Monday, December 21, 2015

Hermana Sears, Faye, and Hermana Smith:)

Faye's Christmas cookies.  Even though she is just recovering from falling out of remission she couldn't let her friends, neighbors, the greeters at Walmart, or her dog's vet go without her annual Christmas cookies.

Thursday and Friday night all the 20 missionaries of our Chambersburg zone got to be a part of a live nativity.  It was amazing.  

Christmas as a missionary is amazing......

Well my official pday will be Thursday, Christmas Eve. But I'll tell
you a couple things that went on last week.
     Christmas as a missionary is amazing. We've had lots of service
opportunities every day this week. Tuesday night we went caroling in
Gettysburg square, Wednesday and Thursday we got to be a part of a
Christmas project at the food pantry where we work at once a week
normally. They gave Christmas to families and individuals who use
their food pantry. I got to help two families Christmas 'shop.' One
was a young couple with three young kids, and the other was a single
mom with one young girl. I was thrilled to help her, she was Spanish
     Thursday and Friday night all the 20 missionaries of our
   Chambersburg zone got to be a part of a live nativity, it was
amazing. The stake president put it on, and he went all out. We had
live alpacas, donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens, etc. I played one of
the Shepards. In the two nights, over 1,000 people showed up from the
area. We were surprised to see much of the Amish and Mennonite
community come. We reenacted it every fifteen minutes for two hours
both nights, and in between each one we talked to people. It's so
amazing how people's hearts are softened and everyone comes together
this time of year.
     Saturday sister smith and I hosted a zone activity in Hanover. We
went caroling to ten homes. Some investigators, Spanish and English,
and ward members. It meant so much to them. Brother Remmington just
got home from another month in an in patient physical therapy center,
so it was a nice welcome home for him. He is still progressing slowly.
We ended up at the Willoughby's house for dinner which Hermana 
Smith and I got stuck making for everyone. The Christmas gift cards from the
ward ended up going towards that. Haha.
     Sunday we sang in sacrament meeting together, and got to help
Hermana Yolanda with her family history work. Her husbands name is
ready to take to the temple!
     A little miracle, Tuesday while on exchanges with Sister wells,
we had literally walked for hours and hours trying people with zero
success. We had 15 minutes until we had to head back to exchange back,
but I kept feeling like we needed to try and see Faye. I tried to talk
myself out of it again and again, I knew she was sick, we had tried a
million times before. But when we went, they answered the door, and we
got to see Faye! In fact we've seen her three times since then!
     Faye is incredible. She has continued reading her scriptures
every single day through her illness. She is unlike anyone I've ever
met. Faye should have passed away 15 years ago but the doctors have
told her it is literally her positive attitude that has kept her
alive. She has three terminal illnesses, but if you talked to her you
would never guess. She is the sweetest person you could ever meet.
Even though she's just recovering from falling out of remission she
couldn't let her friends, neighbors, the greeters at Walmart, her dogs
vet go without her annual Christmas cookies. The best are the poodle
shape cookies she made in honor of her poodle service dog.(:
      Another interesting fact about Faye. The many hours we've spent
making Christmas cookies with Faye we've gotten to hear all about her
life story. Faye has worked with every big name in Hollywood you could
possibly think of. I'll just have to send her list someday, there's
too many to list. But she's so funny about it. The reason she made it
big was because she could always walk onto a set and never be star
struck by anyone. I'll have to send some pictures of her work, it's so
     We're just so happy to have Faye back. Who knows if she will ever
get well enough to go to church, but for now she's doing everything
she can be.
     This week we got a new secret weapon- an RM in the ward! Fresh
from the Pocatello Idaho mission. Let me tell you, RM's are
missionaries best friends. They're so socially awkward and wannabe
missionaries still that they're just dying to go out with you and
refer everyone and their dog to you. Anyway, we're loving the help. He
came with us to teach Faye this week, and instantly fell in love with
her as soon as he realized how amazing she is.
     We have been teaching more Spanish than English lately! It's
great. Laura and Juan are doing so well. We saw them last night and
they were so excited to tell us they had been reading and they've
always got a million questions. Last night we committed them to
baptism, and they said YES! They said "so they (their two girls) will
have to wait until they grow up?" I am SO happy I could die. They're
coming to a baptism the Gettysburg elders are having Saturday.
Honestly... I know I shouldn't get my hopes up. They haven't attended
church yet. The Spanish branch is in York, an hour away. Please pray
for their family!

I'm holding up okay since Hunter's departure. To be honest my
companion thinks I'm depressed. But I just need my time to mourn and
I'll be okay haha. It's been hard.

