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: