Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Week 69: Too Late, I Gave Your Presents to Homeless People

Well, merry late Christmas. I got a lot (?) of productive things done today so of course I put off writing this letter.

But I wrote a bunch of other people, so everyone else who received an email, count your many blessings, name them one by one. Everyone else, know that these things shall give thee experience and shall be for thy good.

Christmas was good. But didn't do much. But it's okay I guess.  This week was a blur, just like the past two (!). So uh I take off the full-time tag in nine weeks. Gag me with a spoon, por fis.

Saul and Francisca have set a date for their wedding, so wedding #3 on the mission, coming right up. Also in upcoming events: Jennifer is getting baptized this Saturday.  It's going to be great. 6 pm. Come support her. Or, just pray for her. She's amazing.

I feel like I've never done a baptism before because I feel like I'm forgetting something that we need to do. Did remember (thank you, Holy Ghost) that we need to fill out a baptismal record. So we'll be filling that out tonight with her and then as able to finish it when the time comes. 

I'm doing well. Still going strong and learning lots.

The Gospel is so true--more true than a PB&J.  I love being a missionary.

You actually can call hermanas "sisters", it's fine. Power booster is going great--except we forgot all last week to fill it out. Oops.

Perfect morning this morning? I think yes. I'm pretty sure I'm never going to finish eating all the treats we were given. So it'll probably still be there to the day I leave, whenever that is.

Love you all! Don't forget: a verse a day keeps the devil away.
- Hermana DeBuck

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Week 68: Christmas Call

We received this post the night before we were able to speak with our hermana via Skype. Since it was for Christmas, I thought I would share it with you too.  I'm grateful she is teaching what she knows is true.

(With love, from Hermana DeBuck, tu hija, hermana, y nieta)

Well, it's Christmas Eve. And it really just feel like another day in the life. Which I think is a good thing actually.

So Sister Griffin invited all the missionaries to write their testimony of the Savior today and gave us permission to send it to our families via email. I was able to spend an hour and a half or so studying the New Testament and a talk by Elder McConkie entitled "The Seven Christs". In the New Testament, I decided to mark in red all of the things that were manifestations of the love of God. And it was really cool to pay attention to the things Christ did just because of His love. He was Himself a walking manifestation of the love of God. And He gave so much of Himself early in His ministry to bless the lives of other people. I suppose I've always "known" that, but I wanted to truly know and feel that; that was what I asked for in prayer when I began studying this evening. And it's not like I had some marvelous vision or anything, but I think I feel it more. It's hard to know exactly how Christ said the things we read in the scriptures, but trying to hear Him say it helped me feel His love a little bit more.

I read the verse that says "by their fruits ye shall know them", and while He was talking about prophets, it also applies to Him. I know that Christ loves me because of His fruits in my life. I know I've felt the Spirit comfort me when I was trying to hide myself away from the world. I know He's answered my prayers and questions through thoughts mostly, sometimes through feelings, and on the rare occasion through some physical manifestation. I KNOW that God is there, even though I've never seen Him. And I will always know that. I know that Jesus of Nazareth is in fact the Son of the Living God. He is the Christ, the Messiah. He is the Savior and Redeemer of the world, of whom all the prophets have testified. I know it, and I know that God knows that I know it. I cannot and I will not deny it.

I know that He loves me and has a plan for me, just for me. I know that He will provide a way to overcome every trial, test, or obstacle. I've learned as well that although He will always provide a way to overcome, He will never force me to take that route. He loves me enough to le tme make mistakes so that I can learn and grow. And no matter what choices I make, He will always be there for me, waiting for me to turn to Him. Although He volunteered to be our Savior--my Savior--and He gave His life willingly, we must still choose to accept Him. And the way to accept Christ is by keeping His commandments (John 14:15). I know He loves me, and I know I love Him, so I will keep His commandments--one of which is to repent. I love that commandment in particular and I am so grateful that He made it possible to keep every single commandment, bit by bit. I know He's helping me to reach my potential every day because He wants me to become like Him and to return to live with Him, Heavenly Father, and my family forever in the celestial kingdom--He wants that for all of us.

I know all of this is true. I feel it in my heart and the Spirit confirms to my spirit that they are true. And I know that this knowledge isn't unique to me; any person on the earth, any child of God, can come to know that all this--and much more--is true. If they will but ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, and faith in Christ, they can know the truth of all things (Moroni 10:3-5).

I love the Lord. I know that He loves us. And because He loves us, He has restored His Gospel to the earth through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that because He loves us, He has called a prophet in this very day. His name is Thomas S. Monson. I know that because Christ loves us, He has brought forth the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ so that we may know of the covenants of the Father, and know that we are not cast off forever. I know that God is literally our Father and He has provided the way for us to return to Him, through His Only Begotten Son, even Jesus Christ.
This I declare in the sacred name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Week 68: Fotos

Mom note: We never heard from Hermana Jill on Monday before Christmas.  Worried something was wrong with the internet connection at my parents' place I called the mission office in a (tiny) panic about our directions on Christmas day.  The next day, this is what I received.

Okay sorry I forgot to tell you that our Pday changed. So we will be calling at 4:00 pm our time. I got a message from Elder Murchison telling me a number to call. I think it must be the house number. So am I supposed to call or Skype? I guess if it comes down to it, I can call and then figure it out. Anyway. I think that's about it. Love you! Talk to you soon.

  1-2. After planning, the day Hermana Albrechtsen's mom sent her reindeer antlers.

  3. After planning, on exchanges with Hermana Lunt. Maybe you've noticed, but this is what nightly planning will do to you...or at least to me.

4. Zone Christmas party yesterday. We were visited by the three kings, who handed out our Christmas packages. This is all the Hermanas/sisters in the two Rockford zones.

5. After exchanges. Hermana Albrechtsen, due to some unfortunate circumstances, was basically blind (no contacts) so she wasn't sure where to look.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Week 67: "Strah-mag-lee-uh: Like Spaghetti. But Not At All"

5 Questions:
1. Any idea what schedule we need to use for a call on Christmas yet?
2. How is the new area?
3. Will you still get to attend Jose & Ida's baptisms?
4. Who is you new companion? What is she like?
5. What else changed with this transfer?

  1. Not sure yet. Honestly, I'm still not sure what is going on here, period. haha just because there is so much going on. I would guess we'll probably Skype in the morning/afternoon. California would be two hours earlier than here? I'm pretty positive it is at least some amount of time earlier so 9 am here would be bad, right? haha I doubt it'll be that time. We'll probably do studies in the morning and then do weekly planning so we'd finish at about 3, so sometime after that I would think. Not positive but I'll let you know for sure next week. Just don't let me forget to tell you.
  2. Wow. Where do I even begin...? Well, first off, keep in mind that I've been in Rochelle for the past six months (literally) and Rochelle is the smallest branch in the stake. And now I'm in two wards. Granted, not huge wards (I think) but still, two wards. It actually reminds me a lot of Bloomington-Normal. Not just that there are more than one ward but even the town itself. Sycamore and Dekalb basically get smashed into one, just like Bloomington-Normal. And it's a college town. And it even looks a lot like it, architecturally speaking. It's kinda crazy. So that's kind of fun for me, but it's also weird. And then, serving in two wards is kind of overwhelming. At the beginning I didn't know any better but after serving in two small branches (separately) before, this is pretty overwhelming. But it's good. I've met a lot of awesome people and the work here is truly flourishing. It's amazing.
  3. Definitely! Especially since the baptismal service will be here in Sycamore. haha so that's awesome. At this point, I don't know exactly what's going on, but it sounds like the new Hermana there is perfect for the area in this moment--her mom is a cake decorator and so she knows a lot and the Hermanas offered to make the wedding cake. And they might take them up on that...but that's all I know as of right now.
  4. My new companion is Hermana Albrechtsen. She is somehow distantly related to Brother Albrechtsen from the Normal ward. She is actually a lot of me, but also different. She's absolutely adorable and looks like she could be a Disney princess. She loves to eat food. She ran for BYU before the mission. She comes from a big family (7 kids + 2 parents). She reported about the same time of year that I did, just a year later. I'm finishing up her training, but I'm pretty sure she doesn't even need it. She is an amazing missionary and I am so glad to get to serve with her. This first week seriously flew by. I can hardly believe it's even happened.
  5. Um.....well. I'm not sure what else could change that I haven't mentioned. New companion, new area, but that's about it. Oh, I did get an email on Thursday from the mission saying they've purchased my plane ticket home. I literally gagged when I read that. But, it's okay. I knew it was coming. And it'll all work out. I'm definitely not going to stop working. I will keep moving forward and trusting in the Lord.

As far as this week goes, well it's been crazy and yet I feel like nothing worth reporting has happened. But then, that's a lie. haha.

We had stake conference and it was amazing! Here's some of the things I learned:
  • Since the new Christmas initiative began, the video "A Savior is Born" has been viewed 16 million times. On average, there have been 172,236 visits to mormon.org per day since the initiative began (on 29 Nov). And there have been 6,942 self-referrals (meaning someone has requested a Bible, a Book of Mormon, or missionaries to come to their very own door.)
  • Our inspired mission president told the Rockford Illinois stake "No one has to sit on the sidelines of missionary work." The funny thing about the work and the glory of God is that it's going to happen. It just is. Whether or not we are a part of it. But it is our privilege to be a part of it, and absolutely NO ONE has to sit on the side lines and just watch it happen. Everyone can be an active participant.
  • In this dispensation, there are three "prophetic priorities", as told by our stake president. They are 1) Keeping the Sabbath day holy, 2) Family history and temple work, and 3) Members and missionaries working together. Just as the people during Noah's time had to listen to him for revelation concerning the flood to come and not just to the past prophets, we too must heed the counsel of the Lord's living prophets in order to withstand the floods of our time. 
  • There is a hymn, which was sung by the choir I was privileged to be a part of, called "Brightly Beams Our Father's Mercy". As we drove up, our bishop's wife, Sister Malley, told us some of the background of this lovely hymn. And I would like to sum up what she said: In some places with reefs, in order to come to shore there is frequently only one passage to get to the shore without hitting the reef. So they will put a light at the top of the hill/mountain and a light lower down, on the shore, so that when those two lights are in line with each other from a view out at sea, that is the path you must follow in order to find your way safe to shore. Here's a description from a talk in General Conference: "A light on the hill above the beach and a second lower light marked the narrow passage. When a boat was maneuvered so that the two lights were one above the other, the boat would be lined up properly to pass through the dangerous rocks that lined the passage." And as was explained in stake conference this weekend, as members of the church of Jesus Christ, we are that lower light. Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ are the light on top, but we must shine brightly (Matthew 5 & 3 Nephi 12) so that others can find their way safe to shore. In another comparison, the missionaries are one light and the members are the other. We MUST work together in order to bring souls unto Christ.
Also, we taught a man named Pablo whom the hermanas had taught once before, part of the restoration on his doorstep, and then he'd come to church the Sunday before I got here. We went by on Friday and we found out he'd read the entire Gospel Principles book he'd been given on Sunday and had read about 5 pages in the Book of Mormon. Holy cow! Oh, and he came to stake conference yesterday. So he's pretty cool. He accepted a baptismal date of 23 January. But that'll probably be moved up sooner. So excited!

