Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Week 62 - December 31, 2013

iFeliz Ano Nuevo!...Casi :)

Where has this year gone?!  It is so weird to think that a year ago I was sitting in the mission home as a greenie excited to start real missionary work and wondering where I would be sent and who would be my companion.  The 31st is also my anniversary day for entering the MTC!  Wow so much has changed since then and mostly it has been me that has done the changing.  I wouldn't trade the experiences I have had as a missionary for anything in the world.  This year will always be one of the best years of and for my life.  I am sure that there will be many great years to come, but I don't think I will have a better year for my life.  I have been stretched, pulled, pushed and trained to become the person that I can become.

So Christmas in the field was different, but I loved it.  So let's start on Christmas Eve.  We went to Tucanos and I ate a chicken heart.  If only chicken heart was the weirdest thing I ate this year.  Hehe it was actually relatively normal.  Then we made the mistake of going to Walmart to do our food shopping.  It was a zoo!  We tried to be quick, but it still took forever with the lines.  You would have thought people would have been more prepared to make tamales or turkey instead of waiting until the last minute to swarm Walmart in a mad tamale-turkey frenzy!  We did make it out alive and that was basically our p-day.  Then for dinner we went with the Valdez family in our ward.  They made so much food!  But they also informed us that they didn't make very much and that we would be shunned in Mexico for eating so little.  (yeah I think we were still feeling tucanos...oops meat coma!)  It all tasted soooo good.  I especially loved the tamales.  Then for christmas morning we went over to the other sisters' apartment and we opened presents for exercise.  Stretch while you reach for the next gift...hehe yeah right.  It was fun.  Then we got to talk to our families on skype.  I was overwhelmed by all the babies!  Although they all are pretty darn cute!  Then we ate left over tamales for christmas day dinner and then we visited a few people and that was about it.  In Mexico they celebrate christmas eve a lot more than christmas day.  They wait up until midnight and open all their presents and then Christmas day is a lazy recovery sort of day.  It was a really nice christmas.

So transfers are next week!  I can't believe how quickly they keep flying by.  My twin, Hna Bills, goes home in less than a week!  Crazy!  We have decided that we need to pick a day and we are going to dress like twins.  Randomly we have several of the same shirts and skirts, so now we just have to decide which we want to choose.  I think what's crazy about her leaving is I have always measured my mission by her mission because I met her on my very first day on the ride down to Las Cruces in the transfer van.  Now that she is going home, it's one of those slight freak-out moments where you are like "wait! You're done?! That's impossible!"  It's been fun getting to serve around her.  We've probably spent the most time that is possible without actually being companions.  What else is new?  One of the Assistants to the president is going home this transfer and like i've been saying for the past 4 transfers Elder Taylor is now the new assistant.  When he left Mount Franklin he was sad that he wouldn't get to speak as much spanish in his group up in santa fe and now he gets to speak no spanish at all in an english singles ward.  I think I'll stick to my spanish wards and enchiladas.  Yum!

So one thing I have noticed here in ABQ is that basically every single house or fence has a "Beware of Dog" sign.  I think I saw more dogs in El Paso, but I have seen more signs here.  Loco!  Anyway, so I had a dream two nights ago and I was walking up this street and I was passing by all of the Beware of Dog signs when I came upon a different type of sign.  It said "Beware of Rattle snakes"  I was like that is so clever.  Who needs pit bulls when you just fill the front yard will rattlesnakes.  The only problem was as we were walking by the fence the rattlesnake went through the slats that a pit bull can't get through and bit me!  So then I spent the rest of the dream going to the hospital and wondering how I was going to explain to president Miller that I couldn't work this week because I didn't heed the "Beware of Rattlesnake" sign good enough.  Desert dreams!

We are teaching some really wonderful people right now.  We have this new family that we found talking to people out on the street and what's interesting is they are only visiting their mom/gma for the holidays and are returning to Belen in a few days.  The interesting part is that the spanish sisters in Belen (one who happens to be Hna Mitchell!) met this same family about a week before we did.  It is a very small world sometimes.  We've been having fun teaching them and the kids are the cutest things ever!

Probably one of my favorite people here is a recent convert named Soledad.  She was baptized the week before I got here.  They had found her 3 weeks before that at a bus stop and she basically asked the sisters when she could be baptized.  Soledad is a firecracker!  She is in her 70's but don't let that fool you.  She says the funniest things and she is just awesome.  She owns the crazy cat that growls when she is sitting on your lap, but won't move.  She'll just bite you until you leave her alone, so she can go back to sleeping on your lap.  Yesterday the cat was in a mad battle with my keychain and wouldn't let us leave because she had a death grip on the keys!  We had a really touching lesson with Soledad yesterday when we talked about temples.  She started to cry when we talked about eternal families and how she could be with her mom and dad again.  The spirit was really strong and it's one of those moments in the mission when you think, "This is why we do it."  We leave everything behind and come to a place where we don't know anyone often thousands of miles from home and have good days and bad days.  We hit the pavement with blisters or sore rear ends (if you ride a bike) in blistering heat or freezing cold.  We talk to hundreds of people and more often than not we get rejected, but we do it to help the one.  We do it, to sit in a lesson and feel the spirit testify to someone that they can be with their family forever.  There is nothing greater than the life of a missionary.  I thank my Father in Heaven every day for this chance I have to serve him and helping him to "bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man."

I hope everyone has a wonderful new year and that we all take a little time to remember all of the wonderful blessings which Heavenly Father has blessed us with this past year.

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Week 61 - December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas!  Feliz Navidad!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!  I know I am.  Actually Christmas came early this year.  We received a call yesterday and we are now sporting a new chevy cruz!  It makes the poor malib look like chopped liver!  Pobrecita!  We are excited to be able to visit more people now and really kick things up past 6 gear!  hehe  We still will ride the bikes during the day, but it will be nice not to freeze at bus stops at night.  This past week the bus didn't come once so we ended up waiting another 45 minutes until the next bus came, so we could go to the ward christmas party.  It will also be a nice change for my feet!  Even my blisters have blisters now!  Oh well...Shall we not go on in so great a cause? 

Sunday was nice.  We had a christmas program with lots of music.  I don't know what has changed since being on a mission, but I feel like I am being repeatedly dragged outside my comfort zone for music during church.  First playing the piano and now singing duets in sacrament meeting!  A sister noticed me singing alto for the Relief society choir so she asked me to sing with her a christmas song.  I agreed because I can do alto, but then when she told me how she wanted us to sing it, she had me starting out singing soprano with a solo!  I nearly died of fright!  Give me a room full of people to talk to about the gospel any day but ask me to sing is a whole another matter.  Well luckily I think it went well and from what people told us it sounded nice, but I don't know if we can trust them with all the christmas spirit and niceness floating around. :)

Wow this is kind of a short letter.  This week went by so fast.  We have been teaching some really wonderful people, so that is always a bonus.  I am excited to let you all know about christmas next week.  We have some fun plans including all of us missionaries heading to Tucanos for christmas eve lunch today!  Yumm!  Well be safe!  I love you all!  Feliz Navidad!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

The new 2014 Chevy Cruz
Christmas Eve Lunch at Tucano's

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Week 60 - December 17, 2013

Querida Familia!  Amigos! 

How is everybody doing?  I am doing great!  Especially since it has gotten a little warmer in ABQ and I am not an icicle anymore!  Yay!  We are looking pretty good on our bikes.  We were riding with the other sisters to dinner on Sunday and these two extreme bikers with the outfits were riding by and I said "Yeah that's how good we look too!" (Yeah right)  hehe As long as I don't look completely ridiculous on a bike I am happy!  I am getting pretty good at mounting and dismounting in a skirt.  Plus we get to talk to lots of people.  Strange things happen here though.  Just the other day we were headed to dinner and we see these two cowboys riding their horses in downtown ABQ going to Sonic!  I wish I had gotten a picture, but they didn't turn out. :(  Maybe they'll want another half price shake next week too!

Well just when I think I won't have a roach story to tell, one magically appears.  I made it all the way through the week until yesterday.  We were sitting in this new lady's house and I saw one walking across the floor and so I smashed him with my foot.  The lady said they had lots of roaches and I told her that I understood completely.  So we continue talking to her and not more then 5 minutes later I feel this crawling on my hand and I looked down in horror to see one walking on my hand!  That was a first!  Ok I shrieked a little and flung it away, but I was proud that I didn't totally scream and jump.  Just a little one. :)  I now have a cockroach sling slot (thanks Stephanie) so watch out little buggers I'm gonna get you!

We are having success finding people because we have made a goal to talk to as many people as we can each day.  We are meeting lots of wonderful people, but we have also had some interesting experiences.  Actually just yesterday there was this elderly lady walking down the street and she kept stopping and she was holding a bag.  So we flipped around and turned the corner to go ask her if she needed help.  I saw her ahead and she had just done one of her stops.  I pulled up next to her and I asked if she needed any help and she just stared at me.  She gave me a kinda a creepy stare.  I asked in spanish because maybe that was the problem.  She didn't say anything and kept staring, so I told her to gave a great day and I started to bike way.  I had hardly gone two paces when she gave this super loud piercing scream and I looked back and she was staring at me and screamed at me to get away from her.  My poor companion had been behind her and she just looked afraid.   We left, but it was really weird. I didn't expect that reaction.  As I was pondering on this experience it made me think of people in the scriptures and church history and the mobs that had intense hatred for people for doing nothing wrong.  Even the Savior of the world was mocked and crucified.  I am nowhere near the caliber of those people in the scriptures, but I am proud to wear His name and withstand a little bit of unpleasantness that others too have felt in his behalf.

Last week we had zone conference and Elder Foster of the Seventy came.  It was awesome!  I am feeling inspired and uplifted!   So they always do car inspections first and we just got to socialize and not have to feel guilty when they had to tell other missionaries to get back to work.  Maybe in the future they will do bike inspections.  That might be good, although I am getting pretty good at fixing a bike and the best thing about living in an old elders apartment is all of the tools that we have.  Like WD40. What sisters apartment would just randomly have some of that stashed away when you need it?!  So thanks Elders!  Back to zone conference.  Elder Foster talked about missionary work!  Surprise!  He talked about where missionary work is heading and how we are a partnership with the ward.  He talked about the different phases of missionary work.  Phase one: Missionaries doing work.  Phase 2 members helping missionaries.  Phase 3 missionaries helping members do missionary work!  Right now the majority of the units are in phase one or two, but when we all catch the vision together and realize that every member has a responsibility to share the gospel, we will get to phase three and the Lord will pour out his blessings upon us!  It's important to see that missionary work isn't just the theme for this month or this year, but is going to be continue to a central focus and you can bet the apostles and prophets will continue to talk about it's importance.  So go help your missionaries!  We need you!

The other point that really stood out to me was during Sister Foster's talk.  She used the phrase "I can do hard things."  Ever since I went to Philmont at the end of my senior year, that has been a little bit of a recurring theme that has popped up in school life and here on the mission.  It was just in brief passing, but it felt like the Lord included that just for me.  I know the Lord knows each of us.  Missionary work is one of the most rewarding, but it can also be one of the most challenging things.  You have good days and bad days.  You have cockroaches and old ladies that love you or scream at you in street.  I have been stretched and pushed to my limit on various occasions, but that's what life's about.  It's about growing and learning, and I know the Lord doesn't give us anything that we can't handle.  He gives us experiences and trials to help us become who we are meant to be.  I want you to know that I know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ and that He is the head of this great work.  This time of year we should all spend a little less time thinking about ourselves and more time thinking of others and most importantly our Savior Jesus Christ. 

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

PS
Pellet is enjoying his transfer north!  He likes doing exercises in the morning with us!


Pellet Exercising

Sisters on bikes...

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Week 59 - December 10, 2013

Buenas Tardes Familia!

Ok so it's been fun getting into the swing of things up here, but I think I am getting our area down pretty well.  At least I don't feel lost anymore. :)  We are pro's at getting on and off the bus and we can even do it with our bikes.  That always seems to draw attention to itself.  We are friends with all the bus drivers and they always like to comment on the bikes.  It's good being friends with the bus drivers because one night when we were waiting for the sisters to come pick us up to take us to dinner they were late about 30 minutes and it was freezing outside.  A bus driver was waiting to start his route and he came over and talked to us for a minute and then said I have 10 minutes before I leave and you can go sit on my bus.  Well he didn't need to ask twice we were on that bus lickety split to get warm.  Yay for little blessings.

As I have already mentioned it is really cold and we actually got some snow this past week.  That's ok because people take pity on the cold sister missionaries and let us inside to warm up a bit.  We did see some strange sights including a cactus with snow on it.  You don't see that everyday.  I'll include a picture for you to enjoy. 

I am not sure what it is about me that attracts cockroaches, but I've got a good story for you.  So we are teaching this man named Oliver and his family.  He has lots of questions, but he really wants to know the truth, so it's fun teaching him.  Anyway we decided to watch the Joseph Smith movie.  Just before we started it there was a knock at the door and it was the apartment manager telling them that they would be coming in tomorrow to spray.  I should have known that didn't bode well.  Anyway I was sitting on the edge of the couch closest to the wall and near the start of the movie I see this little black shape creeping along the wall.  Sure enough cockroach.  I would know those creepy crawlers anywhere.  So I do my best to ignore it and we are all watching the movie.  At one point the little kid plops a kitten on my lap so I am petting the kitten.  We are probably about 3/4 through the movie when I see him crawling on my armrest right next to my coat and scarf.  I move a little bit and I loose track of him in the couch!  So now I am slightly freaking out because I don't want to distract from the movie, but I am having these horrible images of him crawling in my coat and hitching a ride home with me.  If I had been quick enough I would have sicked the kitty on it, but I was given instructions by Katherine Hatch to stop feeding cockroaches to cats because that's gross! Hehe  Well the kitty was no help and I am squeezed as close as I can get to my companion trying in vain in the dark to locate this cockroach.  After about 5 minutes of unpleasantness I see him walking towards my face on the back of the couch and I steeled my nerves, took aim and I flicked that cockroach as hard as I could off the couch without making a single noise.  Win!  I saw him (or at least I think it was him) Crawling along the back wall near the christmas tree a little while later.  I must be a cockroach whisperer and they are just drawn to me!

We are still working on finding lots of new people.  We have been going through the area book and finding people to stop in and see if they are interested in taking the lessons again.  The good thing is that we are teaching, just not as much as I would like.  Hopefully things will keep picking up and we will have some people start progressing towards baptism.  We are working with one kid named Cesar, but he hasn't ever come to church and that is key.  Hopefully, he will come this Sunday.  He didn't come this past sunday because of the snow...grrrrr.  ABQ is just like Washington where everything shuts down for a little sprinkle of snow.  Oh well.  It doesn't look like there is any more snow in the forecast so that's good.  Hopefully we will stay a little bit warmer.

We are excited because this coming week because we have a Seventy coming for our Christmas Zone Conference on Saturday.  We are all really excited to hear what he has to say.  Plus Zone conference is always amazing, so it's for sure going to a good one.  Well that's about it for this week.  We are going to try and head over to old town with what's left of our P-day and see what's there.  When we accidentally tracked into that street it looked really cute, so we'll see!  I love you all and hope to hear from you soon!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Snow on the cactus
Sisters in Rio Grande ward all wore purple
Hot air balloon mural

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Week 58 - December 3, 2013

Buenas Tardes Familia!

Well it's official! I am now serving in the New Mexico Albuquerque mission (instead of what seemed like the El Paso, Texas mission) and I am right in the heart of downtown Albuquerque.  If there is one thing I have learned about missions it's that the Lord doesn't let you get comfortable.  He will jerk you again and again outside of your comfort zone and make you grow a little bit more.  Well I'm growing again as I conquer my fears of a big city...again.  Really, wasn't El Paso downtown enough? :)

Well about two weeks ago Hna Fallentine and I were talking and I made the mistake of wondering what would be harder...riding a bike in 115 during the summer or 15 during the winter.  Well we all know the Lord has a sense of humor and I'll let you know as soon as I have decided.  Yep that's right.  Good missionaries get put in bike/car share areas, but awesome missionaries get put back in full bike areas.  Yay!  I can eat all the Christmas food I want and not feel guilty at all!  Wahoo!

Ok so let's see.  A lot has happened this week.  On Tuesday we were at the transfer site at around 10am.  I just happened to drive the Zone leaders truck up.  They have this little hamster named Pellet in the truck that sits up front with a button that says ask me why I am awesome.  Well I just couldn't resist.  So I had Hna Biancardi write a little note that said "Dear elders I am being transferred north.  Love Pellet.   PS sisters rule!"  :)  So I was all about getting into the transfer van quick before the elders noticed he was missing and came and hunted me down.  It actually was just perfect.  We were sitting at the stop light, them in their truck about to head south and us in the van about to head north, and they looked over and pellet waved goodbye to them.  The looks on the elders faces' was priceless.  The entire transfer van was rolling in laughter.  I think I might have to ransom pellet for an amor por juarez sticker.  I never got one of those.  So Pellet is currently enjoying his first transfer up north.  He was pretty excited to ride a bike too!

Hermana Bills and I both came up north and we are serving in...are you ready for this...RIO GRANDE.  Yep I am serving in Rio Grande again.  Hehe.  Actually this ward was mentioned in conference about a year ago.  It's like a really awesome ward, so I am excited to work!  My new companion is Hermana Gubeli.  She is from Gunnison, Utah and she'll be 21 in January, so not too much of a young'un.  We are getting along great and I think we'll have a lot of success together.  The only down side about my new area is the apartment.  Elders had lived in this apartment for who knows how long and it has been slightly abused.  I believe we should make things better when we leave then when we came, so we are going to make sure that the next sisters who come won't even realize Elders had lived there. We have cleaned and scrubbed and got rid of the ugly bench press and overall have made our apartment a little nicer.  We are still working on the interesting smell that accompanies the apartment.  It makes me think of the movie Tangled where he tells her to take a big whiff and overall it just smells like the color brown.  :D  Well if it's not roaches it's something else.

Thanksgiving was really nice.  We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner.   We actually were able to visit a few people which was good.  It was pretty low key overall and really just felt like another day as a missionary.  The best part is taking the time to remember all of the blessings we have been given.  I am always amazed at all of the little blessings the Lord has given me and I know there are so many blessings that he has given me that I don't even know of.  Hopefully we can all remember to take a little time to ponder on the wonderful gifts that we have been given in this special time of year.  Love you all!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Pellet in his new bike area

New companions

Can she really get it to go that fast?

Monday, November 25, 2013

Week 57 - November 25, 2013

Buenas Tardes Familia!

Ok so it has finally come.  I am being transferred and I am going up north.  I have no idea where I will end up or who will be my companion, but I know that it is going to be good.  I know that the Lord has something special planned up there, but it is so hard to leave El Paso.  It has become my home for this year and I will be sad to say goodbye.  So I do know the Lord has a sense of humor - he left me in 115 degree weather on a bike in El Paso and I bet I'll end up in a bike area in the north end of the mission in -15 degree weather with 2 feet of snow!  I guess I have to wait until tomorrow and see!  Who knows what will happen?!

So I think to get me ready for the change, El Paso decided to go crazy!  It went from 75 and sunny on Thursday to 40 degrees on Friday!  Needless to say I'm freezing!  So I think you might need to send me those extra winter clothes!  With the cold, the worst part is the wind.  The wind is horrible down here!

Actually I have a really funny story about the wind.  On Friday morning we are headed out to district meeting.  My hands are full of scriptures and stuff.  I was also holding onto my Restoration DVD in the little paper package.  We were planning on showing it to one of our investigators that night.  Well, we walk down the steps and in all my life I have never had anything ripped from my hand by the wind, but just as I got down the steps the wind ripped my dvd completely from them!  So then I think ok it's just going to blow a little bit and then stop...right? Wrong!  It starts blowing away!  We of course start chasing it and then the CD busts from it's paper case and it starts spinning like a mad wheel and then disappears!  We are like where in the world did it go.  I walk around the rock wall in between the fence there are rocks and grass and I find my dvd laying there on the ground.  Sadly my dvd was busted and we both agreed that it was Satan's wind trying to stop us showing that movie because it is so powerful!  Well, we one upped him because my dad is inspired and he sent me two copies!  Haha so take that evil wind!

Let's see what else happened this week.  In trying to help my companion overcome her dislike of all animals I made her help me save a bird this week.  It was just chillin in the middle of the road and I thought maybe it was hurt.  I didn't want it to be hit, so we flipped a u turn and went back.  I brought a plan of salvation pamphlet with me to scoop it up, but wouldn't you know when we went to put the pamphlet under it he flew away!  Seriously - if you could fly all along, what were you doing in the middle of the road?!  I also tried to get her to kiss a Chihuahua, but I didn't succeed in that front.  Oh well.  There is plenty of time after the mission to help her with her love of animals!  Oh I am also including a  picture of what missionaries do when we need the young women to come out with us but they decide they want to sleep instead!  Hehe ok so this was a reenactment, but I actually did pull her out of bed a few weeks ago when she forgot that she had said she would come with us, but was sleeping when we went to pick her up!

I don't like the cold weather because everyone hides indoors and the ward activity we have been planning for a month wasn't very well attended.  It was really good.  We watched Ephraim's Rescue.  If you haven't seen it I would recommend it.  It is a good movie.  It made me want to be better and always be ready when the Lord needs me.

So when we woke up on Sunday there had been a tiny bit of snowfall the night before.  The roads weren't horrible at all, but you would have thought the blizzard of the century was going!  Hehe people who can't drive in "frost". ;-)  We were meeting on of our investigators at her house and then she was going to follow us to the church.  She is a super cute old lady and she nearly turned back on the stairs because it was a little icy.  We were determined though.  We knew the roads were fine and she needed to come to church!  So she followed us the whole way and we laughed because we had a little Lourdes tail. :)  She loved church, so it was good thing she braved the weather.

As for me it was a hard Sunday.  This ward is like my family.  I have been here for so long that it was really hard to say goodbye to all of them.  One sister gave me the scarf she was wearing as a little goodbye gift and that pushed me over the edge and I started to cry.  They are such generous people and it has been a pleasure to serve in Rio Grande.  The only upside about being transferred is there is no way I will mention that I can badly play piano top handed!  So I think my piano playing days in the mission are over!  Whew!

One fun person that I went and saw before I left was a lady named Stella.  We started teaching her, but since her grandson doesn't speak Spanish we had to give her to the English Elders.  She is doing great.  She has a baptism date for the first part of January.  She is amazing.  We found her outside just watering her lawn.  The Lord really put people who are ready for the gospel in our paths.  I can't wait to hear more about what happens to her.

Ok well I love you all!  We have lots to do before transfers tomorrow!  I know that the Lord has a plan for me and I am excited to find out what it is!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

The broken DVD

You know you want to kiss it!

Wake up and come with us!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Week 56 - November 19, 2013

¡Buenas Tardes Familia!

