Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Week 56: Elders and Hermanas, When It Comes Time to Choose a Spouse, There May Not Always Be a Right Choice, Just a Choice!

5 Questions:
1) How is the corn doing?  haven't seen a photo in a while.
2) Can you begin to feel the change in seasons yet?  Do you need your winter stuff sent?  Perhaps, if she agrees, I can send it to you while you live near Sister Walters.  ;)
3) do you read the scriptures in Spanish for your study time?  What have you noticed about them that is different than they are in English?  IS there any difference?
4) Did you get your investigator to church to see/hear the Women's Session of conference?  Wasn't it great?!?  I loved Pres Uchtdorf's story about Great Aunt Rose.
5) Do you have transfers coming soon?  Are you worried you'll go?  or worried you'll stay?
  1. It's doing well. Getting pretty gold looking. At least the ones that haven't been harvested. We keep watching for someone to be harvesting while we're driving around so we can take a picture with the harvest, but no luck yet.
  2. Just a little bit. I don't need winter stuff yet though. I've got some cardigans I can layer with, plus some scarves. So I'll be fine for this month or so I think. If not, I'll let you know. I would imagine you can probably just mail it near the end of October, when transfers are, and just mail it to the office. Then I'll for sure get it and I don't think it'll be too cold before then. I'll let you know if I change my mind though.
  3. Well, during our hour of personal  study, I study in English usually. Sometimes I'll study Preach My Gospel in Spanish to make sure I've got all the words I'll need in my head, but I've pretty much mastered the Gospel words I would say. But then during our hour of language study, for 20 minutes we read the Book of Mormon out loud together in Spanish, to practice reading Spanish, hearing and understanding Spanish, and saying the slightly weird scripture language in Spanish. During the 20 minutes that my companion studies grammar, sometimes I read out of the seminary and institute manuals in Spanish and find quotes to write and put in my scriptures. Sometimes I read from the dictionary and find words that are more common in Mexico or in Latin America, or sometimes I study grammar that I haven't studied for a while and want to brush up on.
  4. Unfortunately, we didn't get any investigators to women's conference. We almost did, but things came up. However, yes it was amazing! haha it was kind of funny though. So we got there a bit late because one of the sisters we carpooled with was running a bit late. And then during the second speaker, a lady from the stake Relief Society presidency came up to us and was like "Are you Spanish sisters?" When we nodded yes, she said "Why aren't you watching this with the Spanish speakers? There are three sisters back there and I don't know who they are--if they're members or investigators. You need to go be with them." So, we did. Luckily, I've watched some conference things in Spanish before and I am pretty good at understanding anything relating to the Gospel. But my poor companion. She said she understood some but not enough to get much out of it. So we'll be watching it again as soon as we can, but this time in English. My favorite talk was Sister McConkie's. Oh my goodness. You could just hear the passion in her voice! We are all involved in the cause of Christ, as baptized members of His Church. But it's still up to us if we are going to fulfill our duties or not--and receive the promised blessings or not.
  5. Transfers are the end of October. I believe the 27th. And I'm not worried about staying or leaving because I don't think about it until the Saturday before transfers when I have no choice but to think about it. I don't like contemplating what might or might not happen because I'm here until I'm here, and I'm here to work. So that's what I do.
Well. Where do I begin...
So first off, Mother, please do not be alarmed. Everything is fine now. Okay? Keep that in mind..

So on Monday we went to help a recent convert and her family out because they're remodeling their house. All we did was move pieces of wood from one side of the yard to the backyard so they could be picked up and thrown away. But the problem was they had nails all over in them, so we had to be careful. And for one brief moment, I wasn't careful enough. I stepped on a nail. Now, I haven't done a whole lot of painful things in my life so I think my pain tolerance must be pretty low. And oh my goodness did that hurt! Almost immediately my foot was gushing blood. I was just gonna push through the pain and keep going but that was not going to happen. I felt like I'd walked through a swamp my sock was so soggy. Luckily we'd basically finished everything so we told our convert that we had to leave and got out of their. We called Sister Griffin and she instructed us what to do so we did what she said. We had a random reusable plastic bag in our car so I put my foot in that and applied pressure after taking my shoe off. We get home and I sat on the counter with my foot soaking in the sink. And I honestly felt like Moses for a few minutes--I turned the water to blood. But anyway, long story short, I'm basically 100% now and I hardly even limp anymore. haha so that's good. The moral of my grandpa's life is now becoming mine: "God protects the stupid".

On Tuesday we taught a new couple and the hermano was seriously super into it. It was awesome! It was also one of the best restoration lessons I've ever taught. Hermana Henricksen and I, it took us a long time, but we finally are teaching with a lot of unity and the Spirit is always super awesome when we do. It was one of the most powerfully spiritual lessons of my mission I'd say. It was awesome.

Wednesday, we were somewhat rebuked in district meeting (all the district, not just us) because we haven't been doing very good talking to everyone. So we decided again that we were going to do it. And we did! And literally only one person even accepted a card! But hey, we knew we were doing what we needed to be doing. And I believe, because of that, we were led to a couple that had previously been taught and we literally taught at least one principle from each of the five lessons. It was crazy and super awesome! Oh man. Loved it. I'm excited to keep teaching them. 

Thursday was crazy, as always. But we finally got all thirteen steps of weekly planning done in 3 hours! The struggle has been so real because we haven't been able to finish the last step (companionship inventory) in the three hours so we always ended up doing it during dinner or after nightly planning in the evening. But we finally did it! Also, I realized I've learned a lot throughout this past year about controlling my emotions. It only took me twenty years but I think I'm finally beginning to get the hang of it! You'd be so proud, Mom.

Friday we talked to three men in about the space of an hour and taught each of them different things. The first looked nothing like the kind of person who would accept a card with a picture of Jesus but in the end he ended up accepting a copy of the Book of Mormon! He was awesome, and kind of reminded me of Grandpa Dale a bit. haha he was fun to talk to. The next man was walking a dog (his name was Patches) and he is absolutely convinced that the Bible teaches that once we die our body will rot and return to the earth, never to be taken up again. We taught and testified of the Atonement and the Resurrection, but he wasn't having any of it. He kept talking about all these things from the Book of Revelation and I'm pretty sure he was just confusing himself. I am so so so grateful for continuing revelation and for a prophet of God on the earth today. Of course it's important to know the scriptures, but it's also important to listen to the prophet who receives revelation for the welfare of God's children in our days. And finally the next man was basically just Bible bashing the whole time. We testified and testified and testified until we were blue in the face (practically) of the prophet Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. But, because he'd studied about "Mormon" doctrine (honestly, it's not Mormon doctrine, it's God's doctrine, but that's besides the point) he was convinced that he could befuddle us. He even accused of of being "deceived by false teachers", of which it warns in the Bible. Well I'm here to tell him and all of you reading this that I, Hermana DeBuck, have not been deceived by false teachers. I know by the very power of God that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God and that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I also know that there is literally no other way to receive eternal life without the priesthood, which was restored to the earth by God through Joseph Smith so that each and every one of God's children could receive all the ordinances of salvation--not just baptism. I know it, and I know that God knows it, and I cannot deny it.

Saturday we were in an area and had literally no idea what to do. So after we prayed, the thought came to mind that we should try some former investigators. So we looked at the list of people in that town and picked one, named Ida. We went and realized we'd met her husband, Jose, a week or two ago. When he answered the door, right away he told us "Oh good! My wife wants to talk with you!" Family and friends, that was one of the best moments of my mission. We were able to have a lesson about the power of the Atonement, covering topics ranging from breaking the habit of swearing to the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. It was truly amazing. I am so excited for this couple. I know that now they're ready to progress more than they have before.

Saturday was also the women's conference, but I believe I already wrote about that. Suffice it to say here that the conference was amazing.

Sunday we knocked the house of a potential neither of us had ever met and were greeted by a high school-aged young woman who actually does believe that it would be beneficial to have more of God's word. Well of course! She seems really open and she told us she wasn't sure but thought her family would be open as well. We're planning on teaching them this evening and I am really excited.

As far as my own personal progress goes, yesterday morning during my personal study, I was feeling a bit down. Have been for the past little bit. But then I read Helaman 10:4. And I felt like Heavenly Father was talking directly to me. Because I wonder a lot if He is actually pleased with what I do as a missionary. And this morning, the resounding answer was YES! The second half of that message from the verse was that I need to "fear not" the people. I just need to open my mouth and let it be filled! And it's rather appropriate that yesterday was the first day of the week and of this reporting period--I couldn't ask for a better day to recommit myself to be exactly obedient and just talk to everyone. And so, although the work has continued not exactly as we would have liked the whole time I've been here, I know I'm learning from my mistakes and striving to be better. And that's really the only thing that matters.

The Gospel is true. The priesthood is restored. The Book of Mormon is evidence that God loves all His children. Joseph Smith was the prophet called from the beginning of time to restore the truth to the earth in this last dispensation. Thomas S. Monson is God's chosen prophet on the earth today. We are so blessed to hear him and all the chosen vessels of the Lord speak every six months. This weekend, I invite you all to write down a question that you would like God Himself to answer, and then as you listen to the speakers, pay close attention to what the Spirit tells you. I promise you that you will receive an answer to your question, no matter what the question may be. If you will listen to the Spirit, He will tell you what you need and want to know.

Tu Hija y Amiga,
Hermana DeBuck

1) A picture of my foot, after we'd washed off all the blood and whatnot. It looks like I just scraped myself or something....I promise it was a lot cooler looking before we washed it. But I wasn't really thinking about taking pictures:

2)  We found this tiny saw with a face on it and it was just too adorable not to take a picture of. (Don't mind the crazy eyes...)


3)  I've decided that one goal of my mission is to find a ginkgo tree in each area. Finally found one in Rochelle--and it was huge!

4) Also, you'll be happy to know that I actually learned something all those years at Girls Camp: found some Lamb's Ear growing out of the sidewalk of a member's home! How cool! Now if only I could remember what poison ivy looked like... 

 5) Here's the corn picture, as requested:

Monday, September 28, 2015

Week 56: Part 1

Just wanted to let you know that I'm not dead or anything. We had to do some missionary things today that took up about three hours of our P-day so we got permission to make up an hour or so tomorrow morning. I'll write more then hopefully. Love you lots!

Monday, September 21, 2015

Week 55: "Officer: 'Is Everything OK?' Me: (in a slightly high-pitched voice) ...'Yes!'"

5 Questions:
1) What is the best part of being a missionary for you?
2) Are you able to share your testimony with someone (or more than one person) every day?
3) What have you learned about the atonement that you didn't know or understand before the mission?
4) Have you heard from any HS friends who have already returned home? Meaning Wyatt/Kevin/Spencer, etc?
5) Is there any message you might have for me to give Christine?  She gets home on Wednesday.

1. Well. How do you expect me to answer that? The best part of being a missionary, for me, is knowing there is nothing better I could be doing. Because in all honesty, I don't love everything about being a missionary. It's not easy for me to be with one person 24/7. It's not easy for me to work out for 30 minutes on land every morning. It's not easy for me to talk to strangers. It's not easy for me to teach people about the Gospel. It's not easy for me to love everyone I meet in an instant.

But what is easy for me is to know that I am "about my Father's business". I know that He is pleased with what I do when I follow the Spirit. I can know He's pleased when I can feel the Spirit, because the Spirit "doth not dwell in unholy temples" (Helaman 4:24). I know that I am on God's team and that with  God, I truly can do all things (Alma 26:12). I know that this Gospel is true, and that is one of the greatest gifts my Father has given me through this mission. My conversion to my Savior and to His  Gospel has grown an hundredfold. I've seen what life is like for those who do not have the Gospel, and for those who have it yet do not follow it. And I know firsthand what life is like when we have the Gospel and follow it to the best of our ability. God wants to bless us, and He will--if we will just keep His commandments. All blessings come according to the heed we pay to the commandments of God (D&C 130:20-21). If we will but keep the commandments, we will prosper in the land (1 Nephi 2:20).

2. Yes! Even if that person is only my companion or another missionary (there aren't many days like that), we always always always share our testimony, even just our feelings about the Savior and His Gospel. A testimony doesn't have to be shared over the pulpit on fast Sunday. We can share our testimonies with everyone around us by simply living what we believe and being willing to defend those beliefs verbally and kindly, just as the Savior would.

3. First off, I've learned that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can help me do things that are hard, such as exercising. That is honest truth I have learned as a missionary. But I've also learned that it's more than that. Through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, we can literally give away all our pain and  anguish. In the moments when I have absolutely no desire to work in unity with my companion, He can give me His love and we can keep going, working together. In the moments when I have no   desire to talk to that person across the street, He can remind me of my own blessings and help me want those same blessings for that random stranger. In any moment where I do not reach my full potential or when something is lacking, He can supply what is necessary. Of course it does require work. A person can't just up and decide in a moment that Christ's grace is sufficient for them to gain eternal life. We are still required to prepare ourselves for eternal life. He made it possible for us to inherit that gift, but if we are to be ready to receive it, we must be prepared. And because of Christ's Atonement, we can become prepared to be in the presence of God--and feel comfortable there. I  know that I want that reunion to be joyous, so I will do everything I can to be worthy of all the Father hath.

4. Not particularly. I think just one actually, Kent. No one else though.

5. ...nothing comes to mind, other than tell her I love her.

Well, I don't have a whole ton of time and I don't know what to say about this week. Literally everything that could possibly happen has happened, I feel like. This week has felt like an eternity, but we keep moving forward.