We are teaching the most amazing couple of all time. No joke. Their names are Francisca and Saul. They have a 7 year old son named Diego who absolutely LOVES going to Primary. Saul and Diego came to the ward Christmas party on Friday and he got up on stage when the Primary sang. He totally fits right in. It's awesome. That right there is the effect that members can have. Thanks to a Primary President who is aware of all the kids at the party and at church on Sunday. Francisca and Saul want to be baptized but we have to work out some things first, but I am SO EXCITED to work with them.
Also, we have one of the greatest ward mission leaders of all time, Brother McConkie. To make a long story short, he and his family moved to Illinois from Utah in order to be missionaries. That was the whole reason. haha they're amazing.

There is literally so much to say but I just can't sum it all up, so I think this is about it. The members here are awesome (I probably say that about every area though) and I'm excited to see miracles with Hermana Albrechtsen. She hardly even needs training--I think I need the 12 Week program more than she does!

The Gospel is true! Families truly are forever, when we fulfill our part of the commandments and covenants of God. He loves us, more than we can possibly comprehend. That's why He called the prophet Joseph Smith. Through him, the complete Gospel of Jesus Christ was restored to the earth. The Book of Mormon is the word of God. God answers prayers, but only if we first do them. I know that all this is true, with all of my heart and soul.

Love, Hermana DeBuck


1. We went to Panda Express after zone conference with all the sisters in our zone and Hermana Albrechtsen got fortunes that were super similar. It must come true then!

2. One day we made dinner and we had a can of soup but we didn't think it was going to be enough so we added canned vegetables but I kinda forgot what I was doing and ended up adding the whole can of corn.

3. So then we decided we might as well just add the whole can of green beans too. haha so this is what it looked like.

4. My last day in Rochelle, we taught an hermana and I took a selfie with her kids. Aren't they great? haha

5. In case you're wondering. It's 14 December and there isn't a snow cloud in sight... How weird.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Week 66: Photos!!

For whatever reason, Hermana DeBuck didn't send a letter, just photos.  But oh, the photos!! We have received her travel itinerary this past weekend, and she is scheduled to return to us on March 2nd at 1PM at the SLC airport.  We'll keep you posted on the details, but in the meantime, enjoy some crazy pictures from our Hermana.

 With Sister Sampson. Yes, I am ridiculous. But I couldn't resist.

  It may be blurry, but this was probably the best photo with Rosa and Betty and Chimi. I just realized this Sunday how gorgeous Rosa is! Man I love that woman. Look at that dazzling smile.

 Favorite nativity of the night. Enough said.

 All of the sisters in the mission, at the temple together.

Ate at a Chinese buffet this week (because we could) and I ate some sushi in honor of my best friends from home. haha

 Our zone, from left to right: (back) S. Smith, H. Jarosz, S. Halliday, H. Beuhner, S. Taggart, S. Carlson, H. Akina, S. Waters, H. Albrechtsen, S. Murphy, H. DeBuck, H. Henricksen. (front) Elders
Frark, Hibbard, Hastings, Weigel, Clark, Maughn, Harvey, Hadlock (for both the zone and district photos, this was about as normal as it gets....missionaries are SO weird.)

 Our district--plus the zone leaders, from left to right: (back) Elders Hibbard, Weigel, Frark, Clark, Hermanas Akina, Albrechtsen, Henricksen, DeBuck. (front) Elders Hadlock, Harvey.

 Almost all the sisters in our zone (missing one set) in a selfie. The hermana in the foreground just in front of me is Hermana Albrechtsen, mi hijastra. (:

 The second time it snowed, driving to district meeting. You can hardly tell the difference between the ground and the sky. So cool.

Bro & Sis Crockett

Sis Silene Walters

 Kelly Walters

The DiSimoni boys (Connor, Spencer, Brighton, Aiden)

Sis Patty Page & Sis Natasha Pranga

Monday, November 30, 2015

Week 65: Misionary Life Is Like Living 8 Different Novelas At The Same Time

Sorry this is so short. I have no time today. We have sisters' conference today and tomorrow. It's gonna be great! I'll write a better letter next week if I don't get transferred, so no promises there. The gospel is true and the book is blue!

Love, Hermana DeBuck

Here's a picture of our branch president's wife's mom, whom we ate dinner with twice this week. She decided we're her Irmas (Portuguese for Hermanas?) so she's our Portuguese grandma. (: I love her already.

This is Jose and Ida. I love them. Ida said when I come visit I can stay with them. And they're going to get baptized.

Mom note: I swiped this photo from her missionary facebook page. Cute right?

Monday, November 23, 2015

Week 64: Sometimes You Just Wish You Had a Microscope

Monday, November 16, 2015

Week 63: "I Just Realized, You're All Hermanas, So I Better Take This [Photo] in Spanish!"

1) What is the sickest you have been while on the mission? At USU? (Mom note: Her brother was just diagnosed with Mono this weekend!)
2) Have you ever had to use your medical insurance while you were away from home? Did you have any problems trying to use it?
3) How cold has it been there lately?  Any big storms?
4) How are your investigators progressing?  Baptisms still on target?

  1. Um, I think the most sick I've been is honestly just a cold...just got over one this week (thank you, Airborne) and I got one last winter when I was with my trainer. But I really think that's it...probably because Heavenly Father knows I'm a baby and can't handle anything more than that. As for at USU, I think probably the same. I suppose I don't really get sick all that often... Usually though what happens when I get sick is I have a stuffy nose for weeks on end and I just can't seem to get over it. Somehow this week though I managed to get rid of all symptoms basically in about a week. Probably because I drank so much orange juice and took Airborne. Hallelujah.
  2. I don't think so, actually. So no, no problems. haha
  3. It's actually been really nice and fresh here. Yesterday it was about 70 degrees. Today it's a bit rainy so it's a little cooler, but I haven't even had to wear my big coat yet, let alone the snow boots. We heard once upon a time that we weren't going to get snow until after Christmas, but we've since heard that we'll have snow in December most likely. But I honestly don't know. So far it's been really nice. Supposedly it's supposed to be a somewhat mild winter. We'll see how long that lasts though. Just looked at the weather (approved app) and it's supposed to be in the 50s for a few days then in the 30s so I guess the cold is on its way. Brr. I never did like the cold, but at least there's no snow still. (I had to think SO hard to come up with the word "still"; it's been replaced by the Spanish equivalent in my brain...)
  4. Well, Jose and Ida are just the most fantastic people of all time. For real. I mean, where do I even begin? So last week they came to church for Sacrament Meeting and then had to go. We were able to teach them on Wednesday and Friday and Saturday. It was awesome. They have such a sincere desire to do God's will and they're beginning to believe in and feel the power of prayer. We did find out about a few obstacles to get over but we have faith and we know they have faith. Ida keeps all of her commitments and then does some extra studying on the side. Jose is beginning to understand how to pray in order to receive answers and then be able to recognize them. I feel like they're my children, but at the same time I feel like they're my parents. It's so great. So we had invited them to come to a baptism this Saturday and Ida told us she had a vendor fair and they weren't sure they'd be able to make it. We gave them the address anyway and told them we'd pray really hard--and then asked about ten of the members and some missionaries to also pray--that 1) Ida would sell all her Tupperware, 2) the vendor fair would end a little early [or that they'd be able to close up a little early] and 3) that she would find someone to go in her place on Sunday [that way she could go to church]. Well, let me tell you something: PRAYER WORKS. I know Heavenly Father answers prayers, even if it's not exactly how we think He will. Because Ida actually didn't sell very much at all; she said it was pretty slow all day. However, the fair ended up being done at 3 instead of at 4 (the baptism was at 4:30 and the fair was in Rockford, about a 30 minute drive away), and she found someone to take her place Sunday! So they came to the baptism (oh, and there were technical difficulties with the font so the service was delayed for about half an hour) and then afterwards we taught them the Word of Wisdom because they have to be living that for two weeks before they're baptized and last Saturday was exactly two weeks before their baptism and then they came to church yesterday and stayed for all three hours. Oh, and yesterday was the Primary program and they loved it! Oh man. I just love this couple. Also, at the baptism, we had some food afterwards and we'd just about run out of plates so Jose and Ida shared one and Hermana Henricksen and I shared one. When the two of us sat down with Jose and Ida, Jose passed me a napkin and I said "Oh thanks, I didn't even think of that!" And he goes "Well, I always take care of my daughters." Aww.... (: I think a tear may have welled up in my eye. I just love these two SO MUCH. There really aren't words to describe it. They're just amazing. I know we can overcome these obstacles because we have faith, they have faith, and our God is mighty to save (Alma 34:18; 2 Nephi 31:19).

So that's basically the main highlight of this week. I'm not sure what else to say. Good news is that I've stayed committed to writing in my journal nightly so I WILL keep up and then everything I forget to tell you will at least be written down so that we may all profit thereby. (haha) But anywho, here's a brief summary of this week:

Monday: We went by a less active family who live out in the boonies, and it was in the evening and mind you, it gets dark at about 5:30. But so we went by and when we pulled up there was someone (we think) in the truck in the driveway but we went up to the door anyway. We could hear the kids yelling inside but no one ever answered. So we went back to the driveway (on the side of the house) and the lights on the truck were off now. So we wrote a note by the light of the lamp on the side of the house and the whole time we could hear them talking, looking through the windows in the garage door (or something like that) and I distinctly heard them say "They're still here..!" I don't know who they thought we were but boy was it funny. haha Maybe it's just me but I'd much rather have the missionaries knocking at my door at 7:30 than anyone else....haha but yeah. I guess we're really intimidating or something.