Merry Christmas, I love you! Thank you for all the Christmas wishes.
The church is true.

Hermana Sears

Monday, December 14, 2015

Just past half way this week!

Hey hey.

    I hit my halfway mark this week on the 11! Sooo crazy. Since Ididn't write last week I have a bit more to catch up on. This letteris going to be all over the place. First and foremost- Alivia andHannah's baptism! The day was great. So many people in the ward showed up, they had a lot of support. It's been so cool to see the ward get involved with their family and with missionry work. We had a lessonwith the girls three times a week for a month and each one was in adifferent members home, so by now they feel very much a part of thisward. The last one began like the first, at Bishop Bushey's After their baptism many came up to us asking if they could teach with us sometime. Win win. We made a little slideshow I will attach with some of their lessons with the ward that we showed at the baptism. Hannah and Alivia's mom is not a member, and she had a great experience.

     MLC in Pittsburg last week was amazing. Being back in downtown Pitt made me miss the east side- that will always be home- but it was a fun weekend. We stayed the night with the Clarkson's- the senior couple from England. They're hilarious. Elder Perkins from the seventy came and trained us. He is a really cool guy- he is in charge of all the social media for the church including The best part of having visitors at MLC is the Q&A we get to do with them at the end. Someone asked him how he manages to balance his calling as a seventy, his career- he works at the number one law firm in the world, and his family. It's kind of a miracle considering General authorities are traveling something like 48 out of the 52 weeks in a year for their calling. He read 3 Nephi 13:33 and stated simply that when you put the Lord first everything works out. 

As always... Tuesdays are my absolute favorite days. All in one day we get to see the Reid's, the Remmington's, and the Kerns. Those days help me put my own problems into perspective, I learn so much from them. It has become a weekly tradition to sing for June  before we go, and this week as we were leaving, after she listened to us, and we hugged her goodbye, she just said "I love you." My heart melted, haha. She is a lady of very few words, so it was so sweet. 
    We have been able to teach so much in spanish this week! I am in heaven. The hispanic people are just such a different culture- so kind and warm and friendly. It can also be a challenge figuring out which are actually interested and which are just being kind- they really can't say no! Haha. There is one family in particular I am very excited about. Laura and Juan. We taught them Friday night. We were on exchanges, and I was with an English missionary, so I translated for her- Sister Douglas. I absolutely love teaching in spanish. There is always such a different spirit as we teach in their language, we rely heavily, and sometimes solely on the spirit to guide us what to teach, and the words to say. This week I was thinking about my spanish three months ago, and four months ago, and nine months ago. I have been so so frustrated feeling like I was going nowhere, but I realized I had come a long way. The progression is very slow, but it is coming. I am nowhere near fluent, but I'll keep working. I have been translating the Book of Mormon from Spanish to English word for word since I have been out in the field, and that has helped a ton. Reading the scriptures in spanish and reading them aloud has helped me more than anything. 
    Anyway- Laura and Juan. We decided to read 3 Nephi 11 where christ comes to the people around the temple. They are just so sincere, they have been reading the Book of Mormon as a family- they have two little girls. As we were leaving Laura thanked us for coming and teaching their family, she said she is excited to learn more and they will be waiting for us to come back. It was so cool to be able to translate for Sister Douglas- the spirit came from her but the words came from me, you can't translate the spirit, but I know they felt it. This is the very reason Hermana Yolanda comes to church every single week even though she doesn't speak or understand any English. 
    The tricky part is that there is no spanish branch here, let alone a ward. There is ONE spanish branch in the mission. And like I said, it's attendance is struggling at about nine people right now. The branch is in Lancaster, which is north of me, where I think I will go next. But point is, if they come to church it will all be in english. It will take a lot of faith.. There is a possibility of us translating for them through headsets but I don't know if I am at that level yet to be able to. That's the problem with teaching Spanish in the states... I've got a lot of hope for this family though. 
    Sunday nights are up there with my favorite day of the week. It is the night Yolanda goes out with us to teach. We are still working on contacting our huge list of spanish referrals together. We met an amazing lady named Luz (spanish for light,) this week. She has so much potential, she is already living all the gospel standards including the word of wisdom- which is a miracle in PA and MUSIC to our ears, and is so ready. She just hasn't grown up going to church so it's the habits she's lacking. 
    We also got to teach Rodrigo and his family again this week. We had an awesome teamup- Courtney Baughman, an RM of one year from Brazil, and her fiance who she met in Brazil, Marcio. They both understand spanish but only speak portuguese. Marcio tries to speak spanish but I'd call it more Portunish- a mush of spanish and portuguese. It is so cool- whenever they talk to eachother I can understand everything! same roots. Portuguese is the weirdest sounding language, it's like drunk Spanish. But that's next on my list once I get spanish down. 
    Sunday night we also got to teach Mammaw with them- who happens to be Courtney's grandma. We taught about eternal marriage, and their added testimonies were so powerful- they have both lost parents in the last three years, and plan on being married in the temple in January, needless to say the temple is very important for them. Mammaw lost her husband three years ago, and until tonight she had not realized she could be sealed to him even though he has already passed away. She just cried, she had no idea, she thought it was too late. 