How is everybody doing?  Hopefully everything continues to go well.  I appreciate all the love and support and especially the prayers that I am receiving, so thank you!

So this is the last week in the transfer and I have no idea what is going to happen next week.  I actually have a fear for serving up in ALBQ now.  I am an El Paso missionary, so I'm not sure I could handle it up North (especially the cold...I wear scarves in 70 degrees now. :) )  We find out Saturday what is going to happen.  Both Hna Fallentine and I are dreading if we have to leave our area, but maybe we can stay together.  That would be awesome.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and our Birthdays!  Plus I don't know how it will work emailing next week because if we are being transferred on Tuesday depending on where we go we might not have time to email.  It might be a crazy day!

I probably should stop telling you cockroach stories because I am pretty sure none of you want to live in Texas anymore, but hey why not one more.  I think I am just blessed to have such a great relationship with the little buggers and I think I have been specially trained to lock in on their locations.  In good news we haven't had any roaches in our apartment.  However, I went on an exchange with some English sisters and we were visiting someone.  When we walked in, the lights were dimmed and we all had a seat.  Then after about 5 minutes or so the lady turned the lights up (probably so we could read something) and then I saw him...and he was HUGE!!!!!!  Probably top 2 or 3 biggest roaches I have seen on my mission.  He was just lying on the floor on his back and I had to stop myself from gasping.  Then because who can't sneak glances at something like that, I watched as he would slowly move his legs up and down.  At one point he started madly kicking and I was planning my escape route if he managed if right himself up, but luckily he just stayed where he was.  So I am not sure why, but wherever I am cockroaches follow.

So we pulled up to our apartment one night and we saw this big old tumbleweed just sitting in front of our parking spot.  So naturally I had to have a picture with it.  It's like half my size!

The real reason why Hermana Fallentine and I are afraid about transfers right now is because our area is doing so good!  We have been teaching a ton of lessons these past two weeks to lots of news too!  Here are some of the highlights of our missionary week.

First off we were doing some Sister stuff and we were on the other side of the mountain, and we were hungry so we decided to stop by Conchita's bakery.  I thought that maybe Chelo would be there, but I didn't think anyone else would, but Conchita was there too.  We were able to say hi to all of them and give them big hugs.  Great news!  Chelo was baptized in Juarez about a month ago with her niece Griselda.  I was so excited to hear that because Hermana Mitchell and I had started teaching her, but because she lived in Juarez over the weekends we referred her to the Elders down there.  It was such a special little blessing to get to hear that she was baptized.  Plus they loaded us up with a ton of pan dulce, which we happily munched on the rest of the week.

Then on Saturday we were looking in the ward directory for people that we didn't recognize to go and visit and so we started trying to contact people.  None of the people that were on the list actually lived there.  We had so many strange encounters to half shut doors, to slightly rude people, to the person had passed away 5 years ago, to wait a second this is the home of one of our investigators.  Every time we got back into the car Hna Fallentine and I just laughed because we couldn't believe that the day could be any crazier, but apparently it could.  It makes everything so much better to have a companion that just looks on the bright side with you and says "well who's next?!"

We have 4 investigators right now with a lot of potential.  One is a sweet older lady who has lost her purse with all her credit cards and papers, but still wants to listen and to learn about the gospel.  Then we found a less active member who has her 15 year old nephew living with her who is not a member, but really wants to learn more and is praying about being baptized.  Then last night we had a lesson with a lady and her two daughters (10 y 8)  We shared the story about Joseph Smith and then committed them to pray about Joseph Smith and ask God if this was Christ's true church.  We originally asked the mother, but then she told her daughter to pray.  This little 10 year old girl offered one of the sweetest prayers I have ever heard and just simply asked if this was true and for God to enlighten their minds.  After the prayer we asked her how she felt and she just started to cry and said she felt real good.  Then her mother started to cry too.  We had visited them two weeks ago and they said they could only meet on Monday, but after that prayer they really wanted us to come back on Thursday.  The spirit really does soften people's hearts and the Lord really does answer a sincere prayer.  Loren is doing great.  We had an excellent lesson with her last night with some members from our ward.  They all were able to share their own experiences and the spirit was testifying to each of us during that lesson.   Loren told us that about week ago she was praying about whether or not to be baptized when all of the sudden a memory of when her Grandmother was baptized into the LDS church entered her mind.  She said she had basically forgotten that memory until right at that moment.  She knows she needs to be baptized and I am pretty sure that she will  in this coming month.  She has some fears, but everyone experiences those, so she just needs to hang on to the good feelings and know that she is receiving an answer.  When she told the story of her grandmother she also told how she had passed away.  That brought to my memory the very first lesson Hermana Cruz and I had with her back in January when I was a brand new missionary.  We were teaching the plan of salvation and through that entire lesson I felt as if someone was sitting next me.  I don't know for sure, but maybe that someone was her grandmother.  This whole experience has been a real testimony builder to me that there are seen and unseen forces at work and that this is no ordinary work.  This is the work of Salvation and this is the work of our Savior.  I love y'all!  Have a great week!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Katie's tumbleweed...

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Week 55 - 12 November 13 (11-12-13)

Hola!

This week was filled with lots of different service opportunities.  Our first was our greenhouse and grubs.  We are helping build a greenhouse.  It is putting all of my building skills to the test.  After about an hour we were getting really frustrated because we could not figure out how to attach the screws to the frame and they sure weren't staying up by themselves.  So in the beginning we just ignored those pieces and decided to move on.  Then all of the sudden we realized that we weren't going to get anywhere until we figured it out.  In frustration I said ok that's it we are not doing another thing until we figure out how this works.  Just then like inspiration from heaven...  We picked up the screw and slid it into the frame and figured out how it was suppose to work.  Well then we couldn't help but laugh at how easy it was and how silly it was for us not to have figured out for so long!  But now we have, and our greenhouse is coming along nicely.  Then we started dropping bolts on the ground so we needed a magnet to find them, which was provided.  However, as I held out my hand to catch the bolts the member also dropped in 2 huge grubs!  I screamed so loud I am pretty sure the people in Mexico was wondering what was going on.  Oh yeah all the other missionaries got a kick out of that one.  Nasty creepy crawly things.  Just when you think you have the cockroaches under control - grubs! 

We also helped a sister in our ward move.  It was a lot of lifting and carrying and we had to get creative in order to keep our copies of the Book of Mormon with us...more on that in a minute.  My personal favorite for the service this week was the Great Chihuahua rescue!  So last Monday we were driving to our next appointment when I saw this Chihuahua walking down the sidewalk.  It was wearing a collar but no one else was around.  We passed it and then I said "Hermana did you see that dog?"  Hna Fallentine paused and then said "You want to help the Chihuahua don't you?"  Of course!  So we flipped a U-turn and proceeded to park, so we could help the Chihuahua.  To my companion's credit she doesn't like dogs, but was still willing to help the little guy out.  Well the little guy turned out to be a little bugger.  The dog is walking next to this complex that has a big fence on one side and then the street on the other.  The dog is in and out of the road.  We start to walk towards him calling him and he takes one look at us and the "missionaries are enemies to all dogs" kicks in and he grabs this chicken bone and starts to run.  He runs back into the street and nearly gets hit by a truck as we are frantically waving our arms to have him stop.  The dogs runs into the complex and we follow him.  We start stalking him through the cars and he is munching on a chicken bone.  Hello?!  Dog don't you know that's bad for you?!  So we start trying to circle him and we are nearly successful until he sees us and that sends him into full panic mode and he bolts off and then you have the two sisters in skirts with bags chasing after him.  He runs back into the street and he nearly gets hit two more times before we can get him to run back inside the complex and then all of the sudden he freezes and we hear someone calling and he booked it so fast to his owner.  She had lost him and was looking everywhere for him, so at least we were able to help him find his owner.  We were a little bummed we never caught him, because it would have been a great way to start a conversation.  "Hey is this your Chihuahua?  No?  Well we're missionaries..."  So in the end we got to serve and we got a little extra exercise.