Tuesday: We were driving up Lincoln Hwy and I was watching people walking outside (since I am the official co-driver) and I saw a lady that I thought was our investigator so I stared until we'd past and then I stared some more and finally I was convinced it was her so we turned and parked on a street, prayed and started walking towards this woman. And it was her! Her name is Irma and she is so great. She's had a lot of bad experiences with people that have left her without much trust in the general population but she likes us (now). We walked with her back to her house, just listening to her really. She commented about how much we laugh. Let me tell you, it's because of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Only true things like that make you as happy as us. Anyway, we get to her house and she tells us she's going to finish raking leaves and we practically beg her to let us help her and she concedes. Well, I hardly ever got to rake leaves growing up because there aren't many trees at my house so it was lots of fun! However, in the process I managed to step in some poop. Yes, poop. I believe of the cat variety. Well, we then had to walk quickly back to our car because we had an appointment with an investigator. But I had poop on my boot! I couldn't just track poop into her home! (It's always immaculate, plus that's just not cool period.) So we get to the car and it's about dusk (5 pm, you know) and I can't see very well what I'm doing, but I"m trying to scrape it off with dried leaves. Well, the problem with dried leaves is that aren't very sturdy so it basically just crumbles and now it's on my hand! Well, we begin driving and it begins to smell. So I roll the window down and stick my arm out. By the time we've arrived my arm is FROZEN I tell you. But hey, at least it doesn't smell in the car. While Hna ran up to a member's home to pick something up to take to our investigator with whom we have an appointment, I sat in the car with the door open, trying to get poop off. What did I use? Well I happened to have eaten a banana earlier that day and had nowhere to put the peel so I was using that, plus some napkins we had in the car (for when we check oil levels on Mondays) and some water in a water bottle. Well it sort of worked and it was mostly off. When we got to our appointment finally I asked to use the bathroom and I wiped off a bit more with hand sanitizer. So now at this point my boot smells like a combination of cat poop, banana, and cherry blossom. Our investigator's dog sniffed at my shoe for a little longer than normal. But hey, it was good. haha all in a days work, right?

Wednesday: We visited a sister in the ward who has been having a bit of a rough time lately. We weren't planning on being fed but she fed us anyway. (We had pork chops--in the oven, they were more delicious that I remember pork chops being--and mashed potatoes--she used that Mesquite steak seasoning in the potatoes and it was also delicious--and Brussel sprouts. Oh boy do I love Brussel sprouts. I don't know why but boy are they tasty. Just saying. Also, she had a poster on the wall and it was intriguing. I knew it must have something to do with a video game but didn't know what so I asked her about it. Come to find out it was something with League of Legends. Wow.... I haven't heard that phrase for eons! Just kidding, more like slightly over a year. But it feels like eons. It was just so weird to contemplate that again because I haven't even thought about video games for months. Wow. It made me realize just how much a person can change simply by putting one's mind to it. I know I've had the Lord's help in becoming as focused as I am, and I am truly grateful for that.

Thursday: We had zone conference! Wow. It was awesome. And if I'm being completely honest, the first reason for that is because our zone leaders brought us cake and we ate it. It was divine. haha. But it was also awesome because we learned a lot. Plus, I finally had another interview with President. Man, I love President Griffin. He truly is inspired. I know he is so in tune with the Spirit because he was reading between the lines of my asked question and helped me know what I needed to know. I know he is a man called of God to preside over this mission. He receives revelation for all people residing in these geographic boundaries, as far as missionary work is concerned. And just as we are blessed for following the prophet, Thomas S. Monson, I know we are blessed by following the counsel of Gilbert M. Griffin. I love him and his wife and I am so so grateful for what they teach and what they have taught already.

Friday: So we were doing our plans and no one was letting us in so we had about 30 mins left until the next hour with nothing to do. So we prayed and both felt we should go by Ida and Jose. So we drive across town (takes about 8 minutes) to the neighboring "village" and drop by. And of course they let us in because they're only two of the greatest people on earth. And we had a fantastic lesson. We found out a bit more of Ida's concerns and helped them to gain a little more confidence in themselves and in the Gospel. I know these two are searching for what we are trying to give them, and they are so so so close. They're amazing. And I know Heavenly Father will guide us if we will only ask.

Saturday: we had breakfast with a member and when we got there she tells us she invited our investigator! (they're basically best friends) so that was super cool! Both of these two sweet sisters are going through almost unbearable trials and I think it's not by coincidence that they've met and become good friends. Although they have such different circumstances, I know they will be able to support and lift one another as they continue to seek the Lord first. I am so grateful for the stability of my own family and the health of my loved ones. It's not something you always realize that you're grateful for until it no longer exists or you get up close and personal with someone else's situation. I know I am blessed beyond measure and surely I do not merit the great blessings that I've been given. But I know I will continue to work to be worthy of the blessings I already have and to help others receive the same joy and happiness that my family and I enjoy. I am so blessed to have been born to parents who made sacred covenants between themselves and the Lord and who have worked to keep those covenants throughout their lives. I am so grateful for their example. I hope you both know how much I love you and admire you, even if I don't always express it. I'm still not perfect so I'm working on that part.

