Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 52: "My Husband Was a Slum Lord", Said a Recent Convert

5 Questions:
1) What kind of topics have you had to speak on in church as a missionary?
2) What do you remember being the best things you were sent at USU or on the mission? 
3) Do you have an idea how soon I should get your winter weather clothes together for you?
4) Are you learning to make any favorite Hispanic dishes?
5) Did you ever get a copy of the General Conference Ensign or in Spanish Liahona?

1. In my first area, in one of my wards, I spoke about a Christlike attribute. I think it may have been charity, but I'm not positive... All four of the missionaries spoke on Christlike attributes that Sunday because our Bishop's speakers had fallen through or something.
Then in my second area, I spoke about missionary work as it relates to our baptismal covenant. Because, as members of Christ's church, we have all made a promise to our Heavenly Father, to God, that we will proclaim the Gospel.
And here in Rochelle, I gave a talk about Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, which I based on a missionary meeting we'd just had that week.

2. Well, at the Utah State University, the best thing that was sent to me would probably be my mission call....I honestly can't remember much of anything else that was sent to me. Letters and cards from grandparents always make my day, so those would be the top two at USU.
Here on the mission, best thing that's been sent to me....probably a letter from one of my converts in Peoria. Man I love her. Mostly I just love getting letters and cards (and emails for that matter) because I love reading what people have to say. The only down side is responding. Writing emails is probably my least favorite thing to do on P-day, in all honesty. But, it's a part of life. So I will continue to do so.

3. The members have told us that winter usually doesn't really start until October at the earliest, so I should be good until then. This year, the fall weather has started a bit early here, but I still have scarves and cardigans and fall boots so I won't be in want of more clothing for a while. I think I'll be fine until the beginning of October or so, maybe even later actually. Probably the transfer in October. That'll be the....27th of October. Unless you hear some crazy news about Illinois winter starting extra early, I think I'll be fine until then.

4. Yes! Well, maybe not my favorite, (I still don't know how to make flautas), but definitely some good ones. I've been taught how to make arroz con leche and horchata (well, I kinda taught myself on the horchata), but I also learned to make tres leches, lentil soup, cochinita pibil, mexican salsa, and curtidas. I'm hoping to pick up more recipes throughout my mission so I'll be able to cook real mexicana comida for my family when I get home. Because man have we been missing out!

5. Yes, I got a copy. We get copies from the mission. Plus, it's on Gospel Library which is on the iPad so I'm definitely covered as far as the general conference talks go.

Well, this week we had a mission tour with a member of the first Quorum of the Seventy. His name is Elder Renlund (and his wife, Sister Renlund). They were so much fun! On Friday they came to the Rockford stake center and we got to learn from them and the Spirit. It was really neat because literally everything that was said was just for me, I sear. It was amazing. This week has been a bit rough, in all honesty, because of various factors but I just needed that pick me up. And then Sunday I received a priesthood blessing of counsel, as well as some proddings from the Spirit due to a well-chosen video from the Elders in our branch. So, even though we still haven't seen any success numerically, I know we're doing what God wants. And if we just keep on keeping on, eventually we will. Because He promises to bless us. I believe in the vision of our mission president: 1000 baptisms in one year. It's definitely achievable and we're going to make it happen. Of course, it will require "all our heart, might, mind, and strength" as well as the attributes of "faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, brotherly kindness, godliness, charity, humility, and diligence" and we need to have "an eye single to the glory of God", but I know it is possible. (see D&C 4). "The field is white already to harvest", just like the fields of corn out here in northern Illinois. God didn't send us here to plant seeds, He sent us here to harvest, to reap. And I know the time is now, for each of us to "thrust in [our] sickle, and reap with [our] might" so that we may "[lay] up in store" and "[perish] not, but [bring] salvation to [our] soul." God is mightier than all, and we were sent to be successful. For, "if God be for us, who can be against us?" (Romans 8:31). I know that we are on God's side. We are representatives of Jesus Christ and we have been commissioned to preach His word, to baptized thousands, and help God's children inherit eternal life through the saving ordinances of the temple. I love this work. There is no truer work. And it is a privilege to be a part of it.

Con Todo Mi Amor,
Tu Hija y Amiga,
Hermana DeBuck

1. So we get to volunteer at a museum weekly and this week we got to help document some donations. So here's me modeling a couple of them! First is a headdress from Jerusalem. Isn't that the coolest thing ever! I felt like I could be in a Bible video, which are only my favorite things of all time.

2. Now I'm modeling an Egyptian headdress. The woman who donated it wore it while they were in Egypt and did some sort of dance. Unfortunately, I wasn't imbued with any such talents while wearing it.

3. We won a missionary "competition" of sorts and this was our prize: Bobo the Clown. Isn't he creepy? We thought so. But we had to document our winning anyway.


4. The last hat for this week: while doing service at a member's home, I found this and put it on and then she said "you can have that if you want". Of course I accepted. No questions asked.

