Monday, February 25, 2013

Week 18

Hola Familia,

That is so exciting to hear about all of the new missions that are being created!  I don't know if anything is changing with our mission yet, but if I find anything out I will let you know.  We did find out on Saturday who our new mission president is going to be... President and Sister Miller will be replaced in July by President and Sister Miller!  It's that kinda crazy?  I will have two different mission presidents, but they are both named Miller. :)  It will be both an exciting and sad time in our mission in July.

I am doing really well.  This past week I was a little under the weather with a cold, but I think that I am over the worst of it, so here's hoping that I don't get sick again.  It seems like a lot of people are sick around here, so I was bound to catch the bug sooner or later.   Speaking of bugs we did have someone come and spray our apartment and I think it helped a little, but I still had an epic battle of scurry and squash with a cockroach last night when we returned to the apartment.  The funny thing is that Hermana Cruz never sees them!  It is only me, so I think they know how much I despise them, so they find it amusing to torment me!

We had a pretty busy week.  We did service for a member on Tuesday.  We did a little service project inside and the Elders were helping outside.  We couldn't resist going outside to see them because their job was to catch the chickens and then to trim back their wings so they can't fly.  It was so comical to see the Elders running around like...hmmm no better way to describe it...a chicken with its head cut off!  They were running and diving trying to capture these chickens who clearly did not want to be caught.  There were feathers and dirt everywhere and Hermana Cruz and I had a show.  I actually have two chicken stories.  The second one happened at this same member's house.  I went and sat down on the couch and there was this long drawn out sound, a cross between a shriek and squeak.  Everyone starred at me and was like "what was that?!"  When we picked up the couch cushion there was a rubber chicken.  We all just started laughing and the best part was the Brother said to leave it there, so another unsuspecting soul would sit down and be greeted by the shriek of a rubber chicken.

So we are working hard to teach the gospel and we are teaching lots and lots of lessons.  Almost all of our lessons are in Spanish, but occasionally we have a lesson in English.  Hermana Cruz is doing well after getting news last week that her niece had passed away.   She was only 8 months old and was the first child of her sister, but also a blessing was that she was a twin.  So although her little spirit will always be missed, they have her twin sister to help remember her by and a daughter to love.  We did a little crying and hugging, and after the Elders gave her blessing of comfort Hermana Cruz had a feeling of peace.  What a difference it makes knowing that this life as a purpose and that we know her little niece is with our Father in Heaven right now.

That same day we had a lesson with one of our neighbors who we had contacted a week earlier.  It ended up being a great lesson and she has accepted a baptism date for the end of March.  It was a little tender mercy from the Lord and was a reassurance that this this is his work after a hard day.  I also would like to share a little miracle story from this week.  We are teaching a lady who is a single mom of 4 kids and recently had a stroke.  Sometimes you can't even tell that she has difficulties with speaking or remembering, but other times it is a little more apparent.  We were teaching a lesson on the scriptures and prayer.  She was having trouble communicating and ended up in tears.  We listened and tried to give words of comfort.  I can't imagine how hard this is for her.  We then shared our testimonies on the power of prayer and asked if she would say a prayer asking that she would be able to communicate.  We kneeled together and she offered such a sincere and heartfelt prayer.  During and after the prayer there was almost an instant change in her speech.  She was able to express her feelings and we were able to finish the lesson.  It was a testimony builder to me on the power of prayer and I know that our Father in heaven hears and answers our prayers.

So that's all for now.  I hope everyone is doing well and has a great week!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Monday, February 18, 2013

Week 17

Buenos Dias!

I just thought I'd mix it up a little and do something different this week to start my letter. :-)

It has been another really great week.  It's hard to explain the special feeling that comes from being a missionary.  I love being able to serve every day and I am so happy that I decided to serve a mission.  It is exciting to hear about all of the other girls from our home stake that are deciding to serve missions as well.  I hope that they all are preparing for the best experience of their lives!

So the sad thing that happened this week is that we were dropped by one of our investigators.  It is sad for me knowing how much the gospel has blessed my life and wanting for them to have this same joy in their lives.  But I know that everyone has their agency and I respect her decision.  Maybe one day she will want to hear the gospel again, but for now we can't do anything else.  We thought that another lady had also decided to stop taking the lessons because we had tried to call several times and she never responded and she was always very good about responding.  We decided to try and stop by and see her.  It was good that we did because she has just been very sick with the flu.  We asked if there was anything we could do to help and then wished her a speedy recovery.  The people we are teaching mean a lot to me and I am so blessed that I am getting to know them and that I am able to help them. We have a widow in our ward who is in her 80's.  She reminds me a lot of Grandma Zumstein - just this very cute little old lady.  This week we went to visit her and she can't really clean, so we spent a few hours just cleaning her apartment for her.  I was thinking how lucky I am to get to serve like this because I would never have known if there was someone who needed a little extra help if all of my time wasn't focused on visiting and serving those around me.