In other big news, I colored my hair for the first time.  Hna Fallentine and I decided that the El Paso sun had done a number to our hair, and we wanted to fit in more with our culture.  So now I have dark brown hair.  All of our investigators approve and say we look much more "Mexicana" now.

Since it was the first Thursday of the month we headed up to ALBQ for MLC (Mission Leadership Council).  It's always an adventure driving up.  So the Elders drive a mini van up to ALBQ because it is the only vehicle big enough to carry all 6 Elders.  At one point we were following the Elders and we sent them a text that said.  "Hey mom slow down we can't keep up...oops sorry we got confused our mom's drive mini vans!"  hehe  Well we have to entertain ourselves some how on the 4 hour drive up to ALBQ.  This time we actually stopped in New Mexico's diamond of the desert, Elephant Butte for dinner.  A member fed us and it was really yummy.  Basically the whole drive Hna Fallentine and I listened to primary songs in Spanish.  We got really good at the chorus to follow the prophet after the 12th verse!

MLC was wonderful as always.  I always feel so inspired to be a better missionary and get back to El Paso and get to work.  So for Zone training Hermana Fallentine and I gave a Book of Mormon training.  We talked about what a powerful tool the Book of Mormon is and that combined with the spirit it is the most powerful tool in conversion.  It is the evidence of the restoration and everything we teach rests on whether or not the Book of Mormon is true.  So our challenge this week is to keep the Book of Mormon within arm's reach at all times.  We can't have it in our bags either.  It has already made a difference and we are seeing lots of opportunities to talk about the Book of Mormon that we wouldn't have otherwise.  So back to the moving.  We had to be creative in carry couches and boxes and still having our books with us. :-)

Funny note.  I think it was Friday night we collapsed into bed and apparently, like the drama queen I am, I said "Hermana I have never been so tired in my entire life!" Hna Fallentine just busted up laughing because it wasn't even that long of a day, but apparently I had never been more tired. I think what happens is that every day we get home I just can't believe how tired I am.  Well the Lord always blesses us that we can carry on!

So our little miracle for the week was that we were finally able to find Lorenza at home again.  We haven't been able to meet with her for over a week and we were getting worried.  On Saturday we found her at home and we learned that she had been having a really hard time.  She lost her job and has been dealing with that and a lot of other stuff too.  Well we had a lesson and then we invited her to come to church the next day.  We were a little sad when Sacrament started because she wasn't there.  After the sacrament was over a lady came to sit by us and our phone was knocked off the bench, so I reached down to get it and I  noticed a message from Lorenza that we had missed asking for help in finding the chapel.  We immediately went outside to try calling her, and she didn't answer, but then we saw her drive up.  We were so excited that she came to church and she loved it!  The ward was so wonderful in welcoming her.  I think she especially loved Relief Society.  Working with Lorenza is extra special for me because she is one of the first people that I OYM'ed (Open your mouth) back when I couldn't speak Spanish.  I actually went back and read about it in my journal.  I can't believe that it's getting close to a year ago I hit the field.  I want to be missionary forever!  There is no place I would rather be, then here teaching the gospel.  I hope y'all have a great week!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Darker Hair...

Monday, November 4, 2013

Week 54 Pictures

Fumigating the kitchen
Had to remove all of the dishes
And the food.
Socks from Hali (with an addition by Katie)
Nothing like a birthday pizza...
Elder Rosales entered the MTC on Oct 31 as well, so I guess that makes them twins? :-)




Week 54 - November 4, 2013

Buenas Tardes Familia!

Yep I'm old!  I think I do need a walker now dad, so please send one in my next package.  Right now I have to use a cactus branch as a cane because of the lack of trees in El Paso and let me tell you it hurts my hand to use!  ;-)  Wow as I look back at the past year I can't believe everything that has happened.  It doesn't feel like it's been a year...not even close!  It's weird knowing that a year ago I was in the MTC and had proudly "made it to Sunday"  That's what every missionary tells the new missionaries just make it to Sunday.  Interesting enough it's kind of true.  You make it to Sunday and then things just really pick up and you're in full missionary mode.  I've been reading my MTC journal and it's pretty entertaining.  Oh how young I was back then.  It's amazing how I have loved every stage of being a missionary, but I wouldn't want to go back to the MTC again.  I have learned so much and have grown so much in the past year.  A mission is truly a life changing experience.  I have learned more about life and the gospel then I ever would have thought possible.   What a huge blessing to serve the Lord at this time in my life.

So Halloween was a good day.  We even found a new investigator, so that was a bonus.  All of the other missionaries at dinner thought I was ridiculous because I was super excited to have trick or treaters come to the door so that I could pass out candy.  Hey I'm from the country and we don't get trick or treaters!  So we ate dinner and nobody came and nobody came.  Finally, just as we were heading out the door, trick or treaters came down the path and all the other missionaries were up ahead of me, but the family told me to come back and hand out the candy!  So I got to hold out the bowl of candy and the kids took handfuls, but apparently one little kid just took one and when he was walking out he said "No mas uno":(   The other missionaries kept laughing at me and telling me that I was a mean candy giver, but I told them that I just held out the bucket and they took what they wanted.  hehe  Fun times.

I hope everyone enjoyed daylight savings.  I don't think you ever treasure an extra hour of sleep quite like the missionaries do.  Although my body is so programmed to wake up at the same time each day, so I keep waking up at 5:32 in a panic that I am still in bed before I realize that it's only 5:32 and I can sleep another 58 minutes!  All I know is that last night, that last hour of work felt so late to me.  I kept thinking I am going to pass out right here and fall asleep.  You can't be serious it's only 8:15?  We made it through the night just fine and had the special privilege of being there when one of our investigator families who is having a baby today wanted a blessing.  Knowing that we have that priesthood power once again upon the earth is a comfort to me.  I know that the spirit of Lord was in that room last night as one of his worthy priesthood holders laid his hands upon her head and gave her a special blessing right from her Heavenly Father.  I know that it is the same priesthood power that the apostles of old used to heal people in the New Testament and the same Priesthood power that Christ used in his earthly ministry.  The power and authority to act in God's name is vital to salvation and is a testament to God's love for each of his children.  When I think of the blessings I have received as a missionary (and before as well) I know that those words were given directly to me and in some cases the person giving the blessing didn't even know me, but the words that were spoken and the comfort that was given so personal that it could only have come from someone who knows me better than I know myself.  I know that someone is my Heavenly Father and I am so blessed to be one of his missionaries.  I know that work is going to continue to move along and miracles will occur.  Have a wonderful week!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Monday, October 28, 2013

Week 53 (or maybe week 52 for a second time?) - October 28, 2013

Familia y Amigos!

Do you know what today is?  Well exactly one year ago around 3:30pm I was set apart as a full-time missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I can't believe it's already been a year.  I can remember it like it was only last month that I was entering the MTC with my beautiful orange dork dot.  Hmmmm maybe I'll have to go get me an orange sticker and wear it on my hand all day on Halloween just for good measure.  Apparently they don't do dork dots at the Mexico MTC, so Taylor Barrus will be spared the humiliation just in case she loses her placa on the first day like I did. :)

This week has been a good week.  I don't really have any roach stories this week, so that is good.  Although this morning the bug man came and said he was coming to fumigate our neighbors apartment because he got an emergency call of an infestation.  I want to know what constitutes an infestation that merits an emergency visit.  I think one stinky little roach is an infestation and deserves a visit!  Oh and last week he told us how another one of our neighbors in another building had an infestation so bad that when he opened the cupboard the whole back wall was roaches!  AHHHH!!!! Don't tell me that!