5. So Illinois has this thing with water towers. Which is cool, no problem. But I can't figure out why this one is advertising Mac n Cheese....

Monday, August 24, 2015

Week 51: Studies Show You're Always within 3 Feet of These....SPIDERS!

5 Questions:
1) How is this new companionship?  Are things settling into place?
2) Any new investigators?
3) Have you planned any Hispanic weddings lately? (kidding)
4) How is Bishop Walters' family? Did their kids have a great time at EFY and Soccer camp? Are they taking care of you girls?
5) Are you getting used to your new mission president yet?  Also, how's the back feeling?

1. Things are going splendidly in the new companionship. Basically we've just accepted that we're both awkward and we just have a good time together. Plus we work hard and seek the Spirit so it makes for a pretty good companionship, if I do say so myself.

2. Actually, yes. We have found quite a few new investigators. Sort of, anyway. Basically we just made appointments with a bunch of people that we'd taught but didn't make return appointments with. Which makes them new investigators.

The first one this week (I don't remember if I've talked about him before) is Tequila. He's from Tequila, MX and his real name is Aurelio but he calls himself Tequila. The first time we met him, he told us he doesn't drink water he just drinks Bud Light. But he was awesome. Anyway, we'd made an appointment with him for late Monday evening and when we got there he was super distracted and wasn't paying attention. We tried teaching him how to pray and he couldn't remember step one, two steps later...anyway  so we (I) got pretty straight up with him and asked him what his problem was, essentially. He attributed it to the fact that he's moving this week and he had a bunch of work to do and whatnot. I told him, "You know what hermano, we have a lot of work to do too. Do you know what work we do?" I made him look me in the eye, and he said "What?" somewhat half-heartedly. "The salvation of souls." That is the work we do. So, while I do love this man, he just isn't ready for the Gospel right now. He will be ready someday, but it wasn't this week. So he became a new  investigator, and then we had to drop him for now. But it's okay. He'll come round. I know he will.

The second one was Gonzalo Bautista. We met him a while ago, and he seemed really interested. He's originally from Guadalajara and he told us he lives about 7 blocks from the temple out there. He told us he loves Mormons because they're so "brotherly". haha cool. (: he's this cute little old man. Anyway, we couldn't set up an appointment because he was working in the milpas (corn fields) so he didn't have a schedule. But now the siega is over (harvest) so we called him on Friday and set up an appt for Sunday. Only, it was quite possibly the creepiest phone call of my entire life. I mean, I would say I've been hit on by more old Latino men than I can count, but this was by far the worst. And it was through the phone too. Anyway, we're pretty sure he was super drunk because when we talked to him Sunday to see if he was back in town or not, he was back to how he was when we first met him. So that was good. But then he was still in Elgin so he wasn't there for the appt. But we'll see him this week for sure. He seemed so ready for the Gospel so I'm excited to teach him. And the last two. Oh man. Buckle your seat belts because I'm about to tell you concerning the worst day of my  mission--and then the second best day of my mission.

So Friday. We had lunch with Hermana Doelman (she recently moved in from AZ and she goes out with us all the time. She's an angel.) and then we had an appt with a senora we've been teaching for a  while, named Maria. She doesn't pick up the doctrine super quickly so we teach her very simply, but she was open to learning more. However, her husband, when we taught him and her the Restoration and invited them to be baptized when they know these things are true, he told us that he thought it was a sin to change religions after he's been in his church for so long. So we knew he wasn't interested or ready. But then on Friday, we took our Relief Society President, Sister Dettman, to teach Maria. And we were just asking Maria about her reading in the Book of Mormon when her husband interrupted us and started going off about how they're wasting our time because they're not going to change and we all believe the same thing anyway. And I honestly felt like I was going to be sick. The Spirit of God was NOT present in that room. It was awful, I tell you.

Also, normally, when people start going off like that, I start to just get really frustrated because I don't  understand how they can't see that this is what God wants for them and it is the only way they can be with their families after death and forever. But this time, I recognized the irritation beginning and I just plead with my Heavenly Father that He would give me His love for this man. So, as I listened to this hermano reject every testimony that we offered and every blessing we promised, tears welled up in my eyes. I couldn't help it. It legitimately hurt my heart that he was being kept from the truth by the subtle craftiness of men. But one eternal truth is that of agency. We can't force the truth on anyone. So we left them with a prayer and I think it was the most fervently I've ever prayed in my  head while my companion offered a prayer aloud. Someday his heart will be softened and he and his wife will accept the restored Gospel, and then be sealed as husband and wife for time and all eternity. I was still a bit choked up after the fact, mind you. But we still had Sister Dettman with us so of course we needed to find someone to teach.

Our first back up was a cute old lady we'd met sometime in July, named Irene. I didn't think she'd be home, but when we were putting in back ups I felt like she should be in our plans. When we knocked on the door, her husband Jose answered (like always)  and said his wife wasn't home. He suggested we try back Saturday when she doesn't work. But we hadn't gone there for nothing so we asked if we could share a message with him. And he said sure! At this point my heart was perking up because at least someone was open to listening to the Gospel. And then, to make a long story short, Jose accepted everything we said as truth, without the bat of an eyelash. The following words actually came out of his mouth: "I believe it. I believe he saw God and Jesus Christ." JOSE BELIEVES THAT JOSEPH SMITH SAW GOD THE FATHER AND HIS SON JESUS CHRIST BEFORE HE EVEN PRAYED ABOUT IT!!!!!! Oh my stinking french fries. It was seriously a dream come true. Like, I can't even describe how amazing it was. I will say that my  testimony of the fall increased that day. Because in the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve didn't know joy because they didn't know misery. How many times have I said something to that effect? More than I can count. And that phrase become so chillingly real last Friday. Because we had just faced probably the worst rejection of my entire mission, the sweetness of this sincere man's faith was more precious than almost any other moment I've experienced. I know that Heavenly Father truly answers prayers. Because, in that moment, I needed a reason to keep going. And boy did He give it to me. So, in a nutshell, the new investigators are going very well. We have an appt with Jose and Irene for next Saturday. And he basically committed to come to church next week. (He told us that after  we'd first met them and told them where the church was, one day they drove by because they wanted to see it. How cool is that?!

3. Thankfully no. haha we did have an English wedding a bit ago, but I think I told you about that. We didn't go to the wedding itself but we did help decorate. It turned out very nice if I do say so myself.

4. I think they're good, the Walters. I actually haven't heard anything lately about Addison but I imagine he's doing well on his mission. Kelly has had a bit of a rough first week of school, but I
think she's on the upswing again. And I believe she had a good time at EFY....I dunno. haha and Zane...oh man. This kid is so funny. He's always super little-brother-ly with the Elders but he was actually treating me like a sister yesterday. That was kind of fun. haha I think soccer camp was good. We actually had a branch activity last Thursday--put on by the Elders--so we played sports (all the women played a game called Kwizniac. It's so fun!) and it looked like Zane was probably beating everyone. But then I imagine they made the teams a bit more even or something. I dunno. But they're all good.

5. The new mission president is amazing! Man I just love him so much.  I don't know what it is but just being in the same room as him makes a person feel so much more energized! It's so great. He and his wife were exactly what this mission needed. It sounds like we're going to be seeing some changes in how the meetings are held and various things so I'm excited to see what happens. It's going to be awesome. And my back is doing okay. Did I tell you we think it's just out of alignment? So basically I've decided that if it acts up again, I'll talk to Sister Griffin about going to see a chiropractor or something. Because that's basically the way to fix it, so I'm told. But we'll see. I imagine I'll be fine for the next long while.

Well, that's about it this week. I already told you the biggest story. But just wanted to share something I learned this morning during my studies.

In Alma chapter 37, Alma (the younger) is basically teaching his son Helaman everything he needs to know in order to be the prophet. And, as a member in my last area pointed out, you'd think he'd  reveal some sort of grand secret. But he doesn't. It's so simple and straight forward and that's how we all need to live our lives, whether we're a prophet or not.

Also, in verse 16, Alma is giving his son charge concerning the scriptures that have been kept by all the ancient American prophets. And he tells him of his sacred charge, that he must appeal to God in all things concerning them. And I realized that that verse applies to all of us, as members of the  Church of Jesus Christ. Because the Lord has entrusted us with something sacred. For me, He has entrusted me with the spiritual welfare of the children of God in Rochelle, IL. For you, it may be the spiritual welfare of an entire ward, or maybe just a 9 year old Primary class. But nonetheless, He has entrusted you with something sacred. And you absolutely MUST appeal to Him in all things concerning them. And the promise is that, as you do that, "no power of earth or hell can take them from you, for God is powerful to the fulfilling of all his words." And I know that that is true. God will fulfill all his promises (see verse 17). He always has been a promise keeper and He always will be. So the question that remains to be answered is this: are you a promise keeper?

Abrazo de,
Hermana DeBuck


1. We had a Relief Society activity where we displayed our talents. Well, Hermana Henricksen and I hadn't prepared anything, but we brought a cake so we decided to do some frosting painting. (:
Everyone was very impressed. hahaha

 2. Me with a dragon. Enough said.

3. One of the sisters makes chain mail. So this is a chain mail dragon. How cool, right?!

4. We decided to draw out the Gospel of Jesus Christ for a Facebook post. I'm pretty proud, just saying.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Week 50: Of All the People in the Steak & Shake, We Had To Pick the Pastor and the Deaf Woman

5 Questions--
1) Did the bubble envelope make it to you yet? Is that what you wanted?
2) How was your meeting this past week?  Was it a one meeting?  Or mission wide meeting?
3) How is being a senior-companion?  Do you have more responsibilities?
4) Can you tell us more about your new companion?  It's Sister Henricksen, right?
5) How is your back?  Will you please let me know what you did to it?  What you are doing to help it?  Did you get a blessing?