We're helping one of our investigators prepare for baptism in October, but she just needs to come to church. We're hoping to get her to women's conference this week because we feel that will be a really important experience for her to have.

We also finally got in contact with our investigator who went to his country for a week. He told us he was coming to church the next day but then didn't come. So it's a little frustrating sometimes, but we'll figure it out. He'll realize this is salvation on the line some day and then he'll want to keep all his commitments.

One thing I have learned this week is that I am SO grateful for my parents and my childhood. Of course we had our struggles, our ups and downs, but I truly am so blessed. Shout out to my parents who, despite their imperfections, were able (and still are able) to work together for a common goal: an eternal family. I am so blessed to have loving, faithful parents who have lived the standards of God to the best of their abilities. And I know I'll do everything I can to be like them in that regard.

The Gospel is true. It's the only way for us to be with our families forever, but it's available for every single child of God. The Book of Mormon is the word of God, and only through daily study of that  book, combined with daily prayer, will we be able to withstand the temptations and afflictions of this world. If you are not currently studying it every day, I challenge you to do so. Even for one week. Put God to the test, and see if He will not bless you more than you think possible.

Con Todo Mi Amor,
Hermana DeBuck

1. Found this coat in a hidden closet in our house. I felt like I was ready to serve in Russia!

2. Our branch president's wife recently got a Camaro. What a smooth ride....(minus the multiple chins) 

3. We took our recent converts to a lesson and it went totally not as planned, so we were trying to keep the nine year old entertained. Since the camera is about the only entertainment on a Church-issued iPad, this is what happened.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Week 54: It's Rosh Hashanah!

5 Questions:
1)    Dad forwarded me the mission newsletter.  What do you think of the "Fit for the Kingdom" challenge?  Are the new Mission President and wife big time health food/exercise fans?
2)    Are you going to do the challenge?
3)    Do you have much interaction with Sister Griffin?
4)    Did you get your flu shot yet?
5)    Do you need me to put money in your account?

1. Well, I honestly haven't read it yet so I'm not sure about the newsletter.... And I don't know if our mission president and Sister Griffin are health/exercise fans.... I think they may just be concerned that we haven't been paying enough attention to our health and so we suffer a bit. I don't know though.  This is just me pulling something out of the air for an answer...haha

2. Maybe... I won't commit to anything just now, but I would think yes. No promises though.

3. Sort of. She LOVES going out with the missionaries, but it's a bit harder because we're farther away from her. When we have zone meetings/conferences, she'll usually go out with a set of sisters while President does his president stuff. She was going to go out with us last time, but it just didn't work out because of timing and whatnot. So I think the next zone meeting we have, she'll probably go out with us. But we'll see. She's super cute and awesome. Plus, she speaks Spanish. What more could  we want?

4. No.....(do I have to?)

5. No I'm okay. I'm trying to not spend money. I got some cash from Grandma for my birthday so I'll use that if I need to. But I don't think I'll need to spend any money. I'm trying to avoid acquiring more STUFF. Because I just don't need more stuff... But thanks for the offer.

Well, this week was another week of work. I honestly can't remember anything that happened.... but it was good. It is transfer week and somehow all four of the missionaries in our branch are staying. So that's cool.

Our recent convert told us her sister and dad are going to be moving to Rochelle--and her son, who just turned eight, wants to be baptized! So that's gonna be awesome. We'll also be working with her sister because she sounds like she may be interested as well. Her dad is also interested but apparently the only person that he wants to talk to is Brother Sampson, one of the members here. So, the Elders and Brother Sampson will be working with him. But, that'll be awesome. We're thinking we may be able to have a big family baptism! Which would be the coolest thing ever. (:

We're still working, slowly but surely, with our investigators. One hermana almost accepted a  baptismal date last week. She's so close.   She just needs to come to church to feel the Spirit here. Our other investigator who is really close spent the last week in El Salvador so hopefully we'll be meeting with him soon, and get him progressing toward the celestial kingdom and eternal life as well.

The highlight of this week was a short moment, and it was spent on the door of a woman who doesn't believe she has need for another book of scripture. I had the opportunity to testify of the Book of   Mormon and the love of our Heavenly Father in giving it to us, and in speaking to the people who wrote that inspired book. I looked her in the eyes and as prompted by the Spirit, I told her that one day she will have need for more, and she will remember our words. I know that I spoke truth because I felt the Holy Ghost testify to me, powerfully, that what I said was true. And I know she felt it, even if she denied any such feeling. I walked away from that door knowing that I had done by part and Heavenly Father was pleased with our work.

