Tuesday, May 31, 2016

This week is my proof that I am not at fault for my cheeks.....

May 30, 2016


     This week was a hot one. It was 86 the past four days, with 60%
humidity- which feels like 110. We were outside alllllll those days.
It was great haha. I've never sweat so much in my life. Also, the AC
in our apt does not work so our apt has literally been 90 degrees
every night hahah. Anyway, everyone is finally coming out of their
winter hiding places. We've been talking to so many people, and
getting a little color while we're at it.
     The best part of my week was a lesson we had with a woman were
teaching named Suzie. It was possibly the best lesson I've had on my
mission. I have been working on the mentioned changes (last week) as I
teach, and the difference was incredible. With each point we taught of
the Plan of Salvation, we pulled it straight from the Book of Mormon.
I know it sounds simple, but sometimes you get caught up being the
teacher, not the witness. She began asking where the verses were found
so she could mark them and share them with people she knew, and by the
end was explaining to us how the Book of Mormon clarified everything
she read in the bible, how she understood it's purpose, and knew it to
be true. The spirit really had given me just the counsel I needed.
     This week during our service with Fardowsa and her husband, the
Somalian couple, she shared a little more of her story with us. Turns
out she had to leave her mom, brother, and three other children in
South Africa in order to get out of the refugee camps. She's now
working on saving enough money to bring them here. Good news is, she
has learned enough English that she got a job working at in a hotel
kitchen! That was super cool.
     Yesterday was the one year anniversary of the Columbia Spanish
branch here. Both sides of the branch met together on our side. It was
a pretty long day- three hours of church, an hour baptism, an hour
dinner together after, and an hour of cleanup after. But, seeing the
branch all together was so great. Nothing better than a room full of
the people I love! Carlos got to meet lots of people in the branch and
really enjoyed the day.
     This week a family we've been working with since I got here have
finally chosen a date to get married so Yara (the mom) can be
baptized. It's been a very long process, but we're so happy for them.
They're a great family. Her daughter Guingy is a recent convert we
teach, and the cutest thing ever.
     Another happy moment of the week, we got to meet a family who
we've only seen once since I've been here. They moved here from Utah
less than a year ago, the wife has only been a member for a little
over a year. With the upcoming open house of the Philadelphia temple,
we were able to talk to them about preparing for the temple together.
They have two young kids and one more on the way. They are also my
best friends and sooooo cute.
     In zone training it was announced that all missionaries serving
in our stake will be able to attend the temple open house in
Philadelphia a day before it opens for the public with investigators.
Now I really can't get transferred in three weeks.....
     There aren't many options for what will happen this transfer
considering I and my two companions  are the last Spanish speaking
sisters in the mission, and Hermana Busath goes home in three weeks.
Either I will stay here for another transfer with Hermana Smith (which
will make four transfers together,) or we will both get doubled out
and elders will take over the area.
     Okay, back to it. So in Lancaster there are "community pianos"
everywhere downtown. Each one is painted super crazy and placed in
random places. There are dozens and dozens of them all over. This week
we stopped at one,  Hermana Smih played the piano, and Hermana Busath
and I sang Spanish hymns. It was a really cool way to talk to people,
and some people joined and sang with us. I love Lancaster.

Summary of my week is restored gospel= eternal families.
The church is true.

Hermana Sears

Ps... This week is my proof that I am not at fault for my cheeks.

#1- Typical Puerto Rican meal
#2- Colombian meal
#3- Dominican meal
#4- Cuban meal
#5- Mexican desserts

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

MY FAMILYYY (friends included),

     Sorry my updates have been lame lately. It seems like so much
happens but nothing lasts here haha. I know the value of planting
seeds, but some times it feels like I'm planting them on hard ground-
and they're just bouncing off. We're teaching plenty but no one seems
to be progressing, except Carlos. He's pretty great though. We've
started seeing him pretty frequently to help him retain what he reads.
     Haha I guess now that I've been out a while I've kind of started
feeling like the sister missionary who cries investigator. One week
I'll write about some amazing person or lesson and the next they've
disappeared haha. It's kind of left me not knowing what to write home
about anymore. Lol.
     I guess I had somewhat of a learning opportunity this week. We
had starting teaching a family of three, but after the second lesson
with them they dropped us, refusing to give it a chance. The idea of
Joseph Smith really turned them away. As we were walking away from the
lesson, and we were having our usual post lesson discussion about what
happened I started thinking. Had we been so preoccupied trying to
force them to open their minds to a modern prophet that we we
testified more of Joseph smith than of the Savior? It was definitely a
teaching moment for me- do I always have Christ on my lips? It has
since rewired my entire thinking process of how I will go about
portraying the restoration. In every point we teach, every doctrine,
every principle, it all goes back to Christ.
     Another personal goal I've been working on is teaching more
straight from the Book of Mormon- preach my gospel is good, explaining
yourself through testimony is good, but the Book of Mormon is the
primary source. It's effected my studies quite a bit, and as I teach I
am able to be a better witness of the Book of Mormon, not let the Book
of Mormon simply be a witness of what I am saying. And in doing so, I
find myself getting deeper and deeper in the scriptures. Reading about
men with such great faith, and in turn power, yet so much humility, is
humbling for me.

