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


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


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