1. Not yet....So who knows when I'll get it. haha ah well.

2. The meeting was awesome! Oh my goodness. It was exactly what I needed. One thing it made me realize even more than the hinting I was feeling was that I was being WAY too prideful. We truly have inspired leaders called of God because they all said something that I needed to hear. I wish everyone could be a part of this mission just to hear the trainings given by my leaders. The trainings they give are truly marvelous. Here's a snippet of what I learned/heard:
 - Pretty soon our mission will be part of another pilot program, which will link us as missionaries (and members? not sure) to organized service projects so that we can be working with community members on a larger scale. Our mission president mentioned as part of the program, but that's about all I know. We're super excited though. It's gonna be sweet!
- Also, I didn't know this, but apparently two members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles have said that something big is going to be happening in Northern Illinois....we're paraphrasing here but hey, that sounds pretty dang exciting...They didn't say what but something special is coming. (And our mission president is going crazy trying to figure it out...haha) But, we may or may not be setting the goal to have 1000 baptisms in our mission in one year....which would be something special, that's for sure.
- The assistants brought out an actual sickle and an actual scythe to help all of us really understand what the scriptures refer to. Oh man. Crazy stuff. (I didn't realize how huge a scythe is...) Something they talked about was that each of us received a call letter that said "Come, follow me" and we each accepted it. We left our nets, just as the apostles of Christ did. Or at least we should have.
- Part of being humble is recognizing that you and your companion (for some readers, you and your spouse) are equals, one and the same. The only difference is your name tag.
- "We need to get out of the Lord's way so He can do His work through us."
- You can't "embark" (see D&C 4) with one foot on the boat and one foot on shore. You have to jump in with both feet!
- The Lord doesn't expect us to do everything perfectly the first time. He expects us to do our best, and whatever our best is, is an acceptable offering to the Lord. (2 Cor 8:12)
- Everything we do is all about "becoming". Just stay on course.
- "The Lord is perfectly mindful of what you need--and it may not be what you want."
- Every trial is an opportunity to triumph or to fall. But when you fall, you get back up and try again, until you triumph.
- "The celestial kingdom isn't reserved for the untried. It is reserved for the refined. And that refinement comes in the furnace of affliction."
- "It is impossible not to be better than you are today if you really want to be."
- Each of us needs to open our eyes to the possibility of what could be. If it's not you, then who? If it's not now, then when? If it's not here, then where? In fact, it is you; it is now; it is here!
- As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we are all on the starting team. NO ONE sits on the bench.

That doesn't even begin to do the meeting justice, but that's what I felt I should share with you all. I know our leaders here in the Illinois Chicago West Mission have received a call from the Lord Jesus Christ to love and to serve and to teach and to learn, just as much as the leaders of Christ's Church have received their call. President Thomas S. Monson is in fact the Lord's chosen prophet on the earth today. He and his counselors and the twelve apostles hold the all the priesthood keys that have been restored to the earth today, which keys were brought back through the Prophet Joseph Smith. I know that all of this is true because the Holy Spirit, the third member of the Godhead, told me so. I know it, and I know that God knows it, and I cannot deny it.

(It was a zone meeting, but remember at least in our mission, zone meetings are generally for two zones, the two zones in the one stake. So this meeting was for all the missionaries serving in the Rockford Stake.)

3. Well, it's certainly not bad. I admit at first I was pretty nervous but since the meeting on Thursday I haven't been scared or timid at all. Really it just means that I am to help my companion fulfill her purpose (and mine) but that's what all companions ought to do, no matter seniority. As far as I can tell, the biggest thing is that "successful missionary work and appropriate missionary conduct begin in the companionship under the leadership of the senior companion." (Missionary Handbook, p. 56) I think the reason is just because there is quite the difference in the amount of time we've been serving so I'm the "senior companion" because I have more experience, but in all reality we teach and help each other.

If I'm completely honest here, part of my problem has been that I've been treating my companion like a junior companion. And it should never be like that. Sure I may have "more experience" but that's a big fat lie. We all have different experiences, that's all. But we're here to help each other. And that was something that I really needed to learn from this meeting, and then exchanges solidified it. The natural woman in me has secretly been wanting to train for the past who knows how long, and it finally hit me this transfer that I am SO not ready to train. Because I would've been detrimental to any new missionary in the field. I would've babied her, so of course Heavenly Father isn't going to trust me with one of His prepared hermana missionaries. But now I don't want to want to train (or have any sort of leadership position for that matter) because I want to be content just to work 24/7 in my area with my people. I want to be like one of my companions, who was always seeking to do something more because she knew there was always something more we could do. To the very last day she wanted to work. And that's what I strive to be like.