Sunday: Well about three months ago our ward mission leader gave us a referral (Tony) of a friend of his who was reading the Book of Mormon of his own volition. We went by with this member to try to find him and got no answer. We went by later and met the brother of this referral who told us Tony didn't live there anymore. Our member then directed us to Tony's other brother to look for more information. We went by and met a woman who was previously meeting with the missionaries (I'd met her once before actually) and she told us to try a house on the corner of a street named Irene, with a poodle almost always on the car in the living room window. So we did. We probably tried that house about 3 times and no one ever answered. And we never ever saw a poodle. So we went back to this woman and she told us it was the second door down in the apartment building on the corner. So we tried the second door and met a man whose name wasn't Tony and he didn't know of anyone named Tony. We tried the first door and they had a giant dog--not Tony. Well, Saturday we went back and decided to try all the other doors on that corner because we just wanted to find Tony. And the very first door we knocked was answered by a young woman who said her dad was Tony. Uh, what?! However, he was asleep so she said to come back the next day before 2. So we did. And we found Tony! Oh my goodness! It was harder that finding Waldo but we finally did it. And he's awesome! He asked us where the church building was and said he'd come and also let us set up an appointment to come teach him. Oh boy. I'm excited. He told us he began reading the Book of Mormon out of curiosity and he just wants to finish it so he can know everything. haha by all means, keep reading! It was truly a miracle. (Also, it did turn out to be a second door, just coming from the direction not of the corner...)

I had plenty of time today so this should be long enough for the next month or so right? haha (maybe I'm kidding.)

I know the Gospel is true and I know there is nothing that could make a person happier than the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. As I learned at zone conference from a Hindu-converted-Mormon, Elder Murchison: Hinduism is based on the experience of the four blind men (in the story of the 4 Blind Men and the Elephant) but the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ is based on the experience of the man who saw the whole elephant. There is nothing truer on the earth, that I know. How do I know? Because I read the Book of Mormon and I prayed and I fasted and I asked God, with the intent to act according to the answer. I invite you all to find out for yourselves if this truly is true. If it isn't, well then you've knocked one more religion out of the running. But if it is, then you know what you need to do. I promise you that if you will ask with a sincere heart and real intent, having faith in Christ, by the power of the Holy Ghost you too can come to know that this is the Church of Jesus Christ, reestablished on the earth once more so that all of the children of God may be benefited and one day inherit eternal life.

Love, Hermana DeBuck

1. #thatawkwardmoment when auto-correct turns your name into something two times longer and actually more complicated.

2. Some of my favorite hermanas at zone conference (from left to right: Hermana Taylor, H. Dahle, H. Neff, H. LaBonte, H. Griffin, H. Henricksen, and yours truly.)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Week 62: Why Don't You Use Lowry's? Because My Soul Delighteth in Plain Things. Thanks, Nephi!

5 Questions:
1) Did you ever take tests/study at USU on Sundays?  Did that help/hurt you?
2) Now that you know you are aren't being transferred out of Rochelle this round, when is the next transfer date?
3) Has your mission received many more Spanish speaking missionaries this fall?  Do you get Spanish speaking elders?
4) Did you get the mail I send directly to Sister W's home?
5) Does the mission provide bedding (blankets, quilts, etc) for missionaries there?
  1. Tests, no. Those were always in class, during the week. Studying, I don't think so. I honestly believe and know to be true what we teach our investigators: Sunday is the Sabbath day in this dispensation and we are to sanctify and honor it. It is the Lord's day, and how we treat it is a sign to God, showing how we truly feel about Him. How I personally decide if something is alright to do on the Sabbath, I ask myself if I would do it if the Savior were here with me. Would I wash the dishes? Yes, because cleanliness is next to godliness. Would I deep clean the house? No, that can wait because the house is clean enough. That is simply doctrine according to Hermana DeBuck (the dishes example) but if you'd like more clarification, please see Elder Nelson's talk from the April 2015 General Conference. He explains it a lot better than I can.
  2. The next transfer is the 8th of December. So I have two and a half transfers left as a missionary. Approximately 14-15 weeks. That is crazy. Boy does the time fly. And I honestly don't want it to end. There is nothing better than bringing souls unto Christ 24/7. But a release as a full time missionary is simply a call to be a life long missionary. (: So that makes it a little better.
  3. I believe we've gotten a few more, not a whole ton. But some. I would say 2-6 every transfer cycle. Maybe. Don't quote me on that. And yes, we have Spanish speaking Elders. There are two currently serving in my first area, down in Bloomington-Normal.
  4. I think so....? Not sure though. How long ago was that?
  5. Yes and no? I know in my first apartment we had a bunch of blanket already and in my second area we found a giant blanket in a closet. The house here in Rochelle has a bunch of blankets but I believe they actually belong to the house, not the mission. The other places I think they were just leftovers from missionaries who didn't take them with them.