We are back doing exchanges, but now we only have 4 exchanges in the transfer, so it is cake walk these days.  I went with Sister Murphy in her area.  It's always a little strange to be in an English area.  Especially when we go to dinner.  I always feel a little weird, because there is a big cultural difference between their dinners and the dinners I am use to.  It was a really good day.  We talk some really good lessons.  One of them actually had a miniature horse in their front yard, so I though of Falada and shotzee.  I bet they are nice and fat after eating all summer long.  We also went to a park to do our 20 minutes of pondering and it was very nice.  President Miller was very inspired when he told us to take 20 minutes of every day just to sit and ponder.  Ponder about our lives and to ponder about the temple.  It has really made a difference as I have followed this counsel.  How many of us in our crazy and hectic lives take 20 minutes to just sit and ponder without any worldly distractions.  If we don't ever take the time to be still how can the Lord talk to us?  If you haven't ever taken 20 minutes out of your day to just sit and ponder I would encourage you to do so. We should all slow down a bit and remember to take time to remember all of the good things in life.

Hmmm not much else is new right now.  On Friday night we had our ward Halloween party and we painted faces.  It was very fun.  I liked painting candy corn, pumpkins and butterflies the best.  One little boy wanted bats and after I was done he said he liked it, but I was a little embarrassed and hoped he wouldn't tell anyone that I did it.  Let them think Hermana Fallentine painted that one heheh just kidding.  The Enriquez family came to the ward activity and they were socializing and having a great time.  They are the best family in the whole wide world!  I just love them.  On Sunday Carmen got her first calling.  She is the ward public relations specialist or something like that.  When she stood up in relief society to make an announcement to the sisters I was like a proud mother hen.  I was just beaming ear to ear!  Last night we had another amazing lesson with their family where we taught the plan of salvation again and they keep telling us that in one year they are going to go to the temple and be sealed together for time and all eternity!  I know they can do it!

Well that's probably all for this week.  Shout out to my amazing cousin who is a new mommy today!  Congrats princess Ashley!  I know you'll be a great mommy!  I think the only thing more rewarding then being a missionary is probably being a mom!  Love every minute of it!  Because if time as a mom is anything like time on a mission they'll grow up way to fast!  I love ya'all so much!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Monday, October 21, 2013

Week 52 - October 21, 2013

Hola!

I am not sure why it always seems to go back to cockroaches, but it does!  Hehe...  Well this week of course we killed some in our apartment, which actually was bad because we were given spray that said indoor/outdoor use, but you probably aren't suppose to scream like mad women and spray the living daylights out of them.  We ended up hacking and coughing and pretty sure chemically burned our noses from the stuff!  Oh dear!  We won't do that again!  Our other adventure is while we were at a member's house.  She has this cat that I actually like.  I think it's because you can literally do anything to this cat and it just sits there and takes it.  Funny enough - it is the daughter of the cat that attacked me on my first day in the mission field.  I like the daughter a lot better. :)  Anyway so we are sitting there talking and we see this cockroach start walking around.  She apologizes and say they have roaches and we tell her don't worry we do too.  Then I get this brilliant idea, show the cat the roach.  Hehe  I grab the cat and she's probably thinking what in the world, but as soon as she catches sight of the roach she tenses.  Then the cat has a grand time playing with this cockroach as I am just dying laughing and Hermana Fallentine and Suzy are looking horrified on the coach.  In the end - cat 1, cockroach 0!  I'm sure it tasted real good!  ;)  I turned to Hermana Fallentine and was like "Man we need a cat!"  She was trying to decide what would be worse a cat or roaches.  Alas I'm pretty sure we can't get permission to get a cat even to eat roaches.  When are those roaches going to realize that it says in the missionary handbook we can't have pets?!
  
This Friday we had one of my favorite district meetings ever!  We did a training about the new handbook we have been given about adjusting to missionary life.  It actually has lots of great suggestions on helping missionaries cope with different types of stress.  Anyway so our district leader gave each of us a small pumpkin and told us to write all the things that stress us out.  Luckily Hermana Fallentine and I didn't have to include each other on our pumpkins hehe.  It is such a blessing to have an awesome companion!  Then we all went outside to the field and we happily smashed our pumpkins with a baseball bat!  It is the best kind of therapy.  Smashing things!  Kara I highly recommend that you get a nice pumpkin and write ACL ACL ACL all over it and then, smash away midgee, smash away! Hehe I think you'll feel real good inside!  

We also did some community service this week.  We went to the Eagles war museum.  Our service entailed wiping down old planes.  There were about 37 and some of them were big!  It was a lot of fun.  We went with another set of sisters and we had to get creative to reach the really high parts of the planes.  Don't worry, family, I didn't get on a ladder…  You know me and my gracefulness!  I still can't believe I didn't fall off and break my something that year I put up the Christmas lights.

The sad news for the week is there was another death in our ward.  A young mother of two passed away on Monday after her battle with cancer.  It was sad, but it really is amazing the difference that a gospel perspective brings to a funeral.  Of course we are sad at being separated from a loved one, but the hope and the assurance that one day they will be together again is so evident.  What a blessing it is to have the temple and the ability to seal families together forever.  Two of the sisters in the ward sang a beautiful rendition of "I need thee every hour."

So this week we have done a lot of finding.  One of our stories begins with a referral that the Elders gave us.  While they were at the chapel for p-day last week a lady's van ran out of gas and they ended up pushing it all the way up the hill to the gas station.  The little 8 year boy said that they were his mother's angels.  So we received this referral and we went to find the address and it doesn't exist.  We were looking for house 728 but there was a school where that house should have been.  We knock on the nearest address 729 hoping they might live there, but the lady that lives there doesn't know.  She says it might be this house that is basically surrounded by the school.  We go and knock on this weird house that doesn't have a number but is basically on school ground, but it isn't...basically just weird.  So we knock and we decide that this isn't a real house.  We ask a lady who is walking if she knows one of her neighbors named Eliana.  We are about ready to give up when we ask the Elders what kind of car she drives.  It's a gold van.  So we start driving up the street and we get all excited when we see a gold van parked in 748.  Sure enough it was her and her family.  We taught them about the restoration and we committed them to read in the Book of Mormon.  The husband has a lot of doubts about religion in general, but he said he would read in the Book of Mormon.  We are going back this week, so we'll see what happens!

Then our other miracle story for this week started with us being dropped.  Those aren't fun, but we just keep moving forward.  Anyway so we went to our next appointment after that, and that family wasn't home, so we were feeling a little bummed.  We tried to talk to another lady, but her husband backed up into this truck and then she basically ran and jumped in the car and drove away.  We checked the truck and it wasn't damaged thankfully, but sometimes people surprise you with the things they do.  So we were trying to find an apartment and we pass this mother and daughter and we ask if they know where it is.  The daughter is a little hesitant to talk to us, but the mother starts talking to us.  She wants to know what church we are from and she really wanted us to come and talk to them.  We set an appointment for Friday but before we left we gave them a question to think about.  "If you could ask God one question what would it be?"  On Friday we went and Jasmine asked about why God makes some people like her brother have disabilities.  We talked about how we are all God's children and some of his most special children don't have to experience the temptations that the rest of us do and that because of Christ's atonement they one day will be perfect and they will be with our Father in Heaven in the Celestial Kingdom.  Jasmine was touched by the spirit and she paid really close attention to the lesson.  After they heard the first vision Maria thought it was nice, but Jasmine kept touching her chest and saying how she felt something different.  We testified that what she was feeling was the spirit.  When we set up our next appointment Maria said well maybe next Friday and Jasmine was like "mom they can come whenever they want!"  We are really excited to be teaching them.  Jasmine is a special girl.