Sorry this week is short, but we have to end our P-day a bit early because we have a dinner appt at 5 in another town.

But know this: I know that this is the true Church of Jesus Christ. After His death and resurrection, His apostles continued the work that He'd left them to do, but even they were eventually rejected and killed. The priesthood authority that Christ had given to them was lost from the earth because no one  possessed it. Until a young man named Joseph Smith was called as a prophet, just as Enoch, Noah, Moses and Abraham before, to restore the fulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ to the earth. The priesthood authority was given to man once again, in order to perform the ordinances of salvation for the children of men. I know that Joseph Smith is a prophet and I know that the Book of Mormon is true. I also know that everyone we talk with about the Prophet and the Book of Mormon will feel the Holy Spirit of God, because He testifies of truth. And then it's up to them if they will accept or reject the truth. If they choose to reject it in that moment, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that one day they will remember our words and they will remember how they felt, and they will know that we spoke truth, in it's most pure and untarnished form. And then they too will know that Joseph Smith is a prophet of God, and that the Book of Mormon is God's tool in these latter days to gather scattered Israel.

What a glorious work we are involved in. I feel privileged to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ. I have made promises with God Himself that I will carry the Gospel to the world. And I have every intention of fulfilling those promises for the rest of my life. Do you?

Love, Hermana DeBuck

1. The ladies at the museum. It's always such a blast talking with them and listening to their conversation while we alphabetize obituaries. (: (from left to right: Mary, Judy, Hna Henricksen, Kathy, me)

2. Us and Darla again. I actually do not have an arm growing out of my head, and no, that is not a comfortable position. But she pulled my head down and my arm got stuck and this is how it turned out...but hey. She's awesome.

PS--I forgot to tell you and maybe you already know, but Elder Golling (mom note: this a young man that used to live on our stake) is serving in one of my first wards down in Peoria! So that's pretty cool. He's actually in the ward that my converts are in...so yeah. Just thought I'd tell you that. I didn't know if you knew or not. Love you!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week 53: "After Their Missions, our Elders and Our Hermanas Will Get Married and Make Mormon Babies," Said a Recent Convert

5 Questions:
1) So, did you finally get the little bubble envelope gifts?
2)  Did the package of new garments get to you yet from the Distribution center?
3)  Any new investigators?
4) Did this past week go better for you than the week before?  You sounded a little down, but were plowing through anyway.
5) What did you do for Labor Day?  Was it a regular day, just switched for P Day?

1. Yes, thank you! I loved them.

2. Yes, got them a week or two ago. The bottoms are still a bit tight but they're good. The tops on the other hand feel a bit too big, but they're okay too. haha we just can't win

3.  Yes! I'll tell you about them in a moment...

4. Yes, this week was a lot better. I think I'd just kind of psyched myself into a weird emotional state, but now I'm okay.

5. Yes, yesterday was just a regular proselyting day for us. The idea is that because it's a holiday more people will be at home. So all (?) Monday holidays get switched with Tuesday for P-day, at least in our mission. Sounds like it's not a States mission thing, like I thought. But hey, that's the revelation our president has received so that's what we do.

Yesterday was a bit rough because we basically were in the sun ALL day, and boy was it hot. But at 6:30 we had an appt with a couple--we'd made the appt last week, so in all honesty I was a bit skeptical of them actually being there--but they were waiting for us on the dot! They told us they'd turned down other things to do because they knew they'd made the appt with us. Oh man. And they are amazing! Their names are Dolores and Porfilio Aregueta. They had a ton of questions. But, thanks to what we've learned from past companions, we were able to take control of the conversation and  actually teach them! And even though they still have questions, they committed to read and ask God if it's true. They also basically told us that we were telling them that their church actually is NOT the church Christ left behind. But because the Spirit was there, and we just told them to ask God if what we say is true, we left on a good note and I don't think anyone's feelings were hurt. It was an awesome experience. I love them so much.  Plus, they were hysterical! And, Dolores told us that next week when we come, she's going to feed us too. I love Latinos...so much. They are amazing people.

Well, we had a zone activity today so I didn't have a lot of time to write. But know that I am well and I love being here in Rochelle. We are working with some truly amazing people and I know that we will see miracles. I know that Jesus Christ in all reality did heal the blind and the lame; He raised the dead and forgave sins. Why not in our days? God is the same yesterday today and forever, and I know that the heavens are not sealed and miracles have not ceased. I love the gospel. I know it's true. And the Book of Mormon is evidence that God loves all his children--no matter where, no matter when.

Con Todo Mi Amor,
Hermana DeBuck