1) Did your box of clothes find you yet?
2) How are the reading lessons going with your investigator?
3) How was the Temple?
4) Do the Nauvoo missionaries serve anywhere else in IL? Or are they like the temple square missionaries? Or do you even know?
5) How often do you have district or zone or mission meetings/conferences? Where do they have them? What kind of travel arrangements do you have to make when you go to those?
Fasten your seatbelts: this is probably the longest email you'll ever get from me--plus pictures.
1. Not yet. I imagine it will next week though, as it's transfer week (as much as we wish it wasn't...)
2. We've actually only taught her twice, but she can write her name as well as "Jesucristo" which is really all you need right? She's also learning the alphabet so we're helping her with that too, but she's had some health complications as well as having to work so it's been hard to meet with her.
3. Just the same as any temple I suppose. Which is to say AMAZING!!! I remember hearing about that quote from a general authority about how you can learn something new in the temple every time you go so I was really trying to learn something new and I did! Heavenly Father definitely answers prayers, in case you were wondering.
4. We actually just talked to one of our investigators about this--she visits Nauvoo frequently. My understanding is that the missionaries serving there serve for 6 months and then go somewhere else, but I'm not sure where. Or if this is actually true to be honest. We did have the opportunity to talk with one of the sisters in the temple as we were leaving and she was saying their mission in the temple is only for a year--she and her husband served in Salt Lake for 5 years, and they were also temple president in one of the Mexico temples, as well as president of the MTC in Colombia so that was super cool!
5. We have district meeting every week, Wednesday at 10:30, unless we have zone training or conference. And I'm not exactly sure for zone training or conference, but I think we have them each once a transfer. In case you're going to ask, here's the difference between training and conference (as far as I can tell): zone conference is longer. And the way it works in our mission, zone conference/training includes two zones; in our case it's the two zones in the Peoria stake--Peoria East and Peoria West. Who comes? All the missionaries serving in those zones, plus President and Sister Fenn, the Assistants to the President, the Tech Elders, and one set of Sister/Hermana Training Leaders. Plus some of the office missionaries, particularly Elder Hall who is the vehicle coordinator and always has some helpful instruction for us (at Sisters Conference it was "How to Not Be Mugged") (:
So this week was awesome.
A. Thursday 19 March 2015: all of the sisters and hermanas in the Illinois Chicago West mission were in Naperville on Thursday to be instructed by our training leaders, Sister and President Fenn. It was amazing! President Fenn spoke about the Priesthood and I feel like I understand so much better now. It was spectacular. ("The Priesthood isn't about men, it's about God." If you read in D&C 132, I can't remember which verse exactly, when it's talking about the blessings we receive if we're faithful to covenants and inherit the celestial kingdom, you'll notice it says "they" and "them" rather than "him" and "his". As women, we are entitled to the exact same blessings as the men, IF we are faithful. There is absolutely NO reason that we would need to hold the Priesthood.)
Sister Fenn spoke about what may be the hardest commandment to keep: "Be ye therefore perfect". She talked specifically about being perfect (as in whole or complete) versus being a perfectionist.
And then all of the sister/hermana training leaders' training were phenomenal. It was just so great. I love women's meetings; there's a certain sense of camaraderie that you can't get any other way.
We were also able to sing, all of the sisters and hermanas, I Believe in Christ for President and Sister Fenn--it was written by Sister Fenn's father so it's a hymn near and dear to the heart. (The sisters sang the first verse, hermanas second, third in parts, and fourth in unison) President and Sister Fenn were both brought to tears. It was really powerful.
Because we live so far away, we drove up to Naperville Wednesday night and slept over at the Hermana Training Leaders' apartment, like we did for mission conference. Then, driving back took a really long time so we had about an hour in our area, but because we worked hard and did everything we could and prayed with faith, we were able to contact 10 new people in that one hour--gas stations are our friend.
B. Saturday 21 March 2015: We had no appointments so we did a lot of finding and contacting people, plus some stop bys, and once again, "I [gave] way to temptations, that the evil one [had] place in my heart to destroy my peace and afflict my soul". But, we were able to work through it and we were stronger afterwards and then we were able to contact 40 new people throughout the day! It was amazing.
C. Monday 23 March 2015: Since we went to the temple today, Monday was a regular proselyting day, and we ended up having appointments almost all day--we taught 5 lessons in total--so we had next to no time to do any contacting. Our last appointment was at 7:30, but due to regular life circumstances, we were late to that appointment and therefore got out late. We ended up with approximately 5 minutes to contact, and we had only invited 5 people earlier in the day. However, we were determined to invite as many people as possible so we parked at the McDonald's on Main Street and started walking. We had found and invited 4 people then had to go back to the car; so we were at 9 for the day. I was praying so hard, "Heavenly Father, please let someone be coming out of McDonald's when we come around the corner." Then, we turn the corner and I look at the door: two young men are walking out. So I do what any missionary would do: "Hey! Can we give you a card?" If that's not an answer to a prayer, I don't know what is. I know that Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers, and rewards us exponentially when we put forth even a little bit of effort. It was amazing.
D. La familia Albrechtsen: we didn't have a dinner appointment on Sunday so they invited us over. Monday we had dinner and a lesson in their home. They drove us missionaries to the temple today. Basically, they're just going to adopt us. Mom, Dad, I don't think I'm ever coming home.
As far as this week goes, it's gonna be awesome! As long as Tuesday never comes, we'll be fine. Hermana Araujo and I are tearing it up here in Bloomington-Normal. Three of our investigators--a family--are on date for 25 April but we are doing everything we can to help the mom be baptized this Saturday. She's so ready and she loves the Gospel and the Church. I know it's possible.
Something I learned this week during personal study comes from 3 Nephi chapter 3. I read about Gidgiddoni, who was made chief commander of the armies. In verse 19, we read that he had the spirit of revelation and also prophecy, and then that Gidgiddoni was a prophet among the people. Then, in verse 20, we see that the people want to attack the robbers (rightly so, I think. They were pretty bad dudes.) And the people want their prophet, their commander, to pray to the Lord and basically say "this is what we're gonna do". But, in verse 21, their great prophet tells them "Uh no. I don't think so. That ain't gonna fly." And so from all this, we learn that the people CANNOT counsel the prophet, but the prophet can and should counsel the people. This is because he has been authorized, given authority, by the Lord to do so. We can trust our prophets because they have this authority. They will not lead us astray because they are God's mouthpiece. "You can always trust living prophets." (True to the Faith)
I know the Gospel is true, and that families CAN be together forever. This is only made possible through the priesthood power and authority of God, which was restored to the earth through God's chosen prophet, Joseph Smith. He could not have done what he did without divine help, and I know that he had it. Through which, he was able to translate the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ so that we can know how to return to live with God again after this life. God is our Heavenly Father, and He wants us to return to Him. Because He loves us, He has provided one way. There's no need to be confused about which road to take because there are only two: the one that leads to our heavenly home and eternal life, and the one that leads to eternal misery with the enemy of our souls. It is an easy decision for me. Which one will you choose?
Todo Mi Amor,
Tu Hija y Amiga,
Can anyone tell me why I have perpetual hiccups? It's the strangest thing. One day we counted and was 60 times. But it's not like a regular bout of hiccups...I'll hiccup once and then anywhere from 1 minute to an hour or so later, I'll hiccup again. We think it's more prevalent when I've been sitting for a while....I'm not sure what's wrong.
Also, we talked to a recently returned Elder in the Normal ward, who served in the San Jose mission--including in Gilroy. I said my grandparents live there, the Boomgaardens. His response: "No way!" He said Brother Boomgaarden told the greatest stories about cars. Yup, that's my grandpa! (: haha so that was pretty cool.
I meant to say this last week, and maybe I did but I'm not sure: keep your eye out for calf-length skirts. I wear basically the same three skirts every day because the other ones I have are just short enough to make me feel like I'm not being exactly obedient. Just if you see any, make note or something. That's my suggestion for a birthday box of some kind....just so you know. I dunno if there are gonna be many available as it's beginning to get into springtime so they'll probably just have shorter and shorter skirts. But just so you know. Thanks! (:
One of the Relief Societies had an International Night, and one of the sisters brought these (she's from Canada) (:
Note from Jill's Mom: These are the exact treats we adopted from a set of our cousins--whose other grandma is from Canada--they are called Nanaimo Bars and are a favorite family holiday TREAT at our home.
We played "the prayer game" with some members and an investigators, talking about how we need to ask actual questions in order to receive answers. So fun!
Us at the temple this morning! Aren't we cute? (I have more pictures, but they'll have to wait until another week...)
Mom Note: This group picture was shared on a Mission Moms page--Hma DeBuck didn't share it, but it was from this temple trip, so I include it for all the grandma and grandpas' sakes..