As always being a missionary is such a wonderful blessing!  I can't believe how many times a day we receive little tender mercies from the Lord and experiences that testify to Hermana Fallentine and me that this is the work of the Lord.  I love each of you so much!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Cleaning Planes

Our Smashing Pumpkins

Monday, October 14, 2013

Week 51 - October 14, 2013

Buenas Tardes Familia y Amigos!

Oh what a beautiful morning. Oh what a beautiful day. I have a beautiful feeling, that I'll be serving in El Paso my whole mission!  Yep that's right. I have another 6 weeks in Texas.  But the weather is super nice right now, so who would want to leave El Paso?  I think I forgot to mention in my last letter about my pathetic state.  So we were getting dinner up in ALBQ and we were heading back to the car, which was parked about 20 feet away.  From the time we left the restaurant to the time we got into the car we were shivering.  When I turned on the car and looked at the temperature it said 72!!!  Oh my!  What kind of pansy shivers in 72 degree weather?!!!!  Apparently I do, but at least all the other sisters shivered along with me.  We also had a chuckle yesterday when we realized we were wearing sweaters and were comfortable and it was 80 degrees outside.  Oh El Paso what have you done to me?!!!!  I am now officially a cold weather pansy!

However as my ability to withstand cold goes down my ability to eat crazy things continues to go up.  My latest culinary palate has included fried intestines.  Mmmmm Mmm that is good stuff.  It actually smells like bacon while it is cooking, but it doesn't quite look like bacon or taste like bacon.  I was eating it alright when I was eating in ignorance, and then the Elders had to go and burst my bubble and tell me what I was eating!  Thanks a lot Elders!  Intestines taste a lot better when you don't know you're eating intestines!  That reminds me of another story about an exchange I went on.  We exchanged early in the morning and I was not feeling good that morning.  If we weren't going on exchanges I probably would have stayed in bed.  So we are driving to the sister's area and she is telling me about the day ahead and then she tells me one of the members is making us menudo tonight.  I am thinking oh no!  So I said a little prayer in my heart and said "ok so menudo is pushing it on a good day and I am not feeling good as it is, so I really can't do it today so if it would be possible please don't make us eat menudo tonight."   Then all day this sister kept talking about menudo and I just kept praying "please no, please no!"  I know that the Lord answers prayers and that there are miracles because for whatever reason the member decided to make lasagna instead!  Yep we get taken care of as missionaries. :)

So we went on one exchange this past week and I went to Alamogordo.  It is this funny town out in the middle of nowhere.  It has a Walmart and restaurants and seems pretty self sufficient, but it is in the middle of nowhere.  I think it would be the perfect place for an alien invasion movie to take place.  They could be hit and the rest of the world would never know!  Haha  Anyway it was a really great exchange.  I was with sister Carter.  She is awesome.  We had some really interesting experiences together, but there is nothing I love more than teaching the gospel.  We taught these cowboys.  I mean they were full blown cowboys.  Hats, boots, accents, mannerism... I mean cowboys!  They actually live in like an old fashioned saloon.  At one point one of them kept saying.  "I've been a good cowboy."  I kept thinking when did I travel back in time.  Who knew a little place like Alamogordo actually existed.  The things I have learned about the southern half of my mission.  :)

All of my investigators are doing really well.  We are working with all of them and we have some working for a baptism date in November.  The Enriquez family is simply wonderful.  Carmen keeps saying that she feels the spirit really strongly in her life and that they are spending more time as a family now.  It is amazing to see what the Gospel of Jesus Christ can do.  It really does change lives.  We are working hard with the members to help them not fear to do missionary work.  I didn't really understand before I came on a mission, but it isn't scary.  We have people all around us every minute of every day and we all need what the gospel can give us.  Even just inviting some one to come to an FHE or maybe a church activity.  I mean who doesn't want to trunk or treat?!  More candy and less walking - it's every parent and kid's dream!  I loved how in conference we have all been called to share the gospel.  The missionaries can't do missionary work without the members.  The Lord is changing the way we do missionary work.  Especially here in the United States it doesn't work to knock on doors.  Every missionary I have talked to on my mission has had no success knocking on doors.  The Lord will put people into our path like the Enriquez family and if we open our mouths miracles can occur, but we need the members.  We need members to do missionary work in the Lord's way.  Pray for missionary opportunities.  Pray for names to come to your mind of people that you could invite.  Just because you give a missionary a referral doesn't mean that person has to get baptized.  Trust me, we don't sneak people into the church and then baptism them without them knowing.  (Although I have been accused of that on my mission)  But when we do try and share the gospel the Lord will guide us to those people who are looking for the truth and who simply "Do not know where to find it"  Maybe you're not member of our church, and that's ok.  If you even just want to know a little bit more about what makes Mormons so happy just ask your Mormon friends or stop the Elders (or sisters as I well know) on bikes!  We can't keep these blessings just for ourselves.  We have to trust in the Lord's promises and be willing to open our mouths at all times and in all places.  I love each and everyone of you so much and I pray for your always!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Week 50 pictures

Hermana Klaus and Hermana Fallentine

Sisters!

With President Miller

Week 50 - October 8, 2013

Querida Familia!

I hope everyone had a wonderful week I know that I had a week of spiritual feasting!  We had Mission Leadership Council (MLC) this week and of course as always I loved it.  We drove up Wednesday without any trouble.  We decided to grab dinner (per my request) at Panera!  All of the sisters loved it.  The nicest part was the manager walked over and gave us a box of 4 cupcakes and said they were on the house.  He is actually a member up in Albuquerque.  We had a nice conversation about his ward and his family and how they ended up in Albuquerque.  I love when we meet random strangers and they tell us that they are members and then they'll talk to us like they've known us for years!  The next day, on Thursday, we saw about 20 hot air balloons on our way to the mission home, because Friday was the start of Balloon festival and they were practicing.  It was neat to see all of them flying together.  MLC was amazing.  We talked about the type of culture we have as a mission and how we are going to focus on making our culture a baptizing culture.  We all left that meeting pumped to do missionary work and help all the missionaries catch "the hunger" for missionary work!  I had a good drive home, but two of the sisters had super bad back pain.  It is a lot of driving.  We stopped at this McDonald's in Truth or Consequences and when we went to buy our dinners this member we had been talking to in line went up and said that he was going to buy all of us dinner.  It is so humbling when members serve us in such small ways and I am so grateful for their willingness to give so freely.

The next day we had Zone training and it was probably the best one I've been to.  We had a lot of other missionaries say the same thing.  We did a few things differently in training like splitting up into small groups and having workshop type things and the missionaries really liked it.  Afterwards we did an award ceremony.  The Zone leaders and us had a whole bunch of medals and we proceeded to do the Missionary Grammy Awards.  Each missionary received an award.  We had things like most likely to be the next president or relief society president.  We had next nascar driver, most likely to be in a boy band.  Hermana Fallentine received the iron chef award because she made oreo balls for our trip up to MLC and all of the Elders loved them!  They were very yummy!  I received the Valedictorian award for my ability to know random facts about everything.  The elders do this "word of the day" and "saying of the day" in Spanish and they were like, we'll send them to you if you give us a fact about church history.  :)  I miss being able to read about church history all the time.  Overall I think it was a really successful training and I think the missionaries left inspired and uplifted which is the main goal.

Then unfortunately my companion was sick most of the weekend.  She woke up with the stomach flu.  We did manage to make it to conference all four sessions, but I think she was a little miserable.  Saturday was the worst day and the elders actually pulled in the nice comfy chairs from the hallway and stuck them in the back and we sat back there so she could be more comfortable.  It was one of those times it would have been really nice to have an ipad so we could have just stayed in the apartment, but it worked and conference was great.  I love the way that the apostles can (as we say as missionaries) "throw down".  They say what needs to be said, but they still do it in such a loving manner.  I hope we all are a little more dedicated to being a little bit better right now.