My funny story for the week was that we had a lesson yesterday with a less active member in our ward.  When we got to his apartment there were two chairs around his table and there was one more chair at the desk .  So there were 3 chairs and 4 of us.  He said there was another chair, but I thought he meant the chair at the desk, so there was an exercise ball in the living room so I just rolled that over and I sat on the ball.  I felt super short at the table and I had to resist the urge to bounce up and down on the ball.  During the lesson there was a little pause and we moved around a bit when he noticed what I was sitting on!  He said that he had thought I had gone and got the other chair from the back room and that I was just a super short missionary!  He laughed so hard when he realized that the whole time I had been sitting on the exercise ball.  He went and collected the other chair and I was able to finish the lesson at a normal height at the table.

Church yesterday was really good as well.  We had regional conference that was broadcast to New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma.  It was really good...well from what I was able to understand in Spanish! :)  Actually I was surprised that I was able to understand lots of what was being said.  There was a great talk by Elder Scott on respecting women and what beautiful creations women are.  He gave a story about opening the door for his mother and I have heard since then several husbands express the desire to once again open the car door for their wives as an expression of their love.  It was just a really beautiful talk.

The last thing I want to share this week is an experience I had during a lesson.  We were teaching a couple about families and we just read the proclamation to the family.  After we finished reading, the others in the room were talking and then the investigator turned toward me and asked me what I thought.  I felt the power behind the message of the family and for the first time I was brought to tears in a lesson while I bore my testimony on the family and it's importance in our Heavenly Father's plan.  I know that families can be together forever.  I also felt prompted to promise them that if they would read from the Book of Mormon and pray as a couple morning and night they would feel a difference in their relationship, a greater love and stronger relationship.  I know that it wasn't me promising them those blessings.  After the lesson was over we were saying good bye and when I got to him, he said "I know I'm not suppose to, but...." then he gave me a big hug, in front of the ward mission leader and everything. :) Then he said to not leave Hermana Cruz out he gave her a big hug as well.  It's amazing the love you can feel for people that you have known for such a short time.  I am so grateful that I can be here at this time and in this place.  I am experiencing so many wonderful blessings right now and my life is so full of joy and happiness.  I love you all so much!  Have a great week!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Monday, February 11, 2013

Week 16 photos

Hermana Cruz and Hermana Klaus

Hermana Cruz and Hermana Klaus

The Mammoth

Week 16

Hola Familia!

How has everyone been?  I hope that you are all doing well and are over being sick.  So for transfers...I am staying in El Paso and I am staying with Hermana Cruz!  So we are happy.  From what I hear we are one of the few companionships staying together.  There are big changes happening all over the mission.  For one they are creating two new zones this transfer!  It's in preparation for all of the new missionaries that will be coming in these next few months.  We are supposed to go from about 160 to over 230 missionaries in our mission in these next months!  So it's a very exciting time to be a missionary.

So the hike last Monday was a lot of fun.  It took us about an hour and half to hike up to the mammoth.  It really does look like a mammoth!  I am going to try and send a picture so you can see.  Most of the Elders in our Zone went, so we had a decent sized group.  The views were really pretty as we were hiking.  We hiked along this trail that follows the ridge of the mountain and so we had a great view of El Paso and the desert.  We all made it to the top and then some Elders had to hurry back down so they could make it on time to their dinner appointment.  Hermana Cruz and I didn't have a dinner appointment, so we had enough time to get back to our apartment and get ready for the evening.

The next day we had exchanges!  I went up and spent 24 hours with Hermana Allen in Las Cruzes.  The very first thing we tried to do was track down a former investigator.  We ended up parking the car and walking around some dirt roads (this town Vado is small enough that it doesn't have a map).  We couldn't find the house, so we got back in the car and were trying to find a place to turn around when we accidentally stumbled upon the road we were looking for.  The people weren't there, but now Hermana Allen and her companion know where they live and can try another day.  Then went to visit a less active family.  At this point we probably could have used a truck because it was all dirt roads and there were some pretty nice sized "little car eating" potholes.  There were even some dogs just running around the streets and Hermana Allen said sometimes it almost feels as if we were in Mexico.  It was very different from my area.  We did find the family and we had a short lesson.  What was funny is that Hermana Bills (Hermana Allen's companion) and I apparently look a lot a like, so people in both our areas didn't even realize we were different for the first 5 minutes or so of our lessons.  It was funny to see their expressions when they realized that I wasn't Hermana Bills or I am sure it was the same for my investigators down here when they realized Sister Bills wasn't me!  The best part about exchanges is getting to see how another missionary does things.   We all use Preach my Gospel and our purpose is the same, but we also all have our own styles of teaching as well.  So all in all exchanges were very productive and I learned a lot.

So update on the food.  I never realized that I would really like chili.   Now a meal doesn't seem complete unless we have a nice burn to go with it.  The one food that I did not expect to eat, but do is hotdogs.  I have lived in America most of my life, but until this week I have never before eaten a chili dog with mustard.  I feel like I have now completed some sort of American tradition.  Actually I had two chili dogs!  I probably would have been good with one chili dog, but we hardly ever make our own plates.  We also eat a lot of cake.  I had tres leches this week and it was yummy, but the Elders once again tried to convince me that the three milks were cat, dog and and turtle.  Locos!

We are teaching lots of lessons during the week.  We found 3 new investigators this week.  We actually found them accidentally because we had a referral from a ward member that a friend lived in this apartment complex.  When we tried to find the friend she didn't live there and this family didn't know her, but they did invite us to come back.  We did and we taught about Joseph Smith and the restoration.  They said that they felt very peaceful when we taught about the first vision.  We have another lesson with them this week, so we will see what will happen there.  The investigator that I talked to when Hermana Cruz was getting ready to back up is doing well.  This week we had a lesson fall through, so we decided to try and visit her.  We knocked on the door and no one answered so we started to walk away.  Just as we rounded the corner the door opened but we couldn't get back in time, so we ended up knocking again.  She let us inside and we had another powerful lesson with her.  One thing she did say during the lesson was that right before we came she had been praying to God that she could feel peace.  She then said that she feels peace every time we come to her house and teach her.  She is really interested in the Book of Mormon and that it is another testament of Jesus Christ.  She has a lot of questions and I know that the Book of Mormon has the answers to so many of these questions.  What a blessing it is to have another record of the teachings of Jesus Christ that can help us understand clearer the teachings of the Bible.
We also attended a baptism this week.  This little boy is 8 years old, so he isn't a convert, but the Bishop asked us if we would teach him a few lessons to help him prepare for his baptism.  The family asked me to give the opening prayer, so I was able to be a part of his special day.  It turned out really nice and you can really feel what a special spirit is at a baptism.  When you feel it you know that Heavenly Father is pleased with the decision of one of his children to follow the example of his Son by being baptized.

So that was my week.  Tomorrow starts my second transfer.  This transfer is the short 5 week transfer, so it's going to feel like we blink and all those new sisters are going to be arriving in our mission.  I still have lots learn, but everyday I feel a little more comfortable and I understand a little bit better.  I love all of you!  Thank you for all your support!  Take care and have a great week!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus

Monday, February 4, 2013

Week 15

Hola Familia!

I can't believe it's already February!  The time is going so quickly.  My first in-field transfer is next Tuesday, so we'll see if any thing changes.  Hermana Cruz says that maybe around 50% of sisters have two different trainers, so it might be I have a new trainer here in El Paso or maybe I will be transferred to a different area.  I hope I get to stay here because I am not ready to leave.  I am just starting to feel like I am getting to know the ward and I still want to help our investigators learn about the gospel.  That reminds careful if you are sending anything in this coming week because if I get transferred it could get lost and then I won't get it.  You can always send things to the mission office and then at some point (at least once a month) they will deliver the mail to us.

Kara would be proud because I played soccer with the Elders in my zone last Monday.  I had a pretty awesome header if I do say so myself.  I also stole the ball from one of the Elders and the other Elders were like "You just got schooled by Hermana Klaus!"  Haha if they were playing with the little Klaus all the Elders would have been schooled in the art of soccer....except maybe the Elder from Columbia he was pretty good.  It's nice just to relax and play sports on p-day.  We are planing on hiking later today, so I'll have to let you know how that goes.

Our cockroaches are lying low for now.  Maybe it is a little colder again, so they are all sleeping.  Who knows... we keep saying we need to figure out something to take care of them, but then we keep running of out time to do anything.

So we had our weekly breakfast this morning and he was telling us the craziest stories of his mission.  He was actually put in jail on his mission, but it was all a set up and he was released, but the experiences he had were nuts!  We were laughing because back then they didn't have the mission handbook full of rules, and we were telling him that we were proud to know the person responsible for having specific rules in the handbook today!

So what's new and interesting.  Man apparently I need to read my journal because I can't remember anything too crazy happening this week.  I am now the designated driver which is fun.  It helps so much in knowing the area when you are driving from place to place.  I am making sure that I am a good safe driver and remembering that I am not in Utah!  Hehe I am really paranoid about stoplights because lots of them are photo enforced.  In Utah I had to be careful when they turned yellow that I wouldn't get rear ended if I stopped, and now I have to make sure that I don't think I'm in Utah and remember what yellow actually means!  I would rather not have the unpleasant experience of having a picture of us sent to the mission office running a red light!

Well I guess this week is just going to be a little shorter.  I don't have much else to say.  We are teaching lots of lessons during the week and I am learning so much.  We did help a Sister in our ward move to a different apartment and she kept saying how she was so grateful that her Hijas came to help and that she knew that God cared about her because "mis hijas" are here.  What a blessing it is to serve everyday.  Well I love each of you so much!  I hope you have a great week!  I will talk to you all soon!

Con Amor,
Hermana Klaus