Monday, October 27, 2014

Midterms bring Miracles!

What a week! So many great miracles and blessings I just have to go day by day on this one!

Monday- Spirit testifies!

Natasha came to Institute!

Patrick came early to his appointment and so I grabbed Sister Lambright to come help teach with me. We talked about the Holy Ghost and taught the Restoration because Sister Hoj and I had given him a 10 minute restoration lesson after general conference. He had read the Book of Mormon until 1 Nephi Chapter 9! and had sticky notes all over with all his questions.

I asked him if he had prayed about the Book of Mormon, and he hadn't. So about 15 minutes into the lesson we were on our knees and he offered a prayer to ask! He basically gave a brief overview of the chapters and Nephi's adventure going to get the plates! We were silent for a bit after the prayer and asked him how he felt. He took a deep breath and told us that he had never experienced something like that before and he felt really good! We allowed the spirit to guide him to answer his own questions and he was so pleased with himself!

Tuesday- Matt's on FIRE! 

One of my favorite days of the week! Matt scheduled an appointment with us for one of his friends, Tyler. He was reading his Book of Mormon at the gym and Tyler came up and started asking him questions. Matt shared his testimony and invited him to learn from us and he agreed!

So Tuesday was the appointment. We taught a powerful restoration lesson and answered many of his questions! Matt bore a powerful testimony as well and answered one of his questions absolutely perfectly! Tyler was talking about how there are difference churches and they just all say the same thing and you can feel the spirit and he was really confused by that. 

Well, Matt goes on to explain an analogy about a puzzle -and of course I loved this, me being the "puzzle hog" in the family ;) He talked about how we have this puzzle, but we don't have the box and we can't see the entire picture so it will take a lot longer. Without the picture we start putting together the pieces that seem to go together. Slowly we get little images. Maybe a tower here, a tractor there, a hill here... He then went on to explain how each of these little images represent a church and how they have truths to them and you will feel of the spirit. But our church has the box with the picture on it! We have the whole puzzle AND you can put it together much faster.

It just clicked in Tyler's head all that we were teaching him. He just kept thanking Matt, "Thanks man so much for telling me about this. How did I not know about any of this?" He was even about to tell Matt why it had taken him so long to talk to him about the Book of Mormon! His mind was just blown! He was speechless at so many times, and his mind was just racing with thoughts. 

He told us that he had received a "Mormon Bible" from some missionaries a couple years ago. The Elders knocked on their door and told him, "You are going to need this one day, man." And then left! And this is the day that he needs it! He told us that he knew exactly where the Book of Mormon was in his house. "In the right drawer in the kitchen with the phone book." He had never opened it to read, but had taken it with him over the couple of times he had moved in the past years. Coincidence? I think not!

We asked him if he had any questions and if he would pray to know if the Book of Mormon was true and he responded, "During the lesson I would say little prayers in my head and ask questions. As soon as I was done, you would answer them in that instant." It was SO cool!

Sister Hoj and I got in the car to go to our next appointment and started screaming! We were so excited!

After the lesson with Tyler, Matt dropped him off at the gym and we went to go and visit Gabby! Matt has and is still going through similar trials with his family like she is and so we thought she would benefit from meeting him. 

We basically just opened it up to a Q&A session for Gabby to ask Matt questions and for Matt to testify. The spirit was so strong as he answered each of her questions about being the only member in his family and the opposition he received from his parents in joining the church. He talked about being courageous and standing up for what you believe in. If you know its true, you can't back down. You have to be strong. He talked about how she may think or have doubts about enduring to the end, but if you study the scriptures, pray, and go to church the foundation will get stronger after baptism as you take that leap of faith.

It was perfect! Everything he said met every concern she shared with us. At the end of the question we asked her what she felt and thought, and she said with a smile, "I need to get baptized!" We hope that Matt's testimony and example will make a lasting impression and that she will implement his advice!

Wednesday- Learning and Learning

Plan of Salvation lesson with Matt and Nina. We found out earlier in the day that Tyler had read the chapter we assigned him (3 Nephi Chapter 11) within 15 minutes of us leaving! He absolutely LOVED it!

We had a great lesson and asked him to be baptized and he said, "yes! I would jump at the chance." We wanted to set a date with him, but he first wants to pray about what the right time will be for him to get baptized and so we will set one with him later.

We had to leave because it was getting very close to curfew! Tyler was sad that we couldn't teach him more! He just wants to learn and learn!

Thursday- Good Food and High Standards

We went over to Hermana Rodriguez house and she taught us how to make Gordita's! We even made our own tortillas! It was legit and SOOO good!

We had a lesson with John, a new investigator who we met on campus. Matt's friend Darron was talking to him about Evolution and then set up an appointment to meet with us. We taught him the Restoration, the tools and guides Heavenly Father blesses us as children with including prophets, scriptures, and our families. He is in a fraternity and was talking about how he just doesn't feel like doing the things that they do sometimes and he knows its wrong. He gets a bad feeling. He is searching and he agreed to read and pray about the Book of Mormon! 

He told us that he knew a lot of Mormons from high school and his dad was a teacher. He said, "Mormons are just a cut above the rest... you just have great higher standards." Such a wonderful compliment. 

Friday- Gas Station Creeps

So we finally get things prepared and ready to post fliers for the Daily Dose Program (English Classes for those who speak Spanish). But it was already pretty late and dark. We needed to get our mission standard of 15 Invitation to Learn so we went to some Hispanic restaurants to invite people and ask if we could put up our fliers. We also tried some other "spanish hot spots"! 

On the way home though we stopped at some of the sketchiest gas stations in town. It was definitely an adventure...

First gas station, this black guy was literally waiting for us to get out of the car... after waiting to see if he was going to leave and didn't, we got out of the car. He said "Hi" to us and then a truck pulling out yells out his window, "Man! Leave those ladies alone!"

Second gas station. The "spanish hot spot" is around the corner at the water filling station and apparently where they all like to go and drink. We go inside to ask if we could put the fliers up and get a yes. So we go around the corner and invite this man to the class. After talking to him he asks, "En Ingles, Como se dice, Hasta la Vista?" And we respond, "See you later!" And he says, "Well then, Hasta la Vista Babay!"

Saturday- In the World, but not of the World

We volunteered at a mud run, The Great Muddy Escape, due to all the prisons here. We have these super bright yellow shirts that we wear for service. Well apparently its an inspired color because everyone thought we were in charge but we were just volunteers! They put us in charge of the starting line for all the heats and making announcements! Well our purpose was met because everyone who was there saw us! 

Later that day, we got a little bit lost out in the country...the GPS took us to the wrong place and there was no cell phone service at all. We were a bit frustrated because we had just wasted a ton of miles and we couldn't call anyone to get the right directions. However, God knows how to get us out of frustration--He makes us laugh. 

So there we were, on a road, LITERALLY IN THE MIDDLE OF NOWHERE when a man on an ATV drives up in front of our car waving a bright orange flag, signaling for us to stop. Then we see a huge sea of people coming up the road riding horses and in trailers, kinda like floats with 20-30 people on the back. Hermana Hoj and I look at each other speechless and are just like "What in the world is going on!?" And I tell her, "Get your camera out! We gotta film this!"

We were stuck there just watching everyone pass by. It was seriously just a huge crowd of black people riding their horses, drinking beer, and listening to terrible music. Basically just partying down this tiny back street in the middle of nowhere. What?! We were laughing so hard. A few miles down the road we pass the marquee in front of a Baptist Church: "Tailgate Extravaganza." Bingo. Only in Texas.

For dinner attended my first ever fish fry! It was awesome! Fried fish, onions, bananas, oreos... mmmm good!

Sunday- Books of Mormon's all around!

Gabby came to church! 

Ate Venison for the first time at the Cortez home for Lela's birthday! It was SOOOO good! 

Last week Sunday we had stopped by a Spanish members home in trinity (Favian Aguilar) and set up an appointment to come back the next sunday to meet the family. 

We didn't know what to expect so we prepared a short thought and were planning to get to know the family. His wife, Annie, Carmen (11 year-old daughter), and 3 year-old son were there. We sat and got to know them. She didn't seem to know anything about the church. Slowly we were getting information about them and telling them about what we do as missionaries in teaching and providing service... Finally I asked her if she would like to learn more and take the lessons. She said YES! and he daughter as well! Actually they all wanted to learn! 

We come to find out that Brother Aguilar was baptized when he was 12 and after his parents divorced the family stopped going to church. His wife Annie didn't really grow up going to church and didn't know really anything about the Bible even. They all wanted Book of Mormons and Bibles! We ran out to the car to go and get them some books and Sister Hoj and I just had the hugest smiles on our face!

We gave a brief overview of the Book of Mormon because it was already late and read Moroni's promise. They each shared with us, even Carmen experiences where they have felt the Holy Ghost. I promised them that as they read the Book of Mormon together as a family that they would continue to have these experiences. Annie then turns to her daughter and us and says, "Carmen has wanted to get baptized. I do too." It was music to my ears and I was a bit in shock of happiness, but once I could I said, "Well we can definitely take care of that!" And the mom says looking at her daughter, "We could even get baptized together on the same day!" The spirit was sooo strong when she said that. I know its going to happen. And how cool would it be if Brother Aguilar can baptize them!

The spirit was so strong and I just love that family so much! They are so excited to read the Book of Mormon. Carmen already really interested in it and reading on her own! It was such a great way to end the Sabbath Day! 

I am so thankful to my Heavenly Father with blessing me with such a wonderful week! Hope y'all had a great week as well!

Love you!

Sister Loo

Making Gorditas with Hermana Rodriguez

Fish Fry & Fried Oreos 

Matching cowgirl boots with Lela & Emma 
   On the way to the Aguilar's- Lake Livingston 
Ashton Family with their commitment to write or draw their testimony in a Book of Mormon!

The Great Muddy Escape

Monday, October 20, 2014

Its starting to cool down, but missionary work is on fire!

Family History & The Spirit of Elijah
This past week we have been up on Sam Houston State University Campus contacting and talking to people about family history and where there ancestors are from. We are having a family history fair at the Institute building in November to register them on and create a fan chart. 

It has been amazing to see the interest and the spirit of Elijah working. Usually when we talk to people they sometimes just walk away or try to come up with some lame excuse really fast. But as we have been doing this we have seen the exact opposite. We talk to people, they walk away and turn to see what we are doing, see that it is non-invasive and then walk back to talk with us! It's so awesome! I think we found the winner!

I was talking to two girls about family history and the welding link between our ancestors and us; how we can learn from them and their experiences. The spirit was so strong. 

We also were able to help 3 people with their family history before the fair and they absolutely loved it! Elizabeth didn't even know where her ancestors were from. We got on family search, and put in some of the information she did know. Within an hour, we had a line for her ancestors all the way back to the 1100's!

Lauren's grandfather had recently passed away and she hadn't been to church since then because she used to go with him. We got her on and after about an hour she said, "WOW! This is sooo much better than ancestry! This is awesome!" We finished family history and then talked to her briefly about Malachi 4:6

"And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse."

We talked about how she felt and told her how much we could feel the spirit as we do family history. We told her that we knew her grandfather was proud of her and the spirit was strong, she started bursting into tears. I know that she had a great relationship with him and so we went outside to the front of the Institute building where the Plan of Salvation is drawn on the front windows. We talked briefly about the wonderful plan Heavenly Father has for us. We know she will see her grandfather again and he is watching over her. It was such a powerful moment and we hope to be able to meet with her again to teach her more about the Plan of Salvation in detail. 

Small Town Blessings
We are starting to experience the beauties of being in a small town. On Saturday mornings, Sister Hoj and I go to soccer games not only to support a less active boy in the ward, but also because that is where all the Hispanics are at! We talk to them about their kids and they end up naturally just asking us about what we are doing because they notice our name tags. And since it is a small town everyone knows eachother and knows about the church!

This last week a lady came up to us and asked us if we are starting to teach English classes! She asked us! It has been a finding gold mine there!

We are also starting to teach English classes! It is a wonderful program that the church has put out and they have seen success with people going and then being interested in learning more about the church. We are excited to get the program started. 

Buddy's Adventure
On Saturday we went and visited Ken (a less active member) and Lori (an investigator). They moved to Galveston for a day but couldn't find a place to stay and had to turn back. They had taken their entire paycheck and savings to move and now are homeless. Last week I shared the picture of Ken wrecking the moving truck and running into the hotel... oh dear! It's always an adventure with these two!

Last week we went over and Lori has the sweetest and strongest testimony. She has quit smoking and told us that she knows that even though they can't afford it, she has decided to pay a full tithe. She knows that it is what Heavenly Father wants her to do and that he will bless her. She has such stong faith. 

Well, this week we went over and visited with them. Funny quote of the day from them... They have a dog named Buddy and they think the people that they are living with have been giving him weed because he has been acting really weird. Lori all happy looks at Ken and says, "You know what we should do?! We need to go to the Dollar Store and get one of those drug tests and have Buddy pee on it!" Oh dear! We couldn't stop laughing! 

But the best part was while we were talking Buddy got away and we couldn't find him. With all the stray dogs they were scared and Ken LOVES that dog. While Ken was out looking for him, Sister Hoj turned to Lori and asked if she would like to say a prayer. Lori said a simple and short prayer... and literally within 5 minutes we had found him! #tendermercy

Standing Strong
On Sunday a girl in the YSA branch confided in us of a struggle she has been having. She is on the Cross Country team for Sam Houston. She has chosen not to run or practice on Sunday and this particular Sunday the team was giving her a lot of flack for it. Amongst other things, she was overly stressed and started crying. 

It was such a tender mercy because Sister Hoj and I have gone through similar things with sports. Her with Soccer and I with Golf. It is just so awesome how Heavenly Father places you in certain situations so that we can all learn and grow from each others experiences and provide the comfort and advice needed at the time. She was able to receive a beautiful priesthood blessing afterwards.

Matt the Missionary 
Matt is such the missionary! First, He brought 4 of his friends to play soccer with us on Friday night and afterwards was talking to us about some ideas of the next natural step he can take with his friend, Hunter to invite him to learn more.

Then, on Saturday night he called us and told us that he had a missionary experience with a guy from work who started asking him questions about the church. Matt called us to tell us that he had an appointment set up with us this Tuesday so that this other friend could meet with us! He is such an awesome missionary!

AND, he also gave his first talk in church yesterday and did an awesome job! After church the LeBaron's and him headed to college station so that he could receive his Patriarchal Blessing! He is learning and growing so much! He is such an inspiration to me!

The church is TRUE! 

Love y'all! 

Sister Loo

I ate Lengua (tongue)!
It was really good until afterwards when I started thinking about it,
and one piece that still had the tastebuds on it... then I didn't feel too good... 
Celebrating Ezra's birthday!
We got him a fish and cake because all of his siblings and mom (Norman the goat) have pets except him! 
Sister Cortes and Kids :) Love them!
Family History on Campus!
Helping Jo Ann clean out her storage closet & finding some great goods.

My curly haired twin, Krystin, and I decided to straighten our hair for church

A huge Cowboy church! 
Best Place Ever! Lake Livingston 

We were on a conference call with President...
and had to pull out the ice cream!
Pumpkin Spice Pecan Blue Bell is Back... and now gone :)

Monday, October 13, 2014


"This is SO true!"
We had another wonderful 13 Articles of Faith lesson with Natasha! I love giving those lessons because it is a perfect way to tell YSA's everything that we believe in and get right down to their concerns. If they have major concerns with that, well then we know off the bat they aren't interested in our message. During our entire lesson I would just silently cheer to myself with everything Natasha was saying:

1. She now knows God is her Heavenly Father... YAY!

2. She was asking some baptists about their thoughts on the trinity. They were trying to show her scripture references in the bible and she kept looking at them like they were crazy... she just wanted to tell them, "You're looking at it wrong. It states right where you are pointing to me that they are all separate beings.." YAY!

3. She believes the Book of Mormon to be true. She has a cute little sticky note on her Book of Mormon that says, "Read every day" And she has! Each day she picks it up she thinks, "There is no way this isn't true!" And then she will put it down and doubt (we shared those feelings are from Satan), and then she will pick up the Book of Mormon again and think, "This is SO true."

Please keep her in your prayers that she will receive guidance and know that it is true!

Faithfully being Lovingly Bold
We had MLC last week and then Specialized training and interviews this week with President Mortensen and each meeting Hermana Hoj and I just felt like we needed to be bold in setting a date for baptism with Gabby.

So we went that day to meet with her. Sat her down and I told her. "Gabby you are ready! Heavenly Father is proud of you and wants you to move forward! We have been praying about when Heavenly Father would have you be baptized and we feel really good about October 25th! What do you think?"
She looked at us and said, "the day after my birthday? That actually sounds awesome!" 

We created a plan for her to read her scriptures, come to church, and talk to her family about it. 

Then her Grandma came and sat down. Gabby told her what had happened and that she wanted to get baptized and her grandma said... NO! :( We were all heartbroken and Gabby burst into tears! We talked to her grandma about what her concerns were and she said that Gabby needed to know more and wasn't ready. She needed to attend church for a whole year before she can get baptized.

We told Gabby to not give up and to have faith! The next day we went over and she told us that her family is okay with her getting baptized but they want her to go to church more often and regularly but still for a year. Ahh! Way too long! She is ready now! But we understand their concerns. We told her to set a goal with Heavenly Father of when he thinks she would be ready by and then to work with it. That if she works her hardest, Heavenly Father would provide for miracles to happen so that she can get baptized. 

She came to church yesterday and told me that she found out her Great Grandma in Mexico is Mormon! She was so excited because this is one of her major concerns about being baptized... that she is the only member in her family and it will be really hard. Miracles are already happening!

We are going to teach her grandma and her all in Spanish from now on and do family history with Gabby! I have definitely gained a testimony of the spirit of Elijah through finding our ancestors and preparing them for ordinances of salvation!

Please keep her and her family in your prayers! We know that her families hearts will be softened as she puts forth effort and shows them her testimony through her example!

Ponder, Ask, Prepare
This week I was really struggling to re-evaluate my efforts here in this ward. Am I focusing on the right things that should be a priority? How can I best help the YSA branch? How can I best help the Spanish members? 

As I thought about this, I was overwhelmed and didn't feel like I had faithfully relied on Heavenly Father as much as I needed to. I hadn't really focused on his spirit. I was on cruise control on what felt right and what "sounded" right in my brain. Not that I wasn't doing anything wrong, but was I doing what Heavenly Father thought was best?

That night I prayed and prayed and prayed, striving to seek inspiration through the Holy Ghost and ask for his help. And I know I needed his help and guidance!

The next day during personal study, I picked up from where I left off in the Book of Mormon. You know those times when you are reading and you aren't necessarily processing ALL of what is being said? Well, that is what I was doing and then a thought popped into my head, "Read those first couple of verses again." 

So I did. 3 Nephi 17: 1-3 

 1 Behold, now it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words he looked round about again on the multitude, and he said unto them: Behold, my time is at hand.

 I perceive that ye are weak, that ye cannot understand all my words which I am commanded of the Father to speak unto you at this time.

 Therefore, go ye unto your homes, and ponder upon the things which I have said, and ask of the Father, in my name, that ye may understand, and prepare your minds for the morrow, and I come unto you again.

It was perfect! A sincere answer to prayer and another testimony of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon! It was not a coincidence that I had just picked up where I was reading and received this counsel. 

As we ponder and ask Heavenly Father what we need to do and what we don't understand he will answer us as we prepare our minds and feast upon the scriptures. We then need to be ready to act upon those promptings! 

Love y'all! Church is true and the Book is blue!

Sister/Hermana Loo :)

Mission Galveston: FAIL
Ken & Lori are back! Ken wrecked the truck on the way back...
Trying SUPER HOT peppers...
Exchanges with Sister Schellhous
SHSU Homecoming Parade.
We didn't know about it! But you best know if I did,
I would've put my high school homecoming float skills to use! :)
Another look at all the responses from our first display on campus!
What has Jesus Christ done for you?

Working on our next Family History display on Campus!
Boxing on P-Day

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Spirit and Revelation

Temple Time
On Thursday we were able to go to the temple with Matt. He had prepared some names and was eager to go! 

It was so great as he got on Family History and started imputing his family's names. We would search an ancestor, find them, connect them to the tree, and BAM! His tree spread like wildfire! The spirit of Elijah was so strong as we huddled around his computer screen looking up his ancestors. He even found a line that went back to Adam and Eve!

He was hilarious each time he found someone who had passed away he got so excited... "Yes. Deceased!" He was so excited to baptize everyone and everybody! I think he prepared somewhere around 20 names just for baptisms.

It was late and so we had to return home but we told him, "Matt you gotta promise us that you're going to get your homework done and not stay up late doing this.Well of course he didn't keep his promise because he stayed up really late and the next day he told us that he thinks he found his new addiction! 

We are like his mothers. He never goes to class because he loves staying out on campus contacting and sharing the gospel with us. Its great... but at the same time we don't want his parents to get mad at him for failing school. So every time we ask him if he wants to come to a lesson we first have to ask, Do you have class? Because you can't come if you do!

It was a great experience and we took with us a member of our ward to go with us. However, she got terribly sick and started throwing up and so we had to leave early and take her back home. I wish we could have stayed longer for Matt and walk around the grounds afterwards but he was a good sport and I know that he will be able to go many more times. It was so awesome to see him do the work for his ancestors.

Power of Prayer
We had an appointment with a Chinese student at the Institute building. Through her broken accent and minimal English we taught her about our Heavenly Father and prayer. She does not believe in God but is curious about religion. We met her on campus while talking about prophets and handed her a Book of Mormon. We know were able to finally meet with her.

We started off with a prayer and it was the cutest thing. She clasped her hands and said, "So I'm supposed to do this? And this? (closing her eyes)

We talked about our relationship with Heavenly Father and just like we were talking to her right now and getting to know her, it is the same with our Heavenly Father. We just communicate with him through prayer.

At the end we invited her to say the prayer... and it was the sweetest. The spirit was so strong. 

"Dear god. This is Xi. I just want to know if you exist. Please let me know. Amen." 

It was the best experience ever and I hope that she was able to feel and identify the spirit in the room! We got her a book of mormon in Chinese so she will be able to better understand.

Come Listen to a Prophet's Voice
Conference was amazing! I sit on edge when listening to conference waiting for every word. The spirit is just so strong as they speak and testify of the Atonement and gospel of Jesus Christ. One thing that I was really impressed with this conference was how we can know the truth for ourselves as we ask in sincere pray and seek revelation and guidance through the Holy Ghost. As we study the scriptures, this is the way Heavenly Father can communicate to us. This should be our priority.

Saturday we watched both sessions of conference at the Institute building and had 4 non members there watching it with us. One of the Elders investigators, a kid named Patrick who we met on campus, Gabby, and Matt's Mom. It was really awesome and even though we were hoping to have more people there, the fact that Patrick came I think we could call it a success. We have been spending time on campus inviting and we have had so many great talks with people about prophets and the importance of having one on the Earth today.

Two scriptures that I found that were the most quoted and great council:

Helaman 5:12
And now, my sons, remember, remember that it is upon therock of our Redeemer, who is Christ, the Son of God, that ye mustbuild your foundation; that when the devil shall send forth hismighty winds, yea, his shafts in the whirlwind, yea, when all hishail and his mighty storm shall beat upon you, it shall have nopower over you to drag you down to the gulf of misery and endlesswo, because of the rock upon which ye are built, which is a surefoundation, a foundation whereon if men build they cannot fall.

Alma 5: 26
And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the songof redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?

Love Y'all!

Hermana Loo

Our General Conference boards...! 
Temple time with Matt 

With Norman the goat!
...and Norman just strolling through our kitchen

Grandma Loo came to visit!
Grandma Loo and Rochelle.