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

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