6 Wherefore, be of good cheer, and do not fear, for I the Lord am with
you, and will stand by you; and ye shall bear record of me, even Jesus
Christ, that I am the Son of the living God, that I was, that I am,
and that I am to come. (D&C 68)

Alright funny moment of the week. So Saturday morning we were asked to
help out at a 10K, and we were on the water station. There were some
people who were crazy intense who would grab the little cup out of
your hand so fast they nearly took your hand with them and basically
all the water would fly everywhere. So I decided to be funny and
imitate it while there were no runners around, so I grabbed the cup
from Hermana Busath's hand then ran around a corner and lost my
footing in some mud and fell, hard. Hahaha. Really hard. Ended up
giving myself two black knees and scraping the skin off my now
infected hand (yum.) Karma got me good.

Love you!
Hermana Sears

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

 This has been the first good week I've had in a while, haha. Lots
of good things happened this week. Someone told me this week for every
raindrop that lands on a sister missionary's nametag their future
spouse gets musclier. And for elders, their wives lose weight. I hear
it's been raining a lot in Argentina too, were gonna make a good
lookin couple.

     Starting with Monday night, we were down in an area we hardly
spend any time in, and it was getting late. We were going to try to
contact one more potential investigator and then head home. It was a
woman Hermana Landa and I had street contacted almost about a month
ago. I remembered the woman hadn't seemed incredibly interested, we
only spoke for a minute then she had to go but gave us her address to
come by one day. So we knock and a man comes out. We asked for Rosa,
and he said she was busy, but that he was a member of the church. Both
of our jaws dropped, haha. (Mind all you Utahns this isn't Utah. Our
attendance to the branch is about 30 people a week including
missionaries and we only have five or so less active members on our
records.) This really was a miracle! We sat down and started talking
to him, and wow. He was baptized three years ago, and has an
incredible testimony. He had moved into his cousin's house (Rosa)
after he and his wife divorced but never attended church and never
told anyone his address. He shared his conversion story with us, he
said that he knew we were his angels, that God had sent us to find
him, like He always has in his life. No question about it, we were
meant to find him. And for the first time ever, he attended the new
branch here in Lancaster on Sunday. It was fast Sunday, and he got up
and bore his testimony for the first time since he was baptized. He
shared how we had found him, how when we knocked he had said 'how did
they find me? I didn't tell anybody.' Haha. His testimony was so
powerful. He shared all of the things that had happened throughout the
week that could have stood in the way of him coming to church-
including his car's motor bursting into flames Sunday morning. But he
still came. He asked everyone to pray for him, but promised that he
was back, for good. The branch is in desperate need of leadership
right now- lacking a first counselor, secretary, elders quorum
president, and I feel like God hand picked him, haha. He is definitely
needed right now. He is so strong. At the end of our first visit with
him that night I felt so prompted to tell him that he was needed in
the temple, that he needed to start preparing. He has never been, so
that's his next step!
     We had an amazing week with Jose and Julia. The story behind
them... We started teaching their daughter Martina.... Then one by one
the rest of the family started joining when we would come- until we
were teaching Martina, her mom and dad, her husband, and her three
daughters. It was kind of crazy, trying to keep up with all of them
and assess the needs of each. Some would be in some lessons and not in
others. So last Sunday Jose and Julia showed up at church, and Jose
started asking questions, lots of them. We were shocked- he had never
said a word in any lessons, and we realized he was the only one who
had never missed a lesson. But in each one he would sit and listen
quietly and intently not saying a word. I guess we assumed he was just
being polite by coming or not interested. Tuesday night we went with
Hermana Mateo (relief society president) and had an awesome lesson
with them. Turns out Jose had met with missionaries in Santo Domingo
(Dominican Republic) before he came here five months ago but he never
mentioned it. But he said that nothing had come from it. Hermana Mateo
shared how though she joined the church later in her life, she too had
seen the missionaries many years before she joined- but they didn't
stop to talk to her. She said even if they had- she was 17 at the
time- she wouldn't have accepted the gospel then. Jose added that he