    It's been cool, we have met some new people by accident as we've contacted those referrals. One was Ken, the new resident in the home listed. We figured out it was not the guy we were looking for when he was an English guy, and started talking to him anyway. He told us it wasn't a good time, that his wife had just passed away. As he did, he just broke down and started weeping on the doorstep. We both couldn't help but cry watching him, and we were able to tell him we wanted to come back and tell him how he could see her again. It was on exchanges with Sister Douglas, but we both felt we should share something about temples- something that you wouldn't ever normally do on a first visit. I asked him if he remembered his wedding vows, when it said 'til death do us part.' At that point he said "yes and I always hated that, I always told me wife that I hated that. And now she's gone, and I'm heartbroken, I am never marrying again." We explained very briefly eternal marriage. We are going back to see him Saturday, but I've been thinking about him all week. The stranger who opened up to us like that, I cant even imagine what he's feeling. 
    Couple last things. We had zone conference this week, the best one of the year- December zone conference. All about Christmas. Sister smith and I sang Nearer my God to Thee in Spanish. We got to watch the PPM 2015 video. We're doing our best to fill our twelve days of Christmas with lots of service opportunities every day. So far it's full of caroling, food pantries, service for members, etc. It'll be a great Christmas. Christmas Eve we put together a singles Christmas Eve party for people in the ward who would be spending it alone, it'll be super fun hahah. Christmas Day we will be with the Atkinson's again where we were for thanksgiving, among others. (👇🏻Mi mama- Hermana Davis!) 
    I am warming up to this ward. Saturday night was our Christmas party, it was so good to go and be around them. I think they are warming up to me as well. Every time I see cute little Alivia in the halls she comes running up and gives me a big hug. Brother Cook, the first counselor in the bishopric just said 'a lot of people are really going to miss you when you go.' The ward surprised us by calling us up in front of everyone and having Santa give us presents hahah. It's a good ward. This picture is with the funniest lady in the world- granny. She's hilarious. Literally every time I go over to see her (She's sister sutherland's mom,) I just die laughing. 

    I am coming to love being an stl. After every exchange I feel like I've made a life long friend. I love that I get to know many more missionaries than I would normally. I have the chance to talk through whatever their struggles are and help them. Most of the time they just need someone to talk to about their comp that's driving them crazy, hahah but there have been times where I've felt I've been able to make a real difference in helping some with serious issues. And that feels just as important as the work I do with the people here. So although I spend much much less time working in my own area, I love my calling. 

    Last good news. This week we went to Faye's house to deliver her cards from the ward and by some miracle they answered the door! It was Christian her nephew and caretaker, but it was the first time we had been able to make contact with them in months. Later in the week we heard from Faye we may be able to go back and see her again. We would have to be scrubbed up and wear face masks because of her immune system, but I am so happy. I really hope to see her again soon. 

    Lastly, I wanted to give a special shoutout to my sweetheart.(: Hunter leaves this Wednesday for the Uruguay Montevideo mission. Keep him in your thoughts and prayers. You're going to make a one of a kind amazing missionary. I'm so proud of you Hunter, I love you. Te amo mi amor, hasta ver. 

Hermana Sears. 💜

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Turkey, Scum and Pythons....

Buenos Dias Familia, 

Happy Thanksgiving! How was everyone's week? I had quite the
Thanksgiving. First we woke up and went to the ward turkey bowl. Our
teams technique quickly became 'get the ball to Sister Sears' because
no one wants to two- hand touch a sister missionary. Hahah. My very
first time ever playing football.
We had two meal appointments that day. First we went to the
Atkinson's. They are the best. Sister Atkinson is a lot like me. The
meal was sooo good, everything was so pretty. Their daughter Ellie is
so cute. She is adopted, you can see the two temples above the dinner
table. The first where the Atkinson's were sealed and the second where
Ellie was sealed to them. She has quite the story. Just such a great
family. Sister Atkinson went all out, it was just us two and them
three, but she made sooo much food, and six pies.
And then..... To our next dinner appointment. We went to Becky and Mark, Jeremy's house. Mark is the cook of the house, and we had our second Thanksgiving meal. Not like the first, but so good! I love them! We ate then spent the rest of the evening playing scum. Mark was in the 'Scum' chair all night.

Lastly, we went to Mammaw's house. I haven't told you much about Mammaw, but she's basically my Pennsylvania grandma. She is a recent convert of about four months, and the sweetest thing. Unfortunately her daughter died five years ago, and her husband three. She was not invited to her living family's thanksgiving because of family issues, so she was going to spend it alone "with a hungry man TV dinner and football." She said she didn't mind it that way, but her tears said otherwise. We surprised her with a thanksgiving dinner donated by the Atkinson's, and spent the rest of the night with her. We go over every week and teach her about the gospel, and she teaches us about life.

I'm going to jump around a lot but Saturday morning was Tom Reid's "Tom Trot," or ALS walk. We couldn't support monetarily, but we wanted to be there to walk for them. It was a 5k, and he came the whole way in his chair. The Reid's are a special family. Each time we go over we feed him, and I leave feeling so grateful for the smallest things, like the ability to scratch my own nose.

Tuesday with the Kerns was the best visit yet with them. They are both from England and their home is packed full of beautiful China and crystal everything. They used to live in a "manner," basically a castle in England. We helped brother Kerns dust the display cases. As you know I've been looking for ways to interact with June more meaningfully. It's too hard just to see her sit in her chair silently. All I could think to do was sing to her.... So I did! I sang her a Spanish Christmas hymn. And I have never seen her so happy! For the first time, she looked up and smiled and spoke to me, and clapped when I finished. The rest of the night as we went to dinner she was all smiles. Tuesday's are always a highlight for me.

Saturday night FUE UN GRAN BENDICIÓN. Hermana Delma Yolanda Rosas Flores came out to teach with us! We received THIRTY FIVE referrals for Spanish families this week! We are so excited to get to contact all of them! It was so perfect having her there, she immediately broke the ice with everyone we met. And before we knew it, she and the people would be going off in Spanish way too fast for two greenie white girls to understand all about Mexico and this and that, it was awesome. One of the families we met that night was too cute. Rodrigo's family. They have two boys, 16-18, and two girls, 2 and 17. Such a fun family. We are going back to see them this week.
Hermana Flores will be coming out with us every week now, and nothing makes me happier. In the few hours we were with her in the car and walking around, I talked to her as much as possible. I feel like I learned more Spanish in those two hours than in the past six months of personal language study. There's just no supplement for speaking with native speakers. But in return for her help we will be doing her family history with her every week as well. It will be hard to do because lol the records will be in Mexico. But she has been waiting many years to do the work for her husband and be sealed to him.
Hermana Flores was just another testament of how important a member missionary work is. Like her, every member can connect with the people in a way that the missionaries can't. It may not be the language, but there is something that each member has that someone needs that the missionary can't offer.

This week two members who we have been working with forever to get back came to church! One was brother Malone. I've taught him every week since I've been here and could never find out what was keeping him from coming. So I finally decided to flat out ask him. And his answer.. His pants! All along he had no pants to wear. So... Being eager missionaries we promised him a pants miracle, that we could find some before Sunday. Brother Malone is a very small man. We found some pants and sister smith stayed up way too late Saturday night hemming them. She had to take like. Whole foot off the bottom, hahah. But, we delivered them Sunday morning and for the first time he came! Sometimes all you've gotta do is ask.
Sister Sutherland is another we've been working with forever. I did the same with her, and she just said she's too tired to wake up in the morning. So we called her Sunday morning and woke her up. Hahaha. And she came! It pays not to dance around the subject sometimes. It was a perfect day for them to come, I spoke in sacrament meeting. About missionary work. Surprise surprise.

Sunday during third hour we passed around paper and had everyone write a card or note for Faye. Though most of them haven't ever met Faye, she will now be getting a box of 100+ cards from the ward. The ones that came back from primary were my favorite.(: Sadly we still haven't heard from her. She still has no way to contact us. All we can do is pray hard. I suppose if it is meant to happen she will be able to be baptized.

There's my week! I wish I could include all our experiences but this novel's gotta end sometime.

Gracias por todo.
Te amo muchisimo. Besos,
Hermana Sears💜