Then to top off my spiritual feast this week we went to the temple yesterday.  I can't even begin to describe the feelings that are in that holy place.  No where else can you feel such a peaceful feeling of love.  Afterwards we were able to sit in a sealing room and President and Sister Miller talked to us.  When President was talking he reminded me a lot of my dad.  They told us we were all their children and that they loved us like their children.  President Miller told us to find out what our gifts are and talked about the importance of recognizing them.  He said if you don't think you have gifts you call me and I will look into your eyes and tell you what your gifts are.  Hermana Fallentine and I both knew that was a true statement because there have been so many times when he shakes our hands and he looks into our eyes and I know he can see right into my soul.  I know that my mission president is inspired by God and I was suppose to come to this mission in part to meet him and his wife.  One thing that was said during this week was that a mission is not a sacrifice, it's a blessing.  I testify to that with my whole heart.  My mission is not a sacrifice because I have been so abundantly and richly blessed that anything that I have given up pales in comparison.  I know that this gospel is true.  I know that my Savior lives and that he loves me.  I know that in his holy house we can feel of his love and spirit.  I hope every one feels and recognizes that love this coming week.

With all my love,
Hermana Klaus

Monday, September 30, 2013

Week 49 Pictures

Enriquez Family Baptism

Enriquez Family Baptism

Enriquez Family Baptism

Bunch of Hatch Chilies

The Hatch Sister Live Here!

The NASTY Roach.

Week 49 - September 30, 2013

Mi Querida Familia!!!

I am going a little crazy right now!  I can't believe that today is the last day of September and that tomorrow is the first day of my one year anniversary month!  October! Blah!  I have also realized that I have officially spent every season in El Paso.  Winter, Spring, Summer and now Fall.  Yep I'm a true El Pasoen.  I have no idea if that's what they are actually called ;).  Everything is going wonderfully.  This has probably been one of the best weeks on my mission!  There is lots to say, but let's start with this morning's adventure.

I apologize for all those with squeamish stomachs, but we had a roach of epic proportions this morning.  He was huge!  (Yes, he, because nothing feminine could be that gross!)  I walked from the bedroom into the kitchen and my companion had her back to the kitchen when my face went into "Hermana Klaus' there is a 'real' huge cockroach face"  That is what Hermana Fallentine calls it.  On our cupboard was one of the biggest I have seen.  Then he crawled into this space between our cupboards.  Needless to say what followed was a lot of shrieking and jumping in the air as we tried to figure out how to get him.  More screaming when we found him crawling on the top of the cupboard.  A slam of a cupboard that semi squished him.  Squealing as he dropped into the sink.  Me having to man-up and grab a spoon and get him out of the sink and onto the counter.  Pause to take some pictures as he starts to squirm on the counter.  Finally I grab my shoe to squish him and I slammed it good, but he was so big there was gut splatter on the kitchen wall.  Hermana Fallentine was gagging it was so bad.  I will enclose a picture, but those with small children may want to leave the room!  Yep epic.

I went on another exchange this week to Hatch, New Mexico.  I have also officially spent 7 nights in New Mexico now on my mission!  Yes a whole week in my mission!  I think I serve in the El Paso Texas mission and that's ok with me.  So Hatch is the little town out in the middle of no where.  Thank goodness those sisters have a truck because we would have been swallowed multiple times in potholes that would have eaten the poor Malib.  The companionship is what we call a zebra.  One spanish sister and one english.  The English sister stayed with me in Hatch, so when we went to the spanish people which was basically everyone it was hard for her to participate.  We started a lesson with a lady and I didn't want to be the one doing the whole lesson especially since this was her investigator.  So right at the beginning I explained to the lady that I would translate for the sister.  It turned out to be a great lesson.  The sister was able to teach and bear testimony and I was able to translate.  The other neat thing about the Hatch sisters is they live with a member.  The member lives in an old catholic church.  The church was established in 1860.  It has a bell tower and everything.  Everyone in the mission knows that they live in a church and we are all jealous.  At least I got to stay one night.  I also bought some chili while I was there because Hatch is the chili capital of the world!

On Wednesday we had Zone Conference.  It was wonderful.  There were some really inspiring talks.  I have heard from lots of missionaries that their favorite part was when two new converts came and bore their testimonies.  Amber just happened to be one of the recent converts that was chosen.  She did an amazing job.  The spirit was so strong when she was speaking.  She touched the hearts of all the missionaries.  It reminds us of why we do what we do.  Why we let doors get slammed in our faces or walk for hours in the hot sun.  There is nothing that can compare to the feeling of when someone makes that decision to follow the Savior.  Nothing compares hearing someone testify that they know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ restored upon the earth today, when 3 months ago they didn't know anything about the church at all.  Which brings me to the best part of our week the baptism of the Enriquez family!

I can't even put into words how much I love this family.  It was an up and down week.  I can't believe how hard Satan tried to tempt them and disrupt their baptism.  Even Hermana Fallentine and I felt it.  I know that Satan knew what being baptized would mean for this family and he tried everything he could to stop it.  One night this week we were talking about the importance of keeping our families strong and not withholding affection from family members.  We said we never know when it will be too late.  Then Liz piped up "Yeah I have asthma"  We all cracked up at that one.  She was so serious and then Carmen reassured her that she wouldn't die from asthma randomly.  One little miracle we saw happened while making the program.  We wanted to make it nice and use proper spanish punctuation, but we couldn't remember how to accent an e.  We tried several combinations and then searched some of the symbols.  We were on a time crunch and about to just write it in later when Hermana Fallentine said one more.  She felt inspired to type 138 and when she did the accented e appeared.  It was a little blessing from heaven.  What's more is when I looked, it just happened to be the opening hymn number.  So on Saturday we arrived at the baptism and of course there were men working on replacing the carpet.  Our faces must have looked concerned to see the room slightly torn apart, but the Elders who had been there to start filling the font said they would be done before the baptism.  True to their word they cleaned up most things and it wasn't a problem, but we just had to laugh - of all weeks the carpet would be changed in the chapel of course it would be on their baptism day.  They accidentally went to the wrong building at first and Carmen thought well maybe they weren't getting baptized today, but they ended up making it in plenty of time.  An extra blessing was that President and Sister Miller, who were down in the south for Zone Conference, came to the baptism as well.  The Enriquez family felt really special because they were there.  It was one of the most joyful moments on my mission as first Sergio, then Liz, and finally Carmen were all baptized.  Ali was an angel, so I know the Lord answered our prayers there.  It didn't phase her at all when her family was being baptized and even while they were changing.  I think the Lord may have sent some Ali angels to help out.  When Liz came out of the water she came up to us and said "I'm not nervous anymore.  I feel real good!"  I was brimming with joy!  When they shared their testimonies right after being baptized they called us their ninas and told how they felt different.  Luckily the Lord helped us keep it together because then we sang a special musical number we prepared.  We sang nearer my God to thee in spanish and English.  We were so nervous all leading up to singing, but when we went to sing all my nerves left and we were able to share our testimonies and love through that very special song.  On Sunday we had a sister in our ward tell us that she received an answer to prayer while we sang.  Saturday night we went to the Relief society meeting and every single talk was on keeping our covenants especially our baptism covenants.  Carmen afterwards told us that they were speaking directly to her! On Sunday when they were confirmed, again such a warm feeling of love filled my heart as I listened to their blessings and how they talked about working together to be sealed in the temple in a year.  Carmen and Sergio already want that as their goal.  They even told President and Sister Miller that they want to get sealed in the Salt Lake Temple.  I have felt an outpouring of our Heavenly Father's love this week.  Even with all the ups and downs, when we put our trust in him everything worked out perfectly.

I love each and everyone of you so much.  Thank you for all your prayers and support.  May we each feel our Heavenly Father and Savior's love this week.

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus