday came around and her whole family and grandma came to support her! It was awesome! We gave them a tour of the church and they loved the chapel. Before the baptism program we prayed with her in the chapel and she gave the prayer. The spirit was so strong and by the end we were all crying and smiling from happiness. It was such a beautiful prayer she said.

The baptism program was AMAZING! The baptism was performed by Elder Wilstead and she was so happy when she came out from the water. She stood there smiling, covering her mouth, and crying. Afterwards we didn't even care that she was soaking wet, Sister King and I gave her a huge hug! She just kept saying, "Wow!... That was amazing! Oh my gosh..." She was so cute!

At the end of the program she decided to bear her testimony and it was so powerful! She knew everything she said was true. The spirit in the room was so overpowering. Her mom was crying and her dad told us at the end that he has never heard her talk that way before. Her whole family also came to church for the confirmation and her mom was crying again throughout the whole sacrament meeting program. Bishop gave her a beautiful blessing that also applied to her family and they loved it!

ASL Sign- So we have an American Sign Language district in our zone and I was talking to a deaf Elder while his companion was translating. he told me that he assigns signs for most of the missionaries in the zone so that it is easier to translate. Apparently once a deaf person gives you a sign it is permanent. So guess what my sign name is... Sister TOILET!!!! Wonderful just wonderful I know.

Love ya'll and hope you have a wonderful week! 

Sister Loo

Ashley's Baptism!!! 

Zombie tag with the zone
Taking over the BBQ.  #Polygirl
Just for Noa! :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Happy New Year from Texas!

As I look back at this last year I am reminded of all the many blessings that Heavenly Father has blessed me with. I not only was able to graduate from SUU, I turned in my mission papers, received my call, reported to the Missionary Training Center, and received a reassignment to the Houston Texas Mission! Wow what a great year!

This week Sister King and I decided that we needed to be better about strictly following and being obedient to the morning schedule:

6:30 a.m. Wake Up, exercise (30 minutes), get ready for the day, eat breakfast
8:00 - 9:00 Personal Study
9:00 - 10:00 Companionship Study
10:00 - 11:00 Portuguese Language Study

... and let me tell you the spirit was so strong this week! Ashley is preparing to be baptized this Saturday at 7:00. She couldn't be more excited and it is amazing to see her testimony of the gospel grow and grow. She has such a great relationship with Heavenly Father and continually wants to learn more and more and more.

We also had a lesson with Frank this week. We asked him to pray about a decision to be baptized. We met in the chapel and his friend Erin who was home for break from BYU was able to be there and share her testimony with him. We read Enos 1 together and tried to understand his concerns about baptism. His whole family is catholic and he is worried about the cultural shock of not being able to participate in certain activities (mainly drinking with his family). He knows the church is true and when we asked him when he has felt the spirit, it has been every time that he has met with us! He also shared that he feels it stronger when he attends church with us rather than at the Catholic church he goes to.

I have never felt the spirit so strong and also in a different way. I haven't ever felt the spirit like that before. It was so great and amazing! It wasn't that it was such a great spiritual lesson but the Holy Ghost was really testifying to me of the truth of the church and prayer.

I was reading in the ensign the other day and I loved this analogy. I would call it "Bad Bounces." I think this can really apply to us especially since sports has been a big part of many of our lives. As you know this can apply to the bad bounces in sports but also the "bad bounces" in life. Elder J. Christopher Lansing says, Bad bounces... "They are part of the game. They are not predictable in size or frequency. A good player realizes that bad bounces are part of life and tries to continue living with faith and courage." He also talks about the movie Finding Nemo and that when Merlin, his father is trying to find Nemo he faces lots of challenges but Dory's motto is Just Keep Swimming. I love that!

JUST KEEP SWIMMING and be on your knees in prayer always and the Lord will bless you through trials!


Sister Loo

P.S. Fun fact- There are more licensed guns in Texas than cars! (Yeah it's a whole different country down here)

The planners we made for the assistants. The one on the Left
 is for Elder Wilstead who is going home this next transfer. 
Elder Frandsen is a Spanish speaking missionary.

Taco Cart with the District

My favorite billboard so far!