Well, I have some good news everyone: WE HAD INVESTIGATORS COME TO CHURCH!!!!!!!

I don't think caps lock and any number of exclamation points can even begin to describe how happy we were. We wanted to cry and to scream and to pass out all at the same time. Yesterday was probably one of the top five Sundays of my entire life. But first, some background information...

On Wednesday, we taught one of our on date investigators, Ida. She is on date for 28 November and we were able to teach her at a members' home with two of the greatest people ever, Brother and Sister Springer. We ended up having about 25 minutes to teach (because we had to leave then to be on time to exchanges in Elgin). We had asked our members the day before to study in Preach My Gospel, lesson two: the Plan of Salvation. We say a prayer and begin the lesson. Brother S starts us off and finishes us off. We spoke very little yet the Spirit was so strong. That right there is the importance of members. It was a fairly brief overview of God's plan for His children, but I know it was what she needed. We then asked if she'd prayed about being baptized on the 28th of this month and she said yes. We asked how she felt about it and she said good, smiling. I know this woman is so prepared and so ready. We then invited her to church, telling her she has to come every week between now and the 28th in order to be baptized then. Her face fell slightly, saying she had work that day. We promised that if she worked for it and we all had faith, God would provide a way.

On Friday, we were at the church doing weekly planning (exchanges on Thursday and not enough time Wednesday) when in walks a young boy, maybe ten years old, and he asks us what time services are on Sundays. We tell him ten o' clock and he walks out. Then he walks back in and asks what time they're at in Spanish, and we explain it's the same time but we translate what's said. Then he leaves. There wasn't even enough time for us to consider finding more information. We were just in shock. It was crazy and we thought to ourselves, "hey, maybe we'll have some random people we've never met at church this week" and then we went on with our week.

Fast forward to Sunday. We were talking with a member before the meeting began and in walks the young boy we met Friday. Followed by six more Latinos whom we had never met before. Can you say miracle? Because I sure can! It was truly amazing. We met all of them and got them all set up with stuff for translation. Then, later, while we are singing the sacramental hymn, in walk Jose and Ida, our couple on date. The second we saw them, I just wanted to cry and praise God. I know He is so so so merciful to His children. He truly loves His kids. And I know it has very little to do with us. The only factor we play in miracles like these is our obedience. I know because we have been repenting daily and seeking the Spirit, constantly doing our best to be our best, we were rewarded abundantly. And if I had to narrow it down to just one reason why we finally had people at church, well I don't know that I could. I think it's partly because I have been very studious in writing in my journal nightly, which is something I've been repenting of for quite some time. And I think it's partly because I've finally learned how to truly exercise faith, do the best I can, and then leave it in the Lord's hands, believing that it will all work out in the end.

This week was simply amazing. Last Sunday was fast Sunday and it was also the first of November. We were invited by our zone leaders to fast about our mission vision: 1000 baptisms in one year, which works out to be one baptism per companionship per month. Well, I fasted about it and I honestly felt like I didn't receive an answer. But now, looking back on the week, the answer was manifested in our desire and our attitude and our faith.

See, faith has always been a hard concept for me. I'm a logical thinker and faith just doesn't make sense, logically speaking. So I've been studying it quite a bit and I've learned some interesting things.
The phrase "exercise faith" really just means "working towards a worthy, unseen goal". So when we exercise our faith, we are working towards a good goal, inspired and confirmed by the Spirit, even though we don't know how it's going to be achieved. We trust in God enough to work as hard and as smart as we can, and then we give it to Him.

I recently studied Alma chapter 32 in the Book of Mormon. The prophet Alma, compared the word of God to a seed. When we first hear the word of God, we don't know if it is good or not. So how do we find out? He tells us that first we must "awake and arouse" our faculties, to "experiment" upon the word, "exercise a PARTICLE of faith", "desire to believe" and then "let this desire work in [us]" until we can "give place for a portion" of the word--or try living what the word says. When we give place for a portion of the word, when we begin living the principles we are learning, that is how we plant the seed. Then, as we continue to nourish the seed, we continue to live those principles, and we do not "cast it out" by our unbelief, it will begin to swell, to enlarge our souls, to enlighten our understanding, and to be delicious to us. We will see the fruits of living those principles and we will begin to know that they are true, good principles. By exercising our faith, by trying those principles out in our lives, that is how we learn if it is a true, good seed--if the word is actually the word of God. However, at this point, our knowledge isn't perfect. Our faith has been strengthened yes, we are more inclined to believe, but we still don't know perfectly. Eventually, as we continue to nurture that seed, we may come to a perfect knowledge--of that thing. When we get to this point, our faith is dormant because we know without a doubt that the word is good and true.

And this, my friends, is where I am at when it comes to many Gospel principles. I used to think I didn't have faith. But I learned this week that that thought is completely and utterly false. That thought comes from Satan, who would have us doubt our faith before we doubt our doubts. But now I know that I truly do have faith. But because I have seen the fruits of living the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ, my faith in dormant in many ways. But there are some principles that I must continue to exercise faith for my knowledge is not perfect.

Which is what Alma tells us about next; he tells us that we must not "lay aside [our] faith". Friends and family I plead with you: do not lay aside your faith. If you have once tasted the joy of the everlasting Gospel, I would ask, can you feel so now? (Alma 5:26) Come unto Christ and be partakers of the fruit of the tree of life (1 Nephi 8:11-12). I know that God is your Heavenly Father and He loves you with an infinite love. Neither you nor I can comprehend it, but I know it's real. His work and His glory--His eternal goal--is to bring to pass YOUR immortality and eternal life (Moses 1:39). He has not given up on your nor will He ever give up on you.

I know Jesus Christ is the Son of God. He lives. He guides His Church through living prophets and apostles. I am a disciple of Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God. He has called me to this holy calling, this work of salvation. No unhallowed hand can stop the work from progressing. Persecutions may rage, mobs may combine, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly and independent until it has penetrated every continent and sounded in every ear, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done (see History of the Church).

Tu Hija y Amiga,
Hermana DeBuck

1. So frequently I make Hermana Henricksen tell me a story in Spanish (to practice speaking and conjugating and making sense) but yesterday she made me, so I told her about how we always ate Cow Tales when we got a car wash. So today we bought cow tales and then ate them in the car wash!

2. Remember those disgusting bugs I told you about? Well, last night we found TWO more! The first one was enormous, which is probably why he was dead the next morning: he breathed all his allotment of air.

3. The other one was a lot smaller so that's probably why he wasn't dead yet. But now he's somewhere in the wilderness far from our house so who knows how he's doing.


Monday, November 2, 2015

Week 61: It'll Take A Bull to Get Me In a Fight, But It'll Take a Herd To Get Me Out

5 Questions:
1) How soon are the baptisms you've got scheduled?
2) Do you have a minute that you could write a note to Sister Brytni Butler? 
3) How are things going with your companion?
4) Do you hear from your brother? I can't tell you what it means to me that you two are helping each other, separate from me & dad.
5) Any suggestions for Christmas gifts? Some requests have already been asked.

  1. We have two for 28 November. Their names are Jose and Ida--they're a couple. And we have one for 5 December. Her name is Gloria.
  2. Yes, I will/did.
  3. So well that we're basically the same person....not even joking. The other day we were reciting our mission statement and we both yawned in the middle--at the exact same time. And then we were giggling/laughing and we barely made it through the rest. haha it's a really good companionship. We're planning on Hermana Henricksen killing me so that'll be great. haha
  4. Yes, off and on. If I write him he usually responds. I try to write weekly but sometimes it doesn't happen. AT least every two weeks though. He's doing alright.
  5. Uh, ask me next week..

Well, this week was good, if crazy. I can't say why but just know that I'm doing well and we are working hard here in Rochelle. I truly do love it here. I think I'd like to die here (Alma 17:23).

The Gospel is true and it truly blesses lives more than anything else. What we do as missionaries is invite all to bring the truths they already treasure and see if we cannot add more. I know we can and we will, because this is the restored Gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the Church of Jesus Christ, and He is at its head. He directs His Church through His prophet Thomas S. Monson today, and He restored His Church through the prophet Joseph Smith in the year 1830, bringing back precious truths that had been lost after His death and the death of His apostles. The Book of Mormon is literally another testament of Jesus Christ and will bring a man closer to God than any other means will. I know all of this is true because I prayed and asked God if it was. And He told me, by the power of the Holy Ghost, that it is. No one can take that knowledge away from me, and only God can give it. I invite you all to ask, either for the first time or the hundredth time, if God still speaks to His children through a prophet on the earth today, and then listen.

Love, Hermana DeBuck

1. One of the many finely dressed geese in Illinois, for your enjoyment.

2-3. Found some clothes in a closet in our house and so I tried some on... (: (Some things just never change...)

Bonus photo was sent by the Bishop's wife (their landlord) after the girls had haircuts and ice cream with her today for P-Day:

Monday, October 26, 2015

Week 60: "Wait, You're Not Latina?!" (DREAMS DO COME TRUE!)

Sorry this week is going to be just photos really. But hey, good news is that I get to stay in Rochelle! Who'd've thunk it? Not me. I was certain I was leaving and tears were shed in prayer because I was so distraught. But Heavenly Father is so good to me and I get six more weeks (at least) in this blessed place and we are going to have two baptisms! We are so excited for the people we are working with; now we just have to sacrifice so that they will come to church. And I am willing to do everything it takes! The Gospel is true and families truly CAN be together forever--if we comply with the will of God and make and keep sacred covenants.

Love, Hermana DeBuck

1. The Elders wanted to take a picture with us on Sunday before the one leaves....this is the result. Wow, aren't we awkward...

2. We met this sweet Lutheran lady who totally opened up when we asked her about her car! Man, it is so sweet. It's a 61 Chevy Impala. And she let me take pictures(:

3. One of our investigators gave us some salsa and it has five different peppers in it... I thought I'd die but man it was SO good! Loved it. Took it to the branch chili cook off and it was a hit too--and then that investigator came and it was a little awkward but we just rolled with it! (:

4. Awkward district photo but I suppose this sums us up. hahaha #missionarylife to the T...