4. Yes, Hermana Henricksen. (For everyone's information, Hermana and Sister are synonymous, so there's no need to correct yourself by saying Hermana if you say Sister the first might be surprised by how many people do that. But they're literally the same exact title, so it really doesn't matter....) Anyway. Well, Hermana Henricksen is from Salt Lake City, UT. She went to East High, and was involved in choir and theatre. Between graduation and a mission she worked at Seagull Book. She has two older brothers and three younger sisters. She speaks ASL too, and her first experience with Spanish was in the CCM. She's a really hard worker and applies what she learns SUPER quickly. She is very  desirous to be able to teach the Gospel well in Spanish and is willing to do what it takes to improve. She and I are pretty similar, but one glaring difference is that she is very open minded. I suspect I will learn a bit of that this transfer (with any luck, at least...) She's also 5 foot 10 inches, so she's almost half a foot taller than me, which makes switching off who drives every day a bit more exciting. She previously served in Rockford, in the Spanish branch up there (which is where Hermana LaBonte went). She killed her first mom, and her second mom is now Hermana LaBonte's companion (and she's going to kill her now.) I told Hermana Henricksen that my mission for this transfer is to squash her gringa accent. (:

5. My back is fine... Man, I thought I explained what happened. So rewind a few months to May or so. One night, we were praying. I was kneeling on the ground but bent at the waist so my nose was basically touching my knees. When we finished praying, I couldn't sit up because of the pain in my back. It was like something had locked or been tightened and I couldn't move without hurting. Somehow I managed to lay on the ground for the next half hour while the three of us (mostly my two companions) finished planning for the next day. I then somehow made it to the bedroom but couldn't breathe well so we called Sister Fenn and she said it was probably just a strained muscle, so I took some Ibuprofen and put some rice in a sock, stuck it in the microwave and then laid on that while I fell asleep. The next morning I was okay, just a bit more stiff than usual. Eventually the pain subsided until it was back to the regular tightness that I always wake up with and just deal with it. Then, last weekend, I laid on the bed, perpendicular, with my upper body hanging off the bed. Keep in mind, I used to do this all the time in order to stretch out my abdomen because that helped when I had air bubbles (or something) in my chest. The blood rushed to my head a lot faster than normal, so I tried to sit up. But again, I couldn't even move because of the pain. I did make it up so I was level for the most part but then couldn't get myself up any more than that. Hermana Henricksen had to pull me up by my arms and I practically crawled along the wall to the bathroom. Then we decided to call Sister Griffin. She suspected it was pleurisy (?) which she and President sometimes get after having a cold. But I definitely hadn't had a cold and it was definitely brought on by that stretch. Anyway, I took some Ibuprofen and laid down for an hour or so. Eventually I could move enough that we just got to work.

And then this last week, we were talking on the phone to one of our leaders after planning and I was bent over with my hands on my knees so I could talk into the phone on the table, and afterwards, when I tried to stand up straight, my back was locked or whatever again. This time it wasn't as bad but it made it a bit difficult to get ready for bed. There wasn't any time to take Ibuprofen but I did in the morning and it was all okay later.

Anyway. I have literally no idea what's going on in my back because I've heard different a diagnosis each time from someone different (slipped disc, strained/pulled muscle, pleurisy) but it doesn't inhibit me from doing anything if I just lay down for a bit, take some drugs, and put some heat on it. It's not bad enough that I'm incapacitated so I just don't worry about it. Just please don't freak out, okay Mom? I'm fine. We can look into it when I get home in March if you really want to. And I suppose if you felt the desire you could take my description of what happens and how it feels to someone who could diagnose me through email. haha that'd be funny. Anyway. It's alright. I've survived this long and I'm not about to let some weird back problem stop me. Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered and poisoned for goodness sake! I can handle a little back pain. (:

Well, considering those were all pretty long answers to your questions, I don't have a ton to report  this week. However, we did do more service this week than I think I've done the whole rest of my mission. It was awesome! We got to help out on Saturday with the ice cream social that the museum put on, and we met a lady who was taught by elders quite some time ago. That was random. You literally never know who you'll meet that has had some association with the Church and the Gospel. But it was a lot of fun. After that we went to the carnival part of the festival and picked up trash for a while. haha I'm pretty sure someone told us, sort of under their breath, as they walked by, "You're going places." And I thought to myself, "Why yes we are! To the celestial kingdom in fact!" Now, maybe that seems a bit presumptuous, but it's the honest truth. I know I've made covenants, or promises, with God by His authority which was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith and I am doing everything I can to be true to those covenants. I know I am on the path that leads to eternal life and I don't plan on falling off of it anytime between now and my inevitable death. And I know that I won't stray from it after this life, either. (Alma 34:34) I know the Gospel is true and was restored by Jesus Christ Himself, through His chosen Prophet. That same authority has been passed down from prophet to prophet and is now held by Thomas S. Monson. I love my Savior Jesus Christ and I am so happy to be His full-time servant for 18 months of this mortal life (Alma 29:9). I plan to do everything I possibly can to serve Him to the best of my ability for however many years I walk this fallen earth, and for the eternities to come. I know He lives, and He guides this work through His chosen servants. "When you get on your knees and beg for His help, look to His servants." I know that if you follow the prophet, you'll get where he's going.

Con Todo Mi Amor,
Tu Hija y Amiga,
Hemana DeBuck

For all my mathematically inclined friends, if every companionship of missionaries in the church baptized just one person every month, 510,882 people would join the fold of God in one year. (this number is based on the statistical report from April 2015 General Conference.) We have 87 companionships in our mission. One baptism per month per companionship is totally plausible. Therefore, 1000 baptisms in a year is entirely achievable.


 1. me and Neena. She just had 7 puppies five weeks ago. 
If I could adopt a dog, I would seriously consider her.

 2. One of Neena's puppies. Look at those puppy eyes.... (One of the
recent converts in our branch is a foster mom for dogs.)

 3. Driving back to Rochelle from Elgin and found this guy. Man, he's so cool.

4. He was telling me a secret..... (;

Monday, August 10, 2015

Week 49: Finger Food Sports

5 Questions--
1) Did you finally get all your birthday packages?  The last one was a yellowish bubble envelope.
2) Now that your birthday is over, and you have opened everything, what did you think?
3) Did you do anything  (dinner, etc) on your birthday?  I know you said there was a Primary activity. With tandem bikes...
4) Sister Ormond said you wrote her an email last week.  Do you write to many other people, ward members, family?
5) Do you get email from Gma Jo?  She sent you $ for your birthday that I added to your UCCU account.

1. No envelope...but I'll probably get it Thursday at zone training. (Question, did you ever send the correctly sized garments? I got the first set, with three tops and the one bottom, but I haven't seen any since....the one bottom you sent was just too small so the size just above would be perfect.)

2. Well, I think it may just be the general feeling of being a missionary, but after having my 20th anniversary of my birth, I think celebrating birthdays is bit silly. I mean, of course I'm grateful to have lived an entire year more, but I was able to do service almost the entire day of 31 July 2015 and I think it was one of the best birthdays yet. But thank you (to everyone) who sent me birthday wishes in whatever form. I hope you all spent the day trying to serve someone other than yourself because I know I did and it was one of the best days ever.

3. Well, the primary activity was the day before my birthday. For the actual day of my birth, we spent almost the whole day at the church helping to decorate for a wedding that would take place the next morning. Only three to four other people were there all day, and after praying about it, we felt that we needed to stay. So we didn't get to do very much proselyting but I know we did what the Savior would have done. The Spirit confirmed that revelation and I didn't look back once.

4. I tried to respond to everyone who wrote to me for my birthday because it's the least (possibly the most) I could do. Last week I did write to a bunch of people, though I couldn't tell you who exactly...

5. I did get an email from Grandma Jo a while ago... well, I know for sure I wrote her, when you first told me about the birthday money, to say thank you.

So this week. Well, I honestly can't remember anything that sticks out. It was good, if a bit long and tiring. We weren't seeing a ton of success numbers-wise and I just felt like we were wearing ourselves out. But you know what, sometimes we work as hard as we possibly can and we don't see immediate results. From this and many other experiences, I know that the Lord seeth fit to try the patience of the Saints. But that doesn't mean He isn't aware of us, or doesn't pay attention to how we feel. On the contrary, He knows exactly how we feel and exactly what we are doing. If you're not seeing immediate blessings from God, I would implore you not to give up or give in. Because I know that God's love never fails (Moroni 7:46). I know that God will not let us pass through something that we cannot overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13); rather, He will provide a way for us to accomplish whatever trial stands between us and eternal life (1 Nephi 3:7). I know that that has been true for me, and I know that it is true for everyone single one of us who belong to the family of God.

This week, our zone is keeping track of how many times we share a tender mercy with a member. We were really excited to apply this principle, but our problem was coming up with tender mercies to tell the members. But now we have some, of which I would like to tell you...

So the first week of a new transfer with a new companion is always a bit awkward because you're two different people and you've never met and suddenly you're together 24/7 and you're supposed to have each other's back 24/7. Well, Hermana Henricksen is great (the Holy Ghost told me we'd get along great before transfers so I wasn't worried) but she's also somewhat similar to me in that we're both pretty quiet. So...we didn't get to know each other very well right away. And it wasn't bad, just a little awkward is all. So one day while I was driving, I asked Heavenly Father if He would give us an experience over which we could bond. Well, that very night, when we were reporting our numbers to our district leader, we sent the number and then realized it was wrong. So we started the text, correcting the previous one and it turned into the attached photo. And maybe it was just because it was after 9 pm but man we were cracking up! It was hilarious....I really hope our district leader appreciated it as much as we did. Or at least a little bit because I doubt anyone will appreciate it as much as we did....oh man. But anyway, so we bonded over that. Which was great.

And the Saturday happened....
So Hermana DeBuck did something she shouldn't have done (but there was absolutely no way to have foreseen this coming) and she ended up being unable to move because of an intense pain in the center of her back. Well, it was just as our lunch was ending so we called Sister Griffin because that's what you do and she said to take some Ibuprofen and to lay down for an hour and then see how it was. Well, I about went crazy but I did as she asked and at the end of the hour I still couldn't move without being in pain. (Sorry this is so "graphic" but it's important to know the point to which I am getting.) Anyway so we decided it would be better to wait it out a bit because it's better to be out for two or three hours than to get up and hurt myself worse and then really be out of commission. Also, at the end of the hour we texted Hermana Griffin, basically asking (in Spanish) what to do because I still couldn't move. We tried doing productive things but there isn't a ton you can do when you have to lay flat on your back on the bed. Then, just as I was approaching the point of stir crazy, we get a text from Sister Griffin. It says "Si puedes" and that's it. Now, for all you gringos, you may not know what that means but it was exactly the pep talk I needed. I read those two words three times, maybe four, and thought to myself, "Joseph Smith was tarred and feathered in the middle of the night and got up the next day and preached like he would've any other day. You can stand up and walk." And so that's what I did. 

Now I don't share this story to brag or anything (far from it; goodness knows I am such a baby when it comes to pain.) But hermanos y hermanas, I know that it is thanks to the Lord Jesus Christ that I was able to get up and walk. Not because I received some miraculous blessing of healing (that's another story) but I know--I KNOW--that when we rely on the merits, the mercy, and the grace of the Savior (2 Nephi 2:8) we truly can do all things (Philippians 4:13). And even though we didn't find someone asking us to be baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, I know we made a difference in someone's life, which we wouldn't have been able to do if I had stayed in bed, bemoaning the fact that my body isn't perfect. And that truly was a tender mercy--even if it was a rough road to get to it.

I also want you all to know that our loving Heavenly Father hears and answers prayers---both verbal and non-verbal. But here's a background story first.....
1. On Thursdays (usually) we do what's called weekly planning. Now, before my mission I had no idea that this was a thing, but it makes sense. God is a God of order so it follows that His work would be done in an orderly fashion which requires some planning beforehand. Anyway, so when we do this planning, we have three hours to plan for the people we are working with. We have 13 inspired steps to follow which help us to fill our days with meaningful activities which will help people strengthen their faith in the Savior and progress toward exaltation (PMG p. 146). So at the end of three hours we have basically every hour filled for the next week.

2. On Thursday night we met with one of our investigators (for whom we had just planned) and we found out we couldn't meet with her for the next week because of her schedule. Okay, no big deal. Things like this happen all the time, and we knew that something would come up to fill that time we'd planned for on Monday night.

3. Sunday comes around and it's the middle of the day and we still have no plans for that hour tomorrow. We were starting to get a little anxious. But we decided not to worry about it and basically just asked Heavenly Father what are we supposed to do tomorrow at 6?

4. Less than an hour later--maybe less than 30 minutes--we get a call from one of our recent converts asking if we could help her with some cleaning this week when we have time. We told her of course! how do 6 o clock tomorrow sound? 

The moral of the story comes from 3 Nephi 13:8, which says "your Father knoweth what things ye have need of before ye ask him" (it's also in Matthew 6 but I can't tell you what verse off the top of my head.) And I know that this is true. Heavenly Father knows what we need, even before we ask Him. Sometimes He answers right away (like He did for us on Sunday), sometimes it takes a day, or a week, or a month. Sometimes the answer may not come at all during this mortal existence. But I know that they do come to those who faithfully endure to the end.

Finally, I just wanted to share something we read this morning that really hit me hard:
"Any Church member not obedient to the leaders of this Church will not have the opportunity to be obedient to the promptings of the Lord." - Elder Marvin J. Ashton
I know that this applies to all of us, for so it has been throughout the entire history of this planet. If we choose to reject the guidance of the prophets and apostles, we choose to reject the guidance of the Lord. It is my hope that all of us may have our hearts opened just enough to experiment upon the words they say. Because when we do, we will come to know of the truthfulness of their words and of the divinity of their calling as servants of the Lord Jesus Christ. I love the Prophet, Thomas S. Monson. I love all of the Apostles on the earth today. And I love the Prophet Joseph Smith, without whom we could not have the complete fulness of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Don't forget to prepare for General Conference; it's never too early to begin preparing to receive instruction from God.
Con Todo Mi Amor,
Hermana DeBuck
 1. The semanal corn foto. Pobrecitos, just won't grow any taller...
 2. All because two people....and a phone were tired.
 3. I can't remember if I told you already or not, but I got a Jehovah's Witness Bible! It's so soft....
 4. Hermana Henricksen and I. She doesn't like photos so I was going to take a photo without her knowing but she looked up right as I was about to take it--and she smiled! (:
 5. Hermana was taking a photo of the house (because this is the only house house that missionaries can live in within our mission) and I was opening the door for her to unlock it, right as a train went by so I was plugging my ears. And I thought it was a rather appropriate picture...always awkward Hermana DeBuck.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Week 48: Baking Soda + Vingar = A Big Let Down

5 Questions: These are from last week--when she only wrote one line about tennis!
1) How are you and your companion getting along?
2) In your current area, do you have a car, share a car, bike?  I can't remember.
3) You mentioned in your last letter that people mistake you hermanas for other religious people.  Are there a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses there?  Do they assume that you are JW too?  Does that happen often?

Last week's answers:
1. haha well good but she's leaving tomorrow....
2. we have our own car.
3. I don't know about a lot of Jehovah's Witnesses, but enough that people constantly think we are them. I've been told that the Jehovah's Witnesses is about the same size as our church world-wide, but there are probably more Jehovah's Witnesses in town than members. But then, I don't actually know.

5 Questions this week:

1) What was the deal with last week's letter?  I'm glad you got to play tennis, but, holy cow!  You can do better than that.  ;)
2) Is this week transfers?  Any hint if you will stay or go?
3) Have you by chance seen Elder Golling yet?  He is coming to your mission, but will speak English, so you may not ever see him.
4) Did you get ANY of the packages we sent for your birthday week?
5) Did everything we sent work for you?  Size was OK, etc?

This week's answers:
1. Sorry....haha but I'll try to make up for it this week.

2. Yes. I am staying here in Rochelle, and getting an Hermana that just finished training. (Hermana Henrickson)

3. He comes today/this morning/tomorrow. So maybe I'll see him tomorrow at transfer meeting. Almost certainly I will actually. And hey, the English Elder who is staying in Rochelle will be training so maybe he'll get Elder Golling. Wouldn't that be crazy....

4. Yes, I got the iPad case, as well as the first package you sent. I love the skirt, good choice! I did wait to open the skirt until my birthday, in case you were wondering.

5. Well, I'll let you know next week about the new garments (I'm assuming that's what's in the package you sent with Pam...)

Alright, well, first things first: yes, transfers is this week, as you've probably gathered by now. Hermana LaBonte is headed to Rockford 4th, which is a Spanish branch, and the missionary she is replacing will be my new companion, so that's kind of funny. Hermana Henrickson just finished training up there, and I've met her a couple times at zone meetings, but that's it. She is super cute though, and I'm really excited to work with her. I admit I'm also a little nervous because we're reading through the section of the White Handbook about Missionary Leadership, and it includes senior companions--which is what I'll be. Up until now I've only ever been co-senior companion or junior companion. But I think I'm up to the task (with divine help, of course).

Our investigator that was on date didn't come to church (we were devastated) so now he has fallen off date. It's really hard with his schedule because he works literally all day and only has weekends off, but he has his kids with his for the summer so he wants to do things with them, and then he's driving to and from Chicago all the time and it's just hard...but man he is so prepared. He just has to make it a it's hard. It's actually really frustrating, but I think I'm learning some patience and  understanding through the whole process. It's hard because you love these people so much and you know that this is what will help them qualify for eternal life, but they have their agency so it's up to them whether or not they do something about it. It's okay. When they choose to use their agency in a  way that propels them towards exaltation, there is no greater feeling.

This week was good, just tiring. I can't believe how tired I am. But at the same time I never want this to end! It hit me this morning/last night how precious the time is that I have left. And I don't want to let a single glorious opportunity pass me by. I've got plenty of time to do things other than full-time missionary service, but I only have 18 months to devote to the Lord and His mighty work. I know that this message is the one single thing that can save the world from itself. I know that Jesus Christ will soon come again, and the Gospel that He restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith is what will help us to be prepared for that marvelous day. I love the Book of Mormon and the Prophet Joseph, and I will strive every day of my mortal life (and then some) to declare this wondrous truth.

Love, Hermana DeBuck

In case you're wondering, I spent almost my entire birthday doing service and I think it was indeed the best birthday ever.

 1. My last day as a teenager: we spent our dinner hour riding a tandem bike!

2. Us with our 8 year old recent convert, Betty (it was a primary
activity and we went to help with translation, initially)

 3. Us with Rosa and Betty, both recent converts, on my birthday. I love them.

 4. We found a dead snake this morning while backing out of our
"driveway"/dead end street. Isn't it fascinating? (haha sorry Mom.) 

5. Day of the primary activity again. Selfie with the 8 year old. (:

 6. The weekly corn foto, of course. Look at how tall it is... (: haha  this poor patch just is having a struggle this summer. ("The struggle is so real...")

7. Last chance for companionship selfies, so here's the (more) photogenic one...

8. And the not so photogenic one.....I think I must have a lot of skin around my neck.

9. Last week we went to Dekalb and the Michoacana there (it's a mexican ice cream place) and we got elote and helado! This is Hermana Capps and Hermana Richardson too. This foto was supposed  to be a silly face picture.... Everyone looks so nice and "silly"....and then there's me....... Aren't you so proud, ma? hahaha

10. Me with Andara and Larry. They're the grandkids of one of our members, and we get to have dinner and a lesson with them once a month, but they came with Grandma to the activity on Saturday! I didn't want to risk not getting a picture so we took one then. Andara's face kills me...She looks like someone I know.... (;