knew that when he previously met with missionaries before he knew it
wasn't his time then, but now is. He accepted our baptismal
invitation. Another one we were definitely meant to find.
     That same night we got in to teach a family that has never let us
in before. They moved here from Utah a few months ago and immediately
stopped coming. The wife was only baptized less than a year ago. We
had a real breakthrough with them, they committed to change. Another
     Carlos is still pretty sick.. He wasn't able to come to church
this week. He really wanted to be there. But he is still progressing
every day slowly. Prayers would be appreciated.(:
     This week we met some really cool new investigators. Rafael-
quite the character. Also ended up being quite the challenge to teach,
but if he opens his heart a bit he has so much potential. And Suzie-
we found tracting. Rarely do we find people, if ever, who in the first
visit understand so clearly the restoration. She was so excited to
read the Book of Mormon and pray about it.
     So we met this family last week that we've started teaching
English. They are Muslim- so we are not allowed to teach them. But
when we met Fardowsa, she let us in and I knew that there was
something we needed to do for that family. It was especially
difficult, and awkward the first time we went when we quickly realized
she didn't speak English and we certainly didn't speak Somalian, so we
just sat there trying to figure out what we could do. Somehow we
managed to ask if she wanted us to help with her English, and we've
been going back since. Turns out they arrived to the United States TEN
days ago from South Africa. We are trying to help her husband get a
drivers license so he can get a job- so we go over the booklet with
him, and practice reading and writing with her. It's pretty rough at
times, haha. He is a very serious, intense guy. But they are so
grateful. They have nothing- but the small house and few things in the
pantry that the government provided. They are refugees. It was so sad,
all they had was a bag of flour and a few misc. spices and a few other
things. They didn't understand what any of it was or how to cook or
eat it. He thought the flour was some kind of 'pottage.' So our next
things we want to do is try and figure out what we can help them cook
with what they have. Mom- maybe you could send a basic recipe for
     As I I was thinking about them, I remembered the talk given in
conference 'Refuge form the storm.' As I read over it again, it was
exactly what I see in this new young family. I had never realized that
there really are refugees in every community.
     "The Lord has instructed us that the stakes of Zion are to be “a
defense” and “a refuge from the storm.” We have found refuge. Let us
come out from our safe places and share with them, from our abundance,
hope for a brighter future, faith in God and in our fellowman, and
love that sees beyond cultural and ideological differences to the
glorious truth that we are all children of our Heavenly Father."

     This week I feel like my call was expanded- I felt like we were
really able to be led exactly to those who needed us- some who are
newly investigating, some, like Jose, some who are already members but
had been lost and needed found, and non members- like Fardowsa and her

     My nerves are growing every day as I await transfer calls.. A
whole week.. Let's just say I will be pretty disappointed if I do
leave. I've been so stressed out about it. However, I was given a
little reminder this week that no matter where I'm serving, in the
branch or not, my Spanish call is needed. Hermana Smith, my comp from
Hanover, sent me a video of Gino- the member from Peru we had found.
He was at a ward event of some kind speaking. He recounted his story
of being away for ten years, then the day we found him, and where he
is at now. It was bittersweet, he expressed his happiness in being
back but also his regret of how much time he had wasted. It is also
harder and harder the stronger he grows in the church knowing he
cannot raise his family with the blessings of the gospel. But he stood
up there and shared he was back for good, and never going back. Gino
is still working with our investigators Laura and Juan regularly.
Unfortunately they are unable to be baptized because they can't be
married without papers. But they are still attending church.. When the
time is right hopefully they be willing to make the sacrifice. It is a
big one, but an important one. It felt like a reminder to me that
there is so much good that can be done anywhere you go. That I wasn't
called despite the lack of many to teach in Spanish, but because of
the few that are out there waiting to be found.
     I am so unbelievably grateful to have the opportunity to work
with the most amazing people there are. I love my Spanish calling!

Love you!
Hermana Sears